Obviously one of the big considerations when booking a ski or snowboarding holiday is which resorts are the most reliable for snow cover. So if you're worried about spending all of your hard-earned pennies booking a holiday and then stepping off the transfer bus to find it's all a bit, erm... green, then this is the page for you.
So what are the key factors for a good chance of snow cover ? Is it all about comparing the annual snowfall figures ? Not necessarily - whilst some resorts such as Zermatt, Saas Fee and Cervinia are in traditionally drier areas and don't get the same total depth of snowfall as others, what snow they do get can hang around for longer periods, so they can be a safer choice than some resorts with a higher average.
Ok, so what else makes a resort snow-sure ? Key things to consider are it's altitude (the higher the resort, the colder it will tend to be), it's geographical location (those in the heart of the Alps can be protected from the milder weather fronts that from time to time affect those on the edges of the Alps) and also the direction a resort's slopes face is also a key factor (north facing slopes tend to hold the snow longer than their south-facing friends). And if it has access to a glacier then this provides further insurance if the snow doesn't arrive. Be aware that there are some disadvantages to the extremely high-altitude resorts - weather, mainly high winds, can sometimes shut the lift systems. Lower-altitude snow-sure resorts don't suffer as much with the same problem and so are sometimes a better bet in such circumstances.
Factors like these can be just as important when picking a reliable resort as how much annual snowfall it averages.
But anyway, to save you trawling through all the facts and figures in the brochures, we've picked our top ten, you should be pretty safe with any of these...
What it lacks in the size of it's ski area (about 40km, modest in comparison with many other resorts) Andermatt more than makes up for in it's abundance of snow. Yes, Andermatt's snow record is excellent, one of the best in Switzerland, especially on the Gemsstock mountain that serves the resort, which is one of Switzerland's snowiest areas, with a massive average annual snowfall just nudging 10m. The upper slopes of Gemsstock are nearly 3000m as well, which ensures decent snow when lower areas are suffering, whilst it has a northerly facing aspect too, so is less affected by the sun. On the other hand, one of the resorts other ski areas - Natschen, has more southerly-facing, lower altitude slopes, and doesn't hold the snow as well.
What it lacks in altitude and black runs Ruka more than makes up for in reliable snow. The Finnish resort has one of the longest ski seasons in the world, not half bad considering there isn't the sniff of a melting glacier in sight.
Despite it's lack of height (the fell's top height is just under 500m) Ruka normally has enough snow knocking around to be able to start running it's lifts during mid October, and keep them going right through until June. And the good thing is that once the cold weather's got hold and the snow starts falling, that tends to be the trend for the rest of the winter - for instance, it's rare to get a warm mid-winter or pre-Christmas spell that you sometimes get in the Alps. Now that's what we call a snow-sure resort.