From the National Geographic book The 10 Best of Everything
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.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
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.
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.
Hotel Goldener Greif
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.
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.
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.
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.
Deer Valley Resort
Park City, Utah
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.
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.
The Fairmont Banff Springs
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
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.
Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France
Host to the world’s first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, Chamonix ranks among the top contenders for the title of “world’s most famous ski resort.” It is at the foot of Mont-Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps and the second highest in Europe (15,771 feet; 4,810 meters). The resort town is renowned for having a lift-served vertical drop of 9,209 feet (2,809 meters), as well as having one of the world’s longest ski runs: the 13.7-mile-long (22-kilometer-long) long Vallée Blanche.
Chamonix, Mont-Blanc, France
Le Hameau-Albert is a terrific place to go after working up an appetite on the slopes, because the elegant hotel offers amazing food. It is located within a few minutes of the center of town. The architecture is a fun fusion of Old World tradition and modern style.
One of the most renowned resorts on the ski map, Stowe sports a New England tradition and the biggest vertical drop in the area. The two ski areas are Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. The latter actually backs onto Smugglers’ Notch’s terrain.
Green Mountain Inn
For more than 150 years, the Green Mountain Inn has offered lovely accommodations. Guests now have their choice of lodgings in the inn itself or in town houses. There is a heated pool and health club, as well as two restaurants. Every afternoon the innkeepers provide hot tea and freshly baked cookies for guests.
Tremblant is one of the better known resorts in eastern Canada, about an hour from Montreal. Open since 1939, the mountain has four distinct slopes laced with 94 runs. The resort operates 19 lifts.
Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
With a ski lift right at the door, it’s clear that the Fairmont intends to serve skiers. The hotel has 314 guest rooms and 62 suites. There is a spa, several restaurants, and an arcade of shops and boutiques in the pedestrian-only village.
Cortina was the site of the Olympic Games in 1956. Cortina d’Ampezzo, surrounded by the craggy Dolomite Mountains, is a prime run on any thrill seeker’s European winter itinerary. The central village has 52 lifts and 87 miles (140 kilometers) of groomed runs. The Cortina Center can arrange bobsledding, snow rafting and high-speed tobogganing. The crowd in this stylish old resort dresses impeccably well.
Miramonti Majestic Grand Hotel
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
The Miramonti has expanding views over the Cristallo. Situated within parklike grounds not far from Cortina, the five-star hotel has elegantly appointed rooms and a restaurant that specializes in outstanding regional cuisine. A courtesy shuttle ferries guests between the hotel and the village.
Aspen’s four mountains are world-famous, with terrains that can accommodate skiers of all abilities. The resort is also a great choice for experts, who can access hundreds of acres of terrain off the backside of the mountain.
The St. Regis Resort
In true St. Regis fashion, this resort is a perfect place for winter skiing, summer sports, and the arts. The hotel has 179 guest rooms and suites, a heated outdoor pool, and a fitness center. The new Remède Spa offers 15 separate rooms and an exquisite menu of massage therapy and other body treatments.