The mountains have long been a winter playground for Joes and Janes alike. Whether you’re about the slopes or the après-ski, there’s something for every taste and ability. So with ski season now in full swing, we thought we’d take a look at your piste options with a run-down of the world’s best ski resorts.

World’s Best Ski Resorts

St Anton, Austria

Season: December – April
Best Time to Go: January/February

Where else could we start? Probably the most renowned resort anywhere on the globe – certainly in Europe – St Anton is famed for its wild après and even wilder expert slopes. Located in the Alps in Austria’s Arlberg region, one of the snowiest areas on the continent, St Anton boasts 340km of pistes (suitable for all abilities), 200km of off-piste itineraries and over 55km² of challenging off-piste terrain. With 88 lifts, it’s also probably the most efficient resort on the continent too. But it’s not all about the ski here, the town itself is always bustling thanks to chic chalets, high-end restaurants, and infamous bars such as MooserWirt and Krazy Kanguruh.

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Val d’Isère, France

Season: November – May
Best Time to Go: February

Val d’Isère attracts more Brits to its slopes than anywhere else in the world. And though proximity may play a role in that, it’s not hard to see why. Val d’Isère has both the terrain and the town to make it essentially the ideal ski resort. Linked to the also superb Tignes, Val d’Isère has a ski area of 300km of pistes, offering high quality slopes for everyone from complete novice to veteran powderhound. It’s also famed for its abundance of snow meaning ski season can run from the end of November into the first week of May. Its raucous on-the-mountain après is perfect for the younger ski-goers out there!

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Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada

Season: November – May
Best Time to Go: February/March

Though it may often get overlooked by those in Europe, North America shouldn’t be forgotten when it comes to slopes. And one of the best on the continent is Whistler-Blackcomb. Winner of numerous awards for ‘Best Resort in the World’, the biggest ski area in North America is epic in every sense with the largest network of high-speed chairlifts in the world. Another resort ideal for all abilities and experiences, Whistler-Blackcomb is located inland from Vancouver, meaning it gets hit by Pacific storms all winter. This means the snow isn’t as dry as some of the interior British Colombian resorts, but it is abundant and better than most of the snow we get in Europe. Whistler is also ideal for those who fancy activities other than skiing with outdoor zip-wire adventure courses, snowmobile and dog-sled excursions, and a number of relaxing spas all on site.

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Åre, Sweden

Season: December – May
Best Time to Go: March/April

The Alps may get the crowds, but we’d highly recommend Scandinavia for skiing if you want a change of pace. And if anywhere encapsulates the Nordic ski experience, it’s Sweden’s Åre. Set on a picturesque lake, Åre is much mellower than the party towns of Tignes and Val d’Isère, with sunlight often at a premium. Depending on when you go, the sun can set as early as 3pm, but that does mean there’s plenty of leisure time for things other than skiing, such as husky sledding, snowmobiling across frozen lakes, reindeer feeding, and Northern Light hunting! There’s also world-class food nearby in Fäviken, a remote two-Michelin-starred restaurant where ingredients are foraged and hunted close-by.

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Alyeska, Alaska, USA

Season: December – April
Best Time to Go: January/February

Anyone who’s all about riding the powder will probably have Alaska at the top of their bucket list. And if you want to ski here, there aren’t many better options than the resort of Alyeska. Renowned for its steep lines, Alyeska Resort has a 33-year average snowfall of over 16 metres, which is more than enough to keep the pistes in pristine condition all season. Intermediate skiiers and beginners are well looked after, but veterans will love the mountain’s openness and wide exposed faces. There’s also scope for dog sledding, snowmobiling, flightseeing, ice climbing, and snowshoeing.

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Verbier, Switzerland

Season: November – May
Best Time to Go: March

Thanks to the perfect combo of sun, nightlife and natural beauty, Verbier has long been Switzerland’s most popular ski resort among the younger clientele. Nearly 100 lifts access more than 400km of snow-sure runs – perfect for all abilities – as well as some of the best lift-served off piste in the whole of the Alps. The nightlife may attract the skis, but we love Verbier for its spectacular scenery with views from the top of the ski area on Mont Fort reaching as far as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.

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Zaō Onsen, Japan

Season: November – May
Best Time to Go: January/February

Though it’s probably never been a consideration, take it from us that Japan has some of the best runs in the world. But if you’re going to put in the effort to organise a ski trip to Nippon, you may as well get an experience you simply can’t find anywhere else. And really, that leaves you with one option – Zaō Onsen. The terrain doesn’t get much more unique than that on offer at Zaō Onsen Ski Resort, which is one of the few places in the country where juhyo (aka ice trees) can be seen and subsequently skied between. These other-worldly trees take on bizarre shapes thanks to heavy snowfall and freezing winds, creating one of the most incredible slope experiences anywhere on the planet. Zaō Onsen is also home to some of Japan’s finest hot spring baths – perfect after a day freezing on the piste!

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Courchevel, France

Season: November – May
Best Time to Go: February

Courchevel has long been considered the pinnacle of Alpine luxury. Coming complete with an altiport for private jets and helicopters right in the middle of the slopes, and a local Spar shop which sells lobster and langoustine, this picturesque French town is certainly one at the higher end of things. But its opulence shouldn’t detract from the 600km of pistes that make up Les Trois Vallées. Courchevel usually offers the best snow out of all the resorts in the area and it doesn’t discriminate against beginners either. Outside of skiing, there are no less than 11 Michelin-star restaurants, 15 luxury spas, and a plethora of mountain-side, après-ski venues. In February, the valley is also lit up by the annual International Festival of Pyrotechnic Art – otherwise known as ‘fireworks’ to us mere peasants!

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If you need more travel inspirations, check out our 7 Landscape Lovers You Need to Follow on Instagram.

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