There are some great places to ski, and then there are the world’s best. Navigating through the numerous websites and brochures of ski resorts can be hard, and sometimes finding the right resort for your holiday can seem like an almost impossible task. To make it easier, we have gathered together some of the top ski resorts around the world, which all have something unique to offer, and provided a brief explanation of what to expect, for what type of rider. Whether it’s breathtaking scenery, great off-ski activities, or a lot of bang for your buck, you’ll find it all in our comprehensive and unbiased guide.
Here are our top 21 ski destinations around the world, where the skiing is guaranteed to be spectacular, with fabulous piste grooming, glorious views every which way you turn, and snow-sure mountainsides. Each of these resorts offers something to suit learners, novices, improvers, and seasoned pros, and not to mention some of the best terrain on the planet.
1. Val Thorens, France
Val Thorens is the highest altitude ski resort in Europe, and the highest point in the Three Valleys – the largest ski area in the world with over 600 kilometres of runs. The resort is renowned for the quality of its snow and up-to-the-minute ski lifts, suitable for carving, off-piste, snowpark, boardercross, télémark skiing, as well as ski touring. Val Thorens has guaranteed snow coverage and is attentively groomed for excellent skiing for all levels and comfort zones. Many of the trails offer exceptional views, notably the grandiose spectacle of the legendary Glacier de Péclet from the Cime de Caron, a breath-taking 360° panoramic view of more than 100 Alpine summits.
Getting there: the Val Thorens ski area is located 200 kilometres from Geneva international Airport.
2. Deer Valley, United States
A luxury ski resort in Park City, Deer Valley is known for its unconventional layout, with 820 hectares of terrain spread across 6 mountains. Getting across the mountains takes multiple lifts, however it’s worth it if only to experience the world-famous, award winning Deer Valley grooming. There is terrain for all ability levels, however the resort is best suited to the intermediate, with blue runs galore on a series of awesome steep fall-line groomers. First-timers and novice skiers generally hang out on the Wide West run near the Snow Park base, whereas Bald Mountain is one of the best areas for advanced skiers, in conjunction with the Empire Express which provides various black runs.
Getting there: Deer Valley is a 45 minute drive from Salt Lake City International Airport.
3. SkiWelt, Austria
The SkiWelt resort is one of the most affordable and one of the largest interconnected ski areas in the world, found in the stunning Wilderkaiser mountain range in Austria. Comprised of 289 kilometers of piste, there is plenty to keep novice, intermediate, and advanced skiers happy, with numerous tree-lined blues and cruising reds tracing across the mountains. The ski area boasts 70 ski huts, restaurants, and après ski bars, with one positioned every 3.9 km on average, plus plenty of activities off the slopes such as an igloo village, tobogganing, fun parks for children, and more.
Getting there: SkiWelt is approximately 80 kilometres from Innsbruck Airport, and 80 kilometres from Salzburg Airport.
4. Alpe d’Huez, France
Few resorts in the Alps are able to match Alpe d’Huez, in terms of its suitability for skiers and snowboarders at every level – beginners, confident intermediates, and experts. There are perfectly groomed pistes for all standards, over a large 250 kilometre ski area. The slopes go from 1,135 metres up to 3,330 metres, with snow cover that stretches from early December to late April. What’s more, Alpe d’Huez is easy to get to, located just 75 minutes from Grenoble Airport, and offers a wealth of on ice activities, from diving, swimming, skating, dog sledding, and snowshoeing.
Getting there: Alpe d’Huez is approximately 70 kilometres from Alpes–Isère Airport (formally Grenoble Airport).
5. Lech, Austria
A favourite of Europe’s royal families and celebrities, it’s said that Princess Diana took her two sons on their first ski trip to Lech back in 1991. And with bright sunshine, perfect blue skies, groomed slopes, and white capped mountains in the background – there’s no shortage of reasons as to why. The Lech Zürs ski resort has grown steadily over the last few decades, offering 305 kilometers of ski runs, and over 200 kilometers of high Alpine powder runs to set your pulse racing. What’s more – there are numerous rustic Alpine refuges to keep hunger at bay, and free ski buses to take you to the best slopes.
Getting there: the closest airports to Lech Zürs are Altenrhein, Innsbruck and Friedrichshafen Airports.
6. Coronet Peak, New Zealand
Close to Queenstown and the scenic Wanaka, Coronet Peak offers various practice spots and trails, roller coaster terrain, and excellent off-slope facilities. The Big Easy trail is popular among beginners, whereas the Exchange Drop entices expert riders from all over the South Island. An extensive, state-of-the-art snowmaking system boosts snow levels during the season, ensuring that the resort’s 280 hectares of skiable area remain in tip-top shape.
Getting there: Coronet Peak is only 16 kilometres away from Queenstown, which is serviced by the nearby Queenstown Airport.
