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The Top 25 Ski Resorts in The World

Just what makes a classic ski town? It starts, naturally, with skiing and snowboarding so good they attract people like youth-bestowing fountains. Then add an inviting mountain burg steeped in ski heritage, amenities, and culture. These are the 25 best. For insider tips, we asked local luminaries where to stay, play, and party, whether you're on a budget or indulging. -Aaron Teasdale.

1. Wanaka, New Zealand
Wanaka, New Zealand

Quickly developing a reputation as one of the world’s premier adventure towns, Wanaka sits on the shores of sprawling Lake Wanaka amid New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Surrounded by rugged, Lord of the Rings-style alpine scenery, the tranquil town of 5,000 is peppered with hostels, cafes, pubs, and small, luxury eco-lodges.

2. Girdwood, Alaska
Girdwood, Alaska

A former gold-mining town carved out of the forest at the foot of the famed Chugach Mountains, Girdwood has refashioned itself into Alaska’s premier ski town. Rising up from the edge of town, Alyeska Resort is the largest ski area in Alaska. It has six lifts, two magic carpets, and a 60-person tram that climbs the mountain’s steep north face with views to the ocean. Tree line is low this far north, so the upper half of the mountain is wide-open alpine, more like the open terrain of the Alps than a typical American resort. There are ample blue runs and a smattering of beginner runs near the base, but experts will get the most out of the mountain.

3. Fernie, British Columbia, Canada
Fernie, British Columbia, Canada
Though it serves up some of the most spectacular terrain and best snow in all of Canada, this historic mining hamlet of 4,217 people tucked into the far southeastern corner of British Columbia still somehow flies below the greater ski-scene radar. Fernie Alpine Resort overlooks the Elk River Valley from 4.5 miles outside town, clinging to the sculpted faces of the Lizard Range.

4. Chamonix, France
Chamonix, France

Globally renowned as the birthplace of extreme skiing, Chamonix has some of the world’s premier lift-accessed steep skiing and snowboarding—including plenty of terrain that won’t leave you dead on a glacier if you catch an edge wrong. The many lifts and trams access terrain so steep and rugged that many skiers will be wishing for a ride down, as well. One ticket gains access to the 11 different ski zones scattered discontinuously across the valley. If the snow is good, vertical drops of over 9,000 feet are possible.

5. Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

With the dramatic peaks of the Dolomites rising like ruddy cathedrals in every direction, the ski areas around Cortina have been called the most beautiful in the world. The good news is that most people here are more interested in socializing than actually skiing and snowboarding, so the slopes aren’t crowded—at least by European standards.

6. Whitefish, Montana, Unites States
Whitefish, Montana, Unites States
Chuck Haney Photography

Whitefish, a former logging and railroad town of more than 6,000 near the entrance to Glacier National Park, has been quietly delivering glitz-free Montana skiing for over half a century. Whitefish the ski area lives up to its family-friendly billing with good first-timer terrain and an abundance of long, wide-open, roller coaster groomers where skiers and snowboarders of all abilities can get their superhero on.

7. Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte is a remote, high-elevation former mining town of historic buildings surrounded by spectacular scenery. Is three miles up the road, and the base village, part of the town of Mt. Crested Butte, offers conveniently located hotels and condo blocks. There are plenty of dedicated beginner and kid-friendly terrain on the lower mountain, as well as a reasonable collection of blue groomers mid-mountain

8. Niseko, Japan
Niseko, Japan

Thanks to the near-constant storm cycles pumping out of neighboring Siberia, the mountains on the Japanese island of Hokkaido are globally renowned for having some of the most consistent, lightest powder on Earth. Night skiing is huge here, and enormous stadium-style lights brighten 2,560 vertical feet of skiing. Deep-powder runs through illuminated nighttime forest are a Niseko specialty. Given the windstorms that periodically lash the mountain, the mountain’s perfectly spaced birch forests are often the best, most sheltered places to ski and snowboard.

9. Kitzbühel, Austria
Kitzbühel, Austria

A classic medieval village turned internationally famous ski destination, the glitzy town of Kitzbühel in Austria’s Tyrol region looks more like a chocolate-box illustration than an actual place. A gondola for the main mountain leaves directly from town, and a sprawling network of lifts, gondolas, and runs thread up the mountains in all directions, offering the ability to drop into neighboring villages and areas without taking off your skis or board.

10. Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon

The biggest town on this list, Bend is a fast-growing, adventure paradise of more than 76,000 people in central Oregon that happens to have the region’s premier ski area, Mount Bachelor, 22 miles west up the road. If you ever dream of skiing in the Pacific Northwest, Bachelor is the kind of mountain you dream about. A 9,000-foot stratovolcano lined with high-speed quads and skiable down every side, it’s a huge, diverse area which, being on the drier, east side of the Cascades, has lighter snow than the Pacific cement that coats most mountains in the region. Beginner and intermediate runs are scattered throughout Bachelor, and some of the groomers are world-class.

11. Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada

Tremblant offers some of the best skiing in eastern Canada, with a master-planned village that feels cut from Europe—or at least the old quarter of Quebec City. The mountain itself offers a respectable 2,116 feet of skiable vertical, with 95 runs unfurling down four separate faces, providing the ability to follow the sunshine across different aspects throughout the day.

12. Taos, New Mexico
Taos, New Mexico

In the world of classic ski towns, Taos is a unique gem. Today, the Swiss-style chalets at the area’s base exude an old-time European character while the town itself feels like a funky Southwestern artist’s colony. The mountain offers some of the finest steep skiing and boarding in the U.S., with powder that rivals Utah’s for lightness. You can ski double diamonds top to bottom here. Taos operates one of the country’s most highly regarded ski schools—for beginners and the already skilled—which is good because the terrain demands it.

13. Park City, Utah
Photographer: Mark Maziarz

Home to the U.S. Ski Team, three sprawling ski resorts, and Utah’s feathery, desert-dry powder, Park City has established itself as one of the premier ski towns in America. Park City Mountain Resort is the “right there” option, with access from town, four terrain parks for snowboarders and freestylers, night skiing, a cutting-edge ski school, and remarkably well-rounded terrain, from gentle beginner runs to powder-filled bowls that rival fellow Wasatch Mountain areas Alta and Snowbird.

14. Hintertuxer Gletscher, Austria
Hintertuxer Gletscher, Austria

Nowhere else is skiing in Austria as varied and enjoyable as in the Tyrolean Zillertal Valley: The Hintertux Glacier is Austria’s only year round ski resort and offers winter sports enthusiasts perfectly groomed, snow-sure runs 365 days of the year, great food and a fascinating experience of nature at altitudes of up to 3,250 m.

15. Truckee, California
Truckee, California

In the Sierra Nevada north of Lake Tahoe, between Reno and South Lake Tahoe, the old logging and railway town of Truckee has bloomed into a ski mecca, with no less than eight different ski areas within 15 miles. With many of its ski areas receiving some of the highest average snowfall totals in the country—more than one ski area ran lifts on the Fourth of July this past year—it’s easy to understand why the locals choose to live here.

16. Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler Blackcomb is North America's mega-mountain. A gargantuan ski resort in British Columbia’s Coast Mountains, and a two-hour drive from Vancouver’s international airport, it hosts two conjoined areas—Whistler and Blackcomb. It gets the most snow, has some of the longest vertical drops, the largest terrain parks, the steepest steeps, the most runs, and the greatest acreage of any ski area on the continent. In other words, it’s large. Ski magazines routinely anoint it the finest ski area in North America.

17. Las Leñas, Argentina
 Las Leñas, Argentina

From late June to mid October, Las Leñas offers skiable terrain for all skill levels, including the youngsters just starting out. Unlike most North American skiing, skiing in Argentina sees no boundaries. Literally. Most cautious skiers would find this quite dangerous and risky, but the real reason there are no boundaries is because much of the winter backcountry remains untracked and unexplored. Las Leñas is well-known for its “steep and deep” terrain and lives up to this reputation with many opportunities for extreme and off-piste skiing. Patagonia is the true, raw landscape for the complete summer skiing experience.

18. Perisher, Australia
Perisher, Australia
SnoPics / Darren Teasdale

Located in New South Wales, Perisher is the largest ski area in Australia, composed of four villages that are all connected to offer varied terrain to serve all skill levels. The seven mountain peaks, including five terrain parks and a super-pipe, are accessed by 47 different lifts featuring an impressive high speed eight seater.

19. Ski Portillo, Chile

Portillo provides a quite different ski adventure, as the mountain has just one yellow hotel and no town for miles. While the thought of being secluded from the outside world might seem a bit intimidating, this experience definitely has its perks as only 400 people can fit in the hotel, meaning little to no lift lines. Intermediate and advanced skiers and riders rave about Portillo for its steep, off-piste terrain. When covered by powder after a storm, the snow pack last for days. For the ultimate daredevils, Portillo maintains helicopter operations to take you to even higher elevations and peaks. In addition to great skiing, Portillo also offers great backcountry hiking opportunities.

20. Tignes, France
Tignes, France

Tignes offers a unique skiing experience for those interested in continuing their powder adventures throughout the European summer. After the cold winter season from September to May, Tignes offersTignes offers a unique skiing experience for those interested in continuing their powder adventures throughout the European summer. After the cold winter season from September to May, Tignes offers summer glacier skiing from mid June to early September. Reaching the base of the French glacier takes a mere seven minutes via the underground funicular.

