Feature: Skiing in the Vaud Alps

If less-crowded slopes, more challenging runs, breathtaking scenery and seemingly endless square kilometres of backcountry terrain are the attributes you seek, then the ski fields of the Vaud Alps are worth considering as an alternative to Switzerland's better-known resorts.

Don't be mistaken: those in the know have been frequenting the Vaud Alps for years, but you'll find these easily accessible alpine outposts lack the hype that surrounds Gstaad, Zermatt and St Moritz. Consequently, they're less crowded and marginally cheaper.

The region's star performer is the village of Les Diablerets, whose Isenau and Glacier 3000 ski areas get top billing. The former is marginally easier to reach while the latter, perched atop a 3.5km-long glacier, has the highest peaks and a wider range of accommodations, facilities and amenities.

The amalgamated Villars-Gryon ski area, centred on the village of Villars-sur-Ollon, offers combined access to Les Diablerets's three ski areas, effectively linking five alpine areas into a gargantuan ski field of over 100 sq km, with at least 34 lifts. It offers breathtaking scenery and covers all levels of difficulty.

Lastly, little by name but not by size or nature, Leysin, at 1350m, started out as a tuberculosis centre, but has healed into life to become a sprawling ski resort catering to all levels and boasting a whopping 60km of runs.

The following tourist offices are most useful when planning your wintry adventures: