Here are my picks for the top ski resorts in the world.

Top 5 ski resorts worldwide: stunning scenery, challenging slopes, excellent amenities. From North America's largest ski area to Japan's powder snow, these resorts impress all winter sports enthusiasts.

Here are my picks for the top ski resorts in the world.
Photo by Banff Sunshine Village / Unsplash
Winter sports enthusiasts are always looking for the best ski resorts to visit around the world. With so many options, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to prioritize. However, some ski resorts have earned a reputation for their stunning scenery, challenging slopes, and excellent amenities. In this post, we'll explore the top 5 ski resorts in the world, each offering a unique experience for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. From the largest ski area in North America to the powder snow of Japan, these resorts will impress even the most discerning winter sports enthusiasts.

Whistler Blackcomb, 

Canada

This resort, located in British Columbia, boasts the largest ski area in North America and offers a variety of terrain for skiers of all levels. It has over 8,100 acres of skiable terrain, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers. Whistler Blackcomb also hosted the alpine skiing events for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

A cable car amidst snowy trees
Photo by Sierra M / Unsplash

How to Get There:

Whistler Blackcomb is located in the province of British Columbia, Canada. The closest major city is Vancouver, which is approximately 75 miles (120 km) south of Whistler. The most common way to get to Whistler from Vancouver is to drive the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway, which takes approximately 2 hours. Alternatively, there are shuttle buses that run regularly from Vancouver to Whistler, as well as a regular bus service. If you're coming from further away, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is the closest international airport.

Price: The cost of skiing at Whistler Blackcomb can vary depending on the time of year, the day of the week, and the type of lift ticket you purchase. Generally, lift tickets start around $120 CAD per day for adults, and there are also multi-day and season pass options available. You can check out the latest pricing information and purchase lift tickets directly from the Whistler Blackcomb website.

Things to Know Before Going:

  • Whistler Blackcomb is a large resort with a lot of skiable terrains, so it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the trail map before hitting the slopes.
  • The resort can get busy, especially during peak season, so it's a good idea to plan and book lodging, lift tickets, and equipment rentals in advance.
  • Whistler Blackcomb is known for its variable weather conditions, so make sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear for a range of conditions, including snow, wind, and rain.
  • The resort offers a variety of dining and après-ski options, but prices can be high. It's a good idea to budget accordingly or bring your food and drinks.
  • Finally, make sure to follow all safety protocols and guidelines while skiing or snowboarding at the resort. Always wear a helmet, stay in control, and respect the mountain and other skiers and riders.

Links:

Val d'Isere

France

Situated in the French Alps, Val d'Isere is one of the most famous ski resorts in the world. It has over 300 kilometres of ski runs and is known for its challenging terrain, making it a favourite among advanced skiers. The resort also has a lively après-ski scene with many restaurants, bars, and shops.

Photo by Yann Allegre / Unsplash

Location and How to Get There:

Val d'Isere is located in the southeastern region of France, in the department of Savoie. The closest airport is Chambery Airport, which is approximately 2 hours away by car. Other nearby airports include Geneva Airport and Lyon Airport, which are both about 3 hours away by car. You can also reach Val d'Isere by train or bus from major cities in France and neighbouring countries.

Accommodation and Prices:

Val d'Isere has a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, including hotels, chalets, and apartments. Prices can vary widely depending on the time of year and the type of accommodation you choose. During peak season, expect to pay a premium for accommodation, lift passes, and ski equipment rentals. It's a good idea to book well in advance to get the best deals.

Skiing and Snowboarding:

Val d'Isere has a reputation for being a challenging ski resort, with many steep and ungroomed runs for advanced skiers and snowboarders. However, there are also plenty of runs for intermediate and beginner skiers. The resort is part of the Espace Killy ski area, which includes the neighbouring resort of Tignes, offering a total of 300 kilometres of ski runs.

Après-Ski: Val d'Isere is known for its lively après-ski scene, with plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs to choose from. Some popular options include La Folie Douce, Cocorico, and Doudoune Club. There are also plenty of shops selling ski gear, souvenirs, and local produce.

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • Val d'Isere is a high-altitude resort, with some of its slopes reaching up to 3,500 meters. Be prepared for cold temperatures and strong winds, especially at higher elevations.
  • If you're a beginner or intermediate skier, it's a good idea to take lessons or hire a guide to help you navigate the resort's challenging terrain.
  • Lift passes can be expensive, especially during peak season, so it's a good idea to plan and buy your passes in advance.
  • The resort can get very busy during peak season, so be prepared for long lift lines and crowded slopes.
  • If you're driving to Val d'Isere, make sure your vehicle is equipped with snow tires and chains, as the roads can be snowy and icy.

Here are some useful links for further information:

St. Anton

Austria

This resort is located in the Tyrolean Alps and is known for its challenging slopes and vibrant nightlife. St. Anton has over 300 kilometres of ski runs and is particularly popular among expert skiers. The resort also has a charming village with traditional Austrian architecture.

Beautiful blue bird day at St Anton, Arlberg, Austria.
Photo by Charlie Storey / Unsplash

How to Get There:

St. Anton is easily accessible by car, train, or plane. The closest airport is Innsbruck, which is only 100km away, and you can take a shuttle or a train to St. Anton. Alternatively, you can also fly to Munich or Zurich and take a train or bus from there.

