Unusually, ski holidays in Are, which is known for its reliable snow, are great for both families and party animals...
Are often has good snow long beyond the official end of its season - one of the reasons it was chosen to host the 2007 Alpine skiing World Championships. These were held on Areskutan, the peak which dominates the resort and offers an 895m vertical drop, from its summit down to the shore of Lake Aresjon. But neither the men's nor the women's downhill courses are especially steep in Are, meaning most confident intermediates will be able to ski or snowboard them by the end of a week - though probably not at the 120kph speeds reached by the competitors in the Championships.
Resort height: 390m
Elsewhere, the best of the terrain in Are is to be found in the easy, tree-lined pistes spread along the lake. This is where the best snow is too - protected from the wind. Competent intermediates who aren't yet ready to try off-piste skiing will be happy in Are, as will beginners. Almost everyone's English is good here, and they enjoy using it, so there's no chance of you feeling left out in ski or snowboard school.
One other group who will like Are is the terrain-park addicts. There's a strong freestyle culture in Sweden and when you get to here you can understand why: it's home to three parks, a half-pipe and a skier-cross course.
From the UK, one tour operator, Neilson, operates a direct charter flight from Heathrow to Ostersund...
Everyone else tends to change planes in Sweden. But either way, the transfer to resort takes about an hour.
Are's ski area is a fantastic winter playground for beginners and intermediate level skiers and snowboarders...
There aren't so many runs to challenge the more advanced among you, though.
You can have a wild night out in Are, particularly at the weekend, and there's lots to entertain non-skiers too...
The Swedes like a drink or two, and at the weekend (when Stockholmers fly in for some fun), Are has a buzz that's close to the best Alpine resorts. Wersens in the town square is the key bar, and Bygget, a 10-minute walk from the centre, the best club. Swedes also make great chefs, and there's a wide choice of restaurants in town, ranging from the gastronomic, to the novel (reindeer steaks at Villa Tottebo).
As with all Scandinavian resorts, there's plenty to do in Are besides skiing, including dog-sledding, cross-country skiing and snow-kiting on the frozen lake.
Cost of living 6/10
You can keep a lid on costs by booking into a British tour operator's chalet which offers half-board accommodation, or bagging a self-catering apartment. These tend to be bigger than in the Alps, and will help save money, provided you actually use the kitchen - rather than eating out every night!
Attractiveness of the resort 6/10
It's not the Alps. But all the same, the frozen lake, wooded slopes and sense of being somewhere properly remote appeals to many. One of Are's strengths is its long, late season, and it offers a much cuter base for a spring skiing holiday than the forbidding, high-altitude resorts of the Alps.