14 Best Ski Resorts You Need to Visit
From a black diamond run to an acclaimed ski school to an exotic peak that's off the beaten path, here are the ski resorts to visit in 2020.
The perfect wintertime activity
Skiing is a classic winter activity that remains perfect for snowbirds of any age. Travel destinations that are even better in winter are great finds if you want to experience a new adventure alone, with friends, or together alongside your family. Here are 13 of the best ski resorts in the world that you need to visit in 2020.
Best ski resort #1: Aspen Mountain, Colorado
This classic Colorado ski resort coupled with the idyllic small mountain town experience is one of the best places to ski thanks in large part to two locations: The iconic, AAA Five-Diamond property The Little Nell, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary, and the brand new W Aspen, a spiffy 88-room luxury hotel with ski-in/ski-out access, a rooftop pool, and a DJ in the lobby. This legendary mountain is one of the best ski resorts in the U.S. because here you can cut a trail on the same slopes that once hosted World Cup finals, imbibe at a mobile champagne bar being pulled up and down the mountain by Snowcat, and later dine out in style downtown. Aspen Mountain is a must-visit ski resort for 2020 and the town ranks as one of the prettiest mountain towns in the world.
Best ski resort #2: Big White, British Columbia
Western Canada’s biggest night-skiing area features more than 300-feet of fresh “champagne” snowfall each season. Of the expansive 2,700 acres, 83 acres are illuminated for nighttime activities. Big White is family-friendly, with a ski-in/ski-out vibe in town, and offers sleigh rides, ice skating, and activities for kids. Best of all, says Snowpak, Friday night is bargain night. For $8 each you can partake in skiing, tubing, ski rentals, and plentiful dinner options. All said, this makes Big White one of the best ski resorts in the world.
Best ski resort #3: Passo Tonale, Italy
When the dollar is strong, Italy can offer some of the best skiing in Europe for value-seeking skiers. And it will buy you a true downhill experience of slicing through fresh powder from October to mid-June, per The Telegraph. Despite being the training ground for the Italian national ski team, Passo Tonale is the best ski resort in Europe for beginners, as the slopes are gentle and the ski and snowboard schools are top-notch. A panoramic view of the Italian Alps is the cherry on top of this bowl of white gelato.
Best ski resort #4: Kitzsteinhorn, Austria (Kaprun and Zell am See)
These neighboring Salzburgerland ski resorts have been rated the best in Austria since November 30, 2019. This alpine ski resort literally reaches new heights this year with the opening of the 3K K-onnection—the new direct link from the Kaprun town center all the way up to the 3,029-metre Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. Per the official site, “Kaprun will be able to offer a ski-in/ski-out glacier experience, with snows that are 100% guaranteed.” And according to The Guardian, “The gondola will carry skiers from a beginners’ area in Kaprun to slopes on the glacier, which could previously be reached only by taking a bus to another resort. This link is the final stage in a line of six gondolas that together will cover 12 km, the longest run of connected lifts in the Alps.” Taking a vacation in March or April? Don’t miss these 15 best places in Europe for spring break.
Best ski resort #5: Andermatt, Switzerland
According to The Guardian, “Powderhounds have always loved Andermatt for its steep unconventional ski runs,” but this Swiss town isn’t just for extreme skiers anymore. “It has been transformed, with new hotels and new lifts, making Andermatt suitable for beginners, intermediates, and families too.” With changes afoot both last year (a lift extended ski area to the village of Sedrun) and this year (another new lift, from Sedrun to Disentis), there’s now 180 km of designated ski runs and an après ski train back to town, making this one of the best ski resorts in Europe that skiers of all abilities need to visit in 2020.
Best ski resort #6: Snowbird, Utah
This pristine ski resort offers the longest season in the state. Snowbird is beloved and considered one of the best ski resorts in the country thanks to “persistent snowfall, and its steep, vertical fall lines that spill out in all directions from the top of the tram down its front face,” according to Forbes. Of all the best places to ski, Snowbird ranks high for pure, unadulterated skiing without the incessant party atmosphere found at other alpine ski resorts. There’s also the famous Peruvian Ski Tunnel, the only such feature in North America, and while not new, it never fails to drop jaws, whether you are a first-time Snowbird skier or have been shredding these same Utah trails for years. These 13 small towns are even more charming in winter.
Best ski resort #7: Refuge Du Montenvers, France
Located near the site of the very first Winter Olympics is a refuge far, far away from the relative hustle and bustle of charming Chamonix. This recently renovated oasis is reachable only with considerable effort—specifically, “a dinky red funicular train carrying you 2,050 meters above sea level,” according to Conde Nast Traveler. While you can certainly ski down miles of glacier snow, the Refuge Du Montenvers can also be considered the best ski resort in the Europe for those less interested in skiing and more into mountainside dining, with 360 degree views of the Mont Blanc Mountain range, as well as those wanting to experience a quirky, remote, and exclusive boutique escape. These are more of the top vacations for people who love winter.
