I’m skiing in Japan today. I’ve wanted to ski here for a long time, and I’m excited to finally experience what everyone says is the best powder in the world. But Japan isn’t the only good spot to ski, and if you’re looking for inspiration for where to hit the slopes, today I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to the best places to ski around the world.
Best Places to Ski around the World
Until a few years ago, the only place I had ever skied was California. Yes, believe it, you can ski in California (we even hosted the winter Olympics once). I learned to ski in a blizzard at Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park when I was four, and haven’t stopped since. But in recent years I’ve branched out from my home state, exploring pistes from Switzerland to Canada and back. Today I want to share my favorites with you, and I hope they encourage you to travel to the mountains (and for the mountains).
Starting with California. Most of my childhood skiing was at the resorts around Lake Tahoe. From Squaw Valley to Bear Valley, Northstar to Heavenley, Alpine Meadows to Homewood, and even out to Kirkwood, I couldn’t get enough of the region’s peaks. But in recent years I’ve done as Southern Californians do and skied at Mammoth. I enjoyed the skiing there just as much, and I’m happy to report that California has good skiing from north to south.
2. St Moritz
But now that I live in London, skiing in California isn’t as convenient as it once was. So I’ve looked to the Alps for something closer to home, and I’ve found great skiing there. St Moritz in Switzerland is one of my favorite places to ski, not least because it offers the perfect combination of good runs and delicious food. Add to that a pretty town and lots of activities for the time I’m off the slopes—an Olympic bobsled course to name one—and it’s hard to beat.
3. Tignes and Val Thorens
Not far from St Moritz, I’ve also had a great time skiing in France. On one trip I went to Tignes and Val Thorens, where there was more good skiing and great food. Tignes is also a good place for early season skiing or years when snow isn’t forthcoming, as it opens before most resorts and the glacier means there’s always skiing to be had. Add to that a spa in town and lots of good nightlife, and I’m set for my time both on and off the snow.
4. Banff and Lake Louise
Back in North America, I was thrilled to have a chance to ski in Canada’s Banff and Lake Louise. I had heard amazing things about them, and the Rockies are legendary for skiing along their whole range. Both resorts offered excellent skiing and great instructors, and the area certainly lived up to its reputation. Beyond skiing, I had a chance to go dog sledding, sleighing, snowshoeing, and walking around Lake Louise to see the frozen waterfalls.
Returning to Europe, my first ski experience in the Alps was Courchevel. It was clear from the beginning that it would deserve a place on my list of the best places to ski around the world. Why? First, it was the largest resort I’ve ever skied in—it’s connected to neighboring resorts as part of Les 3 Vallées, the biggest ski area in the world. Second, it had a great apres ski scene, from restaurants to bars and beyond. Third, it had a lot to do around the slopes, from chi chi shopping to sledding.
Back out in North America, Canada’s Whistler was where I learned how to ski all over again. I went for a women’s ski camp, and my instructor overhauled my technique for the better. I had an amazing time improving my skills and discovering new terrain, and even had time for a snowcat ride, fondue dinner, and trip to the frozen vodka bar in Whistler’s Ice Room.
And now back to Japan. I arrived in Nozawa yesterday with high expectations and a fear they wouldn’t be met. But after a day on the slopes, I can confirm the rumors about Japan’s powder are true. The skiing is amazing, as is the fact that afterwards I can soak in an onsen hot spring and eat delicious Japanese food. This is definitely one of the best places to ski around the world.
But it’s not the last. I would still love to ski in South America, New Zealand, and even Hawaii. And maybe that’s what I love most about skiing: it takes me all over the world and gives me something unique to experience every time. But for now I’ll focus on Japan.
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