To Ski Or Not To Ski.... That Is The Question
We think it’s time for another holiday soon given that Christmas and New Year’s are well behind us and we’re truly starting to get itchy feet. But we’re now faced with a dilemma…. we’ve recently been invited to go skiing by some of our friends. And for some reason, we’re just not so sure we want to go. Why? Because we’re craving the beach, that’s why.
Why, why, why do we Londoners always pick to go for sand over snow? Why are we consistently picking the beach ball over the snow ball??
Of course, it’s so easy to go to a beach at a moment’s notice - you don't need to do much beforehand (except perhaps go to the gym for those of us brave enough to bother), there is often fresh water and seafood. But that’s not really it is it? It seems a little too easy...
The fun factor appears almost equal:
-The peace and the freedom of the beach have been matched by the adrenalin and ecstasy of the slopes.
-The parties? The stories of the legendary hot tub parties and drunk skiing are at least as intriguing to us as the numerous silent discos and drunken volleyball games.
Nope. It’s the sun and heat. Although we've heard you can equally catch the sun whilst skiing or snowboarding, nothing beats the direct sun rays serenading you as you lie like a beached whale on the sand - not for a Londoner anyway. We Londoners are drawn to the sun like a moth to the flame. We are used to rain, fog, snow, strong winds, sleet which we get in abundance. A ray of sunshine however is a rarity. London has occasionally been considered the perfect place to breed vampires, due to the lack of sun we receive in one calendar year.
This year nonetheless, we break the mould people! We’re off to the slopes and hopefully some crazy vertical drops. We know you want to join in so strap on that gear and travel your way down this list of top 10 ski resorts. By day, you'll love the vertical jumps and, by night, you'll love apres ski time with all the sexy snow bunnies.
Number 10 – Aspen, United States
Aspen offers steeps and four unlinked mountains, with slopes for all skier levels. Aspen Mountain is an ideal choice for intermediate level skiers with its bumps and steeps, but also perfect for experienced skiers who will have access to endless acres of terrain off the backside. Bear in mind, it’s a celebrity destination of choice, hence you’ll want to loosen up your purse strings quite a bit if you pick this ski resort.
Best places to stay: Sky Hotel, Hyatt Grand Aspen
Number 9 – Cortina, Italy
There’s a lot more to Italy than pizza folks! And the Cortina resort is definitely on the top 10 list of Italian things you don’t want to miss. It was one of the first ski resorts worldwide and hosted the 1956 Olympic Games. Much like Zermatt in Switzerland, Cortina’s traffic-less street is its centre point but also, a very stylish place to be.
Best places to stay: Rosa Alpina, Dolomiti Wellness Hotel Fanes
Number 8 – Mont-Tremblant, Canada
Aaaah we all love Canadians – they’re all so welcoming and friendly. Which is just an extra reason to go to the renowned and luxurious resort at Mont-Tremblant. It’s only an hour away from Montreal, has been around since 1939 and was the first ever resort to open in Canada.
It also has plenty of French Canadian warmth to go around.
Best places to stay: Fairmont Tremblant, Club Intrawest
Number 7 – Stowe, United States
Stowe is one of the most picturesque ski resorts on the map. Offering traditional New England charm and the biggest vertical drop in the area, its two ski areas are Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak (which backs onto Smugglers' Notch's terrain). Stowe is as a result amongst a handful of American resorts that have a lift-link to another resort. The resort offers over 60 restaurants and 90 shops so you won’t have to trek too far away during your stay.
Best places to stay: Stowe Mountain Lodge, Inn at the Mountain
Number 6 – Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
Chamonix was the first ever resort to host the Winter Olympic Games in 1924. Even if you’re not a big skier yourself, you’ve probably heard of it - indeed, Chamonix is a very strong contender for the title of "World's Most Famous Ski Resort." The resort sits at the foot of Mont-Blanc, is the highest peak in the Alps and the second highest in Europe (top elevation 15,771 feet). Chamonix-Mont-Blanc’s impressive vertical drop of 9,209 feet along with having one of the world's longest runs (the Vallée Blanche) at 13.7 miles are definitely two of its mains selling points. A must see really.
Best places to stay: Auberge du Bois Prin, La Vallee Blanche
Number 5 – Banff/Lake Louise, Canada
Lake Louise, situated in the middle of Banff National Park, is one of the most beautiful mountain resorts in North America (and some say, the entire world). It provides a choice of three ski areas, Mount Norquay/Mystic Ridge, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise which are about 30 miles apart.
Norquay has been qualified as "an unforgiving brute legendary for its unrelenting vertical and monster moguls", so beginners beware!
Best places to stay: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Banff Aspen Lodge
Number 4 – Vail, Colorado
Vail calls itself ‘America’s favourite resort’ for many reasons and we would definitely advocate this status. With 5300 acres of skiable area and high-speed detachable quads, there’s more than enough to fulfill all you thrill seekers out there. The resort also boasts a variety of additional activities and cultural entertainment with its several museums, galleries, dog sledging, ballooning, ice skating and the list goes on…
Best places to stay: Lion Square Lodge, Vail Cascade Resort & Spa
The following three resorts hold a special place in our hearts. Get them on your bucket list asap.
Number 3 – Zermatt, Switzerland
Despite facing fierce competition from Gstaad (three 5 star hotels and official top resort status) and St Moritz (highly popular resort, even more so than Zermatt), many people will tell you that Zermatt is Switzerland’s best resort. If you’re looking for a peaceful holiday, look no further. Zermatt’s no-cars-allowed policy will give you that time off from the city you so badly need. But fear not, it also has the world’s second biggest vertical drop, so it will be far from a snooze fest.
Best places to stay: Riffelalp Resort, Grand Hotel Zermatterhoff
Number 2 – Kitzbuhel, Austria
Kitzbuhel is not only known as the ‘Pearl of the Alps’ but is also the most renowned ski resort in the Austrian Tyrol. The 700-year-old village provides enough charm to compete with St Anton (Europe’s liveliest resort) and Innsbruck (one of Europe’s most beautiful cities).
Best places to stay: Apartment-Hotel Almhof, Best Western Premier Kaiserhof
Number 1 – Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
The resort not only has the biggest vertical drop but also a charming village full of cafes, stores and countless restaurants which are bound to satisfy all tastes (after a day of effort, that’s an essential factor).
Whistler has consistently won the ‘Best Ski Resort in North America’ vote by North Americans but has also consistently been ranked as the top international destination by the Japanese.
Best places to stay: Crystal Lodge, Summit Lodge and Spa