The 30 Best Ski Resorts in the World
Whether hurtling down a mountain is your version of fun or you’re more into it for the après game (no shame), there’s a skiing destination perfect for you and your crew. Here’s our bucket list of the 30 best ski resorts in the world that have a little something for everyone (wine ski safari, anyone?). Hit the slopes.
1. DEER VALLEY (PARK CITY, UTAH)
One trip to Utah’s fluffiest powder and it’ll be easy to understand why Deer Valley was recently named 2019’s Best Ski Resort by the World Ski Awards. Known for being one of the more luxurious ski destinations in the U.S., Deer Valley is also famous for having some of the best lodge-style grub. (Make sure to try the popular turkey chili.) You’ll also have the unique opportunity to hang and ski with Olympians, while guests staying at the St. Regis Deer Valley can bobsled alongside silver medalists. Not bad.
2. WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (CANADA)
Take an exhilarating ride on Whistler Blackcomb’s “Peak 2 Peak” gondola, the only one like it in the world, which connects the summits of this popular Canadian ski resort. Once you’re at the top, grab a cocktail at the all-seasons outdoor bar (thank you, heat lamps) while taking in the region’s incredible vistas full of gorgeous glaciers. Intrepid skiers with a propensity to splurge can even make Whistler one of many stops on the luxury-filled around-the-world tour of ski destinations—including Zermatt, Aspen, Niseko and more—offered by Scott Dunn.
3. VAIL, COLORADO
This Euro-style village is like visiting the Swiss Alps without needing a passport, but its varied back bowls and front-side terrain on the massive Vail Mountain make it a skier’s dream. Lodging news in town for the ’19/’20 season centers on the recently rehabbed Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, which offers a special collaboration with local Colorado ski company Icelantic Skis. Those booking the ski package will get to try out some fresh Icelantic demos during their time on the mountain and enjoy accomodations in a specially outfitted suite complete with Alpine-appropriate decor, art and other fun gear like beanies and hot chocolate mugs that you can use during your stay.
4. STOWE MOUNTAIN (STOWE, VERMONT)
Dubbed “Aspen of the East,” Stowe is a quintessential New England ski town and home to some of the best skiing in the Northeast. After a day on the slopes, head over to the Trapp Family Lodge (yes, those Sound of Music von Trapps) for some locally brewed beers and Austrian-style bites. The health and wellness offerings at nearby Spruce Peak include a spa experience that revolves around a local cider–infused body scrub and a full-body massage. Called the Stowe Cider Uber Scrub, this is one soothing ride you’ll definitely want to take.
5. SAALBACH, AUSTRIA
Maybe under the radar in the U.S., but certainly not in Europe, is Saalbach (pronounced Saul like the name and Bach like the composer). Each year the considerably large ski area is dumped on with fluffy snow that sticks to the roofs of the Austrian-style restaurants, bars, huts and hotels. And while Saalbach is definitely family-friendly, its nightlife—which unlike many ski towns goes very late—is what truly makes it unique. Our recommendation: Look into Goaßstall and the Schwarzacher for a good time.
6. TETON VILLAGE (JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING)
Jackson Hole is a small town filled with little luxuries that hasn’t lost its Wild West roots, and the nearby skiing at the expansive Teton Village offers travelers some of the best vertical height in the U.S. With a high-speed aerial tram that shoots guests up some 4,139 feet, you can enjoy the views at the top even if you’re not a pro skier. Did we mention the brand-new Champagne igloo that just opened at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, and the raclette and fondue situation happening at the on-site restaurant Westbank Grill? Yep, you’re welcome.
7. ASPEN HIGHLANDS (ASPEN, COLORADO)
Each day, the wildest party in Aspen is right on the mountain at Cloud Nine, the popular après-turned-Bagatelle rager where bottles upon bottles of Champagne are willingly sprayed on a dance floor full of ski bums. The slopes at Aspen Highlands are not half bad either, thanks to the double-black runs of Highland Bowl. If you decide to stay in town this year, consider checking in to the new and very stylish W Aspen, the first ski hotel to open for the brand stateside (there’s another in Verbier worth virtually crushing on too).
