For many people, winter is associated with dreary skies, bone-chilling cold, and shorter days. For many outdoorsy types that like snowmobiling, ice skating, snowshoeing, and ice fishing, it is a time of celebration. For many, many more, it is time to dust off the skis and hit the fresh powder. Luckily, skiing is the perfect activity for beginners and pros alike. With beautiful mountains worldwide, here are our favorite five ski destinations.
Known as one of the most famous ski towns in all of Canada, Whistler makes it onto almost every list for Best Skiing Locations, and for a good reason. With slopes that cover approximately 8000 acres of mountain ranges, there is no shortage of skiing trails for all levels of adventurers. Snow-covered evergreen trees line the paths, so not only will you have fun, but you will also be surrounded by picturesque scenery. The best all-around slope for warm-up runs on the mountain is the Blue Line. Allowing for panoramic views of the valley below, this slope is best for intermediate skiers. For beginners, try the Ego Bowl. This area is a family zone, so skiers must be cautious of those just learning.
Colorado is a hub for skiing with its large and plentiful mountains, but no other city in the state compares to Aspen. Home to the Winter X Games, skiers can choose from four different ski areas: Aspen Mountain (Ajax as the locals call it), Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass Ski Resort. This is the perfect mountain for intermediate skiers looking for steep glades, big bumps, and complex terrain paired with stunning views. For backwoods skiing, where the locals like to go, choose Aspen Highlands. If you want to ski where the pros do it, Buttermilk Mountain is the place for you. Not only is this mountain perfect for beginners and families, but it is also where some of the best skiers have competed at the Winter X Games. Snowmass Mountain is the best mountain for those looking to have a longer ski trip. With the most vertical feet in the country – 4,406 – and 91 trails, there’s no way you can get through all of it in a day.
Zermatt, Switzerland is known to be one of the most world-renowned places for skiing in Europe and possibly worldwide. The snow reliability is unmatched, meaning you can ski here 365 days a year. Set against the stunning views of the Matterhorn, there are approximately 224 miles of slopes. Although there are some slopes for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers have almost unlimited options. There are four major mountain peaks located in and around Zermatt: Sunnegga-Rothorn, Gornergrat, Klein Matterhorn, and Breuil-Cervinia-Valtournenche. Zermatt also offers plenty of ski tours for anyone, from beginners to experts. There is something for everyone in beautiful Zermatt.
With 145 miles of perfectly groomed slopes and a state-of-the-art lift system, skiing in Kitzbühel should be on every skier’s bucket list. Kitzbühel has over 60 mountain huts and restaurants, and multiple points for photo opportunities. There are many downhill skiing options, but Kitzbühel’s winter landscape also allows for fantastic cross-country skiing experiences, like ski touring. With more resorts than you can count on both hands, there is no shortage of places to stay. Kitzbühel Ski Resort is the epitome of a typical Austrian ski resort. It offers interconnected lifts that massively extend all the way to the Salzburg state.
Tignes, located in the northern French Alps, has it all: pretty tree-lined runs, long and winding descents, and stunning mountain views. This prominent French Alp skiing destination is comprised of five villages: Les Brévières, Les Boisses, Le Lavachet, Le Lac – the central hub, – and Val Claret. These different villages are all unique and offer a wide variety of skiers’ needs.
Tignes is best for advanced and expert skiers, though there are beginner-friendly slopes at Le Lac and Le Lavachet. With over 100 miles of pistes, a constant supply of perfect skiing snow, and lovely sunny days, Tignes is a skiers’ paradise.