First, its quality. The pistes are not especially long: but the best of them offer wonderful fall-line routes down the mountain. They’re the kind of descents where you can settle into a rhythm, get up onto your edges, and let rip.
The second thing that struck us was how quiet they are. Okay, so on Saturday and Sunday, when the weekenders from Stockholm and Trondheim are in town, the pinch-points can be busy. But for the rest of the time it’s more like skiing in Montana than the Alps. And that just adds to the fun of carving. You can let the side-cut of your skis take control, and make big turns across the piste without fear of careering into another skier.
There are reminders of Montana when you stop and look up, too. Many of the views out from the pistes of Are, Sweden, are across vast, underpopulated landscapes. For anyone who finds the modern world a tad overcrowded, its an intoxicating experience.
The two best runs here are rated red for more confident intermediates – Gästrappet and the lower half of Lundsrappet, in the middle of Are’s ski area, under the VM8 chairlift. But there are plenty of mellow blues too, which many complete beginners could handle after three or four days. And if that makes the skiing sound like a good bet for the average Brit – or indeed anyone else who skis only once a winter and needs a bit of space and time to nail their technique – then that’s exactly how it is. No wonder many people we’ve met here are back for their second or third holiday.
Many thanks to Neilson for the flights. The company runs an extensive holiday programme to the resort with all levels of accommodation included. Click on this link to read our resort report. You can also find lots of news and information about the resort at www.skistar.com/en/Are/.