8. SUN VALLEY, IDAHO
Home of the world’s first chairlift, Sun Valley has stayed lower profile since European and Hollywood royalty first started coming to this resort in the late ’30s, which explains why the town has Euro roots mixed with a Western cowboy feel. With more than 70 runs, stunning surrounding mountain scenery, a 3,400-foot vertical drop and more uphill capacity per skier than any other ski area in the U.S., according to Ski.com, it might seem impossible that you’d ever have to queue up at the lifts. Bonus: Parking at the base of the mountain is free, and this year Sun Valley Resort joined Epic Pass, so you can score even more ski season savings across all of your fave resorts.
9. TELLURIDE, COLORADO
Telluride is a Colorado ski town where you can challenge yourself…and then challenge yourself some more. A known favorite of adrenaline junkies, it’s renowned for heli-skiing, and the Hotel Telluride will even offer a “Two Picks and a Prayer” package this season. Aside from the luxe digs, it includes a fun-filled half day of expert-led ice climbing (you read that right) a 365-foot-tall waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls, followed by two well-deserved 60-minute massages.
10. OGDEN, UTAH
Park City and Deer Valley get a lot of attention in the skier utopia of Utah, but the Wasatch Mountains near Ogden—which are home to Snowbasin Resort and Powder Mountain—are a little secret we’re majorly letting you in on. The more than 11,600 gorgeous acres of shredding are complemented by Ogden’s bustling art scene and unique mom-and-pop restaurants, shops and breweries. The rapidly growing area is also home to an International Dark Sky Park, giving you some of the finest stargazing opportunities not only in the U.S. but also the world. Whatever you do, don’t leave before spending a night at the Shooting Star Saloon, the adorable oldest operating bar west of the Mississippi that has Wild West charm like no other.
11. LAPLAND, FINLAND
Skiing in the enchanting arctic wonderland of Lapland under the northern lights or midnight sun is a traveler’s dream. Snow-dusted woods, rushing rivers and husky sightings are the norm as you make your way down the never-ending trails of Ylläs, Finland’s largest ski resort. Definitely make time to experience the culture of the indigenous people of this land, the Sami, known for their skills in reindeer herding, fishing and food foraging. Other notable ski spots include Levi, which is getting a brand-new high-speed heated bubble lift for the 2019/2020 season.
12. GRAND TARGHEE RESORT (ALTA, WYOMING)
Just a little over an hour’s drive from Jackson Hole through windy Teton Pass (pro tip: take an all-terrain vehicle), you’ll find a resort full of wide-open trails to shred. What truly makes Grand Targhee special is its relaxed vibe, great snow reports and amazing photo op of the Grand Tetons as you make your way down the mountain.
13. MT. SHASTA, CALIFORNIA
In a secluded part of Northern California bordering Oregon, you’ll find this affordable, no-frills mountain full of fun and sun. Seriously, season passes at Mt. Shasta are less than $600 and daily lift tickets are half the price charged by many of the popular spots on this list. The mountain also offers twilight skiing on Fridays and Saturdays, tons of backcountry opportunities and even a designated ascension skiing day.
14. BELLEAYRE (HIGHMOUNT, NY)
Located in bucolic Ulster County, this upstate New York ski destination is a favorite of New York City dwellers looking to get in a little skiing close to home. With more than 50 trails, eight lifts and four lodges, Belleayre is a great stop for travelers who might be visiting the big city or one of the Hudson Valley’s adorable picturesque villages or cozy B&Bs. The area surrounding Belleayre is rife with A+ ski accommodations, including Lushna cabins at Eastwind, contemporary wildnerness lodge vibes at Scribner’s and cozy quaint lodging and dining at Deer Mountain Inn. Forthcoming for the ’19/’20 season is Shandaken Inn, an updated B&B with rustic-meets-luxe rooms and a vintage phone booth from the property’s original inn.
