Celebrate winter weather with a trip to one of these top global ski destinations. With world class spas and casinos, these lodges have something for everyone to enjoy -- even if you need a break from the cold.
British Columbia, Canada
These two towering mountains provide excellent skiing with a huge vertical drop. Several decades ago, the mountains were mainly the domain of courageous hikers. Today, Whistler’s village offers everything snowboarders and skiers crave: cafés, international stores, and more than a hundred restaurants that cater to all tastes.
Best place to stay: Fairmont Chateau Whistler
The spectacular Fairmont Chateau Whistler resort rests at the base of breathtaking Blackcomb Mountain. Non-skiers can relish the Vida Wellness Spa and the Chateau Whistler Golf Club.
2. Kitzbühel, Austria
In the pantheon of European ski resorts, Kitzbühel is considered the “Pearl of the Alps.” It is the most famous holiday resort in the Tyrol; 54 cable cars are available to ferry downhillers to the slopes, and miles of trails are constantly groomed for cross-country skiers. This 700-year-old village offers skiers the history of an alpine community where skiing began in the winter of 1892.
Best place to stay: Hotel Goldener Grief
In the heart of the cozy village of Kitzbühel stands this beautifully restored hotel, which dates back to 1271. After a long day on the slopes, there’s no cozier place to sit than in front of a blaze in the large fireplace. Or snuggle down in the charming Tyrolean-style guest rooms. There’s a casino in the building, as well as a restaurant and a bar.
3. Zermatt, Switzerland
Picturesque Zermatt is Switzerland’s best ski resort, better than the neighboring Gstaad or St. Moritz. A remarkably peaceful carfree getaway, Zermatt holds the world’s second biggest lift-served vertical drop and has huge snowfalls, thanks to its altitude.
Best place to stay: Riffelalp Resort
The Riffelalp Resort is the highest Alpine resort in Europe. Just above Zermatt, the hotel offers 65 double rooms, five suites, plus two apartments with all conveniences. Most rooms have balconies with breathtaking views of the Matterhorn.
4. Park City, Utah
Park City’s reputation for great skiing helped make the area a host venue for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The resort, with 19 lifts, limits lift-ticket sales to avoid long waits in line. There are runs for all levels with 1,750 acres (709 hectares) of Rocky Mountain powder.
Best place to stay: Deer Valley Resort
The plush lodge is a full-service, four-diamond hotel with a health spa, ski valets, heated outdoor pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna, fitness center, and award winning restaurants.
5. Banff/Lake Louise
Canada’s oldest national park, Banff, offers some of the best downhill skiing in the heart of the North American Rockies. The four areas are Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Area, and Nakiska, which was designed for the alpine events of the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Best place to stay: The Fairmont Banff Springs
Styled after a Scottish castle, this hotel packs a punch in terms of hospitality and scenery. It has been a symbol of Rocky Mountain magnificence for more than a century. And it’s within driving distance of the four skiing areas within the park. In addition, guests can try cross-country skiing, play golf, and unwind in Willow Stream, a world class European-style spa.
Check out the full list of the world's top ski runs and lodges.
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