As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, that can only mean one thing – ski season is on its way!
On the mountains of Europe and North America, the snow has started falling and it’s beginning to look a lot like winter out there. It’s too early to tell whether we’re in for a good season, but the anticipation is rising regardless.
If you’ve not done so already, now is the time to book your ski or snowboarding getaway. But that can be easier said than done. How do you choose a winter skiing or snowboarding holiday when there are so many resorts out there?
Whether you’re looking for the best place to speed down a mountainside or want the greatest in après-ski shenanigans (or a combination of both), the perfect destination is out there. The world is full of cold, snow-filled mountains to explore, you just need to find the best one for you.
It’s time to dust off the thermals, track down those goggles and hit the slopes…
Europe v North America: Where is the best snow for skiing in the world?
The Alps offer amazing skiing, panoramic views and a great après-ski scene, but for many snow seekers, the dream is to ski in the US or Canada. The question is: which is best?
The quality of snow in Europe versus North America is an ongoing debate – and one that may never be resolved. Resorts in the Rockies are famous for getting more than ten metres of dry, light powder snow a year. However, when there is a big dump of powder in European resorts, as many slopes as possible tend to be groomed, meaning easier access to the powder.
Venturing off-piste is in European ski resorts is a good way to nullify your winter sports insurance
, in most instances, so holidaymakers tend to stick to the pistes.
That said, some insurers will provide cover whilst off-piste, providing you are on a recognised route or supported by a tour guide – it’s always best to check with your insurer. By contrast, in North America, everywhere is good to go because the ski patrol ensures entire ski areas are ski safe. This is appealing to anyone looking for ungroomed powder slopes.
Where is the best place in the world to ski?
What does a ski resort have to look like to be classed as the best in the world? What makes one ski destination stand out from the rest? It needs to have the right combination of pistes, accommodation, access to slopes, and dining. But it also has to offer you an amazing experience.
In no particular order, here’s a guide to some of the best places to ski and snowboard in the world.
Recently awarded the top spot in the Condé Nast Traveller Readers Choice best ski resort award
, Gstaad in Switzerland has it all. This chocolate-box Swiss village has an extensive ski area of smooth, sheer slopes, gourmet restaurants and breath-taking scenery. For many, Gstaad is a fairy tale resort – and the iconic Palace Hotel looking down on the resort helps create that atmosphere. This is a resort heavily skewed towards luxury, but for those on a budget, there are more affordable accommodation options available.
Located in the Les Trois Vallées (aka the largest ski area in the world), Méribel is often referred to as ‘Little England upon the Alps’. The resort doesn’t allow high-rise developments and remains picture perfect, dotted with chalets, hotels, boutique shops and après-ski hotspots. Plus, with more than 600 km of pistes, the resort caters to everyone from beginners to ski and snowboard aficionados.
St Moritz, Switzerland
If you’re looking for a ski or snowboard trip with old world charm, the elegant village of St Moritz is hard to beat. Known as the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism, St Moritz is regularly referred to as the best ski resort in the world. The resort has hosted the Winter Olympics twice and offers world-class hotels, restaurants and bars, luxury shopping and plenty of off-piste activities.
Aspen is one of four ski resorts in the area catering to different abilities, including Snowmass, the Highlands and Buttermilk. With pristine slopes, breath-taking scenery and glamorous après-ski, Aspen is the place for avid skiers and luxury holiday makers alike. Celebs including the Kardashians, Jack Nicholson, Kate Hudson, Elle Macpherson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas are often spotted on Aspen’s slopes.
Val Gardena, Italy
Val Gardena is a picturesque valley in the Dolomites. Made up of three resorts spread across eight kilometres, the resort is also part of the Dolomiti Superski network of 12 ski areas. This makes Val Gardena a good option for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Selva Gardena is the prettiest of the three villages in which to stay with its traditional Tyrolean-style architecture (the other two are Ortisei and Santa Cristina). Locals speak Ladin, a language that predates Italian.
Whistler is undoubtedly one of the best places to ski in North America. Its slopes, views and après-ski are world famous, and it offers a lot of piste kms. Thanks to the Peak 2 gondola linking the resort to the neighbouring Blackcomb peak, visitors have 8,000 acres of pistes and more than 1.6 km of vertical to choose from. Plus, following a £39 million investment in ski lifts last year and an average annual snowfall of 38.5 feet, Whistler offers premium ski and snowboard conditions.
Lech offers traditional alpine charm, cosy resorts and world-class skiing and snowboarding. The slopes suit all abilities, but intermediate skiers and snowboarders will get the most out of the runs here. Formally known as Lech Zürs am Arlberg, heliskiing, freeskiing, ice skating and other activities are all on offer if you want to take your winter sporting exploits to the next level. Famously, Princess Diana took Princes William and Harry to Lech on the first ski trip in 1991.
Protect yourself on the slopes with winter sports insurance
Whether your next ski or snowboarding holiday is all about the adrenaline rush or more focused on the après-ski vibe (no shame in that), you’ll want winter sports insurance
that covers you for your entire snow-bound getaway.
At Insurance Choice, we arrange cover that lets you concentrate on the important stuff: having the best holiday possible. Get in touch with one of our specialists today and get a quote.