Price:

The cost of skiing in St. Anton can vary depending on the time of year and the type of accommodation you choose. Generally, lift tickets can cost around €55-60 per day, and a week-long stay in a hotel or chalet can range from €500-€3000 per person, depending on the level of luxury.

Things to Know Before Going:

  1. St. Anton is known for its challenging slopes, so it's important to be a confident and experienced skier before heading there.
  2. The resort is also known for its vibrant nightlife, so if you're looking for a quieter and more relaxed ski vacation, this might not be the best choice for you.
  3. It's recommended to book accommodations and lift tickets well in advance, especially during peak seasons (Christmas, New Year, and February).
  4. St. Anton is part of the Arlberg ski area, which includes several other nearby resorts, such as Lech, Zürs, and Warth-Schröcken, so if you're planning to ski in the region, consider getting the Arlberg lift pass, which provides access to all of these areas.

Links:

  1. St. Anton Tourism Board: https://www.stantonamarlberg.com/en
  2. Arlberg Ski Area: https://www.skiarlberg.at/en
  3. Innsbruck Airport: https://www.innsbruck-airport.com/en/
  4. Train connections: https://www.oebb.at/en/

Niseko

Japan

Niseko is located on the northern island of Hokkaido and is renowned for its powder snow. It has over 50 kilometres of ski runs and is particularly popular among intermediate skiers. Niseko also has a unique cultural experience, offering traditional Japanese hot springs and cuisine.

On the northern island of Japan lies the Niseko resort and surrounding mountains. Growing up and skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountains, traveling to Japan with your gear felt odd in the beginning. After we got settled in, we discovered some of the best snow we've ever experienced and didn't want to leave the island.
Photo by Eric Ward / Unsplash

How to Get There:

Niseko is located on the northern island of Hokkaido in Japan. The closest airport is New Chitose Airport, which is about a 2-hour drive away from Niseko. There are regular flights from major cities in Japan as well as international flights from cities such as Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taipei. From the airport, you can take a bus or hire a private car to get to Niseko.

Price: The cost of skiing in Niseko can vary depending on the time of year, type of accommodation, and other factors. Lift tickets for a day pass cost around 6,000 yen (approximately $54 USD) for adults and 3,500 yen (approximately $31 USD) for children. Accommodation in Niseko can range from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels, with prices varying accordingly. For a mid-range hotel, you can expect to pay around 20,000 yen (approximately $180 USD) per night.

Things to Know Before Going:

  • Niseko is known for its powder snow, so be sure to pack appropriate ski/snowboard gear and clothing.
  • The ski season in Niseko typically runs from late November to early May.
  • English is widely spoken in Niseko, so language barriers shouldn't be a major concern.
  • Niseko is a popular destination, so it's recommended to book accommodation and lift tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • If you're interested in experiencing traditional Japanese culture, be sure to try out the local hot springs (onsen) and cuisine.

Links:

Vail

USA

Vail is one of the largest ski resorts in the world, located in the Colorado Rockies. It has over 5,200 acres of skiable terrain and offers a range of runs for skiers of all levels. The resort also has a charming alpine village with many shops, restaurants, and bars.

Photographer: JResnick215
Photo by Glade Optics / Unsplash

Getting there:

The closest airport to Vail is Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), located about 35 minutes away. Alternatively, Denver International Airport (DEN) is about 2 hours away by car. There are also shuttle services and rental cars available for transportation to the resort.

Lift ticket prices:

As of the 2022 ski season, adult lift tickets at Vail start at $219 per day for a single-day pass, with discounts available for multi-day purchases. Children and seniors receive discounted rates. It's important to note that prices can vary depending on the time of year and whether you purchase tickets in advance or on the day of.

Skiing and snowboarding:

Vail has 5,317 acres of skiable terrain, with 195 marked trails and 31 lifts. The resort is known for its varied terrain, with runs ranging from beginner to expert. Additionally, Vail offers backcountry skiing and snowboarding in its legendary Blue Sky Basin area.

Other winter activities:

Beyond skiing and snowboarding, Vail offers a range of winter activities such as snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and even dog sledding. There are also several spas and wellness centers in the area for those seeking relaxation.

Dining and nightlife:

Vail Village and Lionshead Village both offer a variety of dining options, ranging from casual to upscale. There are also many bars and nightclubs for après-ski entertainment.

Links:

To plan your trip to Vail, check out the official website at https://www.vail.com/ or visit the Vail Chamber & Business Association website at https://vailchamber.org/. The latter offers a wealth of information on local events, deals, and businesses.


In conclusion, there are numerous ski resorts worldwide, but some stand out due to their stunning scenery, challenging slopes, and excellent amenities. This article highlighted five of the best ski resorts in the world, each offering a unique experience for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.

From Whistler Blackcomb, Canada, with its vast ski area to Val d'Isere, France, with its lively après-ski scene, these ski resorts are sure to impress even the most discerning winter sports enthusiasts. However, before visiting any of these ski resorts, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the trail maps, book accommodations, lift tickets and equipment rentals in advance, and always follow safety protocols and guidelines while skiing or snowboarding.