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Top five winter sports destinations

Hitting the slopes over Christmas or in the New Year? Here are the five most popular ski and snowboard destinations for the 2013-14 season.

New research from Confused.com has identified the countries set to be most popular with Brits looking for some winter sports action this ski season.

And whether you’re wanting miles of expert off-piste runs, or you’re more of an aficionado of the après ski scene, we’ve asked winter holiday experts Iglu Ski for their pick of some top resorts.

1. France – Val d’Isère



Holding the top spot from last year is France which, perhaps unsurprisingly given its proximity to the UK and huge choice of resorts, is the most popular ski destination for Brits.

Iglu Ski says: "With several giant ski areas, France is the UK’s favourite ski country.

"And best of them all is Val d’Isère (pictured above) with 300km of piste and a lifetime of off-piste opportunities.

"It not only has the best and most varied ski area but also the finest après-ski in the whole Savoie region and is home to the original Folie Douce piste-side après-ski mega-deck."

2. Canada - Whistler



Canada is the second most popular destination, up from eighth last year, according to our research.

Iglu Ski has chosen the famous resort of Whistler, in the western province of British Columbia, as the pick of Canada’s ski areas.

"The hospitable Canadians have a resort that regularly challenges Val d’Isère for worldwide top honours in Whistler.

"It has a huge annual snow fall and is run better than a Swiss clock. If you could only go to one resort to ski for the rest of your life then this would be a good choice."

3. Austria – St Anton



Down from number two last year, Austria is a good choice for people wanting to let their hair down after hitting the slopes, according to Iglu Ski.

"Austria is the party country of ski and king of all the party resorts is St Anton.

"It has probably the best après-ski in the world and a vast, challenging ski area.

"Get a local guide and do the Valluga trail before hitting the Mooserwirt or Krazy Kangaruh."

4. Finland - Levi



The next most popular ski country for the 2013-14 season is Finland, which has taken the place of Italy – last year’s number four and new number six.

Iglu Ski says: "Finland offers so much more than just skiing and saunas.

"Levi is the country’s finest ski area and is home to dog sledding, snowmobiling, reindeer sight-seeing, as well as a Santa’s grotto.

"February is the best time to see the mind-blowing northern lights."

5. Bulgaria - Bansko



In fifth place is the eastern European country of Bulgaria which, according to Iglu Ski, offers great value for money for people looking for a winter break on a budget.

“Bansko in Bulgaria does not offer the quaint Alpine style of the French or Austrian resorts but it makes up for it in great value and tremendous cultural history.

"A five-star hotel here costs around the same as a three-star in the Alps, while luxury spas are standard and the food is surprisingly good."

Long-haul destinations increasingly popular

Mhairi Edwards is head of travel insurance at Confused.com.

She says: "France is always a firm favourite for people looking for a ski break but it’s interesting to see some changes to the other top destinations.

"Canada’s move up to position two is representative of the increasing popularity of long-haul destinations for 2014 as we see people having a bit more money to spend on travelling."

Wherever you’re going for your ski trip, Edwards says make sure you take the time to get the right winter sports travel insurance.

Get covered before you hit the slopes

"A specialist policy will give you good medical coverage - getting airlifted off a slope and taken to hospital is something you won’t want to be paying for out of your own pocket," she says.

"It will also cover any equipment you plan to take with you or that you hire while you’re out there.

"Most policies will also cover you if you’re unable to ski due to lack of snow or extreme weather conditions.

"This level of cover means that winter sports cover is slightly more expensive than standard travel insurance: among our top five destinations the average price of a policy starts at £8.58 for Finland up to £32.96 for Canada.

"But it’s still only going to be a small part of the total cost of your holiday and could end up saving you thousands should anything go wrong."

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Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley is a writer at Confused.com, focusing on credit cards and financial products. Wannabe mountaineer Adam joined us from the world of financial services PR.

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