If it’s a flashy snow scene you’re after, look elsewhere. Villars, a traditional Swiss village at 1,300 metres, is a peaceful winter escape with superb skiing, authentic cuisine and breathtaking views of the Mont Blanc and Dents du Midi mountain ranges.
WHERE TO STAY
Splurge on the recently opened Chalet RoyAlp Hotel & Spa ski-in/ski-out resort (the only one in the area) and take advantage of luxuries like the indoor pool and Turkish bath. For something more intimate, try the family-owned, chalet-style La Renardière or the cosy Les Mazots du Clos in the centre of town. Feeling adventurous? Camp out in the snow at Whitepod ecoresort in nearby Le Cerniers. Igloo-shaped tents come equipped with everything from en suite shower rooms to cowhide rugs and nightly hot water bottles.
WHAT TO EAT
Don’t miss the crepes at La Gourmandine (Rue Central; +41 024 495 1743). For fondue or raclette, head to the cellar bar at Le Grizzly or Le Vieux-Villars — a rustic, candlelit restaurant with an unusual mix of French and Chinese cuisine.
WHERE TO SKI
Downhill opportunities abound for bunnies and pros, but snowfall is unpredictable. Don’t let a dry spell ruin your weekend: lifts to Les Diablerets make glacier skiing possible year-round. Luck out with plenty of powder? Navigate down Les Chaux piste and stop for lunch at new hotspot L’Etable — a converted mountain stable serving traditional Swiss fayre.
WHAT TO PACK
For a chic yet understated look, you’ll need a ski beanie by The North Circular (ecoglam model Lily Cole’s knitwear range) teamed with Adidas by Stella McCartney ski pants. And don’t forget This Works Muscle Therapy. The roll-on design is ideal for après-ski self massage.
WHAT TO BRING BACK
A healthy glow, toned muscles and lots of chocolate.
Photos: Courtesy of Whitepod; Courtesy of Villars Tourism, Switzerland