Every keen skier has a dream ski resort they want to visit. There are some amazing alpine destinations around the world that are top-class on and off the slopes. Whether you want stunning views or incredible nightlife there’s something for everyone. We’ve put together three of the best ski bucket list destinations. If you’re looking to try something different why not consider one of these incredible ski resorts.
Just a 15-minute drive south-west of Banff lies Sunshine Village. A 7,000ft-high ski resort located in the middle of the beautiful Banff National Park. Situated between British Columbia and Alberta, and spread across Goat’s Eye Mountain, Lookout Mountain and Mount Standish, the resort has over 7,700 acres of skiable terrain.
In total Sunshine Village has 107 different runs. The longest of which extends for an impressive eight kilometres. The slopes are great for both intermediates and beginners, including the Mighty Mite learning zone for first-time skiers. The remainder is the preserve of the experts. Many of whom take the Goat’s Eye Express ahead of conquering thrilling double black runs and vast swathes of gladed territory.
After a long day out on the slopes, warm up with a meal at one of Sunshine Village’s top dining venues. Head to the Eagle’s Nest restaurant for the high quality fine dining. Be sure to try the starter of smoked duck breast served with beef carpaccio and fennel orange slaw, followed by the main of braised alberta bison short ribs with whipped potatoes and roasted root vegetables.
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One for the ski bucket list – you’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t visit Zermatt. Gaze in awe at the Matterhorn and soak up the climbing history of this unique ski resort. The skiing is excellent, and you can even cross the Italian border and make the long descent to Cervinia. And even if you’re not a advanced skier and just want to potter, you can reach some remarkable spots just by riding the lifts. The Matterhorn Glacier paradise cable car for example (one route across to Italy) is the highest in Europe with some of the most dramatic glacial scenery. You’ll arrive at the Klein Matterhorn (Little Matterhorn) at 12,530 ft. Here you can have lunch and admire the sculptures in the ice grotto. More than anywhere in the Alps, Zermatt is festooned with wonderful mountain restaurants. We recommend a visit to the museum in town.
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Jackson Hole is one of our favourite ski bucket list destinations. Expect glorious skiing, inspirational valley views and the most scenic of America’s mountains, the Tetons. There’s also a great variety of wildlife including elk, moose, coyotes, the odd wolf and even bald eagles. Like Zermatt, non skiers can ride the two main lifts: the Aerial Tram and the Bridger Gondola, each with food-and-scenery opportunities at the top. Make sure you visit the town of Jackson itself, some 12 miles from the skiing at Teton Village. It’s a genuine cowboy town with wooden sidewalks and cowboy bars.
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Marmot Basin is positioned deep within the Canadian Rockies and has the country’s highest base elevation at 5,570 feet. However, it’s not just about high altitude skiing, the ski resort has a total of 1,675 acres of skiable terrain.
The excellent conditions at Marmot Basin are due to the dry, powdery nature of Alberta’s snow. 160 inches of which falls here every year. Marmot Basin has 86 runs of varying ability levels. Around a fifth are challenging enough for expert skiers. The majority of double black runs are located on the slopes of Eagle East. Challenging snow-filled bowls are located below the majestic Marmot Peak, which reaches an altitude of 8,570 feet.
Jasper is also home to numerous après ski options. Try a hearty meal of elk steak at the Downstream Bar & Grill before sampling a local brew at The Jasper Brewing Co, Canada’s first National Park Brewery. Jasper is highly recommended as a ski bucket list destination.
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If you’re hungry for off-piste adventures, you simply cannot ignore the Espace Killy ski area comprising of Val d’Isere and Tignes. There’s a phenomenal wealth of off-piste descents including the Tour du Charvet, Le Vallon du Petit Signal and Le Grand Pissaillas. All are quite straightforward for any off piste skier or boarder. There are many other off-piste runs which are no more technically difficult but require local knowledge about avalanche danger so a guide is advisable. There are many independent ski schools in Val d’Isere including some run by UK instructors.
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Lake Louise is located around an hour’s drive north-west of Sunshine Village. The ski resort has room for 145 designated runs, the longest of which stretches for an impressive eight kilometres. Ten lifts allow access to the different runs.
Among the most popular novice-only runs is Wiwaxy, run nine. Both runs 55 and 56 are both served by the Grizzly Express Gondola. Run 148 is also a favourite of the more advanced skiers and run 132, accessed via Summit Platter, promises skiers “a tremendous high-alpine experience”.
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Verbier is the gateway to the Four Valley lift system which links it with several neighbouring ski resorts including La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, and Veysonnaz. Useful if you like exploring far and wide but in truth the best skiing is in Verbier’s own backyard. And it’s backyard is vast! As if the Four Valleys aren’t sufficient, Verbier also has a clutch of other unlinked ski resorts in its portfolio. The St Bernard ski areas, which include Bruson, La Fouly-Val Ferret, Champex, Super St Bernard, Les Marécottes and Vichères-Liddes. Getting round that little lot, combined with the Four Valleys could keep you busy for an entire winter!
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Another ski bucket list destination, with a choice of several resorts both in and around the Chamonix Valley and of course all with the backdrop of the mighty Mont Blanc. Strong skiers and boarders will head for Argentière, but the run that’s likely to stay in your mind for ever is the extraordinary Vallée Blanche. At approximately 10 miles it’s one of the longest off-piste runs in Europe.
Travel up to the Aiguille du Midi in one of the most awe-inspiring cable car rides you can imagine. You’ll negotiate what can be a slightly unsettling ridge descent (the guide will rope you and may even offer to carry your skis) ready for the descent of a lifetime. The “classique” route is pretty straightforward and the only reason you need a guide is to make sure you don’t start skiing the wrong route. Also to help you steer clear of crevasses. The scenery is utterly breath-taking.
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To find out more about the best ski bucket list destinations, please call our ski experts on 0207 471 7700.
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