While beach destinations and city traveling are always good options for planning a trip, nothing says winter more than a getaway to a snow covered mountain ski resort. Even if you don’t get a chance to go in winter, many of North America’s resorts’ seasons carry well into April and some are even open year-round. Here are the best.
Want to ski with the rich and famous? If yes, then Aspen is the place to be. Aspen is known for its steeps and its four mountains that are not linked. This Colorado ski resort accommodates all by featuring excellent terrain for all skier levels.
Filled with steeps and bumps, Aspen Mountain has fantastic groomed intermediate runs as well. The mountain is also a great choice for experts, who can access hundreds of acres of terrain off the backside. As the city with great ski resorts of choice for those who are “better off,” Aspen has a tendency to get slightly expensive.
Must-stay ski resorts: Sky Hotel, Hyatt Grand Aspen
While St. Anton holds the crown of “Europe’s liveliest ski resort,” and Innsbruck is home to one of Europe’s liveliest and most beautiful cities (the International Olympic Committee must have thought so as well, as the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976), Kitzbuhel is considered the “Pearl of the Alps” and is the most famous holiday resort in the Austrian Tyrol. This 700-year-old village offers visitors the charm of an alpine village. Skiing began here in the winter of 1892.
Must-stay ski resorts: Apartment-Hotel Almhof, Best Western Premier Kaiserhof
One of the most renowned and picturesque ski resorts on the map, Stowe offers traditional New England charm and the biggest vertical drop in the area. Stowe’s two ski areas are Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. The latter actually backs onto Smugglers’ Notch’s terrain. As a result, Stowe is amongst a handful of American resorts that have a lift-link to another resort. Stowe offers over 90 shops and 60 restaurants to make sure that visitors do not trek too far away during their stay.
Must-stay ski resorts: Stowe Mountain Lodge, Inn at the Mountain
While neighboring Gstaad is one of the world’s top resorts with its three five-star hotels and St. Moritz is more popular, most rank Zermatt as Switzerland’s top resort. A remarkably peaceful getaway, the village is peaceful thanks to its car-free environment. Amazingly picturesque, Zermatt holds the world’s second biggest lift-served vertical drop and receives huge snowfalls thanks to its altitude (and some help from snowmakers on the lower slopes).
Must-stay ski resorts: Riffelalp Resort, Grand Hotel Zermatterhoff
French Canadian joie de vivre meets luxury at Mont-Tremblant. A skier’s paradise since 1939, Tremblant is Eastern Canada’s best-known ski resort. It was the first resort to open in Canada and the second in North America. What makes Tremblant even more special is that it is only an hour away from Montreal.
Must-stay ski resorts: Fairmont Tremblant, Club Intrawest
Legendary Vail markets itself as “America’s favorite resort” and deserves to be ranked amongst the world’s top five all-around ski resorts. As the largest single ski area in the United States, Vail offers roughly 5,300 acres of skiable terrain. And let’s not forget the fastest high-speed detachable quads on one mountain. Vail offers much more with several art galleries, museums, ballooning, dog sledding, ice skating, hockey, snowmobiling, and much more.
Must-stay ski resorts: Lion Square Lodge, Vail Cascade Resort & Spa
Host of the world’s first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, Chamonix ranks among the elite of contenders for the title of “World’s Most Famous Ski Resort.” Located at the foot of Mont-Blanc, it’s the highest peak in the Alps and the second highest in Europe (top elevation 15,771 feet).
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc holds bragging rights for its vertical drop of 9,209 feet and for having one of the world’s longest runs (Vallée Blanche) at 13.7 miles.
Must-stay ski resorts: Auberge du Bois Prin, La Vallee Blanche
These towering mountains provide the best skiing in North America, with the biggest vertical drop. It’s funny what a difference 30 years and $600 million can make. Whistler’s charming village offers everything snowboarders and skiers crave: cafes, international stores and over 100 restaurants that cater to all tastes including Chinese, French, Greek, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, and Thai.
Food is key after partaking in the activities that really make Whistler legendary. Whistler quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the strongest contenders for the much disputed title of “World’s Greatest Ski Resort.” Over the past decade, Whistler was consistently voted “Best North American Ski Resort” by North Americans. The Japanese repeatedly rank it as their favorite international destination.
Must-stay ski resorts: Crystal Lodge, Summit Lodge and Spa