Top 5 Skiing Destinations – Skiing is probably the top choice when it comes to winter sports.
Thousands of travelers pick locations around the world to feel the fresh powder, tear down the slopes and fun nights on the town.
There are so many stunning places around the world; many provide top ski conditions but also gourmet dining and luxurious lodgings.
Great ski destinations boast a range of difficulty levels (and Heli Skiing Vacation) so that everyone from the novice skier to the seasoned veteran can find runs to enjoy.
When you’re not on the mountain, you’ll be able to enjoy indulgent spa services and excellent shopping. Go Skiing in Andorra
Winter is finally here, and it’s time to start planning your ski holidays and make the most of the white gold covering the mountains across Europe – there are literally thousands of ski resorts just in Europe, so which one do you choose?
Like with any trip, the destination, budget and your interests play a big role in how your ski holidays turn out.
Here are ski resorts that suits different tastes and will guide you to choosing the ski holidays that are right for you…
Hacks For Choosing Skiing Destinations
St. Anton, Austria
This venerated skiing destination is a big part of the sport’s history.
The terrain is challenging, with a high season running from December to April.
Gorgeous St. Anton is popular with the wealthy thanks to the world-class slopes and outstanding accommodations.
Rated the top ski resort in Austria, St. Anton offers some of the steepest slopes for skiing, not a destination for beginners!
Two new lifts have opened in Whistler, which is found in British Columbia north of Vancouver.
This posh destination is home to luxury accommodations like the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
This is North America’s largest ski area, and there are more than 200 miles of ski trails to explore.
Visit between November and May for optimum conditions for alpine skiing and snowboarding.
There’s no better place to ski from January to March than this resort town, located about 100 miles north of Venice.
This area features nearly 100 miles of ski runs in the Dolomites.
Beginners enjoy the slopes at Mietres while those with more advanced skills choose Tofana-Promedes.
Cortina has been named “the most chic winter destination”, the town is packed with amazing antique shops, great food and elegant boutiques.
Lake Tahoe, USA
Located on the state line between California and Nevada, Tahoe boasts 15 outstanding ski resorts.
With six peaks and thousands of acres, Squaw Valley is a perennial favorite.
From Thanksgiving to April’s end, the whole region offers spectacular downhill possibilities.
Lake Tahoe is known for having “epic powder, tight corduroy grommets, raucous terrain parks and endless moguls”.
Acan’t miss destination for any winter sports fan.
This is the home of the iconic Matterhorn, and skiers of all levels will find excellent conditions from November through April in this destination that is 150 miles east of Geneva.
Zermatt has three ski areas with famously long runs.
Zermatt offers world class skiing with stunning views of Switzerland’s highest peak, Mattertal.
The town is well known for being one of the top travel destinations of the Swiss Alps.
Winter Skiing Destinations for Some Snow and Sun
Trying to make winter travel plans for a couple or family that fits everyone’s needs can be a little tricky.
Some will have a deep love of snow and others can be the lodge-hating type!
Winter destinations that appeal to all tastes are pretty easy to find.
Most will include enough activities on and off the ice as well as busy slopes and other adventures, anything to avoid cabin fever!
Niagara Falls, Canada
Though often thought of as a summertime destination or a honeymooner’s paradise, Niagara Falls has lots to enjoy for families traveling during the winter.
If your children are getting into winter sports, this will be a great destination that will allow downhill and cross-country skiing expeditions as well as plenty of other attractions.
Kids will love Kissing Bridge, a ski area 40 miles from Niagara Falls.
It has 36 downhill slopes and all the necessary equipment can be rented there, making it an easy day trip from your accommodation near the waterfalls.
For cross-country fun, Byrncliff Resort is another option.
When you’re deciding where to stay, you can visit this website for great deals.
When you’re not skiing, take advantage of the Rink at the Brink, the seasonal ice-skating rink overlooking the Horseshoe Falls and show the kids the amazing Disney-themed light displays lit up every evening during the Festival of Lights, which runs from November through February.
Hawaii is a great destination all year, but most travelers choosing the island state do so for the beaches and palm trees — and not for the skiing.
However, if you’ve got people in your party who’d rather ski than sunbathe and others who are adamant they want a warm vacation, Hawaii may fit the bill for both.
