[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he best way to secure a white Christmas is to pack your salopettes and head off to a ski resort near you. It doesn’t really matter where in the world you are because the chances are – a ski resort is only a short flight/drive/train ride from you.
[pull_quote_center]It doesn’t even matter that you are not a particularly good skier either. You can have some lessons when you get there or just enjoy the après-ski entertainment.[/pull_quote_center]
Here’s Skinny Muscles’ list of 7 ski resorts (+1) around the world to get you in the holiday spirit. BTW, the (+1) is a bonus. An extra option that combines the best of both worlds or in this case – a beach and a ski holiday, both in the same destination. [Scroll down to see where it is]
The Skinny Muscles’ HQ is in the heart of England, so it’s only natural to start with the ski resorts in Europe. There is no shortage of mountains on the Continent which host some of the world’s best ski resorts. Depending on your budget, you can be rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous or go further south and get value for money.
Based on personal preference and in no particular order, here’s Skinny Muscles’ European ski resorts list:
If you are after a fun and relaxed winter holiday with a bit of casual skiing, then Italy is the perfect ski destination for you. Throw in good food, great atmosphere, perfect snow conditions (due to the ski resorts high altitude) and you are in for a real treat. Oh, it’s more affordable than some of the other destinations too.
Livigno is a typical Alpine village situated on the Italian-Swiss border, famous for its duty-free shopping, good food and relaxed atmosphere. If you are not an expert skier and after a good skiing holiday, then Livigno is the destination for you.
[quote_box_center]More information at www.livigno.eu[/quote_box_center]
All you fitness freaks know that Austria is the birth place of Arnold Schwarzenegger BUT it’s also one of Europe’s top ski destinations. In fact more and more holiday-makers prefer to spend their winter holiday in Austria for a variety of reasons. It offers better value for money than France and Switzerland, better service standards, warmer welcome and a variety of ski resorts offering a variety of Alpine skiing.
2. St Anton
If you are an experienced skier and eager to push your skiing abilities to their limits, then St Anton is your destination. Situated in the Austrian state of Tyrol (my favourite part of Austria), the main village consists of one main street which is lined with hotels, cafes and sports shops. Oh, and that main street is pedestrianised during the day.
St Anton was the host of the 2001 Alpine World Ski Championships and, as well as being one of the world’s top ski resorts, it’s also famous for its après-ski entertainment.
[quote_box_center]More information at www.stantonamarlberg.com[/quote_box_center]
La belle France is famous for many things, including skiing. It offers a great choice of ski resorts for skiers of all levels of experience. That choice comes at a price though (higher than Italy and Austria). If you have the budget for it and want to enjoy the French Alps at their best, you better book early.
If you are a hard core skier, then Chamonix is already on your bucket list. “Le grand ski” is what they call Chamonix and that sums it up perfectly: the slopes are versatile and challenging, and the conditions are perfect. It’s also the resort where ski instructors and mountain guides go to get qualified. There are of course, nursery slopes for those of us who are going there just for the fun.
[quote_box_center]More information at www.chamonix.com[/quote_box_center]
There isn’t another country in the world that says skiing and winter sports like Switzerland does: high altitude skiing, picturesque Alpine villages, amazing vistas, first class service and hospitality. Switzerland is the preferred destination for the really rich and really famous, and you need to make sure you have the means to afford the experience.
4. St Moritz
A ski resorts article is not complete without a mention of St Moritz. It’s synonymous with so many things: the world’s first winter sports resort, the world’s best winter sports resort, the most glamorous winter resort in the world and the list goes on. This magnet for the rich and famous is an all-round winter sports mecca.
In the winter its lake turns into the most glamorous open air frozen playground, hosting skating, curling, horse racing and (believe it or not) cricket.
If you are after a more thrilling experience, then Cresta – the world’s original men-only home of skeleton is guaranteed to raise your adrenalin levels. Make sure you have a valid travel/life insurance beforehand though.
[quote_box_center]More information at www.stmoritz.ch[/quote_box_center]
You will be forgiven if you didn’t know where Bulgaria is and that it is, indeed, an emerging ski destination. It’s only in the past decade or so, that Bansko and Borovets (the Eastern European country’s best known winter resorts) began to appear on the windows of travel agents.
As Bulgarian-born, I (almost) feel obliged to include it in this list. It’s also a much cheaper destination than any of the other countries on this list, so if you are on a budget, then it’s worth considering.
There are two ski resorts in Bulgaria that are worth mentioning and Borovets is the older one. It’s also the one I prefer. Why? It’s closer to the capital city (Sofia) – only 44 miles, and it’s not as “touristy” as the other one. It’s also the biggest winter resort in Bulgaria and it offers better infrastructure with 24 slopes spread over 36 miles.
[quote_box_center]More info at www.borovets-bg.com[/quote_box_center]
Skiing in the USA is slightly different than that in Europe. Mostly due to the resorts boundaries. Every resort has a boundary and it is forbidden/restricted to ride outside of that boundary. That makes for a safer experience and it reduces the risks of you running into an avalanche. The pistes are very well groomed, the accommodation is spacious and the standard of service is exceptional.
6. Aspen, Colorado
Perhaps the most charming ski resort in the USA is Aspen, Colorado. As well as plenty of charm, Aspen offers four separate ski areas, all covered on a single lift pass. If you want to escape the crowds (on the slopes), do some shopping and dining, then Aspen is for you.
[quote_box_center]More information at www.coloradoski.com[/quote_box_center]
Canada has a lot to offer to skiers and snowboarders alike. Not just snow but spacious and luxurious accommodation, warm welcome, well groomed and quiet pistes. Much like the USA, skiing in the Canadian resorts is avalanche controlled and restricted to the boundaries of the resorts. Even though controlled, skiing in Canada is by no means limited. The country has resorts to suit experts as well as beginners.
7. Silver Star, BC
Charm is the reason Silver Star, BC is on the list. The village which resembles a 19th century mining village oozes character and charm. The colourful Victorian style houses dotted around the village square are set perfectly against the snow. There is plenty of snow and most of the accommodation is within half a minute walk to the snow. There are ski slopes to suit all skiers – beginners and experts.
[quote_box_center]More information at www.skisilverstar.com[/quote_box_center]
[quote_center](+ 1) DUBAI[/quote_center]
I know that Dubai is anything but a ski destination. However, Dubai won’t be Dubai if it didn’t have its own indoor ski resort – Ski Dubai. The resort has an indoor mountain, five slopes and it’s also home to the world’s first indoor black run.
Ski Dubai is part of Mall of the Emirates – one of the largest shopping malls in the world. If you are after a holiday that combines the best of both worlds – skiing and sunbathing on the beach, then Dubai is for you. Just makes sure you have enough savings as its luxury doesn’t come cheap.
[quote_box_center]More information at www.skidubai.com[/quote_box_center]