7. Val d’Isere, France
One of the world’s premier ski resorts, Val d’Isère combines some of France’s best skiing conditions with an exciting and lively après-ski scene. The Val d’Isere resort shares a high valley surrounded by 3,000 metre peaks with neighbouring Tignes, and is served by more than 150 lifts over 300 kilometers of skiable terrain. There are tracks for all skill levels, including slopes for children and beginners. There are also plenty of things to do off the slopes; Val d’Isere is famous for its fantastic restaurant and nightlife scene, with some bars and clubs going until sunrise.
Getting there: Val d’Isere is a little over 3 hours away from Geneva Airport by car.
8. Jackson Hole, United States
Made up of exceptional steeps, snow, and backcountry wilderness, Jackson Hole is a ski resort for all, where families can find terrain to satisfy all levels. Unlike Colorado’s and Utah’s clustered ski resorts, Jackson sits in the isolated western reaches of Wyoming. Less than 20 kilometres from the town, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boasts 2,500 acres of inbound riding, summit elevation of 3,183 metres, 116 trails, and an average annual snowfall level of 11.65 metres. The surrounding areas have been frequented by serious skiers for decades, due to the cluster of challenging lines such as Death Canyon, Apocalypse, and the famous Grand Teton.
Getting there: Salt Lake City International Airport is roughly four and a half hours south of Jackson Hole by road.
9. Verbier, Switzerland
Home to the Xtreme Verbier, where freeriders come to compete outside of event season, Verbier is both steep and deep. Verbier is part of the Four Valleys, which includes the ski resorts of Nendaz, Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz, and Thyon, which claim a total of 410 kilometres of marked runs. It’s known for some of the best lift-served off-piste in the Alps, which best suits advanced adventurous skiers and snowboarders. Novices should note that the safer, slower beginners areas at the foot of the mountain are all but detached from the other pistes, so it could take days to work up to the main ski area.
Getting there: the closest airport is Geneva, which is two hours by car from Verbier.
10. Černá Hora–Pec, Czech Republic
Černá Hora–Pec is the largest ski resort in the Czech Republic, located at the eastern part of the Krkonoše Mountains. Made for inexpensive family holidays, there are just over 50 kilometres of slopes and trails at Černá Hora–Pec, as well as a toboggan run, an ice rink, and one of the highest-altitude breweries in the country, the Trautenberk Brewery in Malá Úpa. Families with children and beginners are advised to start in Černý Důl, with its 6.5 kilometres of red or blue-rated runs. Whereas advanced skiers should check out the runs at Pec pod Sněžkou, which is home to the resort’s terrain park.
Getting there: the nearest airport to Černá Hora–Pec is Václav Havel Airport in Prague.
11. Brunico, Italy
Crystal white show and wonderful views help make Brunico one of Italy’s most successful ski towns. From Brunico you can gain access to South Tyrol’s most famous skiing area, a mix of snowy peaks and dense forests, not to mention 116 kilometres of pistes and 31 lifts, which offer almost unlimited skiing opportunities. The majority of slopes are suited to beginners, making it an ideal family holiday destination. However, there are some more challenging pistes for advanced skiers, and a lift pass will take you to a host of other resorts in the Dolomites, including the more well known Arabba, Civetta, and Corvara.
Getting there: it’s possible to reach Brunico by car from Bolzano Airport, Treviso-Sant’Angelo Airport, or Venice Marco Polo Airport.
12. Perisher, Australia
Best for long trips and intermediate level skiers, Perisher is made up of four different resorts, with more than enough terrain to keep everyone in the family happy. Based in Kosciuszko National Park, Perisher is made up of a mix of 133 beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs, over 1,245 hectares of skiable terrain. Although Australia is not known for large quantities of reliable snowfall, Perisher generally fares better than its local competitors thanks to its south east facing slopes and relatively high base elevation. Now owned by Vail Resorts, Perisher is likely to see some major development work to its infrastructure and services in the near-future, making this resort one to watch.
Getting there: drivers from Sydney should factor in 5 to 6 hours to get to Perisher, while Melbournites will need to factor in 6+ hours.
13. St. Moritz, Switzerland
One of the oldest winter sports resorts in the world, St. Moritz has played host to the Winter Olympics twice, once in 1928 and again in 1948. And although its Olympic ski-jump and slopes frequently appear in world ski events, St. Moritz is not just for expert skiers. You’ll find terrain for all levels around Corviglia, as well as several very long intermediate runs. There’s also the gentler three-kilometer long Paradiso run for less experienced skiiers, plus plenty of opportunities for ice-skating, tobogganing, Nordic skiing, bobsledding, and kite skiing.
Getting there: St Moritz is about three hours’ drive from Zurich and Milan Airports, and five hours from Geneva Airport.
14. Nevis Range, Scotland
The terrain at the Nevis Range Resort might be challenging and exciting, and the scenery may be dramatic, but it’s also ideal for beating the crowds. According to locals, the back corries should not be missed, as it’s easily hikeable lift-accessed terrain. The Nevis Range can be unpredictable, so when it snows you have to drop everything and go. However, there are freeride clinics and back corrie workshops on offer, specifically tailored to the conditions you’ll find once you arrive.