The tallest mountain in Hawaii, the volcano Mauna Kea, is tall enough to get snow cover during the winter months.
Note that there is no ski resort here, and instead of lifts, skiers will need to drive in with a four-wheel drive and bring their own equipment.
Skiing at such a high altitude is also very strenuous.
And, of course for the rest of the party, there’s a beach just down the mountain.
Taos, New Mexico
Explore the Southwest as well as skiing with a trip to Taos, one of New Mexico’s most interesting cities.
Though Taos may be more famous for its long-established artists’ colony and the architecture of the many buildings found on the National Register of Historic Places, it also has some good skiing in easy driving distance.
There are four ski resorts in the Taos area, providing skiing opportunities for all experience levels of skiers.
The resorts are about 20 miles from the center of Taos.
While your ski-happy family members are enjoying the slopes, stay in Taos to experience the art museums, make some art yourself or explore some of the historical places in the area, such as the adobe church at Picuris Pueblo.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Long beloved by the world’s top skiers, a wintertime visit to Jackson Hole may be a dream come true for the snow-lovers in your family.
But, in addition to all of the buzz over the powder and pistes, Jackson Hole also has quite a bit to do for non-skiers.
For example, check out the world-class spas at the many resorts nearby.
Go on a wildlife safari, try your hand at dog sledding, ride in a horse-pulled sleigh at the National Elk Refuge, visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art, take in a music show or a play, or, well, learn to ski.
The West Coast has a lot of great skiing, but when people think of Portland, Ore., they usually imagine rain — and not snow.
And, that’s fair: The City of Roses gets more than 35 inches of rain every year.
However, basing your family in Portland for your next vacation will get your favorite skiers near the Mount Hood Meadows Ski Resort.
It takes about an hour-and-a-half to drive to Mount Hood from the downtown, so your group can enjoy the snowfall in the mornings and come back to the city in the evenings.
When off the slope, travelers enjoy exploring Portland’s neighborhoods, visiting the Portland Art Museum and going to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, especially with kids.
Successful Ski Resorts
The progress of our world relies heavily on bold claims so, hold-on-to-your-hats because I am about to make one.
Just as it is undeniably true that behind every successful man lies a powerful woman, (don’t even try to dispute that as a throng of angry women shall descend upon you), such a valiant assertion can also be made about Chamonix in France.
While Chamonix’s masculine pacey-peaks are a huge draw for those who love all things fast and furious, the key secret to Chamonix’s success lies with one white- woman-wonder:
La Dame Blanche
While friends, family and locals alike know her as The White Lady, she is more formally known as the
Mont Blanc Mountain
Majestically standing as the queen of the Alps, soaring to a staggering 4,810m, she impressively wields her domain like a woman shoe-scavenging during the sale season.
Little did I know that I was about to come face to face with her take-no-prisoners mantra when I decided to scale her perilous pistes.
My expert guide, Sebastian, had pre-warned me that this would be no easy feat but, with adrenalin searing through my veins and a somewhat misguided confidence I signed on the dotted line, (and you think I am joking!)…
With Sebastian at the helm we embarked upon the classic Gouter Route, starting our journey with a cable-car ride from Les Houches and a tramway to Nid d’Aigle.
Our climb continued on in this leisurely fashion as we crunched along the soft terrain, breathing in the crisp alpine air…
…Sorry to lull you into a false slumber there!
Unfortunately, this gentle climb met a rather untimely demise.
Instead, facing us was a five-hour trek of muscle-aching exertion to reach the Gouter refuge.
Adding further insult to injury, our treacherous trek was being captured on film, (ever worthy of Candid Camera, perhaps the pearly lining to our snow-coated cloud!)
On the second day, further scrambling, clambering and crawling were in order to traverse the now far-reaching glacial grounds.
With crampons and ice axe supporting us like a much-needed crutch, the goal of reaching the snow-hazed summit fuelled us on.
After a slow ascent over Bosses ridge, our highest hurdle, we finally reached the tip of the iceberg, the top of the peak and the end of our journey.
True, no comparisons to Neil Armstrong can be made here but one must always celebrate their own little victories.
As the sun shimmered across the soft folds of Chamonix’s undulating valley, we admired the breath-taking views from the peak of Chamonix’s power: La Dame Blanche’s icy throne.
