Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations
No one element decides the top 10 ski vacation destinations. Some are family-friendly resorts, others home to the most challenging and hair-raising downhill runs in the world. Others still are famed for their apres-ski nightlife as much as the mountains themselves. As there's something for everyone between our top ski vacation destinations, we've grouped them by region, rather than rank favorites absolutely.
Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations – Stowe, Vermont
Home to the highest peak in Vermont, Stowe blends a homey New England vibe with some of the best skiing in the Northeast.
Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations – Aspen, Colorado
Not for the faint of heart or bank account, Aspen's four resorts (Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, and Buttermilk) are home to some of the toughest runs in the country. Let the plethora of four- and five-star resorts and restaurants take the edge off the day's sore muscles.
Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations – Park City, Utah
Whatever preconceptions you might have about Utah, leave them at the border and go to Park City. The skiing is fab, and downtown comes alive at night with quaint shops and restaurants that light up like Christmas miniatures.
Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations – Vail, Colorado
America's largest single ski area lures you in with 31 lifts, hopping nightlife, and nearly 5,300 acres of skiable terrain. There's also a plethora of fine accommodations.
Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations – Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
Home to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Whistler-Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America with over 200 trails on 8,100 acres between its two mountain peaks. There isn't a better vacation destination in Canada for serious skiers.
Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations – Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Though hardly having the scope of Whistler-Blackcomb, Mont-Tremblant's charms lie in its European stylings in the heart of French Canada. The titular mountain's trails are good, but what makes it a complete package is its indulgent dining and delightful Old Quebec architecture. Tres belle!
Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations – Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina d'Ampezzo (or simple 'Cortina,' in common usage) might be the best European ski resort for families, as its small-town vibe meshes with a relaxed atmosphere nonetheless rich in Italian culture and comfort. Flexible ski options mean there's enough for every level of skier, from die-hards to casual vacationers.
Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations – Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
Perhaps best-suited to more extreme skiers, this French ski town is home to the Vallee Blanche, the creme de la creme of off-piste ski runs, a gorgeous 13.7 miles from peak to base.
Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations – Kitzbuhel, Austria
In addition to ample trails for the skiers of all stripes (the area boasts 105 miles worth of runs), Kitzbuhel combines two big advantages over other big name European ski areas: ancient history and cheap accommodations. The 700-year old village is a great place to bring the kids on a Tyrolean adventure.
10 Top 10 Ski Vacation Destinations – Hokkaido, Japan
Japan's north island is home to over a dozen mountains, but the Niseko ski area takes the cake for quality and breadth of trails. Powder is the name of the game here, with tons of off-piste runs at its four interconnected resorts.
Photo by Anja Johnson via Flickr