It’s that time of year where the cold and dark mornings creep up on us and we dust off our winter coats, dig out those hats and scarves and get ready for winter. Ahh, though we will miss you sunshine there is plenty to look forward to in the upcoming winter months. One of our favourite activities for winter is of course skiing and snowboarding.
Use the cold weather to your advantage. It really is such an amazing experience. Of course the best places to go depend on various factors and your own personal preference. Some prefer a quieter resort with untouched routes, for others child friendly resorts and the variety of entertainment are more important.
For great tips PowderHounds have put together a great list of popular resorts with a clever ranking of 1 to 5 on various factors to help you choose.
Here are some of our personal favourites on the best places to go when hitting the slopes.
Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
Being based in Vancouver, we may be a little biased here but Whistler really is notoriously known as one of the biggest and best ski destinations in the world. In 2008 the resort entered the Guinness Book of World Records with the construction of the Peak 2 Peak gondola which linked the two mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb.
Due to its size it is best known for its variety including gentle slopes to tumbling glaciers, steep alpine bowls and jagged peaks, it has it all. As such it is ideal for all levels of expertise making it the perfect destination for families.
Beginning as a locals mountain somewhat 20 years ago, it is loved for maintaining its European attractions offering Belgian waffles on mountaintops and pitches of margaritas. In Whistler Village there is also plenty of activity around for when you are finished on the slopes including a variety of restaurants and bars, cute boutique shops, spa retreats, live concerts and beautiful forests.
It is also popular for its longer season running from mid November through to May with a reliable average snowfall of around 12m.
The Whistler Insider gives some great tips for your trip from what to wear and where to go.
For accommodation we love Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, known as Whistler’s best address. It is ideally located in the heart of the pedestrian-only Whistler Village and the closest you can get to both the Whistler and Blackcomb gondolas. This boutique hotel offers an intimate ambience with beautiful suites offering spectacular views.
Chamonix and Chamonix Valley are located in south-eastern France in the French Alps. Chamonix is best known to the thrill seekers of the skiing and snowboarding community with its off-piste terrain and epic descents. The most famous, Vallée Blanche descent (20km), is a must for those who love those steep longer runs. Accessed from Aiguille du Midi on the world highest vertical cable car it is not for the faint hearted.
For additional long vertical routes with the best snow quality you can venture further up the valley from Chamonix, to The Grand Montets ski area. Spread over 3 slopes the Argentière glacier, Lognan and the Pendant you will be in the heart of the mountains.
Not quite up to expert levels yet? Or traveling with friends/family of various expertise levels? Fear not. Chamonix also offers a softer side with more conventional ski areas and varied routes in the valley. There also offer exclusive slopes for novices: La Vormaine, Les Chosalets, Le Savoy and Les Planards.
Outside of skiing you can also take advantage of the many restaurants and bars on offer and enjoy some of that famous wine and food.
Looking for somewhere to stay? We love The Mercure Chamonix les Bossons for that relaxing stay where you can unwind in front of an open fire and enjoy the heated pool after a long day on the slopes.
Located southwest of Sapporo on Japan’s northern Hokkaido Island is Niseko. The area is known for having the most snowfall over any other resort in the world, leaving plenty of enticing off-piste terrain and powder for us ski lovers.
For traveling with family this is probably our favourite resort as it offers plenty of trails for beginners and families making it accommodating for all levels. For those wanting something more challenging you can also take advantage of the resorts extensive off-trail skiing, accessed through special gates or by participating in a guided tour. Niseko is also known over other Japanese ski resorts for its combination of both alpine and tree skiing.
As part of your trip to the village enjoy some of the lively bars, restaurants, and karaoke spots on offer. If you want to explore further Niseko is also a great base to explore nearby ski resorts and back-country areas.
For accommodation we love Shiki Niseko, offering spectacular views located in Kutchan it is close to Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu and Niseko Higashiyama Ski Area.
Park City, Utah, USA
In 2015 Park City Utah ski resort was inter-connected with the Canyons resort via a gondola to form the huge resort we know and love today. Now combined, the resort offers 7,300 acres of terrain and over 300 marked trails. As an all-rounder the area is huge and the snow quality is perfect but Park City is best suited for families and those of an intermediate level, though there are also options for those advanced riders.
The resort is also known for its amazing infrastructure offering some of the best lift systems as well as the terrain parks where you can unwind while you watch some of the pros in action.
If you’re looking to explore further you can also access Deer Valley (for skiers only) as well as other Utah resorts easily. Outside of skiing the town is known for its shopping variety and restaurants to suit all tastes. For the party goers Park City also has more nightlife than any other ski resort in Utah.
The area is known for its pricy accommodation. If you are looking for a cheaper resort without giving up on luxury we love The Grand Summit Hotel which is in the heart of the mountains and minutes from Canyons Resort and Red Pine Adventures.
Picture 1: https://pxhere.com
Picture 2: https://c1.staticflickr.com
Picture 3: https://www.chamonix.net
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Picture 5: https://c1.staticflickr.com