When you imagine luxurious travel experiences there’s a decent chance a ski resort vacation comes to mind. Picture hotels filled with jet-setting guests in from around the world. Perhaps there’s a hearty fire, a bottle of Champaign, and a spread of cheese. Snow falls gently as Alpine cabins radiate a warm glow, protecting those inside from cold mountain winds. Infectious smiles adorn children eagerly awaiting their first chairlift ride. Trendy cafes offer up tasty drinks as chefs hurriedly prepare kitchens for the evening dinner rush. Where exactly are those places epitomizing this ideal? We got it into our heads to look around the world and bring you a sample of ski resort destinations offering the best in their respective regions. Whether it’s Canada or Chile, Austria or Japan, these are Trip.com’s top places to hit the slopes.
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Whistler, British Colombia, Canada
Courchevel, Savoie, France
Breckenridge, Colorado, USA
Nevados de Chillán, Bío Bío Region, Chile
Less than two hours north of Vancouver is a truly magical destination in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort is the stuff of legend. Having hosted many of the Alpine events during the 2010 Winter Olympics, the region is a veritable winter sports paradise. As an added bonus, the infrastructure and entertainment venues that served the games have helped Whistler transform into a place even non-skiers mightily enjoy. Find accommodations at one of the many hotels or establishments in town and head out to explore. If you’re interested in museums, we recommend Whistler Museum, which houses exhibits on the town’s history and has a focus on the 2010 games. Also visit the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre where you can learn about the First Nations peoples who inhabited the lands in and around Whistler. Audain Art Museum houses a diverse collection in a lovely building dominated by wood architecture. A bit outside of town is Whistler Olympic Park. There you can enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and more. Try your hand at biathlon and see if you have the skills to combine speed on your skis with a steady aim of your rifle. For some great relaxation, visit Scandinave Spa before enjoying a romantic dinner at one of Whistler’s many upscale restaurants. When all is said and done, we think Whistler holds its own as one of the world’s top ski resort destinations.
Japan’s northern Hokkaido Island is a world-renowned ski destination. Climate conditions make for excellent powder and quite a few Japanese people are absolute ski fanatics. Pair this with spectacular mountainous terrain and you’ve got the recipe for a great resort vacation. Niseko is by many accounts Japan’s top ski resort and we wholeheartedly agree. International visitors know this is place to go. Set in the shadow of the now dormant Mount Yotei, it takes about two hours to reach Niseko from Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital and largest city. If you’re coming up from Tokyo, you will likely first stop in Sapporo, which is also well worth a look around. After you get to Niseko you’ll have your choice of several outstanding resorts. The entire area is basically one big ski paradise. Explore near countless trails as well as backcountry and terrain. Check out the Niseko Annupuri Kokusai Ski Area or the Niseko Mt. Resort Grand Hirafu. Both are well equipped and have numerous instructors and other resources for beginners. If you need a break from the snow, you can’t go wrong at one of the local hot springs or onsen. Goshiki Onsen has several outdoor pools with outstanding views. When you’re soaking in the hot water as steam rises through frosty mountain air, you’ll know you’ve found one of the world’s top ski resort destinations.
When it comes to Alpine skiing it’s hard to top France. Among that country’s plethora of great resorts, Courchevel stands out. Part of the s0-called Three Valleys region (Les Trois Vallées in French), Courchevel is ideally located in the world’s largest ski area. The slopes cover a staggering 450 kilometers and are served by over 180 ski lifts. Lyon, just over 200 kilometers to the east is your gateway to the region. Myriad small Alpine villages line the route. Moûtiers is the closest town with a rail link and Chambéry is the nearest city. Once you get to the ski area, you’ll find the roads swiftly become an ascending series of switchbacks. There are in fact several Courchevel towns, each designated by an altitude. Courchevel 1850 is where the main resort is located. Narrow streets and quaint Alpine construction dominates. Spend time wandering town exploring the various businesses and eateries. Tour companies are plentiful so you won’t have trouble finding an organized outing or combined resort package. Lifts ferry you from the village to various slopes in a seemingly endless series of gondolas. To truly get a sense for how expansive the Three Valleys are, don’t just limit yourself to Courchevel. Branching out will afford you more excellent sightseeing opportunities. Courchevel is scheduled to host the 2023 Alpine Ski World Championships so now is a great time to go and get the lay of the land at one of the world’s top ski resort destinations.
Tenmile Range in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is home to Breckenridge, a town long associated with ski culture. Closely integrated with the surrounding resorts, there is a wealth of things to do both on and off the slopes. Go from iconic Main Street to the ski lifts in no time at all. While you’re exploring, visit Summit Ski Museum to learn about the town’s history. The museum showcases early equipment worm by local winter sports pioneers. Barney Ford House Museum is also a great stop. This preserved period home from the 1880s was where renowned entrepreneur and civil rights leader Barney Ford lived. Art lovers should pay a visit to Breckenridge Galley, which has an eclectic collection of Western-themed works on display. Catch a film at the Speakeasy Movie Theater or a play at Breckenridge Theater. Kids will enjoy Mountain Top Children's Museum where they can dress up and explore various themed activities. As an iconic small town, shopping and dining options are abundant throughout the city center. Spend time wandering through the many local businesses and visiting popular coffee houses. The culture and atmosphere here are great. Take a run or two and then head into town for some fun at one the world’s top ski resort destinations.
