Planning to hit the slopes this winter but only the best ski resorts worldwide will do? In that case, you’d better check out the top 11 skiing destinations on the planet below. From Austria to Argentina we’ve got you covered!
Of course any article like this is subjective. What is the ‘best’ for me might not suit you, after-all, beginners and experts are looking for something very different. Equally you could get poor conditions anywhere or unlucky with bad accommodation and not have the holiday you hope at any resort.
So to decide the top places to ski we have looked at resorts that offer a bit of everything. Those that cover all bases and more. Also we have considered the conditions and gone for ski areas that usually perform better than their neighbours when things are not ideal.
As the summer shines its last warm rays, some look back on a great few months. Once the long days, late nights and even longer beaches begin to fade ‘normal’ people start booking holidays in warmer climes. But not skiers!
Skiers see winter as an opportunity! Downhill opportunity… off-piste opportunity… freestyle opportunity… après party opportunity… So to tempt you into your ski boots we’ve pulled together this list of the best ski resorts worldwide.
Please note this list of the best places to ski is in no particular order. Narrowing it down to 11 (it was supposed to be 10!) was tough enough. Furthermore, we’ve spread the resorts out around the globe. Yes we know other ski areas in Europe are better than the southern hemisphere entries – but you cannot ski Europe in August!
Not the companion of vampire-slaying Hollywood hero ‘Blade’, this is a high-profile resort with Olympic pedigree. Based on facilities alone, this Canadian spot will always rise to the top.
Regularly ranked as the best resort by major ski publications, Whistler Blackcomb is the largest resort in North America. It was an epic destination long before hosting some of the 2010 winter Olympic events. This further improved things such as snowmaking capabilities, on mountain restaurants and links to Vancouver.
The freestyle areas are incredible with five snowparks for all levels from first timer to pro. There is a 15-ft mini pipe and an Olympic-sized superpipe, slopestyle features, boardercross and more. The area gets more than 10m of snow per year so the off-piste is epic with bowls, steeps, chutes, trees and so much more.
Off the slopes you have one of the best skiing destinations for après – big name DJ’s and well know bands visit. There are incredible culinary options, great hotels and even a casino. And it is all less than two hours from Vancouver.
The beautiful Dolomites in Northern Italy are home to Val Gardena. It is part of the second biggest ski area in the world with around 500km of lift linked runs. Furthermore, the Dolomiti Superski area covers 15 different resorts linked my lifts and buses. There are 1,200km slopes accessed on one lift pass – which is claimed to be the world’s largest ski region.
From Val Gardena Sella Ronda is the longest ski circuit on the planet. And with so much to explore the Dolomites are great for skiers that love to get as many miles and different runs ticked off as possible. But there is also a lot for freestylers with 18 different snowparks. And plenty for freeriders, although the Dolomites are not known for tons of snow.
In Val Gardena you can speed down the infamous Saslong, home to two world cup races each year. If you watch skiing on television you may have bet on this race on sites such as betFIRST. So what would be better than racing down it to see how your time compares? In a responsible way of course.
Being Italy the food is incredible. There is a mix of what you’d expect in Italy with pizza and pasta dishes, but also mountain fare unique to the region and Germanic influences due to the proximity of Austria to the north.
Like a little choice when it comes to planning skiing holidays? Well in Aspen you’ll have Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk to choose from. Across these four you’ll get two massive superpipes, and a further two smaller pipes.
Aspen is the setting for the X-Games so there’s no chance park rats will ever get bored. Of the runs, the longest is four miles and overall they are best suited to advanced beginners. That said there’s plenty of fun to be had here for the more experienced as 29% of the runs are graded expert.
Freeriders will love the ample and super light powder found in this part of Colorado. And the Rockies provide plenty of varied terrain to explore. Of course Aspen is known for a spot of partying! But it is also rather upmarket. So great accommodation, stunning food and a huge hole in your bank account can easily be found.
Well known for its family-friendly runs, Les Arcs is a prime-time holiday ski resort on the edge of the Vanoise National Park. There are 4 ‘Arc’ villages plus Peisey-Vallandry and the well thought-out lifts seamlessly lead you around the 200km ski area.
But that is not all. Les arcs is linked with La Plagne via the Vannoise express to create the massive 425km Paradiski. Overall 70% of the slopes are at an altitude of more than 2000m making Paradiski one of the most snow sure areas in the Alps.
There is a large snowpark above Arc 1800 that is suitable for all levels with plenty of kickers, boxes and rails. Plus there is epic off-piste, with dedicated freeride areas, for more advanced skiers. Check out this review of Les Arcs freeride snowboarding to find out more.
Wanaka is probably New Zealand’s best ski town. Ski fields in NZ are not usually located in resorts but a drive away. And there are two great ski areas – Cardrona (35 mins) and Treble Cone (45 mins) – on its door step. Plus Ohau, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are all one to two hours away.
While it provides excellent access to the South Islands best slopes, Wanaka is also a lovely town with a laid back vibe. There are beautiful views aplenty, and for NZ a vast amount of restaurants, bars and shops all within walking distance of most accommodation.
