Read on to discover the world's top skiing and snowboarding destinations for your best skiing holidays. For more winter holiday inspiration, read our run-down of the best winter snow holidays around the world.
The information in this article is inspired by the The Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for visiting the world.
Formerly known as Muju, Deogyusan ski resort huddles at the bottom of the wildly beautiful Deogyusan mountain in the Gucheo-dong Valley. Those with stamina should hit the Silk Road slope, the resort’s longest run at 6.1km. If you harbour a fondness for steep gradients, The Raiders Course is for you. Soaking your muscles in the resort’s soothing hot springs is an enticing way to finish the day.
The longest ski season in North America – it’s closed for just 2 weeks in September for maintenance – draws a steady stream of pro skiers and boarders to Timberline Lodge near Portland. Experts are enticed by the massive jumps and training parks, as well as the Golden Rose Ski Classic race in June, the oldest-known organised ski race in the States.
For some of the best heli-skiing anywhere in the world, Girdwood in southern Alaska cannot be beaten. The picturesque Chugach mountains hold a reliably stable snowpack caked in sugar-soft powder. While the more nervous skier or boarder will just about manage, this is the place to really challenge yourself.
Inspired to make a trip? Check out our guide to the most beautiful places in Alaska.
“Steep and deep” is the name of the game here in Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, located in Wyoming’s Teton Village. It’s especially famous for its expert slopes. However, beginners need not be afraid: various gondolas can wing you over to the more chilled out mountain sides.
Après-ski entertainment – live music, open art gallery evenings, barbecues and general merriment – goes on every night of the week.
Part of the famous Rockies mountain range, the San Juan Mountains are almost frighteningly steep. The offer vast skiing terrain – from the major ski resort at Telluride and smaller Durango to Wolf Creek Pass and Silverton – that’s refreshingly free of crowds. Powder freaks are more than happy to eschew the lifts, and instead hike, snowcat or splitboard to the freshest and deepest snow.
This tailor-made trip explores the USA from Music City to Mile High City and from the Smoky Mountains to the Rocky Mountains. A great combination of city culture and pristine wilderness.
Revelstoke, west of Calgary, proudly declares itself to be the only resort in the world to offer heli-, cat- and back-country skiing from one village base. And that village could not (currently) be cuter or quainter. The resort is still being developed, but once completed, it’s going to be up there with the most exciting and varied ski destinations in existence.
Just over an hour away from its bustling capital city of Beirut, Lebanon’s Mzaar ski resort might come as a bit of a surprise. But the beautiful mountain scenery, high elevation ensuring great snowfall and a terrain that suits all abilities will obliterate any preconceptions.
Plus, après ski in the nearby village of Faraya won't break the bank. Tasty mezze served in restaurants and friendly and fun nightclubs provide undeniably great value.
An alternative Moroccan experience. Titchy Oukaimeden resort, around 80km south of Marrakesh, is best visited as a day trip from the city. The longest run is 3km, and slopes aren’t the manicured beauties you see in Europe. That said, it’s certainly one to include if you want to say you’ve skiied beneath the African sun – an unlikely but perfectly possible claim.
This tailor-made trip to Luxurious Morocco include Rabat, Fes, Chefchaouen, and a luxury desert camp in Merzouga. Privately guided activities with expert local guides allow you to truly get to know Moroccan culture and cuisine. Combine it with the best hotels and riads in the cities and you have the perfect trip.
Ben Lomond National Park, in the north of Tasmania just 50km east of Launceston, is home to the country’s premier downhill ski field. The slopes are not especially hard or fast. Come here instead for the wildlife, lack of crowds, and gorgeous views from the top of the mountain reaching out over to the ocean.
Snowboarders look away from this one – you’re not allowed. Alta, a sleepy mining town in Salt Lake County, and one of the oldest ski resorts in the States, is reserved just for skiers. With its insanely deep powder (average annual snowfall hits 1306cm, due to excess moisture sweeping in from the Pacific) it’s a haven for experienced off-pisters.
Cerro Catedral in Spanish means “Mount Cathedral” – an apt name, since the imposing mountain summits 20km from Bariloche in southern Argentina, are shaped like the towers of a medieval basilica. The resort’s far-flung and flawless slopes have something for everyone – from first-timers and the not-so-bads to expert off-pisters and trick-loving boarders.
This tailor-made trip to Wild Patagonia has lots to offer: a glacier the size of a city, sizzling tango, fashionable barrios, artisan towns, ranches with horses and gauchos and wild untamed natural beauty. From Buenos Aires to Patagonia, you’ll get to see it all in this adventure-laden vacation.
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As the largest ski area in New Zealand’s Southern Lakes, not to mention possessing the longest vertical slope, Treble Cone is generally acknowledged to be the best resort for skiing holidays round these parts. Sheltered and sunny runs, excellent powder and challenging off piste terrain simply add to the appeal.