Like a dollop of whipped cream on top of a molten chocolat chaud, her snow-drift summit was a worth-the-wait indulgent treat.
Back in the warming embrace of my accommodation in Chamonix, I revelled in the secret of Chamonix’s success.
Whilst many have an appetite for Chamonix’s après-ski adventures, the Chamonix bars and Chamonix clubs are notorious amongst the skiing scene, I knew better.
Like a girlfriend who uncovers a secret gift, I smiled smugly knowing who truly held all the keys to Chamonix’s icy kingdom.
Isabella is an enthusiastic traveller with a love of adventure.
Having studied History of Art and Italian at university, it has been her lifelong dream to move to Italy to revel in the art, culture and of course the gelato!
Go Skiing in Andorra
Almost entirely mountainous, Andorra is a small state in the middle of Spain and France.
The state is well known as a tax haven and for its low-cost tourism options, especially winter tourism.
The location is particularly attractive for singles and young couples looking for entertainment in duty-free clubs, bars, snowboarding and the wildly popular Andorra skiing.
The capital Andorra la Vella deserves a visit for its excellent selection of duty-free shopping venues.
Just outside the center, there is the Caldea spa at Escalades-Engordany that offers visitors a splendid array of baths, treatments, and pools.
Andorra is fast moving up the market and it offers visitors beautiful entertainment ski spots with excellent beginner, intermediate and advanced terrains.
Vallnord Arcalis and Pal-Arinsal
The Vallnord ski area covers about 56 miles of excellent slopes featuring top-notch ski conditions.
Located in the western region of the country, Pal-Arinsal is a resort offering high-speed lifts and gondolas connecting neighboring resorts.
The Arinsal is a ski-in, ski-out resort where you ski from your hotel without even having to take the lift.
Arinsal offers visitors four black runs, seven green runs, 15 blue runs and 16 red runs that are perfect for the intermediate and beginner skiers out there.
The resort is also home to free-riders, snowboarders, and visitors looking to take in the Andorra nightlife.
Arcalis is a favorite spot for nature lovers with beautiful valleys, dramatic gorges and lots of forest cover – in combination with great snow conditions.
The resort is home to seven green runs, six blue rungs, two black runs and 10 red runs, which is a good selection for the beginner and intermediate skier.
Apart from having one of the longest beginners run in Andorra as well as a great ski school, your kids will fall in love with the Arcalis Family Park that offers them teddy bear mascots and rides.
Grandvalira Soldeu and El Tarter
The Grandvalira is Andorra’s largest ski area with a massive 30 ski resorts that cover just over 130 miles of piste and the first official resort outside of the Alps to offer visitors more than 130 miles of ski runs.
The area has 66 lifts that include 29 high-speed detachable quads and six-seater chairlifts, gondolas, giving the area the capability of handling over 100,000 skiers an hour.
The largest ski areas are Soldeu and El Tarter, which are small villages that offer you direct access to the slopes.
Both villages give you access to 16 green runs, 19 black runs, 42 red runs and 51 blue runs, meaning that they are the ideal spots for the beginner, intermediate and advanced skier.
The resorts also offer visitors a great selection of ski schools, nurseries and snow gardens with El Tarter hosting the El Tarter Snowpark – a great place for the snowboarder and the kids’ snow circuit.
Facilities in El Tarter and Soldeu offer you a huge range of nightlife and accommodation options featuring self-catering apartments and hotels.
Pas de la Casa Grandvalira
Pas de la Casa is the party town known for its high-quality nightlife – also earning the nickname “Ibiza on Snow.”
Also, the resort is suitable to all types of budgets and, of course, gives you access to the fantastic Grandvalira.
Located in the far west Grandvalira area, Pas is perfect for intermediate skiing with enough options to challenge skiers both on and off the piste .
Plus, it offers skiers two-star apartments for the budget conscious and four-star accommodation in case you would like to pamper yourself with a little luxury.
Budget Friendly Livigno, Italy
The ski resort that is on everyone’s lips this season is Livigno in Italy, having won several awards this year – the biggest award was the prize as Best European Resort at the World Snow Awards, which is a pretty big deal.
