In addition to skiing’s beginnings as a sport for intrepid mountaineers, it is now a quite popular family activity. As ski resorts have responded to the demand, they have added hotels, restaurants, après-ski entertainment, and all manner of indoor and outdoor activities. When it comes to skiing, snow and mountain terrain is crucial.
The ski resort you choose for your vacation may take a lot of factors into consideration, but for this list, the quality of the skiing itself – the terrain, the difficulty of the hills, and the lift access – play a crucial role in selecting some of the most beautiful ski resorts.
Vail Mountain Resort, Colorado, US
Vail offers enough terrain for skiers of any skill level to do well here, being the largest ski resort in Colorado and one of the largest in the world. Vail, part of the Vail resort area, has a number of well-kept, long runs overlooking luxury hotels, fine restaurants, and shops. Vail’s ski terrain is not only immense with 5,289 acres and 31 lifts but also extremely diverse. Three distinct terrain parks keep riders happy, and backcountry skiers are in their element here.
Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
The terrain of Whistler Blackcomb contains two mountains that connote it as Canada’s premier winter sports venue in North America. Combined, the skiable terrain comprises more than 200 runs accessible by 37 lifts. The resort is also popular with snowboarders and freestyle skiers. The 292-acre snow park offers five varied parks, ranging from easy jumps and rails to an Olympic-sized pipe and a Nintendo Terrain Park. There is a wide variety here that makes it a good place to learn the basics, as well as where the pros train.
In its own right, Zermatt is a ski resort skiers would dream about, even without the backdrop of one of the world’s most beautiful mountains. Winter sports enthusiasts will love this area because it is the highest in the Alps and it has the largest drop in Switzerland, plus it boasts 350 miles of ski runs, including a view of the Matterhorn from almost anywhere. Last year, the world’s tallest lift – the 3S lift – carried 2,000 skiers an hour to the 3,883 meter-high Matterhorn Glacier.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
The first winter resort in Europe, St. Moritz remains one of the most prestigious winter resorts in Switzerland today. While it may be known for its glitz and social scene, no doubt its surrounding mountains offer excellent skiing. In addition to hosting multiple Alpine World Ski Championships, the country hosted two Winter Olympics. While St. Moritz has a strong intermediate terrain, about thirty percent of the runs are rated black; it also has extensive off-piste, some backcountry, and some marked routes.