21. Zermatt, Switzerland
Zermatt, Switzerland

Switzerland is a country of classic ski towns, but Zermatt is its crown jewel. To many, it is the world’s ultimate ski resort. Though surrounded by several glacier-clad peaks, everything here—the town, the skiing, the sky—is dominated by the spiking pyramid of the mighty Matterhorn, one of the most distinctive mountains on Earth. There are also two ski zones just across the Italian border. The scenery is unrelentingly stunning but the skiing and snowboarding is even more so, with vertical drops of up to 7,152 feet on terrain that varies from never-ending cruisers to north-facing powder runs.

22. Aspen, Colorado
Aspen, Colorado

Hype aside, Aspen is still the ski town all North American ski towns compare themselves to—and one of the few places that manages to be both hip and classic at the same time. The skiing and snowboarding’s not bad either. In fact, it’s as good as anywhere in Colorado, with four separate ski areas within a ten-mile radius catering to all abilities and tastes. Lift tickets are good for all four mountains, which are easily reached from Aspen and each other by free shuttle buses.

23. North Conway, New Hampshire
North Conway, New Hampshire

Tucked into Mount Washington Valley in the White Mountains, some of the first purpose-cut ski runs on the continent and a host of other innovations in grooming, lifts, and ski schools were developed here in the 1930s. Visitors here will likely focus on three. Cranmore sits two miles from the main village. It’s an excellent starting point for families, with its revered ski school and abundant non-skiing activities, including indoor tennis, climbing walls, on-mountain tubing, and a plummeting rail-coaster ride.

24. Banff, Canada
Banff, Canada

Best For: Hardy skiers and snowboarders of all abilities who love big views and wild panoramas. There are three ski areas here within a 50-minute drive, all skiable on a single ticket. The runs of small but steep Mount Norquay, home of the one of the oldest chairlifts in North America, are visible from town. Lake Louise is second in size to only Whistler among Canadian ski areas and features some of the world’s most scenic skiing and snowboarding. Shuttle buses are available from town to all three areas. Be prepared for cold temperatures in mid-winter.

25. Treble Cone, New Zealand
Treble Cone, New Zealand

Treble Cone operates from the end of June to late September and offers beautiful backcountry terrain for the skier looking for a sizable challenge. Along with the incredible backcountry comes the sweet Jazz Intermediate Park. This terrain park features plenty of jumps, table tops and fun boxes that never have lines – a great place to perfect some new tricks.

Source: 1. National Geographic - 2. Ski Channel
Related Posts:
The Top 25 Ski Resorts in The World The Top 25 Ski Resorts in The World Reviewed by Eli Snow on 4:21 AM Rating: 5

38 comments

  1. Yay Crested Butte!!!

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  2. Curious. How did my copyrighted image of Whitefish, Montana end up on your site?

    Chuck Haney Photography

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    1. wait, that is not my beautiful house.....and how did I get here? Ha ha, couldn't resist! I have to agree on most of the choices. No Breckenridge or St Anton a couple of the best apre' skis anywhere? C'mon man! :)

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    2. Still not as good as the Chile photograph.

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    3. It's called copy and paste... you really going to bust balls over a shitty photograph that looks like it was taken from an iPhone...STFU and go ski.

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  3. Yeah! Get em Chuck Haney!

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  4. I think Missoula has a good photography class.

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  5. The "resort" in nh is not one resort it is an area of ski resorts.... Agreed, strange overall compilation....but I do love my wf, mt!

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    1. Word up. Whitefish rocks the house and certainly deserves a spot near the top in North America. It is stil in the USA correct? Hard to tell sometimes 'aey.

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  6. PC but no mention of Canyons and Deer Valley in the same breath? All pale in the shadow of the Alta/Snowbird combo in skiable terrain snow depth, blah blah blah..but where you REALLY miss the boat is not mentioning the Utah interconnect tour through Ski Utah, which is tied to PC Ski as well. 6 world class resorts, one day, skis never leave your feet.

    Where in the world can you find its equal?

    11 resorts in one hour or less from the international airport, a full sized metro area with all amenities and hotel types/space, Some of the worlds lightest, deepest snows with a wide range of terrain and vistas. And you mention PCMR as the one spot...c'mon.

    There's a damn good reason the US Ski Team is based in this area, the Outdoor Retailers do their show here, numerous ski and board manufacturers are located here and why it was chosen for the winter Olympics.

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  7. And now I have a roadmap for the rest of my life. Great job!