One of the reasons for the award was its off-piste skiing, so if you’re into that then this is the ski resort for you.
However, Livigno is also famous as a duty free zone, making bars and clubs refreshingly free from overpriced beers, and gives way for some lively aprés ski.
If you buy a 6-day pass or longer, you get one free day of skiing in the Swiss Engadin region, which includes the luxury resort St. Moritz – it’s a great ski resort, but also very expensive so we definitely recommend taking advantage of this pass and ski for free!
Exclusive St. Moritz, Switzerland
St. Moritz is one of the world’s classic ski resorts for exclusive ski holidays, and is one of the most fun ski resorts we’ve been to.
Surrounded by the rich and famous, and with paparazzi waiting at the top of the mountain – St. Moritz is indeed an unusual place to find yourself in.
You will feel completely out of place, but nobody will actually treat you as such, so just sit back and enjoy the seat warmers in the ski lifts and the amazing views from the mountain.
The town is set by a frozen lake used for horse racing, Polo, golf and cricket, and famous for its crazy Cresta toboggan run – a traditional sport you have to try when in Switzerland!
The ski pass is a bit expensive, but if you ski in nearby resorts like Italy or another one in Switzerland you can often find deals and discounts (we did).
Aprés Ski in St. Anton, Austria
Many claim that St. Anton is the home of aprés ski, or more precisely the infamous bar The Krazy Kanguruh.
The party gets going already at 3pm and continues until way after dark.
Another popular place is Mooserwirtz, which is rumored to sell more beer per square meter than any other bar in Austria.
While St. Anton does attract those who are more interested in partying than skiing, it’s a great ski resort for those looking for ski holidays that combine the best of both, as the skiing is also excellent.
Which ski resorts would you recommend for ski holidays in Europe?
Is there anything more exciting than hearing someone shout the magic words: ‘it’s snowing, come look!’? – once we’ve been on a ski holiday, and the reason we all go back for more, is the allure of a snowfall.
We both love skiing and try to make sure we ski at least every second year, testing out different places every time, from smaller cheaper family resorts to fancy luxury resorts like St Moritz.
Here is a list of luxury ski holidays that aren’t necessarily on most top lists but stand out from the rest in beauty and are truly unique places to visit.
With a 100 year old skiing heritage, this picturesque mountain town is the oldest ski resort in the country, blanketed in snow from November to April.
There are hardly ever queues, and there are over 40 alpine slopes for more experienced skiers to explore.
For those who want to practice their ice-climbing, there are stunning vertical waterfalls just waiting to be scaled.
It’s also host to a number of very unique experiences, including the Ice Music Festival, which offers the incredible experience of instruments made of ice being played to a fur-wrapped crowd.
Alyeska Resort, Alaska.
With a staggering 880 feet of snowfall recorded just last season, you can be sure to have a winter with an abundance of powder snow.
There are over 1400 skiable acres on the mountainside, with the option of night skiing to extend the area you choose to explore.
There’s also a handy ‘track your vertical’ system, which tells you how far you’ve come on every run down the trail.
There are terrain parks for snowboarders and skiers to hone their tricks, with an area friendly to beginners, and more challenging obstacles for those who want to test their limits.
Cervinia Resort, Italy.
From the heart of the Astra Valley, Cervinia beckons to those looking for the ultimate upmarket mountain retreat.
Just a stone’s throw away from the equally popular resort of Zermatt in Switzerland, Cervinia shares a view of the Matterhorn with neighbouring Switzerland.
As part of the Breuill-Cervinia Valtournenche Zermatt area, the resort is linked to a ski area covering 350 km of ski runs..!
For some thumping beats and a 400m run, the snowpark whisks boarders and skiers alike into the mood for showing off some skills, while the cross country area offers up a 3km track through the snowy landscape.
Beautiful Zermatt, Switzerland
For us, this was the hardest to pick, as it all comes down to perception – we love ski resorts with chocolate-box chalets, breathtaking views and car-free centers.
Zermatt has all three, and besides, few mountain drops are as iconic as the Matterhorn…
Cervinia’s neighbouring resort, Zermatt, has just as much to offer.
A spider web of black runs clings to every mountainside, making Zermatt alluring for some of the greatest skiers.
There’s a proliferation of family friendly memories to make, including tobogganing, ice-skating and even cheese making.
