Whether you’re a snowboarder or a skier, we all have varying levels of ability when it comes to hitting the slopes in winter. I, for one, am more of a ‘go slow’ and ‘please give me lots of space’ boarder, but of course I know others are all about the challenging black runs and sheer cliffs with delightful views.
But, something you may not have considered is that different ski fields around the world offer different experiences for, well, different levels of experience. So, how do you know where to travel for your next ski holiday? This list will help you navigate just that, with the best snowfields around the world to suit every ski style.
For the snow-obsessed winter lover
If you are in love with all things powder, you can’t go past Canada. It’s no secret that Canada is beyond great for snow and between famous ski fields like Banff and Whistler, it has endless snowy adventures for all travellers. Canada is considered the best in its class when it comes to winter sports thanks to its beautiful mountains with runs of all levels and great facilities to boot. Sure, it can be crowded in peak season but that’s because it’s so beloved by boarders.
Your perfect Contiki trip: The Powder Rush
The ‘I’m not just here for the slopes’ skier
Sometimes you want more from a trip than just skiing. And in those moments, you should head to Japan. Japan, especially Hakuba, has stunning slopes just waiting to be explored. Hakuba offers many powder days throughout the season and plenty of opportunities to sample the famous Japow (get it? Japan. Powder. Japow. You get it).There’s a variety of ski resorts so choose your preferred one or try more than one (pro tip: the Hakuba snow isn’t quite as dry as Hokkaido powder but it’s still very good). And then, when you’re ready for something else, there are many more amazing experiences right nearby. Soak in an onsen, dress up in a kimono, visit Japanese temples or castles, taste sake and wasabi, or visit the famous Japanese snow monkeys. Fresh powder daily, nowhere as crowded as the USA or Europe snow fields (even during high season!) AND a wealth of culture and fun at your fingertips—if you want more from your snow trip than just snow, go to Japan.
Your perfect Contiki trip: Japan Winter Wonder PLUS 4 Day Ski
New Zealand is the perfect winter destination for baby boarders or first-time skiers. With plenty of fields to choose from, it’s the ideal place to learn to ski or snowboard because you can test and learn a few different terrains in one go. Queenstown alone has four different peaks: The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone. There are plenty of beginner to intermediate courses, and plenty of reasonably-priced lessons and gear hire places for newbies. The best part for beginner snow bunnies? New Zealand slopes don’t have many trees, so you won’t spend all day dodging obstacles.
Your perfect Contiki trip: Ultimate NZ Ski
Après Ski Fans
If you’re all about the whole ski experience, Austria is your ideal snow trip. We’re talking about staying in traditional gasthofs, imbibing in after ski schnapps and racing down mountain runs in true Europe winter style. The Tyrol (Tirol) region where we have our Contiki gasthof is famous for having plenty of large and well known ski resorts, but with so much space, you can easily avoid the crowds. Powder aficionados can choose a new field to play in everyday and still have the chance to relax over a hot schnitzel with a cold beer by night. Staying right on the doorstep of the fields is the best way to do Après Hour, so stay as close as possible and breathe in that divine, fresh air of the Austrian Alps while you sip your way into the evening.
Your perfect Contiki trip: Austria Ski Plus
For the quick fix snow bunnies
If you love the snow but don’t fancy spending a whole week riding the slopes, go to Lake Tahoe. Great for a quick snow fix and with pistes for every skill level, Lake Tahoe’s fields have something for everyone. As challenging or as easy as you want, one day on these slopes feels like a week, meaning you can pack more into your trip. This spot is one of America’s best-loved ski fields not just because of the variety in runs, but for its stunning beauty. At every twist and turn you’ll catch an epic view over the majestic mountains.