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Around the World in 25 Slopes: The Top Ski Resorts to Visit This Winter

Outdoors.com explores the most captivating alpine havens around the globe fit for everyone—from fledgling snow bunnies to hardcore adrenaline junkies seeking an unparalleled ski escape. Whether it’s the towering peaks of the Tetons in Wyoming or New Zealand’s awe-inspiring untamed slopes, these top destinations promise breathtaking runs, pristine powder, heart-stopping descents, and unforgettable adventure.

North America

Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont

Once used by smugglers traveling a rugged path cutting through the Green Mountains, Smuggler’s Notch, nicknamed Smuggs by in-the-know locals, is a three-mountain hidden gem now home to one of the East Coast’s best ski resorts. Boasting terrain for beginners and experts alike, this independently owned, off-the-beaten-path ski resort exudes cozy Vermont charm without annoying crowds.

Aspen Highlands, Colorado

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Image by Kristin Braga Wright

The chill Rocky Mountain oasis Aspen Highlands is often at the top of ski enthusiasts’ lists of slopes to swoosh down—and with good reason. The 12,392-foot Highland Bowl is considered a rite of passage for those brave enough to hike its steep runs, and Oly Bowl boasts plenty of untouched powder in ski stashes.

Telluride, Colorado

With terrain that caters to skiers of all levels, Telluride’s light but dense snow and 300 days of sunshine are almost as magical as the fact that this isolated resort in the southwest corner of Colorado isn’t overrun with crowds (i.e., no lift lines). The vibrant town is tucked into the San Juan Mountains and perfectly located for après-ski adventure.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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Image by Matt Anderson Photography

The Tetons loom large over Jackson Hole—a ski mecca renowned for its steep chutes, including the legendary run Corbet’s Couloir. The bird’s-eye views from atop the summits offer glimpses of the area’s rugged glades, ravines, and powdery terrain. The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort sees an average of more than 500 inches of snowfall each season.

Big Sky, Montana

Located in the Greater Yellowstone Region, the sprawling nearly 6,000-acre Big Sky Resort is a playground of exhilarating runs—including triple-black diamonds and back slopes—dominated by the daunting mother of them all: Lone Peak. At 11,166 feet, the vistas from the lifts traveling up its face match the jaw-dropping trip back down.

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia

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Image by Cavan Images/Ben Girardi

Whistler Blackcomb in Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia, boasts the largest skiable terrain in North America, making it a mecca for serious shredders. For those looking for a next-level adventure in this winter wonderland, heli-skiing delivers access to more than 400,000 acres of exclusive terrain, including 173 glaciers.

Mont-Tremblant, Québec

Nestled in Québec’s Laurentian Mountains northwest of Montreal, skiers enjoy Mont-Tremblant’s 755 acres of meticulously groomed slopes fit for all levels. And the European-inspired après-ski scene is an ideal mix of Québecois hospitality and Canadian charm.

Europe

Verbier, Switzerland

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Image by Margarita Almpanezou

Challenging couloirs, powder-filled bowls, and gorgeous glades: Verbier is a freeride paradise famed for its backcountry skiing. Perched at around 5,000 feet, this gateway to Mont-Fort, the highest peak in Les Quatre Vallées, is a hub that links up to more than 250 miles of trails and five other resorts.

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France 

At the base of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in western Europe, Chamonix was once a tiny mountain village that has since turned into a world-class destination for powder enthusiasts. Skiing and snowboarding are unparalleled in this French Alps hotspot, but it should come as no surprise that this birthplace of alpinism is just as great for mountaineering, climbing, and hiking for those looking for other activities outside of skiing. 

Courchevel, France

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Image by Christopher West

The heart of the Three Valleys and arguably the crown jewel of the world’s largest ski area, Courchevel boasts challenging couloirs and plenty of off-piste adventure. This technical trail excellence melds with refined alpine elegance thanks to Courchevel’s luxury lodging, chic boutiques, and Michelin-starred restaurants.

