The best skiing destinations
Skiing in Europe
Serious skiers are no strangers to Three Valleys in the French Alps, a 600km network of resorts that cater to all abilities. The largest skiing region in the world offers an unrivalled variety of landscapes and state of the art grooming to ensure pistes are always in pristine condition. Head to Courcheval, the largest of them all, to sample the slopes in what some people call the skiing capital of the world.
If you’re looking for cheaper options, Bulgaria should be on your shortlist. The Balkan state has three resorts south of the capital Sofia; Borovets, Bansko and Pamporovo. The mountains may not be the steepest or largest, but they’re perfect for beginners and incredibly affordable too. Expect quality conditions in both countries from the beginning of December until the end of April.
Skiing in North America
Top notch skiing can be found in almost every corner of North America. From Jay Peak Resort, Vermont, in the east where Quebeckers from French speaking Canada give the destination a continental feel, to Whistler Blackcomb in Canada’s western state of British Columbia, the largest ski resort in North America is home to 8,000 acres of varied terrain and more than 200 marked trails.
Colorado in the heart of the country offers some of the best slopes of them all, where world famous resorts like Aspen and Vail draw in the big crowds. If you’re looking for an experience off the beaten piste, Steamboat Springs is well known for its ‘champagne powder’ dry, light snow and Telluride’s location, six hours from Denver, means queues for ski lifts are relatively stress-free. The resort sits in a canyon surrounded by the peaks of the San Juan Mountains for jaw-dropping views in all directions.
Book your flight to North America between late November to early April for the best of the continent’s snow.
Skiing in Asia
Asia may not be the first place you think of when booking a skiing holiday but overlooking the continent could be a move you later regret. Niseko in Japan delivers some of the best skiing conditions, with more than 15 metres of snow falling in a typical season. Hakuba to the south is made up of 10 ski resorts, 138 lifts and held the Winter Olympic Games back in 1998, a solid choice for skiers of all abilities. Alternatively, Furano is a quieter resort, perfect for families looking for a more relaxed atmosphere.
For slopes in nearby China, nowhere is more famous than Yabuli, the largest ski resort in the country is made up of 47 runs with the majority suitable for intermediate skiers. Nanshan is a 45-minute journey from Beijing and offers ice skating, ice climbing and even a snowboarding theme park that’s perfect for entertaining children. To get the best of the snow on your Asian ski holiday, book your tickets between mid-December to early April.
How much does a skiing holiday cost?
Before you book your flight it’s worth looking at the average cost of skiing holidays across the different continents. You’ll need to consider your plane ticket, transfers, accommodation and equipment rental, and that’s before you’ve factored in lift passes and lessons, never mind your après ski fun.
Thankfully, there are ski resorts to suit a range of budgets in each region but there are some general trends to look out for. Lift passes are usually more expensive in America than Europe but accommodation in France and Switzerland can be significantly pricier compared to resorts in Asia. The best advice is to write down everything you need and compare costs before buying your flights.
Make sure you’ve changed cash for the slopes with M&S Travel Money.