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Our guide to choosing your ski resort

The world's mountains are full of ski resorts - hundreds and hundreds of them, in fact, all with their own unique balance of strengths and weaknesses. Some are perfect for first-time skiers and families. Others suit experienced ski heroes or party animals.

Get more from your ski break

Are you looking to go late in the season, or curious to know the best places for guaranteed snow? Or maybe you simply want a traditional Christmas ski holiday?

Best for late season skiing - Prolong the ski season well into April and beyond by heading to high resorts with good ski records. Winners are Cervinia - Italy, plus Tignes and Val Thorens in France.

Best for guaranteed snow - Don't gamble on the chance of no snow, especially early or late in the season. Snow can be pretty much guaranteed in Lech and Obergurgl in Austria, and Tignes in France.

Best for a traditional Christmas - A fairy tale snowy Christmas with stunning scenery, log fires and traditional hospitality can be found in resorts such as Alpbach - Austria, and Klosters and Saas-Fe in Switzerland.

Get the basics right

Are you a non-skier heading to the slopes with your friends, or are you simply looking for the best places for après-ski?

Best for non-skiers - There's no need to be a ski widow sitting it out in a bar all day. There are some excellent resorts which cater well for those who want to take it easier. Good options are Chamonix - France, Seefeld - Austria, and St Moritz - Switzerland.

Best for après-ski - Once the daylight fades you may be looking for great nightlife to make the balance between sports and social fun. You'll find plenty of evening action in St. Anton - Austria, Verbier - Switzerland, and Val d'Isere in France.

How to choose the right resort

Picking the perfect resort for your 2014 ski holiday is made easy with our quick guide to the best resorts, whatever you are looking for.

Sorting through all of the resorts to find one which will suit you is a real headache, which is why we've done the job for you. Check through our shortlists below for a shortcut to the best ski and snowboarding resorts in a range of categories. Get the resort right and you'll have the most fantastic ski or snowboard holiday you've ever had.

Get the basics right

Whether you're a beginner, intermediate or advanced skier, a snowboarder, you're travelling with the family, or you're looking to ski on a budget, we have the best resorts for you.

Best for beginners - Your first ski trips should be to resorts with great ski schools and gentle slopes to build your confidence, so try Soldeu - Andorra, Courchevel - France, and Alpe d'Huez - France.

Best for intermediate - You're no longer a beginner so start targeting improving your ski technique and confidence, as well as exploring resorts where you can enjoy lots of snowy fun. Try out Courchevel, Les Arcs and Tignes, all in France.

Best for advanced - As an experienced skier you need a real challenge, so head to the black runs of resorts such as Chamonix - France, Verbier -Switzerland, and Val d'Isere - France.

Best for snowboarding - Boarders love their slopes, tubes and parks for tricks. The best resorts catering for the boarding community are Verbier - Switzerland, St Anton - Austria, and Davos - Switzerland.
Best budget resorts - Go self-catering, cook for yourself and keep the costs down in great resorts such as Alpe d'Huez - France, Flaine - France, and Cervinia - Italy.

Best family friendly - With different ages and abilities, picking a destination that will cater for all the needs of your family is easy when you head to places such as Obergurgl - Austria, Wengen - Switzerland, and Alpbach - Austria.

Best for weekend breaks
 - Taking a sneaky adrenaline fuelled weekend on the slopes is a breeze when you pick resorts with short transfers to the airport. Great options are Courmayeur - Italy, Chamonix - France, and Davos in Switzerland.