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Global Top 10 Ski Resorts 2014

To the uninitiated, one ski resort looks pretty much like another.  But there is an incredible variety of ski resorts, each with its own character and charm, with a storied history or a bold future, and each with its pros and cons.  From the huge French interconnected super resorts with high speed cable cars, concrete architecture, and smooth, fast pistes, to small Canadian resorts with a handful of creaking chairlifts and backcountry access – snowgenius has been lucky enough to visit dozens of resorts throughout the world.

Here is a list of some of our current favourites.  It’s by no means definitive, and we’ve had to miss off some truly excellent resorts.

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Alta/Snowbird, USA

Now I have been known to dabble in the dark art of “le snowboarding”, as the French call it, but I am first and foremost a skier.  And Alta is a skier’s resort.  By this I don’t mean that it has lots of button lifts and long flat sections for poling along (a little joke …

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Aspen, USA

Aspen started life as a mining camp, with hardy pioneering types mining silver in the Colorado mountains.  When the price of silver collapsed, so did the town, which went into a steady decline until ski-tourism was invented.  In a remarkable turnaround in fortunes, spurred on by celebrity endorsed 1970s counter culture, Aspen is now a playground for the rich and …

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Chamonix, France

Chamonix is one of the oldest ski resorts in France, and is rightly thought of as the home of extreme skiing and mountaineering.  Chamonix’s famous cable car, the Aiguille du Midi, takes you up to 3842m and plunges you directly into serious mountain terrain.  From the top you can ski down the legendary 20km Vallee …

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Jackson Hole, USA

Wyoming may be a state more associated with cowboys than ski bums, but it is also home to Jackson Hole, one of the premier ski destinations in the world, and a mecca for fanatics of extreme skiing. It is considered to have some of the most challenging terrain in North America, and it is not …

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Kicking Horse, Canada

Kicking Horse has a cool name and a cool logo in its merchandise.  It also has the fourth highest vertical drop of any North American resort, and four large snow-catching bowls to play in.  The skiing is advanced, and when there’s a lot of snow (which is most of the time) entry to the bowls …

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Les Trois Vallées, France

Les Trois Vallées is the world’s most extensive ski area, with an incredible 600 kms of interconnected slopes and 180 ski lifts.  Samuel Johnson famously said; “A man who is tired of Les Trois Vallées is tired of life” when he visited Courchevel 1850 in 1773.  Made up of the resorts of Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, …

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Revelstoke, Canada

Whilst a great deal of the enjoyment of skiing in Revelstoke is telling other ski afficionados that you’ve been there and basking in their admiration, Revelstoke is genuinely a skier’s paradise.  Revelstoke Mountain Resort is undergoing a huge program of development to turn it into one of North America’s largest resorts, but for the moment it’s …

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St Anton Am Arlberg, Austria

Does this need an introduction?  St Anton, the après ski capital of Austria, home to a bar which reputedly consumes more beer than any other establishment in the country, and the setting of many comedy drunken youtube videos.  However to categorise St Anton as just another après ski destination would be doing it a gross …

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Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier is another famously expensive Swiss resort, but unlike the chocolate-box pretty Zermatt, Verbier is busy, vibrant, and bustling.  There’s wealth here too, with Verbier real-estate fetching eye-watering sums – take a look in an estate agent’s window whilst you’re there to get a sense of the demand for property there.  However Verbier’s draw isn’t …

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Zermatt, Switzerland

Try to picture a typical, beautiful, snowy alpine mountain scene, the kind you might try to draw as a child, and then add lots of Swiss money and glamour, and you get Zermatt.  Switzerland is thought of as an expensive skiing destination, and it’s places like Zermatt which help the stereotype to persist.  The problem, for those of us not …

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