Best Ski Resorts
We are often asked “which are the best ski resorts in the world” and “which are the top 10 ski resorts”? Our answer is always “it depends on what you’re looking for”! For us Powderhounds, our idea of the best ski resort is one with abundant dry powder that is practically deserted such that there are fresh tracks galore. These hidden gems are a bit of a rarity!
The best powder skiing isn’t everyone’s highest priority is choosing the top ski resort. For some people, it’s about the quality of the cruising runs, the nightlife, the restaurants, the family friendliness, or a combination of variables. When choosing the top ski resorts, everyone has different priorities. We’ve provided ratings (from 0 to 5 where 5 = outstanding) on different factors as well as an overall rating. And in case you’re a powder hound just like us, we’ve also highlighted the best ski resorts in the world for powder skiing.
See below for ski resort rankings:
Our ratings are based on our experiences of visiting lots of ski resorts. Obviously we haven’t been to all the top ski resorts in the world because that would take more than a lifetime, but we’ll continue to try!
Japan Ski Resorts
Japan has some of the best ski resorts in the world for powder hounds. Many of the top ski resorts for powder (both quality and quantity) can be found in Hokkaido, and some of the resorts are also uncrowded so there are lots of "freshies" to be found!
Canada Ski Resorts
The Canada ski resorts
vary somewhat in their strengths, although many of them are amongst the best ski resorts in the world for family friendliness.
South America Ski Resorts
The South America ski resorts are not really up there in the top 10 ski resorts in the world for powder skiing or the quality of the snow, but they provide some really interesting and culturally diverse experiences.
New Zealand Ski Resorts
Like South America, the NZ ski resorts
are not likely to be ranked for the best powder skiing (or the infrastructure). The major strengths of many of the New Zealand ski fields include the lack of crowds, likelihood of getting freshies at lunch time on a powder day, and the lack of expense.
USA Ski Resorts
The USA ski resorts
and many and varied, so it's somewhat hard to categorise them. Some are up there are the best ski resorts in the world for the quality and quantity of powder, although many of the high profile resorts are crowded so freshies don't last long. Some of the strengths of the USA ski resorts include great terrain and infrastructure such as child facilities and restaurants.
Europe Ski Resorts & Other
We haven't reviewed many Europe ski resorts.....yet! Some of the European ski resorts are up there as the best in the world for nightlife and dining.
Ratings are from 0 to 5 where 5 is outstanding
Definitions of Categories
- Beginner and intermediate terrain: refers to the quality and quantity of terrain available
- Advanced on-piste terrain: quality and quantity of marked trails; in some resorts trails are marked yet are really off-piste (e.g. Kicking Horse, Whistler)
- Off-piste: this refers to the quantity and quality of the terrain, but also the likely snow conditions; this refers to in-bounds not out-of-bounds terrain
- Backcountry: slack-country, "out-of-bounds" terrain close to the resort that is easily accessible ie not a hike >15mins; may require a traverse back to lifts or goes to a road
- Expert: this includes off-piste and easily accessed backcountry for experts
- Extreme: refers to super steep and narrow terrain, cliffs and other drop-offs
- Snow: quality and quantity, and likely frequency of powder days
- Lunchtime freshies: likelihood of finding quality fresh tracks at lunchtime on a powder day
- Uncrowded: uncrowded lift lines and slopes
- Lifts: refers to quality and quantity of lift infrastructure including the lay-out
- Terrain park: size, variability and caters to all levels
- Family friendly: refers to how well the resort caters to families, both on and off the slopes - includes elements of child care, ski school, accessibility and kids activities
- Restaurants: quality and quantity of daytime eateries as well as evening restaurants
- Nightlife: refers to nightime entertainment including bars but not restaurants
- Ski-in ski-out accommodation: refers to the proportion and quality of accommodation on mountain that is truly ski-in ski-out
- Cost: incorporates costs associated with lift tickets, resort facilities, food & drink, and lodging (where relevant) relative to other resorts across that country/continent
- Overall rating: incorporates all factors
- Powderhounds: incorporates powder hound factors - advanced/expert terrain; powder; uncrowded slopes; & finding lunchtime freshies