Shape up for the slopes with Avant Ski

Cathy Winston

What a waste of a good mountain-side to turn up, skis in hand, and realise you've forgotten all your slaloming skills. But if you're feeling rusty, one hotel is running special weekends to help you brush up

The Grove

The Grove, Hertforshire, has launched the Avant Ski weekends including a day's ski school at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, specially designed fitness classes and even a menu to help you practise your après ski.

If you've never quite had the nerve to book a full skiing holiday, it's one easy way to get a taster without splashing out on kit and flights as well.

An expert ski instructor will start you off with tips on staying upright on the slopes before you hone the muscles you'll need in an afternoon of exercises, including a kettlebell workshop and ski circuit class.

The next day, you get to work the muscles a bit more on the piste at the Snow Centre, which has a huge 160m main slope as well as the largest indoor lesson slope in the UK if you'd like to start slowly.

After that, you get the chance to recover with a sauna and some hearty Alpine food, with fondue and plenty of vin chaud on the Saturday night. And the next morning, there's a Pilates session at the hotel's Sequoia spa to soothe any aches.

Quick facts: The Avant Ski package runs over four weekends, on November 5-7, January 7-9, January 14-16 and January 28-30. It costs from £495 per person including a two night stay, all meals and the ski school. Call 01923 807 807 or email to book.