For a little après-ski fun, rack up and break in Bar 55 for a traditional pint accompanied by a game of pool, or soundtrack the cold winter nights in front of a roaring fire, with a hearty drink in hand and the chime of soothing live piano bar to warm the cockles of your heart.
Best Party Ski Resorts In France
A holiday is not a holiday for most skiers unless they find somewhere to run wild after the slopes have closed for the night.
Every season hundreds of thousands of tourists, a large amount being from the UK, go to France for a week or two to ski and party.
France has plenty of great ski resorts where the partying reminds you of a winter Ibiza, but there are also many family friendly resorts, so it’s important to know before booking your trip where the party is.
Here are three of the most popular ski resorts for partying in France…
Chamonix must be considered to be one of the best party towns for the après ski scene and it is consistently placed high on the list of favorite spots to party.
Not only does it have everything that the avid skier wants, from pretty ski chalets to perfect and reliable snow, it also hosts several bars of every description from wild party venues to more sophisticated establishments.
The cool thing about Chamonix though is that it is near enough to several cities or airports, making it a perfect place for a weekend getaway.
Not many ski resorts are reached so easily so it means that après ski can be enjoyed several times per year.
Geneva airport is the closest airport to Chamonix, and is also the airport closest to a number of different ski fields in France.
But remember that Chamonix is a very popular destination, so if you want a good hotel in a central location for a good price, make sure you book your stay early!
Val d’Isere is another lively spot for the rich and famous. But it also is a firm favorite with skiers in their twenties too, attracting not only the French and Brits but a lot of Scandinavians too.
Apart from some attractive ski chalets set amongst the trees, this place also has some high class accommodation on offer, as the rich dictate of course.
Happy hour is usually between four and seven in the afternoon and gets everyone in the mood for a disco later on.
Younger people tend to congregate at Perdrix Blanche while the older crowd prefers the Tavern d’Alsace.
Courchevel is also another favorite spot for skiers and party animals.
It is situated in the Three Valleys and as such, it has a variety of runs to try out at different altitudes.
The same goes for the après ski and it is at 1850 where most of the action is.
The Caves and Kalico seem to the ‘in’ places at the moment but there are quieter, more sophisticated venues for older people.
I hope this inspired you and helped with deciding which ski resort to visit next season!
Things To Do In Winter Besides Skiing
Unless you have escaped the cold and gone to a warm country, chances are that you will have a couple of cold, snowy months ahead from now on.
But cold months and snow is only what you make of it – you can go and hibernate in front of the TV for the next couple of months, or you can choose to make the most of it and really enjoy the winter.
If you want to go for the second option, but forgot what winter really offers, here are a few reminders of the awesome things you can do in winter…
There is nothing more relaxing and calming than walking among nature in the winter.
The winter landscape is incredible, with forests covered in glimmering snow and the shiny frozen lakes where it feels as though time has stopped for a moment.
The peacefulness and quietness is unlike anywhere else – taking long walks and hikes in winter wonderlands are one of the best things to do in winter, and there is nothing better than to stop over in a warm little place and order a cup of hot chocolate after a couple of hours walking.
Staying In An Igloo
More and more countries are starting to offer igloo accommodation, where you get to sleep in an actual igloo, then there is the famous Ice Hotel in Sweden, which is completely made out of ice and is rebuilt every year.
But if you can’t afford going all the way to Sweden, why not build your own igloo?
Another reason to sleep outside, whether it’s in an igloo or a tent, is the amazing opportunity you get to take photos of the night sky without any light pollution – totally worth it, at least for a few hours.
Playing Golf In The Snow
Yeah, I am serious – you can play golf in winter, in fact there are several resorts open where you can play, and even take some weekend golf breaks – it will be different, that’s for sure – but that’s part of the fun!
While you can book golf breaks and spend a weekend playing golf in the snow, it’s also just a fun thing you can do for a day when you’re in a ski resort.
They set up this golf course in Vulpera, Switzerland when we were there a few winters back and it was really fun to play a few rounds, although sometimes hard to find the ball!
Is there anything more beautiful than a frozen lake, cleared from snow? Ice skating in the nature is one of the best things I know.
It’s a little scary since you don’t know where the ice is thin, but that’s part of the fun.
