Winter is coming and with that, the promise of snow. While you might be inclined towards exploring ice-crusted cities, why not consider a skiing holiday for this coming December? There are many benefits that come attached - a great workout, new skills, stunning views, and the chance to make new friends.
If you are looking for an adventurous winter break, here is our list of the top 10 must experience ski resorts in the world.
Image by Bansko Tourist Information
Bansko has much to be proud of:
Bansko is a solid choice for beginners and advanced skiers alike. It offers the best value for money in terms of money ski services while also getting you a vast choice of ski runs, with 25% of ski runs being labelled as “advanced” and 35% of slopes qualifying as “beginner”). These slopes are serviced by 6.3 km of gondola (cabin) lifts, 13.2 km of chairlifts and 2.4 km of drag lifts (with bubble shields, hooray!) to save you from having to trudge up the steep slopes. One of the highlights is the 16 km ski run from Todorka Peak down to the base station of the gondola lift on the outskirts of town.
The apres-ski is situated around the local mehanas, which is a local tavern that serves traditional Bulgarian cuisine alongside live entertainment. The perfect end to a day on the slopes.
Image by the Jakarta Post
Located on Hokkaido island and a mere 90 minutes’ flight from Tokyo, Tomamu Hokkaido is the perfect place for families looking for some power snow fun.
Blessed with an extended ski season, you can visit any time from late November until early April to enjoy its amazing 28 ski runs, which are 22 km in length. They range from a gentle 540 m to a staggering 1,239 m and Club Med ensures that everything is seamless. The one-price includes accommodation, three meals a day, all-day drinks, lift passes, kids’ club and activities and two ski and snowboard group lessons per day!
If skiing and snowboarding don’t strike your fancy, you can also go on a magical two-hour trek in the nearby snow-clad forest, snow sledding, snow rafting, ice fishing or even snowmobiling! You will never experience a dull moment with Tomamu Hokkaido.
Image by YTL Hotels
Owned by the Malaysian-based YTL Group, the Green Leaf Niseko Village is one of the most stunning ski resorts found in Japan. Its location at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri means that every guest has access to up to 18 metres of pristine, powdery snow every year during wintertime.
The Niseko Village Snow School and Niseko Kids Snow School also ensure that no guest ever misses out on the ski experience regardless of the level of expertise. If skiing isn’t up your alley, you can also go snow rafting, reindeer sledding, jumbo sledding, snowmobile riding or cat skiing. The Niseko Village also ensures that you experience some of Japan’s unique indigenous arts, sample fresh seafood and local farmers’ fresh harvests and the all-essential onsen experience.
Image by Singapore Tatler
Les Arcs Panorama is a family-friendly ski resort that opened in 2018 in Paradiski, France’s largest ski domain. Located in the French Alps, it has direct access to 364 miles of glorious ski slopes and offers stunning room views of the Tarentaise Valley.
Enclosed by a majestic snow-clad forest, Les Arcs Panorama takes its guests’ every needs into consideration by thoughtfully offering one-price packages as it is part of Club Med. It has over 19 levels of ski and snowboard lessons available while also offering sauna and jacuzzi experiences for those seeking to unwind, ensuring that every guest is catered to.
Image by Tripadvisor
At a majestic height of 1750 m, Saint-Moritz Reoi Soleil combines luxury with tradition and is a family favourite. It is the birthplace of alpine skiing and has an enviable location by the lake, boasting an idyllic atmosphere that is hard to find elsewhere. It is also a mere 20 minutes walk into town, making it easy for guests to access the nearby ski slopes.
Image of the Cresta Run by St Moritz
One of Saint-Moritz Reoi Soleil’s most outstanding features is the unique range of activities it offers. Apart from skiing, guests can also go greyhound and horse racing, polo or attempt the “Cresta Run” on the nearby lake. The Cresta Run essentially being an adrenaline-fueled tobogganing activity where participants race down the icy path head-fist on a crude sled!
Image by Tourism Whistler
Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb is the largest and one of the most popular North American ski resorts, with good reason. With 8,171 acres of skiable terrain, an altitude of up to 5,280 feet and over 200 trails found along its two interconnected mountains, this is the ultimate dreamland for the ski aficionado.
Over three dozen lifts and a 10-passenger gondola service the area, and there is even on-mountain dining to ensure that your every appetite and need is met. As if that wasn’t attractive enough, the pedestrianised village of over 200 retail shops, award-winning dining and watering holes and nightlife ensure that Whistler Blackcomb is the place to be for the ultimate ski resort experience.
Image by Unofficial Networks
Vail Mountain Resort is the third largest single-mountain ski resort in the United States and offers a diverse terrain fit for every skier. 31 lifts serve its 5,289 acres of skiing, and its nearby pedestrian-friendly Bavarian village is the perfect accompaniment to this powdery haven.
Vail also organises plenty of activities to keep you entertained throughout the year. There are Vail Snow Days in December where the 4-day festival brings in free concerts, in-town and on-mountain early season specials, apres-ski and after-dark parties for visitors. With over 350 inches of annual snowfall expected, this is one place that is unlikely to run out of snow any time soon.
Image by Ski Total
Courchevel is part of Les Trois Vallees, which is the largest linked ski area in the world. It has four satellite villages, with Courchevel 1850 being the most exclusive and a favourite haunt of the global elite, including royalties.
The snow is some of the best in the area and out of the 150 km of runs available, 23 are green, 35 are blue, 32 are red and 10 are black (which are considered some of the most difficult black runs in the world).
If you are looking for a break from skiing, then there are plenty of luxury shops and local boulangeries, as well as tobogganing, wild water rapids, a three-lane water slide and diving pool to explore.
Image by Forbes
Val d’Isere is one of the world’s premier ski resorts, blessed with 300 km of piste and high-altitude skiing on the Grande Motte Glacier. Its slopes range from gentle blues to off-piste challenges that are bound to thrill the most experienced skier.
The lively apres-ski and nightlife scene will also ensure that you are never bored off the slopes, while parents can rest assured that the children will have plenty to occupy themselves with at the Valkids, which is a play area located at the bottom of the Sunny Ride piste. They can even learn to make snow and ‘drive’ a cable car, which is an experience every child is bound to love!
Image by The Travel Magazine
It is only fitting to end this list with a name that is legendary to every skier: St Anton.
St Anton is the place where the first ski club was birthed. With over 280 km of terrain, 200 km of off-piste routes and an altitude of 2,800 m, this is one place we would advise only the most experienced skiers to consider skiing at. While there are some gentle blues and a world-class children’s ski school, the challenge level goes up quickly.
Nevertheless, St Anton is an amazing place for families to visit if you want to do more than advance skiing. There is a lively apres-ski, and the St Anton village with its many quaint inns, restaurants and 17th-century onion-domed church are a joy to explore.
Ski resorts have evolved over the years so that they are not just a prime place to whisk down a challenging off-piste, but also to indulge in lively apres-ski, post-ski shopping and family gatherings around a warm hearth.
If you are looking for some of the world’s best powdery snow havens, then this is the only list you ever need. To make sure you get the best travel deal, make sure you head over to mayflower.com.my and start planning for the ultimate winter adventure.
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A faith-driven Sarawakian lawyer who believes that it is never too late to start crafting a socially impactful legacy. When not grappling with warranties and liabilities, she loves pursuing adrenaline-fueled adventures, improving her Español and playing the violin. You can find her at @vidadeliya or https://www.vidadeliya.com