So you’re all pumped up about this coming winter. Gloves, checked. Heat tech clothes, checked. Moisturisers, checked. You can’t wait to be bundled up in the snow, sipping hot chocolate with marshmallow, jumping around to keep warm and doing one awesome thing most people do during winter – SKIING.
Now, where in the world would be the best places to ski? Fret not, we have our ultimate list of places for you to consider.
This list is good for those searching for a place to go skiing for the first time or for a change of environment if you think the ski town you went last year is, well, so last year.
1. Girdwood, Alaska (USA)
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Imagine having an entire snow-filled playground all to yourself. That can only happen in Girdwood, a small town situated in the largest state of USA, Alaska. It is the number one place for skiing in the National Geographic list so that speaks volumes.
Situated about 63km away from its international airport, the little town of Girdwood has a small population of about 2,000. The best time to visit would be in March as there will be an average of 12 hours of daylight.
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The recommended stay in Girdwood would be Alyeska Hotel which houses 303 rooms. It is the largest ski area in Alaska and has six lifts, two magic carpets, and a 60-person tram that climbs the mountain’s steep north face with views to the ocean. For those on a budget, check out Alyeska Hostel nearby.
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Switzerland has long been the choice for the rich and the famous to spend their winter vacations to a point that it has attained a certain regal status as the ultimate ski town. You can find some of the most varied terrain, from easy slopes for beginners and challenging routes that could excite the most experienced skiers.
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The country is indeed not what you would categorise as an affordable place to have a skiing holiday but the good news is that there are plenty of options when it comes to ski resorts in Switzerland, so you might just find something that you want
and cansplurge on.
While the more famous skiing resorts in Switzerland are the likes of Zermatt (which operates the highest lift in
Europe), Verbier, and St Moritz, there are other lesser known resorts that you can consider such as Andermatt, Arosa-Lenzerheide, Laax, Villars and Nendaz.
3. Hokkaido, Japan
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Hokkaido is so synonymous with winter that it cannot be missed in this list. There are plenty of reasons why Hokkaido is our ultimate winter destination.
The island receives consistent snow throughout the winter season with some fine quality snow. There are several resorts you can choose from the famous areas for skiing in Niseko, Rusutsu and Furano.
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While it can get pretty busy during peak season, you can try skiing on weekdays for lesser crowd.
4. South Korea
Credit: Byoung Wook - Toughkid Kim on Flickr
The country is considered young in the winter sports industry with its oldest ski resort only opened to public in 1975. But what they lack in years, they caught up in technology. South Korea has some state-of-the-art ski resorts combining high-tech amusement parks and alfresco nightclubs on snow.
Credit: Byoung Wook - Toughkid Kim on FlickrKorean TV series Winter Sonata fans would be happy to know that the ski resort featured in the drama is Phoenix Park Ski Resort located at Pyeongchang in Gangwon. The resort
has 17 slopes, including 4 that are approved by the International Ski Federation. A popular slope is known as the Panorama Slope that runs for about 2.2km.
The resort has 8 ski lifts, modern gondolas and six conveyer belts transport visitors around the park quickly and efficiently.
5. The Himalaya
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Right in Asia is the Himalaya, a range of mountains which houses the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. It is spread over five countries, Bhutan, India, Nepal, China and Pakistan and exceeds 7,200 metres in elevation.
Conquering the Himalaya is not easy and skiing there is no ordinary feat as it is one of the highest altitudes you can experience. The terrain is challenging to tackle so if you are a beginner, you might want to skip this place. It is said that skiing in Kashmir is for advanced off-piste skiers only so do be realistic with your skills and expectations!
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The best time to travel to the Himalaya for your skiing experience is from mid-December to mid-May and the season peaks between February and March.
6. Queenstown, New Zealand
Credit: Andrew Sweeney on FlickrThe picturesque New Zealand is not to be missed when it comes to skiing. At every turn, New
Zealand looks like something out of a postcard. But more than just the picturesque quality, the mountain slopes are excellent training ground for professional skiers and Olympic athletes.
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Queenstown and Lake Wanaka are the two places you can go for skiing from late June or early July through September. Mount Ruapehu is also another go-to place for skiing. And just another trivia, Mount Ruapehu represented Mount Doom in Lord of the Ring film trilogy!
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As one of the premier European destinations for skiing, the French Alps offers the best variety in ski resorts. Due to its location, the place is a favourite for British skiers and snowboarders, as well as other nationalities all around the world.
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The world class facilities in the mountains of France are one of its best attractions. The gentle slopes in Courchevel are suitable for beginners while intermediate skiiers can move on to Serre Chevalier.
Those who are advanced can head on to Val d'Isère, which is actually filled with intermediates eager to test their skills and make their mark.
Credit: Ski China on FlickrThe international crowd probably did not see this country as
a ski sports destination, but China is an emerging venue especially after its triumphant bid to become the host of 2022 Winter Olympics.
The number one spot to ski in China is Yabuli, which is touted as the best and largest ski resort in the country. The season starts from mid-November until late March. The snow in Yabuli is said to be neither too hard nor too soft, making it suitable for skiers of all levels.
One hurdle with skiing in China is that it might be hard to find English-speaking staff to assist you, so if you don’t speak Mandarin, it is probably better to stick to a tour group instead of venturing alone.
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If you don’t fancy conquering the slopes, China also hosts Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, which is similar to Japan’s famous Sapporo Snow Festival.
Credit: Ross Parker on Flickr
Austria ranks as one of the best known ski destinations in the world and it is for a good reason. It is said to be on the cheaper side of its European siblings and the truth is, you’ll spend most of your dime on food and drink here.
Credit: Massmo Relsig on FlickrAustria has
stunning slopes and the Germans flock to Austria for their much deserved winter vacations. If you’re a nervous beginner, escape the crowd and head to Westerndorf. Filzmoos and Ellmau are ideal for families as it has nursery slopes and snowboard schools for the young ones to try their hands at skiing. In the meantime, you’ll find experienced skiers conquering the most challenging and tough runs in Austria at Galtur.
For those who aren’t keen on skiing, the holiday village of Igls offers shopping and sightseeing just a tram ride away from the city Innsbruck. Igls takes you away from skiing with its restaurant, clear pathway for a wintery stroll, and breath-taking view of the village.
Credit: Roderick Eime on Flickr
In a country where the sun shines brightly and the seasons are opposite to those in northern hemisphere, you might forget that there is still snow in Australia. It may not have legendary skiing status like ski places in Europe but Australia has a long history in skiing that started in 1861 in Kiandra, New South Wales.
Credit: Roderick Eime on FlickrAustralia is a destination to consider given its location, which is considered near to South East Asia (hello SEA peeps!). There
are three main states you can head to for your skiing holiday which are New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. In New South Wales, Thredbo and Perisher are two popular ski resorts to choose from.
The skiing season in Australia is between June to September or early October.
Skiing can be a daunting experience especially if you don’t know what to expect. But judging from the speed, it sure looks exhilarating. Now that we have listed these 10 places for skiing, all you have to do is take that leap of faith and conquer the slopes!
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