The winter snow falls thick and deep on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, attracting skiers and boarders to its many well-regarded resorts. Niseko United is the biggest, overlooked by the dramatic cone-shaped Mount Yotei. Every February, the town of Sapporo puts on a magnificent snow festival, and it’s also a key spot on the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup circuit.
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As the host of the Winter Olympics 2014 (and the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in 2012/13), Sochi in Russia has certainly proved its credentials in the snow department, and in the year before the crowds start arriving in earnest, the slopes are due to be relatively quiet. Advanced skiers and boarders are best catered for here, though it you’d certainly get kudos for saying you learnt to ski in an Olympic resort.
The passage of time has transformed Lech in western Austria from a little farming village, often cut off from the rest of the world by snowfall, to an exclusive and expensive ski resort, made up of Alpine-kitsch hotels, smart restaurants, bars and lively clubs.
Mostly all the pistes are above the treeline and there’s a dismal number of challenging slopes. That said it’s the place to come if you like your chairlifts heated, your runs manageable and your après ski quaffing champagne in classy hotel bars.
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If you are put off by the high prices in Western European ski resorts, then Jasna in Slovakia (a 40minute transfer from Poprad) is an absolute winner among skiing holiday destinations. While the skiing might not be as varied as the terrain in France or Austria, for instance, Jasna still offers plenty of scope and will test most levels.
Plus, there are none of the crowds or queuing for lifts so typical of the west, and lift passes, ski rental, lodging and food are laughably good value.
With no less than four huge snow parks, Laax is the largest base for Freestyle skiing and boarding. Along with the biggest ski pipe in Europe, it also has an indoor “Freestyle Academy” where you can practise your jumps and kicks all year round. The resort isn’t just for tricksters, though, as families and beginners can learn to ski on wide, forgiving slopes or in the excellent ski school, The Snow Wonderland.
Stay active on Switzerland's mountains with hikes and cable cars before indulging in delicious Swiss cheese and wines around Lausanne and Geneva on this Special Golden Round tailor-made trip to Switzerland. Is there a better way to get a taste of Switzerland than to actually taste it?
Spain’s largest ski resort, Baqueira-Beret in the Pyrenees enjoys the caché of being a favourite among the Spanish royal family. The majority of runs are blues and reds, with a smattering of greens and blacks, but there is also plenty of off piste excitement. You won’t need so many layers up here as an extra hour of daylight (compared to the Alps) means the sun beats down for longer.
Explore the country at a leisurely pace on this tailor-made trip from the South to the North. Start in Seville and make your way to Madrid via Granada and Cordoba. From Madrid, continue to the North - the Camino de Santiago, Basque Country and mountains await.
Sainte-Foy sits in the Tarentaise valley in the Savoie, not far from the giants of the ski world, Val d’Isère, Tignes and Les Arcs. If you prefer a quiet, idyllic mountain scene with uncluttered slopes – great for beginners – and a serene après ski, Sainte-Foy is a great place for your skiing holidays.
Boarders are particularly well catered for, as the mountain provides lots of drop offs, cliffs and natural jumps, and the powder-filled off piste terrain is irresistible.
Find out more french skiing destinations in our list of best french ski resorts.
A quintessential Italian ski resort exuding elegance and luxury, San Cassiano resides at the foot of Mount Lavarela, in the Alta Badia valley. Fancy restaurants, expensive spas and deluxe hotels guarantee pampering and indulgence after a hard day on the slopes. Leave the baggy ski pants and hoodies at home – it’s diamante and fur around here, dahling.
You will find more information about this amazing skiing holidays destination in our guide to the Dolomites, Italy: Europe's best mountain biking.
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Buns of steel will be the end result of a skiing holidays here. Norway’s Sogndal (on an inlet of Sognefjord) is the place to trek uphill in your touring skis. As well as a toned bod, the upside here is that you can also enjoy the downside…through the snow-licked trees right to the bottom of the mighty mountains.
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Poiana Brasov, in Romania’s stunning Carpathian mountains, is ideal for beginners (not so great for the advanced lot). With plenty of gentle nursery slopes and confidence-boosting red and blue runs, it’s also down-to-earth and great value for money. It escapes the usual trappings of luxurious ski resorts elsewhere.
Romania is also one of the European countries that won't hit your budget too hard. To find more budget-friendly options for your European holiday read our guide to the 20 best places to visit in Europe on a budget.
The quaint and quiet larch wood ski resort of Zinal sits in the Val d’Anniviers, not far from Geneva, surrounded by dramatic peaks reaching up to 2895m high, like the Matterhorn. With its typically deep powder, it’s a great choice for off-piste skiers and boarders. Brave souls might want to attempt a run by the side of the mighty Moiry Dam.
If you prefer to plan and book your trips without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.
For more inspirational travel tips for your future trips check our Rough Guide books.
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