27 FEBRUARY 2006

With snow falling across much of northern Europe, more of the continent's royals are making the most of the season by heading for the hills and some snowy fun.

Just last week Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit were spotted enjoying a little cross-country skiing with their young brood in the Norwegian resort of Lillehammer. And the latest to introduce their young offspring to the wonders of winter are Prince Willem-Alexander and Maxima of the Netherlands.

Full of laughter, the duo were snapped frolicking on the slopes of exclusive Austrian resort Lech with their daughters Princess Catharina-Amalia and Princess Alexia. At two, Amalia, who was togged out in a kitted cap with pink bobbles and a pair of cute kitty mittens, was clearly old enough to be excited by her sledding experience as well as hang on tight to her younger sibling, who looked a little bemused by the strange cold flakes falling from the sky.

Widely recognised for its breathtaking scenery, Lech's ski facilities include an excellent system of lifts which mean there are virtually no queues. And the Dutch royals, who are frequent visitors, are not the only ones to have been impressed by its family friendly attractions; Princess Diana chose the resort for a 1994 break with sons William and Harry.

Photo: ©
Royal parents Willem-Alexander and his wife Maxima were clearly having just as much fun as their young offspring as they filled the slopes with laughter during a photocall in the Austrian resort of LechPhoto: © AFP
Photo: ©
Now two, Princess Amalia, as she is known, keeps a protective arm around her younger sibling Alexia, who seemed fascinated by the lightly falling snow Photo: © Rex