St. Anton Arlberg, Austria

St. Anton Arlberg is an expansive Tyrolean Alps destination with a private feel. This resort comprises over 100 miles of off-piste trails and nearly 200 miles of marked slopes crisscrossed by 85 cable cars and lifts. Powder hounds have their pick of runs and steep slopes, like the daunting Schindlergrat ridge, while snowboarders craving action take advantage of challenging carving areas.

Val Gardena, Italy

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Image by Paul Biris

Home to annual World Cup races, Val Gardena in the Dolomites is suitable for expert skiers up for a challenge as well as novices and families. Plus, it’s usually open through the beginning of April for ski fans who want to squeeze the maximum out of ski season.

South America

Portillo, Chile 

Once the snow melts in North America, diehard skiers can head to the southern hemisphere to keep the season going in Chile. Portillo, located in the Andes around two hours from Santiago, is surrounded by towering snow-capped 19,000-foot peaks, and perched on the waters of Laguna del Inca. The isolated resort enjoys its best skiing and snow conditions in August.

Nevados de Chillán, Chile

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Image by S. Liberona

For ski purists who don’t mind roughing it, what low-trafficked Nevados de Chillán lacks in accommodations and nightlife it makes up for in pristine powder—around 400 inches annually, to be exact. The vistas in this part of the Andes are just as impressive and include a trio of active volcanoes that have created lava flows and other unique off-piste terrain.

Las Leñas, Argentina

The majestic Andean peaks are the real star of the show in isolated Las Leñas, which soars almost 4,000 feet above its base in the Mendoza Province and features 39,000 acres of terrain fit for hard-core skiers.

Catedral Alta Patagonia, Argentina

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Image by Marco Bottigelli

Towering, cathedral-like granite spires give Catedral Alta its lofty name. The skiing here is just as elevated, but its many lifts and proximity to the city Bariloche makes it more accessible than other properties in Argentina.

Asia

Gulmarg, Kashmir

Blanketed with snow from the Himalayas and in the shadow of Nanga Parbat, the ninth-highest peak on Earth, ski bums looking for a dizzying experience are quite literally on top of the world at Gulmarg. It’s among Asia’s biggest resorts and home to the Gulmarg Gondola. At about 4,200 meters, or 13,780 feet, it’s considered the world’s highest ski lift.

Alshan Alpine Ski Resort, Mongolia

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Image by Stanislov Sablin

Copious daily snowfall translates to the Alshan Alpine Ski Resort on the inner Mongolian border enjoying a guaranteed blanket of fresh powder for ski enthusiasts, which includes the Chinese national skiing team, who use a section dedicated to competitive athletes.

Niseko, Japan

Deep, dry powder is a perennial favorite at the winter playground Niseko. This collection of four resorts, comprising over 2,000 acres on Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, is just as famed for its nightlife as the night skiing.

Hakuba, Japan

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Image by Maples Photographs

Located in the Japanese Alps, Hakuba rates high among advanced serious riders who appreciate backcountry and off-piste skiing. It earned its place in the history book as host to multiple events during the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Africa

Tiffindell, South Africa 

For those whose dream is to ski the seven continents, a visit to Tiffindell in South Africa is a must. It’s the country’s highest ski resort, and though compact, it serves as a playground for skiers looking for a one-of-a-kind ski experience in June, July, and August.

Oceania

Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand

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Image by Prime Images

At 12,218 feet, the cloud-piercing Aoraki Mount Cook on New Zealand’s South Island is the country’s highest mountain and permanently covered in snow. Heli-skiing companies whisk thrillseekers to its slopes for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Coronet, New Zealand

Established in 1947, those making Queensland a base for adventure should be sure to check out Coronet, New Zealand’s first commercial ski area conveniently located just 20 minutes from the South Island city.

Perisher, Australia

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Image by Keith McInnes Photography

Situated between Sydney and Melbourne, Perisher, the largest resort Down Under, has four connected areas. Its 3,000+ acres are served by nearly 50 chairlifts, and the best time to visit is during July and August. 

Antarctica

While there are no dedicated ski resorts currently in Antarctica, anyone with nerves and a solid bank account can arrange the ultimate challenge: a private skiing expedition to the South Pole.

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