From quaint chocolate-box towns to hip parties and timber trails, ski resorts enjoy a special status when it comes to holidays. With incredible scenery and some fine powder to glide on, experience your own of slice winter wonderland at these destinations.
Nestled in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, this town enjoys celebrity status among ski resorts. As one of the few places that manages to be both hip and classic at the same time, Aspen has become a reference point for other skiing destinations. Apart from celebrity spotting and the numerous galleries, boutiques, coffeehouses and gourmet restaurants, come here for some top-quality slopes and to sample the ostentatious character. With four separate ski areas within a 10-mile radius, Aspen caters to all abilities and tastes.
If you are one of those powder worshippers who have plenty of frequent flyer miles and a taste for hot springs and sushi, this is your promised land. The mountains on the Japanese island of Hokkaido are globally renowned for having some of the most consistent, lightest powder on Earth. The place gives you a combination of four independent, interconnected resorts that girdle around the 4,291-foot Mount Niseko Annupuri. Another huge draw to this snow-town is night skiing, with enormous stadium-style lights brightening 2,560 feet of slope. The glistening powder running through illuminated nighttime forest is a Niseko specialty.
Wanaka, New Zealand
Sitting on the shores of sprawling Lake Wanaka amid New Zealand’s Southern Alps this destination is fast developing a reputation as one of the world’s premier adventure haunts. Surrounded by picturesque alpine scenery, the tranquil town has hostels, cafes, pubs and small, luxury eco-lodges scattered all around. Wanaka gets the most snow in the country, with just over 200 inches in an average year. Do remember seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere so the time to visit is from June to October – making it an excellent choice for “summer” skiing and snowboarding.
Talking about the powdered slopes and not mentioning Switzerland would be unfair. Beckoning romantics, photographers and those with a penchant for old-world charm, this country is a skier’s paradise and Zermatt is its crowning jewel. It offers three interconnected skiing zones, with breath-taking vertical drops and a varied terrain and scenery that is absolutely stunning. The village only allows electric cars and luxury hotels sit side by side with centuries-old wooden barns. Don’t miss the ride on the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car – the highest in the Alps.
This giant of the American ski-scape is perfect for advanced skiers and snowboarders looking for test pieces and line dancing. One of the birthplaces of extreme skiing in the US, the mighty Jackson Hole Resort in Wyoming offers incredible slopes and scenery. It may have the reputation for extreme terrain, but there are plenty of options for beginners and intermediates as well. Offering spectacular views of Teton County and the surrounding valley, Jackson Hole is consistently ranked as one of the best ski resorts in North America.