1. Zermatt, Switzerland
Zermatt rests in the shadow of one of the world’s most iconic and beautiful mountains, the Matterhorn. But it is also the highest ski area in the Alps and has the most vertical drop in Switzerland.
The south face of the Matterhorn is in Italy. You can access the massive network of slopes in the Val d’Aosta during your stay. Zermatt is also home to the longest downhill run in Europe, starting at the glacier and leading all the way down into the village, which is over 25km.
Snowboarders and freestyle skiers love the Zermatt snowpark, which is the highest in the Alps. Zermatt is a dream for off-piste skiers and snowboarders. The main attraction for powder hunters is the 178-kilometre mountaineering route. It takes you from Zermatt to Chamonix in the French Alps, known as the Haute Route. If you want to take the Haute Route, you need to book a guide, have a good skill level and lots of fitness. The route consists of staying in refuges overnight as you pick your way over the mountains over eight days.
Zermatt is to be expensive, but it deserves to be on this list, as it is a pretty village steeped in history and alpine charm. The buildings in Zermatt are a blend of old wooden chalets and modern hotels. Both types offer different but fabulous experiences.
2. Deer Vally, Utah, USA
Deer Vally is widely regarded as one of the best ski areas in the U.S.
The terrain is picturesque and extensive, which attracts skiers from all over the world. The area is made up of six mountains with elevations ranging from 7,950 ft to 9,570 ft.. The reliable snowpack is light and dry, which is typical for Utah ski areas and is wonderful to ski on.
There are some great beginner areas in Deer Vally, but more experienced skiers have plenty to explore during their stay. There are three Olympic runs to test your ability and some fantastic backcountry areas to enjoy.
The resort itself is upscale and can be pretty expensive. But, there are lots of reasonably priced accommodation providers too, making Deer Vally popular with families.
3. Niseko, Japan
Niseko, Japan, comprises four interconnected resorts with outstanding and diverse slopes on the side of a volcano. The majority of the slopes have stunning views over Mt.Yotei, which is also known as Hokkaido’s Mount Fuji.
Here you can expect perfectly grooms slopes, forests, powder bowls and snowparks to enjoy. There are many opportunities for riding Japow in unpatrolled backcountry bowls, chutes and wooded areas. Niseko has lots of snow every winter, and the cold temperature preserves the snow quality keeping it light and fluffy.
Niseko offers heli-skiing, cat skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and hot spring spas. All of which are must-do things when visiting the resort if you can. But, much of Niseko’s slopes are suitable for beginners, making it perfect for family ski trips too.
4. Kitzbühel, Austria
Kitzbühel is in the heart of the Austrian Alps, not far from Innsbruck and Salzburg. This stunning ski resort is home to boutique shops, fresco-painted buildings, wooden mountain chalets and luxury hotels. It really does look like a scene from the front of a chocolate box.
Kitzbühel has lots of charm and is suitable for serious skiers and families alike. More experienced skiers love taking on the legendary Hahnenkamm. This is the very steep world cup downhill course with 85% vertical. But for less skilled skiers, there are plenty of wide, open blue runs with gentle gradients. Freestylers are also looked after with the snowpark in the Bichlalam area.
During a stay in Kitzbühel, you can explore even more terrain by jumping on the bus to the SkiWelt area. This is a vast area that connects nine other ski resorts with beautiful treelined slopes and fantastic snow. Austria is famous for its aprés scene, with people dancing on bars in their ski boots to local Oompa music with a stein of beer in hand. This is definitely an experience everyone should have.
5. Val D’Isere, France
Val D'Isere is probably France's most famous ski resort and known as one of the best in Europe.
One of the reasons Val D'Isere is famous; the skiing legend Jean Claude Killy made it home after winning three gold medals at the 1968 winter Olympics.
Val D'Isere is connected to the neighbouring resort of Tignes. Tignes offers fantastic skiing, but its purpose-built high-rise style is not a patch on the stylish wooden chalets and hotels of Val D’Isere.
The ski area provides over 300km of slopes, serviced by more than 150 ski lifts. The area's altitude reaches up to 3,450 m, which means the snow cover is reliable and the season is long. This extra long winter is thanks to the Glacier du Pisaillas, which can often be skied on through June and sometimes July.
Val D'Isere and Tignes offer excellent skiing for experienced skiers and snowboarders. The area is home to an abundance of black runs, but it also has some superb off-piste terrain to explore. If you like skiing through powder-filled forests, head to the Fornet area, but Tignes has some excellent steep, and deep powder runs. Hire a guide for a day and head to the North Face of Pramecou for one of the best days you will ever have on snow.
Which ones are you going to visit?
These are just some of the most stunning ski resorts you can visit. All have unique characteristics, but they all share the opportunity to have a fantastic time in stunning surroundings.