Even the happiest of urbanites need an occasional break from the city. And while winter sun will always have its appeal, a quick jaunt to the mountains has its own set of perks. A weekend on the snowy slopes of the Alps offers adrenaline-fuelled fun, awe-inspiring scenery and - not to be underrated - some restorative après ski.
Whether you're delving into the party-lovers' Val D'Isere in France or the traditional Swiss fairytale resort of Gstaad, this is the chic girl's guide to making the most of your Alpine mini break.
What to pack for the mountains
Once you've got your thermals and merino wool on the go, it's all about the right jacket. And the gold standard, for hi-tech design *and* style, has to be the Woolrich GTX Mountain Parka. Cut flatteringly (banish images of the Michelin man right now), and available in two colourways - white igloo and off-black - it's the perfect mix of fashion and function.
Woolrich has been making outdoor clothing for more than 185 years, so you can trust their parkas will deliver: totally waterproof, light and breathable. Plus every seam is protected with heat-sealed tape, so you are well and truly protected from the elements.
Oh, and genius secure pockets (which are also hand-warming) mean your phone is safe until the obligatory 'gram shot. To layer under your parka, go for a light microfleece and a neck-warmer-hat combo to keep you extra toasty.
How to fit everything in
Lots of winter layers = packing stress. If the old rolling technique isn't cutting it, hit up Amazon for space-saving vacuum bags, which allow you to seal bulky clothes and suck the air out with a hand-pump or hoover (you can ask the hotel or chalet team to help on the way back), shrinking them down magically.
It also helps to group all your chargers, adapters and tech together in a zip-up packing cube.
How to avoid 'ski skin'
Sunscreen for your face is essential - seriously, the ray-reflecting snow means it's a non-negotiable. Piz Buin's Mountain range has SPF 50, plus ingredients to protect your skin from the effects of extreme cold.
And while it may be all about that face, your muscles will also be crying out for attention if you've decided to ski. For the post-slope ache, make sure you hit the hot tub/sauna situation and take a muscle therapy roll-on for good measure.
Where to unpack your bags
A traditional chalet is fun, sociable and bank-balance friendly in groups, but if you're looking for something a little different, not to mention immensely #blessed worthy, how about an eco pod? For inspiration check out the White Pods near the Swiss village of Les Cerniers, with wood burning stoves, plush carpets and proper beds; or the floating Ufogel cabin in Austria, made entirely from larch wood for a Scandi-cool vibe.
Lovers of unashamed luxe can get their five-star kicks by saving up for a stay at the super-slick W Hotel in Verbier (pack a bikini for the spa and outdoor heated pool), or the Portetta in Courchevel. Expect L'Occitane products in the bathroom.
What to eat and drink
There are certain gastronomic experiences you have to tick off on your Alpine retreat, whether you order in a cosy restaurant or attempt to whip it up yourself in your lodge. At the very least, try a French tartiflette (an unbeatable combination of potatoes, bacon, onion and reblochon cheese) or a proper, crispy Swiss potato rösti (add an oozy fried egg on top to create a spiegelei). And you can't go without a traditional Austrian veal schnitzel with lingonberry sauce.
Steaming gluhwein will be everywhere, of course, but if you spot somewhere serving Jägertee (not to be confused with Jagermeister) then order a glass. Made with equal parts spiced rum, red wine, plum schnapps, tea and orange juice, it's mulled wine on steroids. And delicious.
For the obligatory after-dinner shot of schnapps, skip the peach stuff and ask for Williamine - a pear flavoured variation (but equally effective at warming you up). Cheers!
How to readjust to city life
A weekend in the mountains can leave you harking back to the days when a ski season was an actual option, which makes landing back in the city somewhat of an anti-climax. You'll have dry feet again, but it's hard to swap landscape for cityscape.
Make the transition back to work easier by picking up breakfast for the next day on your way home and planning your morning outfit. The best bit? You don't need to worry about your jacket - your Woolrich GTX Mountain Parka looks just as good on the streets as it does on the slopes. Just swap your salopettes for skinny jeans and consider it one savvy investment.