Winter Wonderland: Top 5 Skiing Spots in the World
Take advantage of the winter season while it’s still in full swing, and escape Singapore’s erratic weather, which has been oscillating between showery and scorching this past month. What better way to get your fix of snow and ice than with a ski vacation? An exotic holiday activity that promises an adrenaline-filled, once-in-a-lifetime experience, it works both as a family-friendly vacation and a romantic getaway for two. Beyond racing down powdery slopes, you’ll also be treated to jaw-dropping landscapes and some of the world’s best après-ski. Certain ski resorts offer alternative snow sports and activities as well, including dog sledding, snowshoeing and riding a snowmobile. Here are the top skiing spots in the world for the perfect winter escape.
St Anton, Austria
From afar, these snowy alpines boast a pearlescent glow, resembling the silky-smooth texture of whipped cream. One of the most well-loved ski resorts of all time, St Anton is known as the home of modern skiing, the place where the sport was invented by Hannes Schneider. He pioneered the Arlberg technique, a method involving parallel turns that has brought much elegance to the sport.
Situated in the Arlberg region with vast pistes and off-piste terrains, it is the largest ski resort in the country. Party hard at its many après-ski bars, such as The Mooserwirt and Krazy Kanguruh, where tabletop dancing is a common sight. Don’t miss the Arlberg 1800 art centre, perched at 1,800m above sea level, that has played host to a good number of world-class chamber musicians.
On the Eastern edge of France is Courchevel, another classic luxury ski destination nestled in the commune of Saint-Bon-Tarentaise. While St Anton might be more suited for expert skiers, Courchevel’s varied slopes cater to anyone from novices to the most proficient athletes. Imagine endless expanses of powdery snow upon undulating hills, against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks and the brightest, bluest skies.
The five villages in Courchevel are connected by lifts, as well as a free (and thankfully regular) bus service. The lowest village features a hill for ski jumping, originally built for the Olympics in 1992. While some areas exude a rustic charm, others are much more grandiose with upscale hotels like L’Apogee Courchevel and a multitude of Michelin-starred restaurants. Get a taste of the royalty treatment at the Pierre Gagnaire pour Les Airelles, a wood-panelled, chandelier-adorned culinary palace with two Michelin stars. It is also located in Hotel Les Airelles, an equally lavish location in which to stay.
Europe may be everyone’s go-to continent for an exotic skiing getaway, but let’s not forget about the gems in Asia. On the other side of the globe, Niseko dominates as the top spot for a snowy holiday. This town in Hokkaido sits beside Mount Yotei, a dormant stratovolcano, and produces the fluffiest snow, making every first-timer’s attempt down these slopes a journey through euphoria.
What makes Niseko stand out from the rest of the ski resorts is its abundance of indoor and outdoor onsens—a type of ancient Japanese hot spring bath. Coupled with the picture-perfect panorama of mountains, it will surely lift you up to cloud nine. When you’re ready for more high-energy fun, Niseko offers trails for beginners and freestyle skiers, as well as reindeer sledding—a magical, unmissable experience that’s one for the ages.
In the land of maple syrup, one of the sweetest adventures you can take is up the Whistler ski destination. While you’re here, look out for the sniffle stations, an adorable little post with a box of tissues usually situated on the lifts. Race down more than 200 trails at this colossal ski resort anytime between the end of January and the start of February when the weather is at its best.
For the advanced sportsmen, you’ll love the stunning vertical drops, glacier slopes and off-piste country in Whistler. Whistler Blackcomb also recently added three new lifts to the resort, which is known for its peak-to-peak gondola ride. While the Four Seasons Resort and Residences and The Westin Resort and Spa make for top-notch luxury accommodations, head to Dusty’s Bar and BBQ for the ultimate apres-ski experience.
St Moritz, Switzerland
Few ski resorts are as luxurious as Switzerland’s St Moritz. A little town that has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, St Moritz is also famous for its heritage-rich, five-star Kulm Hotel. Not only is it the oldest address in the area (it dates back to 1864), it also features Michelin-starred joints, upscale spa facilities and a pool that plays underwater music.
In fact, this is where you’ll find actual royal figures and other high-profile celebrities—bumping into them would be another welcome perk. St Moritz’s runs span more than 350km, at a maximum elevation of 3,305m. Besides skiing, visitors also get to frolic on frozen lakes and take part in horse racing, golf, cricket and more on ice.