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  8. Whoever thought up the title can't tell the difference between a ski resort and a town that happens to be the gateway to some great skiing. Bend, Banff, Truckee, Whitefish and Wanaka, for example, are towns some distance from the nearest lifts. Do your homework, folks. - Sign me "Colorado Claire"

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    1. Spot on, Claire.

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    2. Whitefish is a ski resort

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  9. Are these ordered as if number one is best? I honestly don't see how Bend fits into the top 25 - period. And as one person mentioned, Bachelor is a ski area, not a resort or connected connected a town. Bend is the town; snowboarding in Bend won't get you much action! I've had many fun days and Bachelor, but I can have fun at just about any anthill ski areas as long it's not sheet-ice. Images of bluebird, east-side of the Cascades riding is a joke and a marketing ploy; more often the place is often socked-in with severe fog and high wind. The area also claims acreage that gets little use, as the summit is often closed (even on perfect days) and there are usually delays opening Northwest lift. And as for varied terrain, are you kidding? There's not a steep pitch on that mountain. The snow is little different than the snow you'd get at Hoodoo ski area an hour away - same storm, same snow. It's best attribute is that the snow is plentiful and the weight of it makes for interesting natural features. People will rave about the champagne pow but they are out of the midwest and ice coast - sorry, don't buy the hype. Or buy it and move there like every other wannabe. Bend used to be low-key, now it's a complete scene (not saying there aren't good people and cool things going on).

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    1. Want steep terrain? Come to Crested Butte. Huge amount of steeps...not to mention the steepest cut run at any resort in North America..."Rambo". Odd's are, you'll at least shit yourself a little bit out of fear.

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  10. Happy to see Crested Butte on there...but you failed to mention the large amount of in-bounds, lift accessible extreme terrain. Double Black all over.

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  11. Live in Bend,Oregon ( Mt. Bachelor) Love it. But, where is Solden, Austria? Love Kitzbuhel and Hintertux as well, but Solden is my favorite!!!

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  12. This is an awful list!!! Totally off and doesn't provide any metrics on why these are the top 25 resorts....average snow fall, amount of expert terrain, restaurants/bars in the base area, accessible backcountry terrain etc. Its missing so many great resorts and has a ton that shouldn't be on there let alone be top ten!!

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  13. This list is a joke. No Jackson Hole? WOW!

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  14. i don't who wrote this article, but he really has to travel over the world before to write a stupid article like this !! the really best ski resort are not in this ranking !!! it's a pitty ....))))

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  15. source: national geographic and ski channel!!! these lists are so predictable!! the point is this: are you a true skier/rider or a tourist? a local or a visitor? lists like this are much like politicians: they do not represent the people and they side with the $$$!!!!! take some cheer though. think of all the slope slop that will not be on your fave mountain!!!!

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  16. Good ... Wolf Creek Colorado didn't make the list. Fewer people=better skiing

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    1. Hey, a fellow wolf-creeker - YAY. . . . grew up in Alamosa and WC will always be my favorite!

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  17. Taos is finally getting the props it deserves. I am so glad because it is my favorite. No Jackson Hole and Snowbird Utah is just absurd. I also think Vail and Aspen highlands should have made this list as well. I personally Love Taos and look no further, because it is simply the best.

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  18. Where is Squaw Valley, Jackson Hole, Sun Valley and Big Sky? Oh well Taos made it, they did get something right.

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    1. Squaw Valley... That's where they said Truckee has up to 8 resorts within 15 miles. That would include Squaw.

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  19. Banff, which is spectacula, has three major resorts not just the two you mentioned. Somehow you forgot above the clou8ds skiing at Sunshine Village in addition to Norquay and Lake Louise. The Canadian Rockies are out of this world

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  20. Was a world map, 25 darts and a blindfold involved in this? Sure seems like it, but interesting none the less....

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  21. I would add Grindelwald (CH). Two large ski centers that are easily accessible from center (by train and chair lift).

    Some of the best skiing views in world - certainly some of the Swiss Alps with several famous peaks right next to you.

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  22. No mention of Red Mountain in Rossland, BC. Good...

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  23. Whoever wrote this needs to spend more time in Europe. As ever top heavy with second rate North American resorts, most of which you could drop into a ski area like the Three Valleys and not even notice. And Perisher?! Bloody hell mate...

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  24. And... What about Courchevel ???

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  25. I Love Number 4 :D It Looks Fantastic For Me :D

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  26. This list is just ridiculous. No St. Anton? Val D'Isere? Jackson Hole? Never been to Australia, but come on now, it's not known for some of the best skiing. Neither is New Hampshire. I mean, it's skiable, but we're talking about the best here? I wonder how the author came up with this stuff.

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