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15 of the best ski resorts in the world

Shred the freshest powder on the planet at these world-class ski resorts.

When it comes to ski resorts, you can spend a lifetime chasing powder from New Zealand to Europe, and the length and breadth of the Americas. Fresh snow at high altitude is not so hard to find, but where are the absolute best spots? The creme of the crop? The nirvana all powder hounds dream of?

Whether you’re a professional searching for the gnarliest runs or an amaetur snow bunny looking for gentler slopes, this guide can help you find your snow paradise.

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15 top ski resorts in the world

Image: Whistler Blackcomb

1. Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada

With 8,000 acres of pistes for every level of snow enthusiast, the combined resorts of Whistler-Blackcomb are arguably Canada’s best gift to the world. It’s also the largest snow resort in the country.

Whistler-Blackcomb combines Olympic-quality pistes with family-friendly runs. The dramatic scenery of jagged mountain peaks, glaciers and forest make for an incredible view whether skiing, snowboarding or sipping margaritas.

  • Skiable terrain: 3,237 hectares
  • Vertical: 1,610 metres
  • Season: Mid-November to May
  • Best for: All levels, non-skiers, après-ski

Browse flights prices to Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada


snowbirdbestski

2. Snowbird, Utah

You’ll feel on top of the world when you take the aerial tram 3,352m to the top station of Hidden Peak in Snowbird.

From here, keen skiers can take Chip’s Run back to base. At over 4km, it’s Snowbird’s longest run. Snowbird’s other claims to fame include dry powder, year-round accessibility and the state’s longest ski season.

  • Skiable terrain: 1,012 hectares
  • Vertical: 988 metres
  • Season: Mid-November to May
  • Best for: All levels, non-skiers, après-ski

Browse flights prices to Snowbird, Utah


trebleconebestski

3. Treble Cone, New Zealand

From bungee jumping and skydiving to snowboarding and skiing, the adventure capital of the world aka Queenstown has it all. If we have to choose one resort though, it has to be Treble Cone.

While The Remarkables has family-friendly slopes and Cardrona is easy to access, Treble Cone’s steeps are challenging, the bowls are deep, chutes are long and the free riding options are exceptional. We’re tingling just thinking about it!

  • Skiable terrain: 550 hectares
  • Vertical: 700 metres
  • Season: Late June to late September
  • Best for: Intermediates, experts, après-ski

Browse flights prices to Treble Cone, New Zealand


nesicojapan

4. Niseko, Japan

Chase some of the most immaculate and dry powder on earth in Japan’s Hokkaido region.

Niseko has the full package. Each year at least 15 metres of snow falls onto the terrain, which is a mixed bag of bunny slopes, deep bowls, steep slopes and back-country. The four interconnected resorts offer both tree and alpine skiing, and the resort town is fun and lively.

  • Skiable terrain: 887 hectares
  • Vertical: 940 metres
  • Season: Mid-December to mid-April
  • Best for: All levels, families, young adults

Browse flights prices to Niseko, Japan


alyeskabestski

5. Alyeska, Alaska

Steep, deep and challenging is the name of the game in Alaska. This one’s strictly for seasoned skiers or snowboarders only.

Nearly 90% of the terrain presents challenges such as hike-to-terrain zones, and steep trails such as the North Face, aka America’s longest continuous double black run. Alaskan weather in this region is a beast of heavy snowfall and wind, which also keep crowds away.

  • Skiable terrain: 652 hectares
  • Vertical: 762 metres
  • Season: End-November to mid-April
  • Best for: Intermediates, experts

Browse flights prices to Alyeska, Alaska


zermattbestski

6. Zermatt, Switzerland

More than just an iconic image on a Toblerone pack, Zermatt is the kind of resort that should be on every powder pusher’s bucket list.

Set under the imposing summit of the Matterhorn, Zermatt is blessed with the Alps’ tallest peaks, making it the highest resort in Europe. Its long season is matched with well-groomed runs for every level of skier, and box stops of cosy mountain restaurants.

  • Skiable terrain: 160 hectares
  • Vertical: 2,200 metres
  • Season: Mid-November to late-April
  • Best for: All levels, families, non-skiers, après-ski

Browse flights prices to Zermatt, Switzerland


valthorensbestski

7. Val Thorens, France

This resort is the highest in Europe and has a panoramic view to match.

At 3,200 metres, Val Thorens is guaranteed snowfall throughout its season. It has runs for skiers of all levels, and though it is well-known as an idyllic après-ski destination, the growing number of chalets and Michelin-star restaurants also attract luxury holiday-makers and families.

  • Skiable terrain: 2,428 hectares
  • Vertical: 930 metres
  • Season: November to May
  • Best for: All levels, families, après-ski

Browse flights prices to Val Thorens, France


kitzbuhelbestski

8. Kitzbühel, Austria

This world-class resort has been named Austria’s best for four consecutive years at the World Ski Awards, and with good reason.

The most notable reason is the Steif, a downhill ski race track for the brave. Think high-speed jumps, bumps, curves, compressions and steep slopes. Naturally, there’s a less nailbiting alternative for families and amateurs who also want to run this gauntlet, too.

  • Skiable terrain: 1,668 hectares
  • Vertical: 1,200 metres
  • Season: October to May
  • Best for: All levels, families

Browse flights prices to Kitzbühel, Austria


Riksgransenbestski

9. Riksgransen, Sweden

Summer skiing under the midnight sun. It’s a Swedish thing.

