Different Slopes

Six unmissable ski destinations from the Alps to Hokkaido Island.

ith less than a month until the winter solstice, the ski season is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the Alps continue to be the undisputed champions of all things related to winter sports, there are many other spots in the world to choose from that offer radically different landscapes and hospitality options. Here are six destinations in six different countries that might just make you second guess the Alps. Whether you’re already pulling on your long johns or you’re still undecided, why not consider Canada or Japan?

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia

The largest ski resort in North America is on the west coast of Canada, British Columbia to be exact, it’s not far from the Pacific and about 125 miles north of Vancouver. And although it could not be further away from the Alps, it has a vaguely European atmosphere, especially when you take off your boots and stroll through the delightfully picturesque village of Whistler. There is more than 33 square kilometers of ground to cover on parallel mountains with slopes of varying difficulty that remain in pristine condition and are connected by a cable car.

Courchevel, Francia

Courchevel consists of six villages at different altitudes - including the famous Saint-Bon, where Le Lac Bleu was born in 1908 making it the first hotel in the area. There are three valleys, 58 ski lifts and 150 kilometers of pistes from olympic slopes to tobogganing trails. From the narrow chalet lined streets to five star hotels, this prestigious ski resort in the French Savoy more than satisfies all of its visitors’ tastes.

Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italia

Skiing in Cortina is always a breathtaking experience: this Venetian valley is surrounded by the magnificent Dolomites is part of the large Dolomiti Superski area. There are 86 tracks for a total of 115 kilometers, and snowboarders haven’t been forgotten about. The star of Italian winter tourism, Cortina D’Ampezzo is a time tested classic, but feels refreshed each year with new cultural and gastronomic offerings.

Niseko, Giappone

Skiing in Japan: why not? In Hokkaido, the great island at the very north of the Japanese archipelago, exists a town renowned the world over for its flawlessly textured snow, referred to as powder. This ski haven is called Niseko, and is one of the most famous ski resorts in Asia. The perfection doesn’t stop at snow- it’s surrounded by thermal springs. What could be better than relaxing in the onsen (Japanese for hot spring) after a long day on the slopes?

Zermatt, Svizzera

At the foot of the magnificent Matterhorn, this famous Swiss resort is a paradise for skiers: the grandiose Matterhorn Ski Paradise offers 350 km of slopes. It is a sight to behold in and of itself but there is another element at work: it is one of the few ski destinations in the world without cars. It’s only accessible by train and in the countryside you’ll only find electric cars. There is no doubt you will relish the clean mountain air in Zermatt.

Lech, Austria

In the Vorarlberg region of western Austria, 305 kilometers of slopes and 88 ski lifts make Lech one of the largest resorts in Austria. The town of Lech in the Ski Arlberg area is somewhat of a hub of luxury- celebrities are attracted to its peaceful atmosphere away from prying eyes to take advantage of its wonderful slopes and the retreat of the quaint old village.
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