It is the perfect time of the year to hit the slopes! While everyone has a different idea of what makes a “perfect” ski resort, there are certain places that continually are placed on the “best of” lists year after year. I am bringing you five of the best ski resorts in the world.
According to CNN, Val Thorens was voted the best ski resort in the world in 2017. This is the second year in a row that the resort has been given this honor, which was bestowed on them in a ceremony at the World Ski Awards in Kitzbuhel, Austria. We are still waiting to see if they will retain that title, but you can rest assured that even if it doesn’t hold on to the number one spot in 2018, Val Thorens is still easily in the top five.
Val Thorens is the highest altitude ski resort in Europe and part of the world’s largest ski area. Part of the famous 3 Vallees, the massive ski area encompasses 600 kilometers of runs and links to Meribel and Courchevel. Val Thorens sits in a vast natural bowl at 2,300 meters, and it is a snowsure resort. Skiiers will not be disappointed the experience.
Val Thorens may be the world’s largest ski area, but Verbier is plenty big itself, and is listed as the largest ski area in all of Switzerland. In addition to 410 kilometers of pistes, Verbier offers much more than just skiing, which is excellent for families and large groups travelling together. Guests can opt to try ski touring, hiking with guide dogs, and heli-skiing. Additional activities offered at the resort include snowshoeing, cross country ski trails, free riding, sky diving, and ice skating. At Verbier you can also experience the longest sledge run in the French part of Switzerland at La Tzoumaz.
Arlberg has a reputation for the immense beauty of the region and for the reliable snow year after year. Past honors include being named the best ski area for 2015/2016, Ski Arlberg has been named the best ski resort in the world, and the resort has been awarded distinction for having the best advanced and off-piste trails. Arlberg has 305 kilometers of marked ski runs, and 200 kilometers of off piste and challenging steep slopes. Other fun opportunities at Arlberg include snowboarding in fun parks, carving areas, and permanent racing circuits.
According to Snow Magazine, Whistler has “epic terrain”, which is the reason skiers keep coming back to this resort. With 32 square kilometers of mountainside and over 200 pistes, there is much to be explored. The area has a ten year average snowfall of about 12 metres, so the snow is reliable. The resort calls itself “the ultimate playground”, and they gush about the immense landscape, towering mountains, and record breaking gondola, all of which have helped put Whistler at the top of many “best of” lists.
Four resorts, one mountain on the northern Japanese Island of Hokkaido: this is Niseko United. Thanks to seasonal winds which cross the Eurasian continent and pass over the warm currents of the Sea of Japan, Niseko offers some of the driest, lightest powder in the world. The average snowfall is incredibly over 15 metres! Niseko offers an exceptional choice of terrain, rich in variety and with beautiful winter woods. From ungroomed bowls to world class deciduous tree runs, advanced skiers will find an exhilarating challenge.
Have you been to any of these fabulous ski resorts? If you’re crafting a ski “bucket list”, I hope you will include a few of these resorts.