Best winter snow holidays around the world

Discover your next snowy adventure

Winter is a magical time when landscapes are transformed into glittering wonderlands, and the thrill of snow-filled activities beckons travelers from around the globe. Whether you’re an avid skier, a snowboarding enthusiast, or someone who simply loves the beauty of a snowy retreat, there’s a perfect winter holiday destination waiting for you. Here are some of the best winter snow holidays around the world that promise unforgettable experiences and cozy memories.

1. Whistler, Canada: The Ultimate Snow Sports Destination

Why Whistler?

Nestled in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler is renowned for its stunning scenery and world-class ski facilities. It’s home to Whistler Blackcomb, North America’s largest ski resort, offering over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain.

Highlights

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: With diverse slopes catering to all skill levels, Whistler Blackcomb is a paradise for snow sports enthusiasts. The resort also boasts one of the longest ski seasons in North America.
  • Whistler Village: After a day on the slopes, unwind in the charming pedestrian-only village, filled with shops, restaurants, and vibrant nightlife.
  • Snowshoeing and Snowmobiling: For those seeking adventure off the slopes, explore the backcountry with guided snowshoeing and snowmobiling tours.

Insider Tip

Visit during the Whistler Film Festival in December to combine your love for snow sports with a celebration of cinema. It’s a great way to enjoy the town’s vibrant cultural scene.

2. Zermatt, Switzerland: A Picturesque Alpine Escape

Why Zermatt?

Zermatt, located at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn, is a quintessential Swiss alpine village offering breathtaking views and excellent snow conditions. It’s a car-free village, ensuring a peaceful and clean environment.

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Highlights

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: With 360 km of pistes and access to the highest cable car station in Europe, Zermatt provides an unparalleled skiing experience.
  • Gornergrat Railway: Take this scenic cogwheel train up to 3,089 meters for stunning panoramic views of the Matterhorn and surrounding peaks.
  • Après-Ski: Zermatt’s après-ski scene is lively, with numerous bars and restaurants offering everything from traditional Swiss fondue to international cuisine.

Insider Tip

Book a stay at one of the cozy, family-run chalets for an authentic Swiss experience. Many offer packages that include ski passes and meals, making your stay both convenient and cost-effective.

3. Niseko, Japan: Powder Paradise

Why Niseko?

Niseko, located on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, is famous for its incredible powder snow. The consistent and abundant snowfall creates perfect conditions for skiing and snowboarding.

Highlights

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: Niseko’s four interconnected resorts – Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village, and Annupuri – offer a variety of slopes and off-piste opportunities.
  • Onsen Experience: After a day on the slopes, relax in one of the many natural hot springs (onsen) that Niseko is known for. It’s a perfect way to soothe tired muscles.
  • Japanese Cuisine: Enjoy delicious Japanese food, from fresh sushi and sashimi to hearty ramen and hotpot dishes. Many restaurants offer stunning views of Mount Yotei.

Insider Tip

Visit during the Niseko United Snow Festival in February, where you can enjoy ice sculptures, fireworks, and traditional Japanese performances.

4. Aspen, USA: Glamour and Glitz in the Rockies

Why Aspen?

Aspen, Colorado, is synonymous with luxury ski holidays. It’s known for its upscale amenities, vibrant cultural scene, and high-profile visitors. Yet, it also offers excellent skiing and snowboarding for all levels.

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Highlights

  • Four Ski Areas: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass together offer a diverse range of slopes, from beginner-friendly to expert-only terrain.
  • Cultural Attractions: Aspen is home to numerous galleries, theaters, and the Aspen Art Museum, providing plenty to do off the slopes.
  • Après-Ski and Nightlife: Experience world-class dining and nightlife, with many establishments frequented by celebrities.

Insider Tip

For a more budget-friendly stay, consider accommodations in nearby Snowmass Village, which offers excellent ski-in/ski-out options and is just a short shuttle ride from downtown Aspen.

5. Queenstown, New Zealand: Southern Hemisphere Snow Fun

Why Queenstown?

Queenstown, located on New Zealand’s South Island, is a stunning year-round destination. During the Southern Hemisphere’s winter (June to August), it transforms into a haven for snow sports enthusiasts.

Highlights

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: The Remarkables and Coronet Peak are two of the most popular ski areas, offering a range of slopes and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Wakatipu.
  • Adventure Activities: Known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown offers bungee jumping, skydiving, and jet boating for adrenaline junkies.
  • Scenic Beauty: The dramatic landscapes provide endless opportunities for hiking, photography, and simply soaking in the natural beauty.

Insider Tip

Plan your trip to coincide with the Queenstown Winter Festival in late June, a lively event with fireworks, live music, and various snow-themed activities.

6. Chamonix, France: The Birthplace of Alpine Skiing

Why Chamonix?

Located at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, Chamonix is a historic and picturesque town that has been a hub for alpine skiing since the early 20th century.

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Highlights

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: With a variety of slopes suitable for all levels and some of the most challenging off-piste routes in the world, Chamonix is a must-visit for serious skiers and snowboarders.
  • Aiguille du Midi: Take the cable car up to 3,842 meters for breathtaking views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding Alps. It’s also the starting point for many high-altitude adventures.
  • Après-Ski: Enjoy the vibrant nightlife and culinary delights in Chamonix’s many bars, cafes, and restaurants, offering everything from French cuisine to international dishes.

Insider Tip

Consider purchasing the Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass, which gives you access to multiple ski areas in France, Italy, and Switzerland, as well as other attractions like the Aiguille du Midi cable car.