The beginning of the year is a fantastic time to escape to the mountains so we have put together the best places to ski in January. Generally, the slopes are the quietest during the season. Meaning the lift queues are small and the snowfall is the most reliable of the winter season.
Whether you’re travelling during the New Year’s period or later in January, we have put together a handy guide to the best ski resorts for early-season snow.
1. Crans Montana, Switzerland
Let’s kick off the list in Switzerland and more specifically, Crans Montana. This charming resort is just a two-hour transfer from Geneva airport, perfect for short breaks and ski weekends. The town is split into two areas, Crans and Montana, and is linked by its ski region, totalling over 140km of terrain.
The ski resort sits at 1,500m and reaches a ski altitude of 3,000m. Visitors can experience the beautiful Plaine Morte Glacier and its breath-taking 11km run down. On a clear bluebird day, you will be able to catch a glimpse of Mont Blanc in the West and the Matterhorn in the East.
Being a relatively undiscovered resort by the Brits it is the perfect ski resort to escape to in January.
2. Courmayeur, Italy
Courmayeur is famous for sitting at the foot of the impressive 4,808m Mont Blanc. It is home to some of the most beautiful views of the Alps.
The ski resort has just the right terrain for intermediate skiers. With the majority of the runs being blues and reds, it is ideal for those who are practising their turns.
The total ski area is 41.5km which is plenty to keep you and your group busy. With easy access to Aosta Valley and five other ski resorts it has the range to explore even further. Courmayeur can be reached from Geneva in just 90 minutes making it an attractive weekend trip.
3. Les Gets, France
You probably have already heard of Les Gets, it is a popular and charming ski resort favoured by families and beginners. The ski resort has plenty of sweet alpine chalets and buildings with fantastic views of Mont Blanc, adding to the spectacular scenery.
Les Gets is part of the Portes du Soleil ski region, with a combined 600km worth of slopes it will keep you wanting to come back for more. The ski resort’s altitude is lower than most in the Alps, so we recommend visiting during the most snow-sure time of the winter season.
Les Gets is home to some of the best non-skiing activities in the Alps. Not only are there plenty of après bars to choose from, but there is also something for the children too. Relax after a busy day in the many restaurants the town has to offer. Or perhaps you would prefer to visit the cinema, bowling alley, an ice hockey game, and the music museum.
4. Banff, Canada
Banff is one of those dreamy ski resorts you hope to ski at least once in your life. Made up of Banff, Lake Louise, and Mt. Norquay. The total ski area amounts to over 260km of terrain, so we can assure you that it is well worth the long-haul journey. Canada is famous for its copious amounts of snow – around 300-400 inches! You will not be disappointed at the beginning of the season in January.
A huge key factor for the powder hunters is that the off-piste terrain is regularly ski patrolled. This means you are free to explore as you please, unlike in Europe where it is at your own risk. With the highest ski slope altitude reaching 2,730m, the resort can be considered snow-sure, so you can hit a powder sweet spot in January.
5. Myrkdalen, Norway
Skiing in Scandinavia is relatively unfamiliar to the Brits. It is becoming an unkept secret to those who have visited in recent years. Myrkdalen ski resort sits at 450m and is the biggest ski resort in western Norway with 55km of slopes. Now, despite the seemingly low altitude, with Norway being so far north it offers some of the best snow all season long. It is one of the best places to ski in January!
6. Morzine, France
Neighbouring Les Gets is Morzine, a friendly ski resort perfect for families and groups of mixed abilities. Also part of the Portes du Soleil ski region, it has a vast collection of cruisy blues, challenging reds and intense black runs.
The transfer time is around 90 minutes from Geneva, perfect for those with younger children or maybe restless adults. The ski resort sits at 1,000m and the skiing altitude reaches almost 2,500m and generally has a good base during the season. It is one of the best places to ski in January, as French and English schools have yet to go on holiday. There’s also a great selection of neighbouring ski resorts to dip into.
7. Engelberg, Switzerland
Engelberg is a spectacular ski resort in all meanings of the word. The name directly translates as ‘Mountain of the Angels’ with the local slogan ‘Welcome to Heaven’. The picturesque resort of Engelberg sits below the impressive Titlis glacier, which reaches a height of 3,020 earning a place in the top ten highest ski resorts in Switzerland.
The total ski area is almost 90km worth of runs and is just 90 minutes from Zurich airport. It is a great choice for a weekend skiing in January.
8. Obergurgl, Austria
Another great medium-sized ski resort is Obergurgl, Austria. It is deemed as one of Austria’s highest resorts and one of the most popular with British families. Now, while the resort is popular with families, it has some fantastic off-piste skiing to be explored, which generally is untouched. Obergurgl is one of the best places to ski in January. The slopes are untouched and lift queues are short – meaning more riding time for you and your friends!
9. Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
Sauze d’Oulx is another fantastic ski resort in Italy boasting up to 400km of ski terrain in the Milky Way ski area. The charming car-free town is home to a great selection of après bars and restaurants, great for those who are looking for lively entertainment after an exhilarating day on the slopes.
The ski area is situated between the French-Italian border. This gives visitors a unique experience of enjoying an espresso and croissant in the morning, and resulting the day with a well-earnt Aperol spritz.
10. Vail, USA
Vail is another terrific resort for those wanting to explore somewhere further afield. It is one of America’s most famous and best-loved ski resorts for obvious reasons. The resort altitude starts at a mammoth 2,450m and reaches an incredible 3,525m. It is not for the faint-hearted.
There are over 30 lifts in the ski resort of Vail, with the majority of them giving a huge amount of access (far greater than in Europe) to quality pisted and off-pisted runs. The snow is some of the best in North America and the pistes are impeccably groomed. In other words, no one returns from Vail disappointed!
To find out more about the best places to ski in January call our ski experts on 020 7471 7700.