When the temperature drops below zero, it’s probably time for you to pack up the gym shorts and stop playing basketball in your driveway outside — at least if you don’t want to contract hypothermia. As winter drags on, you get antsier and antsier—good. With all this pent-up energy, you’ll want to find someplace that will give you a full, sweat-dripping, adrenaline-pumping run for your money. Grab your gear and get ready for a wicked ski vacation on the best slopes on earth:
College students and lifelong smokers may know Colorado mostly as one of the first U.S. states to legalize recreational pot use, but it’s been a place of nirvana long before that. The ski slopes, and the slopes of Aspen in particular, are some of the best in world. Those famous jagged Rockies run through most of the North American continent, with their peaks landing in–you guessed it–Colorado.
Aspen Snowmass made a name for itself as the state’s premier ski resort for good reason. With four peaks and more than 300 trails, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re an experienced skier seeking a thrill or a relative newbie who’s learning how to snowplow. If you’re hard core and want the full Colorado experience, this is one of the best places in the world for black diamonds and fresh powder tours down the backside of a mountain.
Julie Andrews sings and twirls atop the Alps in summer, but the winter is reserved for skis slicing and screaming down the same mountains. The best option for skiing in the Alps, hands down, is in Zermatt, Switzerland. If you say you’re an avid skier but haven’t been here yet, you’re living a lie. Get on a plane to Switzerland ASAP and hop on a ski lift up the Matterhorn.
There’s a reason the House of Mouse named a ride after this mountain. Skiing in this area is like riding a roller coaster without the car, the rails, or the reassuring safety belt. Skiers and snowboarders come from all over the world to enjoy runs that feel like a deliciously infinite descent, thanks to vertical drops of up to 2180 m. Your heart may be beating its way out of your chest when you finally slow to a stop at the base, but the first words out of your mouth are sure to be, “Let’s do it again!”
Nights of Snow in Niseko
Japan may be known for its peaceful snowfall, but the skiing is no light-hearted matter. The Japanese city of Niseko is one of the best places in the world for soft-powder skiing, averaging over 15 m of fresh snow every year. It’s especially noted for its nighttime runs. Close your eyes and imagine propelling yourself through an illuminated forest in the middle of the night, fluffy snow flying up around you as you zoom by. The Japanese also know just how to wind down after all this adventure by hopping into some hot springs. Be sure to sink down into a luxurious natural pool after a long day of skiing or boarding.
Welcome Home Whistler
You don’t have to go all the way across the world for a ski resort that really delivers. Like Dorothy discovered, there’s no place like home, and you’ll find some of the best skiing options right here in Canada, such as the Whistler ski resort. Whistler Blackcomb gained international fame when it hosted the alpine events for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, but it’s been a national treasure long before that.
What makes this spot so incredible? With over 3200 hectare of terrain, you won’t find a larger resort in North America. It also has an unbelievable amount of variety, from gentle slopes to steep bowls to cross-country skiing. Who needs heaven when you have Whistler?
Racing at breakneck speeds down a near-vertical black diamond ski run will give your adrenaline that punch in the gut it needs. Pack those skis and get ready for a fresh season of first-rate slopes.
What’s your favourite ski destination?