By Leia Sharma
It’s not yet time, but as Game of Thrones teaches us, there’s no harm in being prepared for a winter. So when winter comes, you’ll be ready to choose the right ski resort to retreat to. Whether you want to go solo, take your partner or head to a family-friendly resort, with options both in Europe as well as North America, this guide has you covered.
An upmarket resort and is an absolute must-visit for foodies (five restaurants here boast Michelin stars), Courchevel suits beginners as well as experts. Courchevel 1850 is the prestigious place to stay, the favourite of affluent Russians and Parisians, and is home to swanky hotels and luxury chalets.
Known for its wild expert terrain, St Anton is frequently rated among the top five resorts in the Alps. Located in the Tyrolean Alps in Arlberg, Austria, one of the snowiest regions in Europe, St Anton offers a challenging off-piste terrain. The region, given its role in inventing the sport, is often called the “cradle of alpine skiing.” After you ski, you can relax in one of their stylish hotels, walk around the pretty town, and head to the famous Crazy Kanguruh and MooserWirt bars.
Val d’Isère, France
A favorite of the Brits, Val d’Isère is nestled in the French Alps, near the Italian border. The slopes here are perfect for complete beginners as well as experienced skiers. Ski season lasts from November to May – quite a long stretch compared to other resorts – and après ski can be enjoyed on the mountain.
If you are looking for a resort to travel to with your whole family, look no further than Morzine in the French Alps, close to the Swiss border. Apart from skiing, you can also indulge in snowboarding, ice-diving beneath a lake, snow-mobiling, nature discovery tours, snowshoeing, tobogganing, swimming, ice-skating, and shopping. After skiing, head to the Route de la Plagne in the village for restaurants and bars.
If you are looking for one of the world’s best ski areas but don’t want to shell out Swiss prices, head to Cervinia, where you can explore Zermatt which is across the border in Switzerland. Located in the Valle d’Aosta region of northwest Italy, Cervinia is known for its snow-capped mountains, including Matterhorn.
Fancy going to a ski resort which has hosted many of the world’s rich and famous? Head over to Lech whose patrons have included Princess Diana, the Jordan royal family, the Dutch royal family, and Princess Caroline of Monaco. With 305 kilometres of adventurous ski slopes, Lech is a must-visit for enthusiastic skiers.
Located east of Vancouver and west of Calgary, Revelstoke is a city in British Columbia. Boasting steep and open powder faces, long pistes, dog sledding, snowshoeing, paragliding, tree skiing, Helicopter and Cat Ski, Revelstoke is a skier’s paradise. The town is small and packed with bars and restaurants (albeit a limited choice of accommodation).
While most of Europe’s ski season closes before May, Riksgransen is open well into June. Located in Lappland, 200 meters north of the Arctic Circle, the ski season in Riksgransen stretches from February to June. However, the best time to visit is in April or May, when the long days allow you to ski under the midnight sun. Set in true wilderness, be vigilant because you may just bump into a few reindeer while you ski!
Along with Verbier, Zermatt is one of Switzerland’s top ski resorts. This mountain resort is renowned for skiing, climbing, and hiking. Nestled under the pyramid-shaped Matterhorn peak (which you may recognise from Toblerone chocolates!), the town has a lively après-ski scene. When you have finished skiing, visit the main street of Bahnofstrasse for shopping and eating, or work off that fondue at the outdoor ice-skating rinks.