15. BIG SKY, MONTANA
This Montana mountain’s claim to fame is that it’s big—so big, in fact, that it might take you a few days just to explore the enormity of its 5,800 contiguous skiable acres. One of the largest ski resorts in the U.S., Big Sky also boasts two skiable acres per skier, meaning you’ll be able to traverse wide-open runs with that big blue sky above you. Seriously, it’s like skiing in heaven.
The right way to get to said heaven is the recently opened Ramcharger 8, your only opportunity (as of press time) to sit in an eight-seat chairlift in North America. Big Sky is also gearing up to launch Vista Hall this season, a food destination in Mountain Village that ups the ski-grub game with concepts including sushi/poke/ramen, a taqueria and artisanal stone-fired pizza.
16. SQUAW VALLEY (LAKE TAHOE, CALIFORNIA)
Home to the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley is arguably one of the best ski resorts in North America. With high snowfall, lots of sunshine and stunning views of Lake Tahoe (not to mention one of the longest ski and snowboard seasons in the country), it isn’t hard to imagine why. It’s also not a bad place to tie the knot; for Leap Day 2020, a group mountaintop wedding will take place with more than 50 couples saying or renewing their vows against those epic views.
Hot tip: Be on the lookout for the Tram Car Bar, housed in a restored tram cabin from the 1970s, which will sling drinks like the Backscratcher cocktail—a spicy version of a Moscow mule named for a popular ski trick also from that era.
17. SNOWMASS (ASPEN, COLORADO)
Known for being Aspen’s family-friendly mountain, Snowmass is doing its part to garner a reputation as a sustainable mountain too. Partnering with Taiga Motors, the resort is testing new electric snowmobiles this year and printing its trail maps on stone paper to help with deforestation, a rep tells us.
If you want to stay close to all the quality skiing, look no further than the handsome rooms—complete with soaking tubs—at Viceroy Snowmass, which also boasts a 7,000-square-foot spa so you can take in some R&R for those fatigued skier muscles. Meanwhile, The Little Nell—the crown jewel of hotels in town—recently went through a glamorous renovation, meaning you can be the first to stay at this luxe property just steps from some of Aspen’s liveliest après-ski spots.
18. NISEKO, JAPAN
Anyone who loves powder—with a dose of cultural immersion and high design—should look to tourist-friendly Niseko. Along with its snowfall, the resort is renowned for its dining, with dozens of restaurants serving up traditional Japanese fare as well as Indian, Thai, French, pizza and pub grub.
Design aficionados will find architectural paradise at the ski-in/ski-out Skye Niseko, a condo hotel that’s big on sophisticated minimalist decor. Party lovers, on the other hand, will find the time of their lives at the highly coveted The Ski Week—the memory-making, group-party travel ski exploration brought to you by the same people behind The Yacht Week.
19. CHAMONIX, FRANCE
In the shadow of Mont Blanc, Chamonix is tailor-made for winter adventure seekers. The sprawling ski area, close to the borders of Italy and Switzerland, is home to more than 60 lifts and vast, steep-sided peaks—it’s been described as “the death-sport capital of the world.” With a lively European ski resort feel, it’s also known for its classic après-ski scene. Fondue, anyone?
20. LAKE LOUISE/BANFF, ALBERTA (CANADA)
If you want to ski or board Lake Louise just for the ’Gram, we won’t judge. Tucked away in Banff National Park in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the 4,200-acre Lake Louise Ski Resort is quite possibly one of the most beautiful ski destinations in the world. With Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay nearby, one lift ticket, SkiBig3, can be used for all three Banff resorts.
21. ZERMATT, SWITZERLAND
The almost 15,000-foot-high Matterhorn, which you might recognize from the Toblerone wrapper, is maybe one of the most iconic and frequently photographed ski mountains in the world. Year-round skiing aside, the reason we get excited to visit Zermatt over and over again is to ride the Gornergrat Bahn, a legit train that takes you up the mountain. After you disembark, book a SkiBro instructor or mountain guide to learn the best ways down.
22. ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND
The chic Swiss ski resort of St. Moritz is known as the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism. Skiers have been hitting its well-groomed and sunny slopes since 1864. With high-end designer shops like Armani, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana lining its village streets, it’s no surprise that it has also long been a holiday destination for the rich and famous. This year, the storied Kulm Hotel is hosting guests at the recently Michelin star–awarded pop-up restaurant the K by Tim Raue to try his Asian fusion cooking, alongside collaborations with other esteemed local and international chefs.
23. BOYNE MOUNTAIN (BOYNE, MICHIGAN)
While it can’t compare with the mountains out West or even with the lower peaks along the East Coast, Boyne Mountain offers some of the best skiing in the Midwest. With 60 runs and four terrain parks, it’s the region’s largest ski resort. Plus, it’s also home to the 88,000-square-foot Avalanche Bay indoor waterpark, a favorite for kids after a long day on the slopes.
24. CERRO CASTOR, USHUAIA (ARGENTINA)
At the very tip of Argentina, the remote and spectacular Cerro Castor is the southernmost ski resort in the world. Its location promises deep snow, icy temperatures and the longest winter-sport season around. Once you’ve had your fill of the slopes, follow your trip to Ushuaia with an excursion south to Antarctica (yep) or head north to Patagonia.
25. WHITE MOUNTAINS (MOUNT WASHINGTON VALLEY, NEW HAMPSHIRE)
If you’re willing to make the trek to northern New England, you won’t be disappointed by New Hampshire’s White Mountains. In fact, the Attitash and Wildcat mountains here were recently purchased by Vail Resorts, and nearby Cranmore and Bretton Woods are expanding, which means the 2020 season and beyond look to include promising updates to these in-the-know Northeast favorites.
26. KITZBÜHEL, AUSTRIA
Set in a historic medieval town an hour from Innsbruck in the Wilder Kaiser Mountains, Kitzbühel, also known as Kitz, is one of the ritziest and most beautiful ski areas in all of Austria. It’s perhaps best known for the annual Hahnenkamm, the toughest downhill ski race on the World Cup circuit, but it’s also charming and family-friendly, with a resort village that appeals to skiers and non-skiers alike.
27. ALTA BADIA, DOLOMITES (ITALY)
Gorgeous scenery, 300 days of sunshine and 750 miles of terrain make Italy’s Dolomites one of the world’s best alpine settings. One ski pass lets you access all 12 Dolomiti Superski resorts. Our favorite is Alta Badia, home to some of the best food and drinking options in the area, including three Michelin-starred restaurants and an annual “wine ski safari.” And for those feeling extra adventurous, you can try Inspired Italy's Dolomites Ski Safari—a seven-night, six-day guided tour through the region.
28. TAOS, NEW MEXICO
Just 90 minutes from Santa Fe or accessible via direct flights on Taos Air, Southwestern charm is a big draw for this ski resort, as is everything coming its way this season. After a $300 million investment, Taos is getting new lifts, a learning center for beginners and even some ski-in/ski-out wedding and conference venues—reason enough to RSVP “Yes!” in our humble opinion.
29. LES TROIS VALLÉES, FRANCE
Les Trois Vallées—the largest ski region on the planet, with seven (!) interconnecting ski resorts—has endless downhill adventures for all tastes and lots of Frenchie cuteness to boot. We recommend splitting your time here between skiing and capturing content. Recently, one of the peaks, Les Menuires, introduced outdoor drone-flying workshops, and Easy Drone is now taking guests on off-piste journeys where they can capture epic, FOMO-worthy Instagram pics and vids.
30. WHITEFACE MOUNTAIN (WILMINGTON, NEW YORK)
This is Adirondack skiing at its finest. With the charming town of Lake Placid nearby, Winter Olympics nuts can relive the glory of the 1932 and 1980 Games. After you’ve put your lift pass to good use, you can enjoy a slope-side Bloody Mary, check out the Olympic Jumping Complex and the Olympic Sports Complex in town or book yourself a relaxing treatment at the famed Mirror Lake Inn’s snug spa—you’ve earned it.
Additional reporting by Kristen Boatright