Best ski resort #8: Whitewater, British Columbia
Why is Forbes so keen on a ski resort that requires a flight to Spokane (probably with a connecting flight too) and a four-wheel drive vehicle road trip away? “Because snow, that’s why. Also, scenery: cool mountain towns not overwhelmed by tourism, real lumberjacks, and the chance to ski powder without having to worry too much about beating 5,000 people to the spot.” This powdery dream of a ski resort located in inner British Columbia is heaven for skiers who want more of the best skiing in the world and less standing in lines to get it.
Best ski resort #9: Club Med Alpe d’Huez
When you think all-inclusive resort, you likely think of the sunny and sand, but Club Med is out to change all that. What the brand did for the Caribbean, it’s now doing for the French Alps at its newly opened Club Med Alpe d’Huez. Here, you’ll find world-class skiing on the Grand Rousses mountains for all levels of skiers, along with other winter sports including ice skating and test sledding. As for the all inclusive part, that means lift tickets and group lessons, kids club, apres-ski activities, and all day dining and open bar are included in the price of your ski vacation. Even better? Club Med offers a “snow guarantee, which means if there’s not enough snow to ski on, you’ll be compensate for your trip or allowed to cancel it penalty-free. And when you are ready for the beach, be sure to check out these best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean.
Best ski resort #10: Niseko, Japan
If you’re an accomplished skier looking for your next intense snow adventure, head to the Niseko area of Japan this winter to be one of, “30 adventurous and self-motivated skiers and snowboarders willing to hike dormant volcanoes on Japan’s northern island Hokkaido.” The tour, designed to highlight the impact of climate change, has been organized in conjunction with environmental advocacy group Protect Our Winters UK (POW UK) and promises to, “Tackle steep terrain and push the physical, mental, and emotional limits of the skiers,” according to The Telegraph. “Climb up the Annupuri, Iwaunopuri, Shiribetsu, and Mt Yotei volcanoes, ski in their craters, and ride their steep ridges and open bowls.” Make it your next bucket list trip!
Best ski resort #11: Beaver Creek, Colorado
The best ski resorts in the world generally have the same few things in common: great snow, great accommodations, and great transportation up the mountain(s). Located minutes from Vail, this classy property is one of the best ski resorts in the world because it checks all those boxes while also adding a serious touch of luxury. Add to that free chocolate chip cookies daily, the ability to get around the mountain with ease on high-speed lifts, while “spending very little time in line”—because according to the Snowpak, at Beaver Creek there are, “Fewer crowds than its sister resort [Vail]”—and you’ve got a winner. Coming later in 2020 is McCoy Park, Beaver Creek’s newest ski learning area, with 17 trails on 250 welcoming acres for beginner families. Here are America’s most picturesque winter towns.
Best ski resort #12: Portillo, Chile
A famously yellow hotel resort set against the white snow of the Andes Mountains makes this best ski resort in South America pop, but it’s the slopes, many of which accommodate novice skiers, and its people, who accommodate non-Spanish speakers with ease, according to PowderHounds, that make Portillo stand out. Here in Chile, you and your family will experience not only some of the best skiing in the world but also a ski resort that serves two masters, the off-piste extremists and those with young children looking for an uncrowded set of snow-packed trails to make snow-filled memories.
Best ski resort #13: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
In Jackson Hole you can rise early to take a predawn photo of the iconic T. A. Moulton Barn, a la Ansel Adams with a pink and purple sky backdrop, before rising up between 6,300 and 10,000 feet to hit the slopes. It is arguably the most picturesque mountain town in America. Some of the best American skiing can be found here for snow-heads looking to tackle extreme terrain and, at 4,139-feet, the steepest continuous vertical in the United States. Thanks to ski lessons at the enhanced Mountain Sports School in the new Solitude Station, children 7 years and up as well as adults of all abilities can learn skills in this best-ski-resort paradise. Here are more of the best places to ski in the U.S.
Best ski resort #14: Greek Peak Mountain Resort, New York
This sprawling central New York ski resort features 56 trails covering 220 acres. Greek Peak is a best place to ski for families located on the East Coast because of its proximity to so many big cities. The fun doesn’t stop on the slopes: Try snow tubing and cross-country skiing or traverse 500 feet of manmade slides in the always-84-degrees Cascades Indoor Waterpark; brunch in an actual igloo; then rest and relax at Hope Lake Lodge. The resort offers everything from luxurious hotel rooms to single-family homes for an epic ski vacation. Read on to discover the least-crowded winter destinations.