Getting there: it takes close to 4 hours to reach the Nevis Range from Glasgow Airport by car.
15. Aspen, United States
Few ski destinations can compare to Aspen. The scenic mountain town looks like something straight out of a snowglobe. With picturesque mountain chalets hugging the sides of the Colorado Rockies, four premier ski areas which cater to skiers of all levels, and plenty of high-end stores and fascinating museums, Aspen is the perfect getaway for a ski vacation. There are numerous slopes for experts in the Aspen Highlands, including the B- and Y-zones on Loge Peak, and gladed tree runs such as Mystery Gully and Lucky Find. If you’re up for a challenge, head to the Highland Bowl, whose 1,320m vertical descent should not be missed. But be warned, if you’re not able to make it down a double black diamond, you are probably not ready for the Highland Bowl.
Getting there: Aspen is four hours drive from Denver, or 1.5 hours from Eagle/Vail.
16. Beaver Creek, United States
One of Colorado’s newest resorts, Beaver Creek offers runs groomed to perfection and a purpose-built, luxury base village. The Resort advertises world-class skiing and dining, with breathtaking views and soothing spas, coupled with the unhurried feel of an alpine village. The majority of trails are beginner and intermediate level runs which meander their way down, offering a unique, scenic skiing experience. There’s an efficient network of high-speed lifts which will get you around the mountain quickly, meaning you’ll rarely spend much time waiting in line.
Getting there: is simple, the Eagle County Airport is just 45 kilometers away from Beaver Creek.
17. Portes du Soleil, France
The Portes du Soleil region spans 12 resorts between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland. On the French side, the modern Avoriaz resort, the market town Morzine, and the family-favourite Les Gets are the most well known, while Champery stands out on the Swiss side of the border. There’s something for everyone in Portes du Soleil; the blue slopes in the Plan de Croix bowl are great for beginners, while Le Grand Paradis is a beautiful red slope for intermediate skiers, with excellent snow quality and unparalleled views of the area.
Getting there: the Portes du Soleil region is located an hour by car from Geneva International Airport.
18. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina is home to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful mountains in the world, so it’s not surprising that the Dolomites have numerous ski resorts. Cortina takes 18th place on our list, not only for its landscape but it’s charming old town which attracts visitors at all times of the year. The skiing at Cortina d’Ampezzo is gentle, best suited to families and intermediate skiers. If you’d like to slow down and take in your surroundings, you can book a guided on-piste Grande Guerra tour, as well as a Sellaronda tour over the four Dolomite passes.
Getting there: Cortina d’Ampezzo is 162 kilometers from Venezia, 432 kilometres from Milano, and 156 from Innsbruck.
19. St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
One of the best known ski resorts in Austria is St. Anton am Arlberg, a top resort for serious skiers with some of the most challenging runs in the Alps. Reaching a height of 2,800 metres, St. Anton is known for its off-piste opportunities for advanced skiers, and the longest downhill piste is aptly named ‘The White Thrill’. St. Anton am Arlberg holds an important place in ski history, as the site of the first ski club in the Alps, which opened in 1901.
Getting there: St. Anton and the nearby village of St. Christoph is a 75 minutes drive away from Innsbruck Airport.
20. Thredbo, Australia
Thredbo is home to 50 different ski trails, Australia’s highest vertical drop, as well as a number of national records. Nestled below Mount Kosciuszko, the country’s highest peak, there are four terrain parks at Thredbo with everything from mellow introductory slopes to expert cross country courses. Experienced skiers should head to the Funnel Web Black Trail for a challenge, whilst intermediate skiers can take their pick of runs.
Getting there: Thredbo is a 6 hour drive from Melbourne or Sydney, and 2.5 hours from Canberra.
21. Treble Cone, New Zealand
Treble Cone is the largest ski area in New Zealand, renowned for its spectacular scenery. Considered to be a great playground for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders, more than 45% of the ski terrain at Treble Cone is rated as black. In conjunction with the off-piste terrain, the black runs are supposedly far more challenging than the average New Zealand or Australian black diamond run. The Treble Cone Ski Resort is an ideal starting point, and lies on the side of a steep mountain, across from Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring.
Getting there: Treble Cone is a 90 minute drive away from the city of Queenstown.
Ready to Head to the Mountains?
We hope that you found our list helpful and that you now feel more confident in knowing which ski resorts are out there, and how to choose your next winter holiday destination. Of course it’s always hard to plan the perfect holiday, and it’s your own needs and desires that will largely decide the ideal ski resort for you. But if our list made it just a little easier, we are satisfied.
This article was written by Ruby Kelly, from the Australian airport parking comparison company, Flyparks. For more inspiring and informative articles about travel, you can visit the Flyparks website.