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10 OF THE WORLD’S BEST SKI RESORTS

ST ANTON, AUSTRIA

Season: December – April Best Time to Go: January/February

Where else could we start? Probably the most renowned resort anywhere on the globe – certainly in Europe – St Anton is famed for its wild après and even wilder expert slopes. Located in the Alps in Austria’s Arlberg region, one of the snowiest areas on the continent, St Anton boasts 340km of pistes (suitable for all abilities), 200km of off-piste itineraries and over 55km² of challenging off-piste terrain. With 88 lifts, it’s also probably the most efficient resort on the continent too. But it’s not all about the ski here, the town itself is always bustling thanks to chic chalets, high-end restaurants, and infamous bars such as MooserWirt and Krazy Kanguruh.

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VAL D’ISÈRE, FRANCE

Season: November – May Best Time to Go: February

Skiing legend Jean-Claude Killy made his home-town one of the best-known ski resorts in Europe after his breathtaking sweep of three gold medals at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. Val d'Isere shares the high valley with neighboring Tignes to provide more than 300 kilometers of interconnected ski terrain served by more than 150 ski lifts.

The valley, surrounded by peaks that provide skiing at altitudes as high as 3,450 meters, is part of Parc National de la Vanoise. The altitude assures snow through the late spring; skiing on the Glacier du Pisaillas usually lasts through June and often into July.

Val d'Isere and Tignes offers some of the best skiing for experts, with more than two dozen challenging black runs. But it's the exceptional off-piste terrain that earns bragging rights for skilled skiers. The off-piste skiing in Tignes is largely above the tree line. For 45-degree thrills (and exceptional scenery), go to the North Face of Pramecou; hiring a guide is strongly recommended here, even for experienced alpine skiers.



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WHISTLER-BLACKCOMB, CANADA

Season: November – May Best Time to Go: February/March

Though it may often get overlooked by those in Europe, North America shouldn’t be forgotten when it comes to slopes. And one of the best on the continent is Whistler-Blackcomb. Winner of numerous awards for ‘Best Resort in the World’, the biggest ski area in North America is epic in every sense with the largest network of high-speed chairlifts in the world. Another resort ideal for all abilities and experiences, Whistler-Blackcomb is located inland from Vancouver, meaning it gets hit by Pacific storms all winter. This means the snow isn’t as dry as some of the interior British Colombian resorts, but it is abundant and better than most of the snow we get in Europe. Whistler is also ideal for those who fancy activities other than skiing with outdoor zip-wire adventure courses, snowmobile and dog-sled excursions, and a number of relaxing spas all on site.

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ÅRE, SWEDEN

Season: December – May Best Time to Go: March/April

The Alps may get the crowds, but we’d highly recommend Scandinavia for skiing if you want a change of pace. And if anywhere encapsulates the Nordic ski experience, it’s Sweden’s Åre. Set on a picturesque lake, Åre is much mellower than the party towns of Tignes and Val d’Isère, with sunlight often at a premium. Depending on when you go, the sun can set as early as 3pm, but that does mean there’s plenty of leisure time for things other than skiing, such as husky sledding, snowmobiling across frozen lakes, reindeer feeding, and Northern Light hunting! There’s also world-class food nearby in Fäviken, a remote two-Michelin-starred restaurant where ingredients are foraged and hunted close-by.

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ALYESKA, ALASKA, USA

Season: December – April Best Time to Go: January/February

Anyone who’s all about riding the powder will probably have Alaska at the top of their bucket list. And if you want to ski here, there aren’t many better options than the resort of Alyeska. Renowned for its steep lines, Alyeska Resort has a 33-year average snowfall of over 16 metres, which is more than enough to keep the pistes in pristine condition all season. Intermediate skiiers and beginners are well looked after, but veterans will love the mountain’s openness and wide exposed faces. There’s also scope for dog sledding, snowmobiling, flightseeing, ice climbing, and snowshoeing.

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VERBIER, SWITZERLAND

Season: November – May Best Time to Go: March

Thanks to the perfect combo of sun, nightlife and natural beauty, Verbier has long been Switzerland’s most popular ski resort among the younger clientele. Nearly 100 lifts access more than 400km of snow-sure runs – perfect for all abilities – as well as some of the best lift-served off piste in the whole of the Alps. The nightlife may attract the skis, but we love Verbier for its spectacular scenery with views from the top of the ski area on Mont Fort reaching as far as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.

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ZAŌ ONSEN, JAPAN

Season: November – May Best Time to Go: January/February

Though it’s probably never been a consideration, take it from us that Japan has some of the best runs in the world. But if you’re going to put in the effort to organise a ski trip to Nippon, you may as well get an experience you simply can’t find anywhere else. And really, that leaves you with one option – Zaō Onsen. The terrain doesn’t get much more unique than that on offer at Zaō Onsen Ski Resort, which is one of the few places in the country where juhyo (aka ice trees) can be seen and subsequently skied between. These other-worldly trees take on bizarre shapes thanks to heavy snowfall and freezing winds, creating one of the most incredible slope experiences anywhere on the planet. Zaō Onsen is also home to some of Japan’s finest hot spring baths – perfect after a day freezing on the piste!

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COURCHEVEL, FRANCE

Season: November – May Best Time to Go: February

Courchevel has long been considered the pinnacle of Alpine luxury. Coming complete with an altiport for private jets and helicopters right in the middle of the slopes, and a local Spar shop which sells lobster and langoustine, this picturesque French town is certainly one at the higher end of things. But its opulence shouldn’t detract from the 600km of pistes that make up Les Trois Vallées. Courchevel usually offers the best snow out of all the resorts in the area and it doesn’t discriminate against beginners either. Outside of skiing, there are no less than 11 Michelin-star restaurants, 15 luxury spas, and a plethora of mountain-side, après-ski venues. In February, the valley is also lit up by the annual International Festival of Pyrotechnic Art – otherwise known as ‘fireworks’ to us mere peasants!

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Aspen Snowmass, USA

SEASON:December to may

Bst time to go:January /February

Top among the several ski resorts in Colorado, Aspen Snowmass is made up of four ski areas surrounding Aspen and Snowmass Village. The combined terrain of Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk exceeds 5,500 acres, with Snowmass alone accounting for more than 3,000. Although the smallest of the four, Buttermilk is known for hosting the Winter X-Games since 2002, as it will again this season.

Aspen Mountain is strictly for intermediate and expert skiers, with steep terrain from its three ridge lines all rated black or double-black. The Aztec run is the scene of the annual World Cup Women's Downhill. Aspen Highlands, known for its expert runs, is also a favorite for backcountry skiers, who hike to the high-alpine terrain of the Highland Bowl.

Aspen Highlands is known for its advanced and expert runs. Aspen has completed the three-year glade project at Aspen Highlands to clear new lines in the steep, wooded Lucky Find area. The number of Hollywood and sports stars who own property here has given Aspen its reputation as a glamor resort.

Although much of the backcountry terrain is for experienced skiers, Aspen is unusual in having some easy areas that are safe for newcomers to ungroomed terrain. This is one of the first places on the continent where backcountry skiing became popular, and it still leads the pack. Aspen Powder Tours takes skiers and riders by snowcat into the powder stashes behind Aspen Mountain, where the lift system doesn't reach.

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+55 213-500-1396

1 800-399-6186

+54 115-199-1163

+44 208-068-7593

1 800-399-6186

+55 213-500-1396

+54 115-199-1163

+44 208-068-7593

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