With mainly intermediate and advanced terrain, Treble Cone is ideal for experienced skiers. You’ll find gullies, chutes, rocks and steeps, so there is something to be found for even the most adventurous.
Cardrona offers incredible beginner and intermediate terrain. If you are after something a little steeper try arcade chutes and the off-piste riding between the three bowls that make up the area. If rails and kickers are what you after, Cardrona has arguably New Zealand’s best terrain park.
Solden is a safe bet for intermediates and party animals. There are 143 km of slopes, and with three mountains higher than 3,000m it’s snow sure. Located in Otztal Valley there are also five other resorts linked by free buses and trains, offering more than 350km of slopes to explore.
There are two glaciers which means a long season from September to May. Tiefenbach glacier has gentle rolling sides, which makes for leisurely runs. While Rettenbach glacier is steeper and throws up more challenges. The two are linked by a road tunnel so it’s easy to alternate one day to the next.
As commented in this review of Solden ski holiday the creative Area 47 snow park is rather good! There are very long lines of features, with fun to be had for all levels of freestyler. There are small to massive kickers and a serious variety in jib features which will keep dedicated park rats very happy.
While this is one of the top intermediate skiing destinations on the planet it is elevated to be one of the best ski resorts worldwide due to its many very lively bars. The main street is dotted with venues which are often busy from before 3pm until after 3am.
Las Lenas in the Mendoza region of Argentina is one of the smallest resorts on this list of the best ski resorts worldwide. There are just 52 km of slopes but two thirds of them are black making it suited to advanced skiers.
It is a well known destination for freeriders with arguable the most challenging terrain in South America. The max height is 3440m which combined with 1200m of vertical makes it one of the best skiing destinations on the planet for summer ski holidays in the southern hemisphere.
Chamonix is where the Winter Olympic Games first began (in 1924) and is the spiritual home of the Freeride World Tour. This French town is encolsed by steep-sided valleys and overlooked by Mont Blanc. There are five ski areas to choose from: Le Tour/Balme, Les Houches, Grands Montets, La Flegere and Le Brevent.
Le Tour and Les Houches are best for beginners – although nowhere in Chamonix is great for first timers. Grands Montets is the largest ski area, and reaches up to 3,300m, so often gets snow even late into the season.
But skiers don’t flock to Chamonix for the pistes. The extremely challenging off-piste and ski mountaineering is world renowned, making Chamonix one of the best off-piste ski resorts. The infamous Vallee Blanche is widely regarded as the greatest off-piste ski route on the planet. Oh and the nightlife is pretty mental too!
Sunny slopes, spectacular scenery, vibrant party scene and epic off-piste make Verbier one of the best Swiss ski resorts. And easy access to Geneva makes it great for holidays or a sneaky weekend break.
It’s part of the extensive Les 4 Vallees ski area that covers the area around Mont Fort Glacier with more than 400km of runs. There’s plenty for advanced skiers and boarders, with outstanding lifts offering access to challenging off-piste terrain.
There is a huge amount of managed slopes to choose from for those that like to stick to the piste. Plus a very good snowpark. In 2022 it was awarded Switzerland’s and World’s Best Ski Resort, which says it all really!
Niseko is the most famous Japanese ski resort. It’s included in this guide to the top 11 skiing destinations on the planet because of the epic quantities of incredibly light, dry powder it receives. Found on the northern island of Hokkaido, it is one of the snowiest places in the world.
The 51km ski area is easy to get around with great lifts and infrastructure. There are three snowparks in Niseko plus some dedicated freeride areas. Check out this review of snowboarding in Niseko to find out more.
Of course Japan is as much about the cultural immersion as the skiing and can be a bit challenging for visitors. But Niseko is easy and far more accessible due to a large amount of Australian visitors and businesses. So, if you want to dip your toes into skiing in Japan, Niseko is less of a culture shock.
The food in Niseko is incredible, as it is all over Japan. Plus you’ll want to visit a Japanese Onsen while in the area. The après is different to Europe and North America, but fun can still be found.
St Anton is known for it’s challenging off-piste and mental party scene. As part of the mightly Arlberg, St Anton is linked to Lech and Zurs with 350km of piste and a further 200km of marked off-piste routes. The Stanton snow park is split into three sections and is widely regarded as one of the best in Austria.
Head to the Valluga for some ear-popping descents, it’s got a well-deserved reputation and is accessible from a lift station. There is some seriously challenging and fun freeride to be enjoyed here, much of which is lift accessible. St Anton is a resort with an attitude, and the après ski is as full-on as some of the skiing.
Despite having been developed for tourism, the mix between resort and traditional Tyrol village St Anton is still well balanced. It’s a resort for intermediate and advanced skiers so if you like your moguls and powder, this is the right place for you.
We hope you found this guide to the best ski resorts worldwide inspirational? Let us know your thoughts about the best skiing destinations on the planet in the comments section below. And then check out these skiing holidays to get a trip booked.