Top places to ski and snowboard this season
Winter is upon us and for thrill-seekers out there, this means only one thing, it's the skiing and snowboarding season! We've searched the globe and these are 7 destinations that include all the ingredients for a memorable winter break.
1. Meribel, France
As one of the top skiing destinations in France, there is always a buzz of activity around Méribel. Situated at the centre of the three valleys (Les Trois Vallees), in the largest ski area on the planet, this is an exciting time for the region so should definitely be on your radar. The resort is very pretty, with many shops, restaurants and a legendary nightlife. It attracts skiers of all abilities from across the globe.
2. Zermatt, Switzerland
Set amidst the breathtaking Alps, Zermatt in Switzerland is consistently ranked as one of the top skiing locations in the world. Its the ultimate winter resort, with a picture-perfect ski village, a huge range of restaurants to choose from and, most importantly, amazing and varied terrain to ski and snowboard on. There are three interconnecting ski zones and the highest cable car in the Alps, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car.
Its jewel in the crown has got to be the impressive Matterhorn mountain, which dominates the surroundings and actually served as the inspiration for the Toblerone.
3. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina d’Ampezzo is a fashionable and stunning ski resort in Italy, where you should come to enjoy the socialising as well as the skiing. It boasts some sensational views and has about 140km of slopes - its ski season also extends from November to April. It has been a famous winter sports destination since the 1930s and is well known as the Queen of the Dolomites. Best for beginners and intermediates.
4. Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Often given the crown as "the finest ski area in North America", Whistler is a ski resort on a colossal scale and is actually two conjoining areas - Whistler and Blackcomb. It's a lot bigger than your average ski town but with the most snow and runs on the continent (that's 8,171 acres of skiing), it's hard to beat this exciting and popular resort.
5. Chamonix, France
It's a case of go big or go home in Chamonix, the home of extreme skiing and super-sized mountains (it's in close proximity to Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps). One ticket gets you access to 11 different ski zones and it has some of the best lift access for steep skiing and snowboarding. However, make sure you hire a guide if you want to go off-piste, there many glaciers and crevasses in this region. The village itself is charming with cobblestone streets, a variety of accommodation to choose from and fantastic nightlife.
6. Aspen, USA
There was no doubt that Aspen would make it to our list, as one of the premier skiing and snowboarding destinations on the planet. This is a trendy ski town, with a sophisticated crowd and it's a popular hot-spot for celebrities. There are plenty of top restaurants, bars and boutiques to shop at and there are four ski areas, which caters for all abilities. Aspen Mountain is a favourite with advanced skiers.
7. Niseko, Japan
This skiing paradise, with perfect powder, has some of the best conditions for skiing anywhere in the world. Niseko, on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, is the best known of the four connecting resorts here, that surround Mount Niseko Annupuri. The town itself is relaxed and friendly, with plenty of hot springs to enjoy and of course sushi. Skiing at night under the huge bright lights is a must.