Much like swerving pine trees on a particularly challenging off-piste run, negotiating the multitude of options available when deciding on a winter sports holiday destination can feel like tricky business. Of course, all you really need for a memorable winter vacation is great company, consistent powder days and fun activities to get stuck into when it’s time to hang up your skis in the evening. With that in mind, here is a choice selection to cut through the white noise: five top picks worldwide for a winter sports holiday like no other.
1. Unbeatable Adventures in Finland
For die-hard powder hounds, Finland places higher up this list, as the varied runs and peaceful landscape are best suited to beginner and intermediate snow sports enthusiasts. However, Finland certainly takes the crown for having the most magical non-skiing activities, from snowmobile tours to the breathtaking beauty of the northern lights.
2. Varied Terrain in The Three Valleys, France
This is a classic European ski destination, but don’t be put off if you experienced one of the more family-friendly resorts as a child. The Three Valleys really do have something for everyone, with a lively aprés scene in Val Thorens and 600km of linked slopes. In just one day, you can ski or snowboard through several of the main resorts and be back in time for tea – or drinks at the famous mountainside bar La Folie Douce.
3. Creature Comforts in Val-d'Isère, France
For a slightly more luxe take on a European snow sports adventure, look to Val-d'Isère. Set in the L’Espace Killy ski area, this picturesque resort offers extensive and challenging skiing alongside top-notch accommodation, so you can rest your tired legs in comfort.
4. A Powder Seeker’s Paradise in Niseko, Japan
Niseko is perhaps the location that’s least likely to be on your radar, but it’s one to consider if only for the sheer volume of snowfall it receives, averaging 11m per year. It requires the greatest investment in terms of travel hours, but for otherworldly mountaintop views of the ocean and the nearby Mount Yōtei, it will all be worth it.
5. Next Level Heliskiing in Whistler, Canada
Although the winter sports destinations of Europe and Japan boast some spectacular scenery, nothing quite compares to the mountains surrounding Whistler, Canada. The pistes are vast, and if you go for one of the many heliski experiences on offer, you will have the added bonus of having untouched slopes all to yourself. It’s the ultimate adrenaline junkie’s playground.
And Finally, The Easiest Decision of All...
Whichever destination you decide on for your next holiday, buying winter sports travel insurance before you leave is a no-brainer. It is easy to overlook, but as all thrill seekers will know, skiing and snowboarding carry some pretty major risks. You don’t want to land atop the first glistening piste by helicopter, only to remember that you didn’t take out any winter sports travel insurance. Act now, because whether you are traveling far afield or staying closer to home, a comprehensive policy is vital for putting your mind at rest and for ensuring that you’re fully covered for any eventuality. That way, with all the serious stuff taken care of, you can just focus on the stunning vistas and the icy wind in your hair.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, annual, family, business and winter sports travel insurance. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.