Can’t wait to head to the mountains for ski season? Before you go, make sure to have a look at our list of some of the planet’s best winter sports resorts and most powdery slopes – from the ultra famous to the next to unknown. Check it out!
Austria is the home of modern downhill skiing and of world-class resorts such as St. Anton and Sölden, The Alp-ample nation offers awesome conditions, lots of powder and access to slopes at more affordable prices than most of its Alpine neighbors. Even Austria’s highest altitude resorts are built around traditional villages (many dating to the Middle Ages), to yield plenty of off-piste opportunities to discover the fascinating culture, cuisine, and history of this beautiful country.
The Eastern European country of Bulgaria is quickly becoming best known as a destination for budget-friendly ski and winter sport getaways. But great value isn’t the only reason to visit resorts such as Bansko and Pamporovo. Fact is, it’s a just a great place to hit the slopes. Advanced skiers might find Bulgaria less enthralling than other places. But for beginners, intermediate skiers and families it’s hard to beat Bulgaria for ideal conditions, fewer crowds and better accessibility to runs.
There are California ski resorts for just about any skill level, style or budget. Most often they’re in stunningly scenic settings abutting vast wilderness areas but also within easy reach of international airports and major metro areas. Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, and Mammoth aren’t just Golden State greats; they’re national treasure for ski buffs. And when Mother Nature does her magic, there’s skiable snow on mountains for months starting in early autumn and lasting into summer. Best of all worlds? Pretty much!
The Great White North wows with some of North America’s best places for winter play. There are great skiing and all sorts of winter sports action across British Columbia, especially in Whistler and the Blackcomb mountains. In Alberta’s magnificent stretch of the Rocky Mountains, the thrill of the vertical drop is coupled by jaw-dropping panoramas of pristine wilderness-resort areas such as Jasper and Banff. But it’s not only the west coast that Canadians can boast about. The east coast, particularly Quebec, has amazing resorts, massive mountains and ideal weather for snowy fun.
Experience a Rocky Mountain high in America’s top-rated ski and snowboard destination. With renowned resorts in Aspen, Breckenridge, Snowmass, Steamboat, Telluride, Vail and so many other world class places to play in the snow it’s no wonder Colorado is such a popular state with skiers. Whether you’re heading to Colorado for a family vacation, a day trip on the slopes or the entire ski season, you’ll find it to be as close to perfect for meeting your expectations, whatever your level of proficiency.
Many people will tell you that France is the world’s best place for skiing. It’s certainly the most popular in terms of numbers of tourists visiting the country to ski. There’s good reason for their rendezvouses with the resorts here. Resorts are huge, efficiently run, well connected to airports and train stations, and cater to a broad range of budgets and skill levels. Oh and areas of the Alps such as Val d’Isere, Meribel, and Chamonix (not to mention the lesser celebrated but still epic slopes of the Pyrenees on the Spanish border) are legendary for powder, vertical drop and off-piste merrymaking.
The Italian side of the Alps, in particular, the Aosta Valley in Piemonte and the Dolomites in Friuli Venezia Giulia, are some of Europe’s most gorgeous landscapes and are home to both upscale luxury resorts and more homey and rustic type places with lifts. Cervinia, Val Gardena and Cortina are among the former, Sauris and Forni di Sopra are more the latter. Wherever you ski in Italy you’re guaranteed excellent food, convivial nightlife and loads of fun on and off the slopes.
Underrated and largely unexplored by the world’s ski elite, the tiny Balkan nation of Slovenia offers big value, big mountains and big fun for folks looking for powdery conditions, well-maintained facilities, and minimal crowds. Situated in one of the lesser appreciated but nonetheless stunning corners of the Alps and bordering Italy to its west and Austria to the north (as well as Croatia and Hungary), Slovenia’s fascinating mix of traditions and cultures adds to the wintry mix of your trip. Make for Mariborsko Pohorje or Kranjska Gora for the best runs.
Think of Switzerland and you think of skiing. With its renowned resorts such as Verbier, Zermatt and St. Moritz and their snowcapped panoramic Alpine peaks, serene glacial lakes, and vast swathes of wilderness – it’s no wonder the original destination for winter tourism is still the ideal place for action packed outdoor fun come wintertime.
A great family destination but with lots of opportunity for pro and expert skier action beyond the bunny hill, Utah is America’s outdoor playground any time of year. Resorts and mountain towns such as Alta, Sundance, Park City, and Solitude beckon. The backcountry skiing is possibly the best in the U.S.A. And for travelers seeking urban comforts between time on the slopes, Salt Lake City makes a great base with more than a dozen resorts just a short drive away.
Where did we leave out? Do you have a favorite destination for winter sports fun?