There are so many amazing ski destinations in the world. We’ve narrowed it down to our favourite 10 to give you some inspiration! Generally the Northern Hemisphere ski seasons are around November through to March, with the South Hemisphere generally being June to September.
1. Japan. This country has become hugely popular with Australians seeking fantastic powder conditions. Most Aussies already know about Niseko, but there are other great ski resort areas such as Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen, Furano, Shiga Kogen and Myoko Kogen. Skiing in Japan is inexpensive compared to many countries and you get a great blend of outdoor fun and cultural experiences.
2. Whistler Blackcomb, Canada. Considered one of the best mountain resorts in the world. There is a gondola that connects Whistler to Blackcomb with an 11 minute ride. Both resorts are very family friendly offering skating, tubing, zip lining, snowmobiling, sleigh rides and more. There are ski and snowboard runs to suit beginners through to advanced. Earlybird specials usually include kids ski free and discounted lift and accommodation deals. Air Canada has released extremely competitive airfares out of Australia making this an affordable destination.
3. Mammoth Mountain, USA. Located on the highest skiable mountain in California, Mammoth has wide runs for beginners through to advanced skiers. There are free shuttles around the resort and plenty of family friendly activities, as well as nightlife for couples and groups.
4. Val d’Isere & Tignes, France. These two ski areas form L’Espace Killy, a stunning region where you can enjoy excellent hotels, relaxing Spas, great shops and a variety of ski terrains from steeps and gullies to enormous bowls. There’s plenty of runs for novices, intermediates and advanced skiers. Val d’Isere Village dates back to medieval times and is a charming mix of old and new.
5. Big White, Canada. Even in peak times, you won’t experience any wait times for ski lifts. There’s a good range of accommodation from budget to luxury, romantic to family style. There’s also a great choice of dining options and lots of family activities at the Happy Valley Adventure Centre.
6. New Zealand. Easy access from Australia makes this a popular choice, but also means you need to book as soon as accommodation is released, and pricing is often more expensive than travelling farther afield. However, it is a beautiful ski destination with plenty of choice of ski fields, accommodation and non-ski activities. Queenstown is the most frequently visited area, but you can also choose to visit the Wanaka ski fields, which include Cardrona and Treble Cone, Methven which is a 90 minute drive from Christchurch, Mt Hutt or Mt Ruapehu on the North Island. New Zealand is a great destination to hire a car and extend your ski holiday with some sightseeing.
7. Portillo, South America. Portillo is 2 hours from Santiago and provides a unique all-inclusive ski holiday. The terrain is best suited to the intermediate to advanced skier. Hotels have ski in, ski out access and there’s a ski school for the kids. Portillo has an average annual snowfall of around 8 metres per season. There are 14 ski lifts and this resort area is known for being uncrowded and its local family hospitality.
8. Jackson Hole, USA. Famous for its deep snow (average 11m per season), Jackson Hole, Wyoming offers Wild West fun teamed with uncrowded slopes and natural beauty. The area is great for nature watching and a snowmobile tour of Yellowstone National Park is not to be missed. There are plenty of gateways to Jackson Hole including San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
9. YongPyong, Korea. Known as Korea’s ski mecca, YongPyong offers 15 lifts, 31 groomed slopes and a 3.7km gondola. There is an equal mix of beginner, immediate and advanced runs and is the venue for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which will place it firmly on the ski map. The village is filled with shops, restaurants and non-skiing activities and is home to Korea’s largest water park, Ocean 700. An unusual destination for the more adventurous traveller.
10. Switzerland. The main ski fields are Zermatt, Verbier, St Moritz and Corvatsch. If you’re looking for a classic alpine village experience, skiing in Switzerland is the perfect destination. Zermatt is cosmopolitan but still rustic. Verbier is ski heaven with nearly 100 ski lifts and over 400kms of ski runs. St Moritz is glamorous and best for intermediate level and above skiers. Corvatsch is only 7km from St Moritz and offers a more budget friendly option with Switzerland’s longest illuminated night piste and a great snow park.