When it comes to deciding which ski resort to hit in winter, people's priorities can differ vastly. With learners looking for simple ski access and gentle terrain, groups of mates in search of lively nightlife and experienced snow-lovers seeking steep powder fields, it can often seem like everyone is pulling in different directions. In the world of ski, personal preference means a lot.
Here at Interactive Resorts, two members of our Content team have very different experiences of the slopes. Chris — a Brit — first took to the snow on the pistes of France and Switzerland, while Aussie Jules perfected his powder turns in Japan and Canada.
Here, they offer up a few of the bucket-list ski resorts they’re most keen to hit — from the soaring peaks of Europe to the powder fields of Asia and beyond. Between them they’ve carved up over 25 resorts across the world, but there’s always space for more… Chris is up first.
Nestled beneath the magnificent Matterhorn peak, Zermatt is a Swiss resort with some pretty exceptional scenery. Add to that a vibrant nightlife, snow-sure slopes, outstanding off-piste and heli-drops-a-go-go, and Zermatt could be my #1 European bucket list resort.
With metres of fresh and dry powder, hot springs and delicious food, what’s not to love? Niseko is among the most popular Japanese resorts, but I’m just as open to alternatives off the beaten trail.
I’ve ticked off St Anton, Lech, Sölden and Ischgl, but the 4th resort on my Austria wish list is Kitzbühel. I’m no speed demon but I do like a challenge, and hammering down the Hahnenkamm — one of the most demanding runs on the FIS World Cup Circuit — would tick a big box for me. On top of that, the lifts are swift and the medieval town centre is gorgeous.
Last January I made it to Whistler Blackcomb (full write-up here) and loved it. With amazing heli-skiing and beautiful backcountry glades to explore, Revelstoke is the second British Columbia resort on my hit list.
It may appear unimaginative for a Brit to pick a French resort for a bucket-list — it’s pretty local — but Serre Chevalier is a spot I would love to visit. With diverse terrain and plenty of tree-lined slopes, it’s a wonderful area to explore. And if you need a break from the mountain, UNESCO World Heritage–listed Briançon is there for the taking.
Over to you, Jules…
My first pick is Chamonix — the resort’s reputation for outstanding off-piste precedes itself, and I want to see if I can step up to the challenge. More than that, the skiing nerd in me wants to stay in the historic mountain town where the very first Winter Olympics were held. Read more about serious skiing in Chamonix here.
Mammoth Mountain, USA
It feels like every time I check the snow report for Mammoth, it’s seen a ridiculous amount of snowfall – metres of the stuff! – and I want a piece of that. Skiing powder in the North American resorts of Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge is a highlight of my snowboarding record, and Mammoth’s high slopes seem like the next logical step.
When I finally publish a best-selling travel book and I’m raking in the big bucks, Verbier is where I want to go. The bucket list plan is to gather some mates and book a jaw-dropping luxury chalet – like the Truffe Blanche – for a week of Michelin-worthy cuisine, Champagne and the vibrant local nightlife. Plus there’s world-class off-piste to explore!
I’ve never been to St Anton and it grieves me greatly. Every one of my friends who have visited the Austrian resort have returned singing its praises: boisterous après-ski, challenging terrain and access to the largest interconnected ski area in Austria - the Arlberg. The bucket-list day involves ticking off the “Run of Fame”, which navigates the entire ski area from St Anton in the south to Warth in the north, before heading to the infamous Mooserwirt for cold beer and good times.
This is the dream leisurely getaway. I’ve heard plenty of good things about Cortina’s cruisy terrain and postcard-perfect surroundings. Apparently most of the high-flying visitors spend their skiing time in the town’s lavish boutiques, leaving the pistes and chairlifts wide-open. After having free rein of the slopes, you can walk among the historic Italian buildings in town, grab a nice glass of wine and watch the limestone formations of the Dolomites turn reddish-orange in the sunset. Bliss!