Looking for something a little different from the typically expensive Brit packed ski resorts of the Alps? Here’s our list of the top ten ski destinations across the world.
1. France – Les Arcs
Although Val D’Isere, Meribel and Courchevel are its more famous neighbors Les Arcs is a fantastic French all rounder. Although not as pretty as some French resorts it is cheaper and has great runs catering for all abilities. The four distinct villages of Les Arcs are also able to cater for all budgets from the cheaper self-catering holidays to the more luxurious breaks. With over 425km of pistes it manages to soak up the crowds and even when full the wide groomed runs feel fairly uncrowded. With some fantastic pistes, a great park, some amazing free riding and a good après ski scene Les Arcs ticks all the boxes for the right price!
2. France – Morzine – Avoriaz
As Morzine and Avoriaz are not the highest of resorts they can be a little bit dodgy for snow in the early and late season, these two resorts offer a great prospect for late December to March. Particularly popular with snow boarders they are also well connected to the massive Portes du Soleil area. Avoriaz is a freestylers dream with two strong parks and a great halfpipe. Morzine is a very pretty resort, full of wooden chalets rather the high-rise concrete blocks stereotypical of other French resorts.
3. Switzerland – Zermatt
The picture postcard views of the Matterhorn are what has made the pretty village of Zermatt one of Switzerland’s most famous resorts. A bit of a distance from the nearest airport (three and half hours direct by train from Zurich), and more expensive, this resort of one of the prettiest and is also one of only three resorts in Europe open all year round!
4. Austria – St. Anton
St Anton is famous for its freeriding with great powder and steep faces for the more adventurous! St Anton also has a great selection of runs at both easy and intermediate level and the fantastic free ride terrain makes up for the fewer difficult runs on offer. An attractive town if a little expensive, St Anton has legendary après ski with plenty of bars and clubs on offer.
5. Italy – Courmayer
With excellently groomed pistes this is a great resort for intermediate skiers and snowboarders! For the more advanced the powder is outstanding and gives great opportunity to experience the back country terrain if you want a bit more of a challenge! Courmayer is wonderfully free of crowds and is well known for its fantastic restaurants with great pizza and grappa being the après ski tipple of choice!
6. Italy – Val Gardena
Val Gardena is located in the Sella Mountain range in what can only be described as one of the most beautiful areas in the world! Not only that but its historic past as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire provides visitors with the mix of famous Austrian après-ski tradition and gorgeous Italian food. There is also a fantastic range of pistes for all levels in this Italian tourist attraction. With Val Gardena’s incredible 1,220km of pistes you won’t be getting bored too quickly!
7. Bulgaria – Bansko
Bulgarian resort Bansko provides a great budget option. Although not very pretty due to its quick development in recent years the pistes are very well maintained and there is always fresh powder to be found! If you want something a little bit different and don’t want to blow the budget then Bansko is a great choice for the savvy skier or snowboarder!
8. Canada – Whistler
Whistler can be best described as a snowboarding mecca! The season is always at least 5 months long, November to May, and powder is unbeatable! With 200 plus runs, diverse terrains and good conditions its no wonder Whistler is consistently voted North America’s No.1 Ski resort! With a range of restaurants and bars the resort also caters for all budgets, although the ski passes are expensive plus it’s a long way to travel!
9. USA – Breckenridge
With pretty much guaranteed good snow all season it isn’t hard to understand why this is one of the most popular resorts in Colorado. Breckenridge boasts one of the top five parks in America and probably the world, and is great for all levels to practice freestyle. The runs are wide and perfectly groomed and there is also a lot of opportunity to explore new routes through the trees. Finally Breckenridge has a great après-ski scene with plenty of bars to cater for all tastes!
10. USA – Heavenly
The beautiful Lake Tahoe provides a stunning backdrop for the seven major ski resorts of Heavenly. With 4800 acres of skiable terrain and over 94 runs ranging in ability there is certainly something for everyone and plenty to explore. Heavenly also gets some of the best snow around although it can get pretty busy and the runs get tracked out quickly! Bars, clubs and restaurants are in abundance and nothing really sleeps in Heavenly!