When it comes to vacation time some like it hot and some like it cold, and when it comes to skiing and snowboarding around the world it’s the cold places that are required. Dramatic snowy peaks gild mountain slopes that are perfectly primed for some winter sports action and the choice today spans numerous resorts around the world. So where to get some of the best action? Here’s a guide to the best five resorts.
Midway between Montreux and Interlaken, this Swiss ski resort is a magnet for skiers and snowboarders and it’s also a popular destination for international celebrities. Its 220km of pistes reach heights of up to 3000 meters above sea level, and with several snow parks and a number of toboggan runs, not to mention over 150 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails, the resort offers everything the winter sports enthusiast could ask for. Gourmet restaurants, world-class shopping and luxury hotels await for après-ski relaxation.
The majestic Rocky Mountains form the backdrop to this Canadian resort in British Columbia. Considered by many experts to be the best skiing in North America, huge vertical drops make skiing and boarding here an experience to remember. The Whistler Blackcomb resort sprawls over 8,100 acres, and if skiing and boarding need to take a back seat there are plenty of other activities such as zip lining and snowshoeing to take part in. An outstanding mix of cuisines is available in the restaurants and there is plenty of shopping in international stores.
Colorado’s premier resort is the United States’ largest single ski area with around 5,300 acres of terrain that is skiable. Offering pistes for the beginner to the highly experienced, ski lessons and equipment hire, this is a great resort for all levels of skill and experience. Vail also has more to offer its visitors: High-speed detachable quads are not for the fainthearted but are an exhilarating way to come down the mountain, and other activities include snowmobiling and ice skating. For the artistic at heart there are museums and art galleries to provide a break from the pistes.
In the heart of the Austrian Tyrol, Kitzbuhel is considered to be the “Pearl of the Alps”. The village itself is 700 years old and leisure skiing started there in 1892. With some 170 kilometers of slopes reached by a fleet of modern gondolas and lifts, the resort offers snowboarding fun parks and cross country ski trails to add to the off piste excitement.
Beneath the towering, iconic Matterhorn, this Swiss resort gets huge snowfalls making it an immensely popular destination. Completely car-free it has the world’s second biggest vertical drop served by lift – a challenge for any skier.
Good quality equipment and clothing are an essential part of any skier or boarder’s enjoyment of a winter sports vacation. Boots should fit well and ski suits should keep the cold out but allow perspiration to escape. Ski helmets are also a sensible purchase; safety first but it’s not the only reason to wear one – it also keeps the head nice and warm.