Bring picnic and hot chocolate in a thermos, and spend the day by the lake just like in summer.
Sledding isn’t just for kids – it’s for everyone.
If you visit Switzerland and Austria you will see that they take sledding very seriously, with championships and all.
In many of the ski resorts in Europe you will actually find slopes specifically made for sledding, and you won’t have to go through all of the hassle walking up the hill, but can take the gondola up.
Here is a video of us sledding down a 6 kilometer long sled run in Bergün in Switzerland back in winter 2010 (Watch right to the end to see Nathan lose his sled!).
Enjoying the Outdoors Adventure Ideas You Might Like To Try
Sometimes the best vacations are about having new experiences, pushing the envelope a little and stepping out of your comfort zone.
Outdoor adventure trips are not high on some people’s travel list but they are an intriguing idea for any getaway.
Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly outdoorsy, there are many adventures and activities that are not that extreme or even difficult.
An outdoor adventure allows you to reconnect with nature and promotes inner peace.
Next time you’re itching to get away, buy your ticket, take care of your travel insurance, pack your bags and consider adding a little extra adventure to the experience.
Here’s a fun list of some outdoorsy activities that you might want to consider no matter what your destination:
Anyone can enjoy this type of thrifty adventure, tailoring the details or even the distance to fit your needs, preferences or even your physical limitations. Hostels are available in many corners of the world, but so are luxurious resorts.
Backpackers can reward themselves for a long trek with a stay in a pricey resort and a massage.
Backpacking is one of the best ways to be able to interact with local folks too, it allows you to connect with the culture and experience new experiences.
Europe is a top destination for backpackers, particularly New Zealand as it gains popularity.
Paddle boarding or surfing
Both of these activities are easy to fit into a vacation without going overboard.
Alternatively, you can book a stay at a beachfront resorts to take a road trip to a spot and spend a day on the water.
If you’re new to either one of these sports, you’ll probably want to start small.
SUP or Stand Up Paddle boarding is more relaxed – a great way to explore little beaches, tiny islands and caves.
Surfing takes a little more skill but certainly a fun sport if you’re up for a challenge.
A single, short lesson will tell you whether or not you enjoy the sport and want to continue.
Plenty of gorgeous resorts in Central America and Hawaii offer ideal opportunities for water sports.
Hiking and trekking
Trails featuring gorgeous scenery can be found everywhere, and they vary significantly in duration and difficulty.
With so many options worldwide you can start with a short nature hike in the rain forest and work your way up to a rocky 14er.
No other adventure will give you the rewards and the views as hiking does, reaching a summit will give you a huge sense of satisfaction and will probably make you want to plan your next trip.
Experienced trekkers will make the hike the centerpiece of their trip checking off world-class hikes off their bucket list.
If you prefer distance over height, thru-hiking can be an option, two great examples are the many endurance hikes that make up trails such as the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail.
If you’re a winter nut, consider a day of hiking in one of the National Parks in the United States or Canada, locations suck as Rocky Mountain National Park or Banff will take you to breathtaking views and unforgettable hidden locations.
Snowshoeing and skiing
Playing in the snow can certainly be fun, and lots of travelers plan entire vacations around the outstanding powder in destinations like Tahoe in California and Telluride, Colorado.
Novice powder hounds don’t have to book a stay that will keep them on the slopes every day.
Snow provides such a great variety of activities for all ages, snowshoeing is an easy winter sport and can be enjoyed with the family, so is cross-country skiing.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous then why not book a couple of lessons and get started on skiing or snowboarding?
A day on the slopes will provide some good family fun and give you great travel stories.
Kayaking and canoeing
The summer season and even the fall provide thousands of destinations where you can enjoy relaxed days on a lake.
White water rafting is an exhilarating experience but certainly not for everyone.
If you’re a first timer you may want to choose a single day or partial day trip that features more slack water than rapids.
Kayaking or canoeing is a great alternative to enjoying the outdoors, a river surrounded by rain forests or the calm waters of an endless lake.
Any of these activities require minimum effort, can be enjoyed as a family and will give you the opportunity to explore nature as well as relax during your travels.
Whether it’s tame or wild, be sure to include a bit of outdoor adventure in your next getaway.