Events & Festivals

Eight of the Best Ski Resorts in the World

The good weather in most parts of the world is coming to an end and winter will soon be here. We’re only a couple of months from the holiday season, and if you’re an avid skier then you’re already thinking at the new ski season. But do you know where you’ll go this year? If not, we’ve compiled a list with some of the best ski resorts (mostly in Europe) where you’ll probably get the best snow in the world.

Chamonix, France

At the foot of the Mont Blanc (White Mountain) at an altitude of 1,035 meters, Chamonix is one of the most popular winter sports resorts in France. For skiers and snowboarders trying to find haven, this must be it, with Vallée Blanche which runs down from below Mont Blanc du Tacul and the Aiguille du Midi to form a 12-mile run that is among Europe’s longest trails. Another reason to be here is the great French food and the warm village atmosphere.

Cortina d’Ampezzo

In the Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy, Veneto province, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a renowned ski resort known for its wide and sunny valley but also for attracting celebrities of all types. It’s not a cheap place but if you can afford it I’m sure you’ll enjoy those 52 lifts and 87 miles of groomed runs. As for the apres-ski and nightlife, or the Italian cuisine, you probably know how good they are.

Courchevel, France

Another great place in France and famous for being the largest ski resort in the world, is Courchevel in the Savoie region of the French Alps and part of Les Trois Vallées (the Three Valleys). But the whole area is also famous for having some of the most difficult black runs in the world. The highest place, Courchevel 1850 (which is actually only 1771m high) is the fourth of the villages that form Courchevel and is famous for the great restaurants and the Olympic ski-jumping venue.

Gstaad, Switzerland

Ranking among the most exclusive and expensive ski resorts in the world, Gstaad is Switzerland’s finest chalet village that attracted not only international playboys, royalty and movie stars, but also rich skiers and snowboarders who afforded a ride in the Swiss Alps. The hotels are luxurious and offer excellent services, the intimate restaurants serve great food and the nightlife is great. Need more? There are 155 miles (250km) of downhill slopes and 70 chairlifts and gondolas, to serve you. Satisfied?

Lech and Zurs, Austria

Some of Austria’s finest, Lech is a small mountain village full of character that preserved its original flavor, while Zurs is a refined high altitude village. Both are famous for being skier’s stronghold with meticulously groomed (110 km long) slopes that are served by 34 lifts. Many celebrities have spent their winter vacations in the Lech and Zurs area which is why, along with the fairytale scenery, it became so popular.

Vail, Colorado

A year round resort for outdoor activities, Vail in Colorado is a great destination unless you go skiing in Europe. Located at the base of Vail Ski Resort there are 174 trails and seven bowls that you can enjoy, all being serviced by 30 lifts. Don’t think you need to know more about the atmosphere, because Vail is a Tyrolean-style village, sister city of St. Moritz, from Switzerland.

Whistler Blackcomb, Canada

Famous for the largest vertical drop (5,280 feet) in the world, Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, is a bustling village with more than 7,000 skiable acres of extensive terrain covered with a lot of good snow, during winters. These days Whistler Blackcomb is famous for two things : incredible nightlife and the fact that in 2010 it will host some of the Olympic Winter Games.

Big Sky Resort, Montana

In southwestern Montana in Gallatin County, US, the Big Sky Resort is the country’s biggest terrain available for skiing and snowboarding with more than 3,600 acres that will make every snow lover, happy. Three mountains with lots of snow and 17 lift lines so short that they are basically non existent, this is both the place for the experts and for the newbies.

If you ever visited one of these, or just plan to do it, drop us a line. We’d be glad to hear it.

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24 Comments for "Eight of the Best Ski Resorts in the World"

Thai Hotel Expert says on October 2nd, 2008 at 8:33 am:

Chamonix, France looks very beautiful…the pics look amazing!

Turist says on October 30th, 2008 at 8:13 am:

Yes, Chamonix is one of the best ski resorts in Europe.

Skier says on November 3rd, 2008 at 4:38 am:

It’s Big *SKY* Montana. Not “Ski”.

E Cho says on November 3rd, 2008 at 11:58 pm:

@ Skier

Oh dear, what a typo! Thanks for pointing that out, I’ve fixed it up now :)

APO says on November 4th, 2008 at 4:16 pm:

Chamonix and Courchevel are both over-priced and over-rated; Davos in Switzerland and Bad Weissee in Austria are infinitely better and less pretentious. In fact, avoid France for ski-ing (or boarding) it’s full of posers and snobs.

dcg says on November 6th, 2008 at 9:43 pm:

interior British Columbia, get on it

Si says on November 6th, 2008 at 10:55 pm:

I’m not sure Whistler has the largest vertical drop in the world; both Les Arcs and La Plagne in France have 2km lift-served vertical drops….about 6000ft! I think there are a few more in europe that would beat Whistler as well.

Ed says on November 10th, 2008 at 4:03 am:

Actually, Vail is the largest ski resort in the U.S., not Big Sky. Vail has over 5,000 acres of lift accessed ski and snowboard terrain.

