12 Spectacular Ski Resorts
With the onset of the 47th FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season upon us, we thought it high time to reflect on stellar ski resorts around the world. From the Andes to the Alps, Canada to New Zealand, discover a dozen of the most spectacular.
Crested Butte, Colorado – Photo credit
Vail, Colorado, United States of America
Vail’s pedigree is lofty even outside the Rocky Mountains. The second-largest ski mountain in North America is in good company too, what with sister resorts like Breckenridge, Keystone and Beaver Creek on the doorstep.
Where to stay: Four Seasons Resort Vail
Yabuli Ski Resort, Heilongjiang, China
China’s winter capital of Harbin hosts a zesty snow festival and is a shoo-in to host the Winter Olympics down the line. Yabuli, the best ski resort in the country, is just 175 km from the city of 11 million.
Where to stay: Shangri-La Hotel Harbin
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver may have been Whistler Blackcomb’s time to shine on a global, epic stage but the continent’s largest – and arguably best – resort’s bona fides was set decades ago.
Where to stay: Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre
Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland
Switzerland is not neutral when it comes to ski resorts. The Alps teem with choice spots, of course, with Zermatt a pre-eminent icon and metonym for ‘mountain hamlet’.
Where to stay: Hotel Firefly Zermatt
Big Sky Resort, Montana, United States of America
The name is appropriate. Big Sky envelops a leviathan 22.4 km2 of slopes (second to Whistler Blackcomb in North America) and proves Montana has excitement beyond UNESCO World Heritage Yellowstone and Glacier national parks.
Where to stay: The Lodge At Big Sky
Valle Nevado, Chile
A lot of Northern Hemisphere resorts make hay of the fact that they reside close to a top-drawer, cosmopolitan city. Well, Valle Nevado is one such resort. Just 45 km from Santiago, the Andes gem’s season runs from July to October.
Where to stay: Le Reve Boutique Hotel Santiago
Los Penitentes, Mendoza, Argentina
Los Penitentes, on the other side of the Andes, is on the doorstep of Mendoza, the handsome wine capital of Argentina. The resort is at the foot of Aconcagua, the most prominent summit outside of the Himalayas.
Where to stay: Finca Adalgisa Boutique Hotel
Queenstown, Otago, New Zealand
Queenstown, another Southern Hemisphere star, is New Zealand’s premier four season resort. Thanks to the likes of Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone, the Otago tourist magnet is a hive of activity from June to October.
Where to stay: The Dairy Private Luxury Hotel Queenstown
Le Massif, Quebec, Canada
B.C. ski resorts get a lot of press but the concentration of first-rate slopes in Eastern Canada is prolific. For powder purists, Le Massif is regent in Quebec and a magnificent showcase for the gorgeous Charlevoix region. Bonus: the resort is only 75 km from UNESCO World Heritage Quebec City.
Where to stay: Auberge Saint Antoine Quebec City Hotel
Kitzbühel, Tyrol, Austria
Ski and mountain tourism is a vital component of Austria’s economy, from Innsbruck to Salzburg. With a long history of royal and aristocratic patronage, Kitzbühel is the quintessential ski hamlet.
Where to stay: BEST WESTERN PREMIER Kaiserhof Kitzbuehel Hotel
Val d’Isère, Rhône-Alpes, France
Winter Olympics host, Tour de France backdrop and birthplace of Jean-Claude Killy, Val d’Isère is a paragon resort on the border of Vanoise National Park.
Where to stay: Hotel L’Aigle des Neiges Val d’Isère
Falls Creek, Victoria, Australia
With 92 runs, Falls Creek is one of Australia’s best resorts. The ski-in, ski-out Alpine National Park jewel is 350 km from Melbourne.
Where to stay: Quay West Resort & Spa Falls Creek