Nevados de Chillán, Bío Bío Region, Chile
South America’s top mountain ski resort lives up to its reputation. Set near one of the world’s most active volcanic areas, the peaks here are highly regarded. Sustained investment has helped the region bloom into a tourist destination with high quality amenities like hotels, hot springs, and indoor recreational facilities. Arriving is best accomplished from Chillán city, which itself is roughly 100 kilometers east from the regional capital Concepción. Once you get to the mountains make a point to appreciate the sunning Andes scenery, arguably among the most majestic ranges in the world. Visit Valle Hermoso and soak away your worries in gorgeous natural thermal pools. Heated by deep reservoirs of volcanic energy, the springs are the perfect addition to a mountain retreat. When the pine trees display their fresh white coverings and the air hangs thick with winter’s chill, you’ll know you’re in the heart of ski country. After some time in a thermal pool, head in for a lovely spa treatment complete with mud baths, whirlpools, and epic relaxation. A full range of massage therapies are available in Valle Hermoso, making it the ideal stop after a demanding day on the slopes. Take your time exploring the trails or enjoying snow tubing and sledding. With the range of great activities on offer, it’s no secret why Nevados de Chillán is so highly regarded. We’re sure you’ll agree this is among the top ski resort destinations anywhere in the world.
Utah is one of those destinations with year-round appeal. Incredible climate and beautiful landscapes help make it one of the best destinations in all North America for outdoor adventure. If you’re any sort of a ski fanatic there’s an excellent chance you’ve been to Park City. Located just over 50 kilometers east of Salt Lake City, the area is home to multiple ski resorts including Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort. Both featured in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic alpine and snowboarding events. People regularly flock here from around the world to test themselves on some of the best runs. What many might not realize, however, is that Park City offers a tremendous number of opportunities to non-skiers. For starters, there’s Park City Main Street Historic District with its many excellent examples of modern architecture. Historic Main Street overflows with great shops and cafes. Visit the interactive Park City Museum and stop in at the Meyer Gallery, which houses modern and abstract works in a historic former bank building. Then of course there’s also the world-famous Sundance Film Festival when Park City transforms into the epicenter of the film world for two weeks smackdab in the middle of ski season. With so much to do, everyone falls in love with Park City. It’s much more than just a ski resort town, it’s one of the world’s top ski resort destinations.
Tucked away in the Austrian Alps is the fashionable town of Kitzbuhel. From October to May, Kitzbuhel attracts visitors from around the world. The slopes here regularly host important events on the World Cup ski race calendar. These include the annual Hahnenkamm race, typically held in mid to late January. Super-G, downhill, and slalom events are all highly popular and attract large crowds as well as TV audiences. In Kitzbuhel you can delight amongst the brightly painted buildings common to many parts of Austria and southern Germany. Trendy shops exist alongside great restaurants and make it easy to enjoy time spent off the slopes. Several ski lifts go right into town and make it a cinch to get up into the mountains. Once you’re there you can test your skills on over 168 kilometers of slopes and some of the world’s best ski runs. Visit Sportpark Kitzbuhel to enjoy a range of other great recreational activities including tennis, ice hockey, curling, climbing, bowling, and more. For sightseeing, explore the various churches with their decorative art works. Liebfrauenkirche dates to the 14th century and offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains. Between Kitzbuhel itself and the surrounding villages, there are near limitless possibilities for great skiing and winter sports events. When it comes to true Alpine adventure, it’s hard to go wrong in Austria, which is why we think Kitzbuhel is clearly one of the world’s best ski resort destinations.
Situated on the Boite River just over 150 kilometers north of Venice is Cortina d'Ampezzo. Long a favored destination for posh European elites, Cortina sits within the Dolomiti Superski region. The impressive area stretches across a number of nearby peaks, which are together recognized as part of UNESCO’s Dolomites World Heritage Site. The area offers great outdoor adventure beyond the downhill slopes. Cross country trails and snowshoeing excursions are quite popular. The stunning natural landscapes on offer help make this a truly breathtaking destination. Explore a lovely Italian mountain village in Cortina. The collection of establishments there include fine art galleries and museums. Visit the Rinaldo Zardini Paleontology Museum, the Mario Rimoldi Modern Art Museum, or the Regole of Ampezzo Ethnographic Museum. Administered by the regional authority, the museums all have fascinating collections that will appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in their subject matter. The Basilica Minore dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo is a lovely 18th century Roman Catholic Church designed in a Baroque style. Fans of the James Bond film franchise will want to visit Miramonti Majestic Grand Hotel, which featured onscreen in the 1981 hit with Roger Moore, For Your Eyes Only. Having long attracted many wealthy and well-connected visitors, Cortina d'Ampezzo is a luxury ski resort par excellence. When traveling here it’s easy to understand why this is simply one of the world’s top ski resort destinations.
For some people the most important part of a ski vacation is access to high-quality runs. Other wants great off-piste terrain or backcountry adventure. Still others crave the classic ski town appeal with its attractive buildings, friendly shops, and tons of Old World charm. Fortunately we’ve scoured around to find something for everything. There’s amazing luxury to be sure, but we’ve also spread out our search gaze to find places with remarkable attraction even to non-skiers. We know you’re going to enjoy finding the destination that’s right for you. When planning your ultimate ski adventure, make sure you check all the boxes. We’ve done that and more to bring you what we think are the simply the best ski resorts anywhere in the world. These are Trip.com’s top ski resort destinations.