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Ski and party


January 14, 2004
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As celebs from California to Islington have discovered, when it comes to skiing the fun needn’t stop when you step off the slopes. Here’s our pick of the liveliest resorts for après-ski

Gstaad, Switzerland The resort: Gstaad is traditionally associated with old-fashioned Hollywood glamour, epitomised by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Roger Moore. Today, it remains a celebrity haunt with high-profile visitors including Elle Macpherson (who owns a chalet), Elton John and Geri Halliwell.

Nestled in southwest Switzerland, in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, German-speaking Gstaad is essentially an unspoilt Alpine village and, although small compared to a purpose-built French resort, it boasts 41 hotels and more than 10,000 beds in chalets and apartments tucked discreetly around the mountainside.

The skiing: What makes Gstaad so enticing and unique is the range of ski runs, covering 250km of the Saanenland region, enabling intrepid skiers to enjoy lengthy and atmospheric runs from village to village, such as the picturesque 10km from Rougemont to Gstaad. The region caters for all skiing and boarding abilities, with the nearby Diablerets glacier providing thrills aplenty for snowboarders.

The social scene: Thaw out after a day on the slopes with hot chocolate and cakes at Charley’s Tea Room, followed by dinner at the exclusive Chesery and then on to Geoffrey Moore’s establishment Hush, the five-star Palace Hotel’s Greengo disco or the revamped hotspot Chlosterli for some late-night fun.

Chamonix, France The resort: For an Alpine experience with sophistication, variety and incredible scenery, Chamonix is the place to be – a bustling, picturesque town with plenty for everyone.The skiing: "Extreme" and "hardcore". The mountain range, dominated by Mont Blanc, isa magnet for off-piste skiing and snowboard-ing. And ample powder snow makes the off-piste tracks among the best in the world. Perfect for the experienced skier or boarder looking for that extra rush, the notoriousVallée Blanche off-piste takes in three glaciers,and offers fantastic mountain scenery. Take a guide, however, as there are dangerous crevasses. Beginners could be overawed by skiing here. The social scene: Typical Savoyarde restaurants serving hearty fondues are a great way to unwind, and the town also offers truly refined cuisine. The Albert Premier (two Michelin stars)is the pick of the bunch, but the Panier de Quatre Saisons is also superb, if pricey.  For big nights out, go no further than the Rue du Moulin, lined with bars, and, of course, the compulsory Dicks T-Bar.

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At Chamonix, in the shadow of Mont Blanc, an enormous expanse of powder snow awaits skiers and boarders
Stay among the pines at Chamonix's Chalet Red Mountain Lodge
Gstaad remains the haunt of choice for lovers of high-octane glamour
For fun in the sun, soak up some rays outside one of the many mountainside bars

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