Discover a few new ski resorts and where to holiday next
– Contributing author
While every skier is seeking similar things from their mountain endeavors, their powder preferences are as widely varied as other’s preferred pizza toppings. Some prefer alpine conditions, others want access to racing, or obstacles like moguls. Some just want slopes that are less crowded or in more remote locations without the big drive.
According to the latest statistics, the U.S. sees the highest number of skier visits of any single country per season at nearly 55 million, but France is not far behind. Austria, Japan, Switzerland, Italy and Canada are just a few of the other popular places to hit the slopes, but where can you find some of the very best slopes in the world?
Banff, Alberta, Canada
For expert skiers who live in Edmonton an want to be surrounded by breathtaking views while enjoying challenging thrills, there are few better places to hit the slopes than Banff. There are three ski areas that can be reached within 50 minutes, and all skied with only a single ticket.
Sunshine Village in particular offers heart-pounded rugged terrain like Delirium Dive. In this off-piste area are 55-gradient chutes, unstable snow and hidden rocks – skiers are required to bring avalanche gear and at least one other person along. After a day of play, the town itself is home to hot springs where you can soothe those sore muscles and get ready to do it all over again the next day.
Alyeska is Alaska’s only ski resort. The state is well known for its extreme skiing, accessed by helicopter and snowmobile, but nestled near the city of Anchorage, next to the small mountain town of Girdwood, is the resort of Alyeska. The north face is particularly worth a mention – a mixture of trees and alpine. Stay in the Hotel Alyeska and take the tram up the top from the lobby! You can even steal a few days of heli-skiing or cat skiing right from the hotel coffee shop. For reals!
The slopes of Telluride Ski Resort dip almost right into the historic mining town of Telluride. One of the country’s most stunning destinations, the resort itself offers fantastic skiing for beginners and experts alike, with its expert terrain offering everything from bumpy technical to deep and wide open. For some extreme drops, hike up Palmyra Peak, although you may want to make out your will first. Beginners should head to the Sunshine Lift where there are wide meandering blue and green runs that are typically less crowded.
Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Chamonix, France
One of the most legendary ski areas on the planet, this is the place where expert skiers and boarders can turn fantasy into reality. Located near the junction of Italy, Switzerland and France at the base of Mont Blanc, the Alps highest summit, it hosted the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924 and is widely considered to be the birthplace for alpine skiing. Known the world over for its off-piste powder and steep, challenging runs coupled with spectacular mountain scenery, its 12-mile Valley Balance is Europe’s longest high off-piste run.
Las Lenas, Argentina
Deep in the Andes, located in the western wine region of the Mendoza Province, sits an extreme skiing mecca called Las Lenas. Its famous Marte chair is regularly voted the greatest chairlift in the world alongside Squaw Valley’s K2 chair. As it pops you on top of around 3,000 feet of untracked, untouched powder and provides access to some phenomenal backcountry touring terrain. Be prepared to be on Argentina time, sometimes things will go smooth and sometimes you won’t know if the chairs are running or not!
Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Squaw Valley, California
Squaw Valley offers something for everyone making it ideal for families and groups of friends made up of skiers with different experience levels. It’s especially popular for those who are looking for a challenge, including extreme skiers with its ridgeline that features steep bowls, chutes and cliffs. It’s home to the world-famous KT-22 Mountain which traverses 120 vertical feet on a 68-degree pitch, one of the country’s steepest. There are lots of outstanding beginner and intermediate slopes here too, along with a convenient village at the base.
White Mountains, New Hampshire
NH’s White Mountains boast having some of the tallest peaks in North America. While many people think of Vermont when they think of skiing in the northeast, it would not be fair to include the Granite State. The Whites, as they’re known to locals, is home to Bretton Woods, the largest and most upscale ski resort in the state. Olympic champ and New Hampshire native son Bode Miller was once a ski instructor here, taking eager skiers down the resort’s 62 trails that cover more than 464 acres. Skiers can enjoy unmatched mountain views of the summit of Mount Washington, as well as some of the best ski conditions in the Northeast. other nearby ski resorts include the beautiful Loon Mountain, Cannon Mountain, Cranmore Mountain and North Conway and many others. When it’s not ski season, visitors can enjoy taking the Aerial Tramway at Cannon Mountain, or viewing some of Miller’s olympic medals at the New England Ski Museum.