It’s not just the chance to ski during summer that puts Riksgransen on the top-spot map. This newish snow mecca blisters with championship competitions and off-piste adventures. For true snow chasers, it’s one of few resorts with peak conditions from April to June.

  • Skiable terrain: 285 hectares
  • Vertical: 1,200 metres
  • Season: February to June. The midnight sun appears from the end of May.
  • Best for: Intermediates, experts

Browse flights prices to Riksgransen, Sweden


The best of the rest

Looking for something specific? Try these resorts out for size.

Pamporovobestski

10. Best ski resort for beginners: Pamporovo, Bulgaria

Gentle green runs and long well-groomed slopes make Pamporovo a haven for ski and snowboarding novices.

Pamporovo sings with family-friendly appeal. It has a relaxed atmosphere, offers stacks of ski schools and is compact with predominantly green and blue runs, so you won’t feel intimidated by pros speeding past you as you make your way down.

  • Skiable terrain: 65 kilometres of runs
  • Vertical: 505 metres
  • Season: December to April

Browse flights prices to Pamporovo, Bulgaria


cortinabestski

11. Best ski resort for non-skiers: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

To ski or not to ski? It really doesn’t matter at this luxurious upscale resort in the craggy Dolomites.

This fashionable resort is situated just over two hours from Venice. The snowfall isn’t amazing and the runs are only intermediate, but it has romantic views of the pink-washed Dolomites, quality restaurants and a movie-star clientele. Ski? Who needs to ski?

  • Skiable terrain: 42.5 hectares
  • Vertical: 1,882 metres
  • Season: End-November to end-April

Browse flights prices to Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy


La Plagnebestski

12. Best ski resort for families: La Plagne, France

Young or old, La Plagne is the place to go for beginners and intermediates to gain more confidence on the snowfields.

Parents, meet paradise. Comprising 10 villages, each offering a wide variety of slopes and ski schools for children and teenagers, La Plagne is a blissful escape. There are plenty of nurseries available for toddlers and the nightlife is low-key.

  • Skiable terrain: 91 hectares
  • Vertical: 2,000 metres
  • Season: Mid-December to mid-April

Browse flights prices to La Plagne, France


stantonbestski

13. Best après-ski: St Anton, Austria

If you’re looking for quiet and low key, an Austrian après party is definitely not the place to be.

The world famous St Anton ski resort is synonymous with a boisterous high-octane nightlife of bars and clubs that pull beers until 2am. The thing of kings after a day on the slopes? Ski jumping off the deck at the Krazy Kanguruh bar. You have been warned.

  • Skiable terrain: 142 hectares
  • Vertical: 1,507 metres
  • Season: December to April

Browse flights prices to St Anton, Austria


saalbachbestski

14. Best ski resort for young adults: Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria

Nothing’s off the cards at Saalbach-Hinterglemm, with over 30 après-ski bars at the top of the T-bar open until the early evening, and more waiting for you back at the main resort.

The partying menu includes everything from the usual fare of drinks, dancing and live music to strippers and goats. Yes, goats. For young guns who can’t get enough of the Alps, night skiing is available until 9:30pm daily. Just leave the drinking until afterwards, OK?

  • Skiable terrain: 368 hectares
  • Vertical: 1,259 metres
  • Season: December to mid-April

Browse flights prices to Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria


mounthothambetski

15. Best ski resort in Australia: Mount Hotham

Up for a challenge? Mount Hotham will give your thighs and your wits the ultimate challenge.

Each of Australia’s resorts has its own appealing qualities, but for the most all-round experience you can’t go past the the high-alpine resort of Mount Hotham. It has slopes for all levels, day care for children, a snow guarantee during peak season and a lively après-ski scene.

  • Skiable terrain: 320 hectares
  • Vertical: 395 metres
  • Season: Mid-June to mid-December

Browse flights prices to Australia: Mount Hotham


The best ski resorts in the world compared

Skiable terrain (hectares)Vertical (metres)Ski seasonAverage snowfall (metres)Lifts (total)RunsTerrain by level (B/I/E)
Whistler-Blackcomb3,237ha1,610mMid-Nov to May12m39200+18% / 55% / 27%
Snowbird1,012ha5,633mMid-Nov to May12.7m1316927% / 38% / 35%
Treble Cone550ha700mLate Jun to late Sep2.7m42610% / 45% / 45%
Niseko887ha940mMid-Dec to mid-Apr15m+336130% / 40% / 30%
Alyeska567ha762mEnd-Nov to mid-Apr17m97611% / 52% / 37%
Zermatt160ha2,279mMid-Nov to end-Apr2.5m5414721% / 61% / 18%
Val Thorens2,428ha929mNov to May5m317848% / 40% / 12%
Kitzbühel1,668ha1,200mOct to May4.5m516041% / 45% / 14%
Riksgransen285ha387mFeb to Jun4.2m6915% / 25% / 60%
Pamporovo65km505mDec to Apr4.5m141965% / 26% / 9%
Cortina d’Ampezzo42.5ha1,182mEnd-Nov to end-Apr3m517833% / 62% / 5%
La Plagne91ha2,000mMid-Dec to mid-Apr5.2m10913465% / 26% / 9%
St Anton142ha1,507mDec to Apr7m406036% / 42% / 22%
Saalbach-Hinterglemm368ha1,259mDec to mid-Apr4.5m7010152% / 41% / 7%
Mount Hotham320ha395mMid-Jun to mid-Dec3m136720% / 40% / 40%

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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