So why should a resort be in your Top Ten Ski Resort Bucket List? Well in the office, after a few hours of calm debate, followed by a few more hours of shouting and the odd hurled sticky bun (other more healthy mid-morning snacks are available), we decided that there is no set reason, or even set combination of reasons, it’s just far too personal.
The Top Ten Ski Resorts in the World
Some of you would prioritise snow and scenery over partying and food, or child care over off-piste… So after wiping the icing and doughnut residue from our keyboards we compiled our Top Ten Ski Resort Bucket list, for you to agree with, dispute against, disregard, scream at, just please don’t get so mad that you post us your sticky buns.
In no particular order, here they are...
Quite simply Revelstoke has to kick off our list, as talk to anyone who has been and they’ll tell you, not just, how good it is but how truly epic it is.
Revelstoke has the lot when it comes to on-mountain terrain, there’s steep and open powder faces, fantastic tree skiing, long well-maintained pistes, an adjacent cat-skiing operation and if that’s not enough then the ½ a million acres of heli-sking terrain should keep you happy.
Revelstoke is in our bucket list for skiing alone, as off the mountain its resort base is very small, with limited choice of après and accommodation. That said, the town of Revelstoke (15 mins drive), while small, is a cool place with a great local vibe and lots of bars and restaurants to choose from.
Because it’s the one in the middle…
This pick was more about skiing a world-class linked area, which can offer fantastic skiing for all abilities, great night life and is family-friendly, rather than just picking one resort. But as we had to choose one, and after much debate, we settled on the resort of Meribel from the 3 Valleys ski area, over either Val d’Isere or Tignes from the nearby Espace Killy ski area.
There is little to split these two fantastic ski areas, both of which are very popular with the Brits, but in the end the 3 Valleys got the nod on size alone, as it has 600km of piste to Espace Killy’s 300km.
Meribel got the vote over Courchevel and Val Thorens mainly because it’s the middle valley, making it super easy to ski in any of the 3 valleys without feeling rushed. Another bonus of Meribel is the fact that it’s been developed sympathetically, with low level chalet style development rather than high-rise apartments which spoil many a French mountainside.
Riksgransen made our Top Ten for keeping the season alive well into June. Head north post Easter, while the rest of Europe’s lifts are closing, and you’ll be skiing at midnight over 200km north of the Arctic Circle.
Being so far north, Riksgransen gets tons of snow and doesn’t actually open until Late February, as it’s far too cold and too dark beforehand.
It’s best in April/May when the days go on well into what should be night and all the Scandinavian seasonaires have returned home, from mainland Europe, for a season-ending party. The best of which is the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships free skiing competition, held here every May.
Riksgransen’s pistes aren’t necessarily the longest, but they are varied and the off piste is good too, but it’s the ski touring that stands out here as being world class. It really is true wilderness and you’re likely to meet a few reindeer if you leave the resort boundaries.
Alyeska, Alaska, USA
Anyone who loves to ride powder will have Alaska on their bucket list, and if you want to ski this isolated US state then look no further than the resort of Alyeska.
Yes; most hardcore ski nuts will head to Alaska for either ski touring, ski mountaineering or heli-skiing but the resort of Alyeska should not be overlooked, as it’s like heli-skiing without the price tag.
A 33-year average snowfall of over 16 meters is enough to keep the pistes in pristine condition and the off piste fresh all season. The mountain here is quite open, with multiple black diamond chutes and wide exposed faces, while most of the trees are no go areas. Intermediate and beginners are well looked after, with plenty of groomed pistes on offer.
If it’s good enough for a Toblerone pack then it’s good enough for our bucket list. The Matterhorn is possibly the most perfect and iconic mountain on the planet, so why wouldn’t you want to ski beneath it.
Zermatt and Verbier, are arguably Switzerland’s top resorts, but only Zermatt and the linked Italian resort of Cervinia have the Matterhorn as an awe-inspiring backdrop.
Zermatt has world-class skiing, a good snow record and all the in-resort facilities you’d ever need. While a tad expensive, it should be skied at least once in any self-respecting skier’s life.