Wigadoo says on November 11th, 2008 at 1:25 pm:

Great list. I had a great time in Solden a few years back skiing on a couple of glaciers at the top, that was beautiful too.

Keegan says on November 25th, 2008 at 6:19 am:

Vail and Whistler Blackcomb are both incredible, from experience – although Vail is kind of absurdly expensive for what it offers. Blows its competition – Telluride, Aspen, arguably Wolf Creek, and maybe Purgatory on a good year – clean out of the water, though, so I suppose it’s worth it. Would love to visit every single other one.

Egio says on December 5th, 2008 at 9:56 pm:

Cortina d’Ampezzo is the best resort in the world…with one ski-pass Dolomites are yours…

mcgilltoke says on December 19th, 2008 at 7:49 am:


Bob Butts says on March 8th, 2009 at 12:25 am:

Not correct: “Famous for the largest vertical drop (5,280 feet) in the world”

Ed says on March 21st, 2009 at 2:17 pm:

I’ve been to Big Sky quite a bit, it’s my favorite ski resort in the country!

Powderhounds says on March 25th, 2009 at 9:34 am:

You have missed one of the best ski resorts in the world: Alta in Utah, USA. Amazing 13 metre annual snowfall and incrdible terrain.

Josh says on April 29th, 2009 at 4:24 am:

Been to Big Sky for the last 12 years of my life. Never gets old!!!!

Marques says on April 30th, 2009 at 2:52 pm:

I was luckly enough to have visited 3 places on your top ten list. I snowboarding the 3 Valleys in 2002 and made a trip to Big Sky in 2003. These places are literally the greatest on Earth. The size of Les Trois Vallées is unbelieveable. I was there for a week and only covered two of the three valleys. Big Sky has some of the greatest powered on the backside of the mountain that you’ll have your hands full from sun up to sun down. Alyeska Resort in Alaska was a close second to Big Sky’s back-country feel, just on a smaller scale.

imagol4 says on May 1st, 2009 at 1:55 am:

Seconded Powderhounds! Alta is definitely one of the top 8. First went there about 1980. Awesome! Also missing from this list is Jackson Hole. One thing I don’t understand, why is it that there are so many European ski resorts listed? I think that possibly the author has never actually been to any of them. I’ve been to both Chamonix and Gstaad, quite frankly they can’t hold a candle to most North American ski resorts. Another point to make is, if the European areas are so ‘great’, why is it that so many of the Europeans come to North America to ski? Why is it that if you actually ask most Europeans who’ve skied on both sides of the pond, they will tell you the skiing is better in North America? I just get irritated with pretentious snobs who seem to think that anything ‘European’ is automatically better. And, last point, have you ever actually skied Vail? Not that it sucks, but there are many FAR better resorts, at least 3 within a couple hours drive of Vail. Vail’s celebrity status is about the only reason it is on here. The skiing is far superior at Steamboat Springs or Keystone/A-Basin, and with the expansions of the last few years at Winter Park/Mary Jane, it is certainly a rival for Vail. I honestly don’t think this list accurately portrays “8 of the best” ski resorts in the world. I think just “8 ski resorts of the world” is a more fitting title.

charles says on June 7th, 2009 at 7:37 pm:

vail is nice, it’s HUGE . . . but i’ve gotta say, it’s not the best. if it’s big, fast runs you want, beaver creek does a little better job. if it’s technical terrain, then hit breckenridge. hands down, breck is my favorite (although i haven’t been to anywhere in utah or to big sky). breck even has the Breck Brewery, which makes some good sandwiches and AMAZING beer.

gordy says on July 1st, 2009 at 2:36 am:

not in the slightest bit biased but get a grip quite simply the best. old lifts best lifties best attitude best atmosphere best accsess to the best off piste anywhere within walking hiking in the little old world ever if you don’t get it i can’t help you in fact don’t go it’s not for you go somewhere else you probably will not get it so try somewhere else you would would be better of going anywhere else just don’t go cham it’s not for you..have a good trip doubt if i’ll bump in to you cause i’ll be in cham’. have a good one and tell everyone about it just don’t tell me causde i’m not caring . bye this is not meant to be a bad review just don’t want anyone else to go it’s too busy anyway and theres no room for you or your friends or your family in fact it’s too busy and no body should go there ever as it’s really bad and you wouldn’t like it . .take care and enjoy your trip where ever you go just don’t go to cham’ . . .

Andy says on July 22nd, 2010 at 6:56 pm:

I’ve skied many of the very best since very young. I’ve even skied in Scotland (very windy)..If I won the lottery, I think I’d spend a season living and skiing everything skiable in the Savoie. Just fantastique! Les Arc, Tignes, Corchveval, Val d’Isere, Sainte Foy. Can’t forget about skiing the trees in Steamboat too.

stef says on December 30th, 2010 at 7:34 pm:

relax people…! there simply isn’t a best ski resort in the world as it very much depends on what you are looking for…there are so many criteria to choose from. been skiing all my life and i could easily make a list of 50+ resorts that tick many, many boxes.
a good starting point would be: “what am I looking for?”…
enjoy this beautiful planet


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