By M. Santini
Wondering where to ski in the world? I have found the best ski stations that are located next to great landscapes and have great hotels, restaurants and services next to them. These spots vary from world renowned mountains, such as Aspen, all the way to phenomenal sites with less recognition such as Erzurum in Turkey. Are you ready? Below are the places I selected:
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy -
Cortina d'Ampezzo is the "queen of the Dolomites", a glamorous location and the best place for luxury lovers that like to buy fashion items from vintage boutiques. Located in Corso, Italy, this place is also great for ski admirers as there are great ski slopes and wonderful landscape views. The station offers more than 140 km of slopes to its skiers.
Best time to visit: 1st of December to mid-April.
Closest airports: Venice Marco Polo (160 km), Treviso (120km)
Zermatt, Switzerland -
Throughout all ski locations in Switzerland, the one that most astonishes its public is Zermatt, primarily for its exceptional weather conditions and sustainability. The city is a complete pedestrian destination, with no cars circulating, only small electric vehicles or carriages which contribute to the natural environment. Moreover, the area is home to 39 mountains with a spectacular view of The Matterhorn.
Best time to visit: late November to the end of April.
Closest airports: Geneva (236 km), Zurich (237 km), Milan Malpensa (197 km)
Ruka, Finland -
At this site, the slopes aren't very steep, however they permit travellers to delve into the magnificent bushes and appreciate the dazzling Aurora (also known as the Northern Lights). Also, the charm of Ruka lies in the fact that the ski paths pass through the indoor of the national parks of Riisitunturi and Oulanka.
Best time to visit: late November to April.
Closest airports: Kuusamo (25 km)
Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada -
135 kilometres away from Vancouver stands the Whistler-Blackcomb mountain, characterized by its endless landscape of snow-covered trees and the longest gondola (a vehicle that is used for carrying passengers up a mountain) in the world – the Peak to Peak – used to connect the two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb. The location is also renowned for its "powder snow": a snow that is dusty, soft, and basically unique in a way that attracts all sort of skiers.
Best time to visit: December to March.
Closest airports: Vancouver (135 km)
Have you ever thought about flying to Turkey to ski? Erzurum will astonish you as it is the most suitable place in the world for relaxing in a hammam – a Middle Eastern steam bath – after long hours out in the snow. Merely a two-hour flight from Istanbul airport, this ancient site in the Middle East, one of the freezing cities in Turkey, enchants all travellers. The snow condition is outstanding and there are appropriate, technical spots for more advanced skiers, especially the summit known as the Great Dragon.
Best time to visit: December to the start of May.
Closest airports: Erzurum
Aspen, United States-
Charming and delighting, with a variety of activities available on the snow (from skiing to snowboarding) and off the snow (shopping and eating), Aspen is convenient for all age groups and tastes. The station is very significant because of the division between four different areas: the challenging Highlands, Snowmass (ideal for kids), Buttermilk - the kingdom of snowboarding - and finally, Mountain. In virtue of all these different factors, people call Aspen the "Cortina d'America" comparing the site with the Italian location mentioned above.
Best time to visit: December to February.
Val Thorens, France-
Among all French skiing areas... why Val Thorens? The station is unique for the condition of the slopes and technological lifts, along with being the highest ski station in Europe, with over 600 kilometres of tracks to come across. Furthermore, there is the Péclet Glacier, nominated as "the most beautiful landscape in the Alps", offering a view of 1,000 alpine peaks. In Val Thorens, there is not just skiing but also other activities like hiking, snow parks and boardercross.
Best time to visit: end of November to March.
Closest airports: Lyon (183km), Geneva (159km), Chambéry (112 km)