With ski season now here, and whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete novice, an après ski addict or simply in need of some quality family-time, we’ve rounded up a list of resorts that are perfectly in tune with your needs.
Best For Beginners – Courchevel, France
When it comes to choosing a resort for your first ski holiday, you can’t go wrong with Courchevel. A whopping 60% of the pistes in the ski area are beginner friendly, but It’s also a great choice for anyone travelling with more experienced skiers. Whilst you are cutting your teeth (not literally we hope), they can explore the rest of Les Trois Vallées – a huge and varied ski area that also includes the resorts of Meribel and Val Thorens. And if you need a break from the slopes, there are an abundance of other activities in the villages, including bowling, swimming, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice-skating, hot air balloon flights, cinema and paragliding.
Best For Experts – Chamonix, Switzerland
Chamonix’s extensive off-piste and ski-touring terrain see experts flocking here in their droves. It is to this self-styed “extreme sports capital of the world” that ski instructors and mountain guides come to qualify, and its runs feature on the bucket list of just about every serious skier and snowboarder. Rather fittingly the resort also hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924. Throw into the mix some spectacular scenery (including Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe) and a town steeped in Alpine tradition, and it’s not hard to see the attraction. For more moguls, bowls, steeps, chutes and couloirs than you can shake a ski pole at, head to the top station of the Grands Montets cable car, located at an eye-watering 3,275m.
Best For Families – Avoriaz, France
With nearly 17,000 beds and sleighs the only vehicles, Avoriaz is the ultimate family friendly resort. Of the slew of purpose-built resorts that opened in France in the 1960s, it is probably the best designed, with its wooden clad apartments and chalets sympathetically blending into the surrounding mountains. At its heart is the famous Village des Enfants, a leisure centre and ski and snowboard school catering for those aged three to 16. Opened over three decades ago, its concept of learning through play has since been adopted as a model in most of the alpine resorts. The resort’s reputation was further enhanced with the opening of Center Parc’s Aquariaz, a sub-tropical water park built within a huge glass dome.
Best For Après Ski – St Anton, Austria
No one does après ski quite like the Austrians, whether it’s pop ups, ice bars or bierkellers. And nowhere in Austria parties quite like St Anton. The resort’s reputation as the ski world’s party capital began in the 1960s, and it is still home to two legendary bars which hark back to this era. Allegedly selling 5,000 litres of beer a day, Mooserwirt enjoyed the honour of being named the ‘mother of all après ski bars’ by Playboy no less, while across the piste is Krazy Kanguruh. Local ski hero and two-time slalom World Champion Mario Matt took over here in 2011, but he has left the winning formula basically unchanged. Off the mountain, the partying continues at the achingly trendy Anton Bar while anyone wanting to simply relax and chill, should check out Pub 37, a charming little bar with room for yes, you’ve guessed it, just 37! Photo Credit Christoph Schöch.
Best For Money No Object – Aspen, Colorado
Alpine stalwarts such as Klosters and Courchevel are packed to the gunnels with Michelin-starred restaurants, five-star hotels, ultra-luxury chalets, designer boutiques, destination spas and helipads. But if you really want to bump into an A lister – if you can recognise them behind the helmets and goggles that is – it’s got to be Aspen. Offering 673 acres of powder, together with plenty of luxury hotels, boutique shops and après-ski options, it’s easy to see why this exclusive resort is a magnet for the likes of Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCaprio, Katy Perry, RGigi Hadid et al. That said Aspen is much more than a star-spotter’s paradise. In fact it’s more than just a single entity. The Colorado resort has four separate ski areas known jointly as Aspen Snowmass.