Working for a ski company does have its draw backs. Everybody wants free advice. The most common question I get asked is what is your favourite resort?
I hate that question!
It's an impossible question to answer because they all offer different experiences. If I'm with a group of my party friends then I much prefer the aprés ski action of Austria in places like St Anton or Mayrhofen. If I'm with some go hard ski fanatics then I'll head to one of the big high resorts of France like Val d'Isére or Chamonix to get the big cornice drops, couloirs, and endless backcountry. Then when my unfortunate friends with families ask me, I always send them towards Italy in resorts like Selva or Cervinia where the pistes are cruisy, the mountain restaurants cheap and filling and the locals are excessively child friendly (they still pinch cheeks) .
So it comes down to this, if I had one resort to ski for the rest of my life which one would I choose?
My answer - Whistler – Nobody does it better! (or maybe Val d'Isére or Jackson Hole)
Our group of ski sales experts couldn't agree either and they've all been seasonaires or instructors. Here's what they all offered up as their favourite resorts:
Verbier (Switzerland) - It offers skiing for all and it's in the most spectacular 4 valley setting, all in a pretty chocolate-box Swiss village. It gives every skier a very complete holiday experience. - Thomas
Aspen (Colorado) - Amazing Rocky Mountains dry powder with an authentic 19th century mining town that is not too big or too small. The bars are cool and full of celebrities who stay in the über-luxury accommodation. There is a mass of challenging skiing on Ajax and Highlands mountains and then there's the vast Snowmass round the corner if you want to just cruise about on wide corduroy pistes. - Scotty
Tignes (France) - It has all the great skiing of Val d 'Isére without the price tag or the pretentious crowds. The night life and 'aprésphere' is hugely understated and just as good as Val, thus keeping the drinks prices down and the fun factor up. It's not a pretty resort, but that works in its favour. People don't go to Tignes to be seen in the right place at the right time wearing the latest fashion gear; they go to Tignes to ski. To sum it all up, 'Go to Val to be seen but go to ski in Tignes'. - Ade
Whistler (Canada) - It has something for everyone! There's a warm Canadian welcome, great village, great food and two great big mountains! - Nick J
If there was a resort with no skiers then that would be my favourite, but if I had to make a choice it would be La Rosiere or St Foy because mass tourism hasn't hit them yet, so they are great value for money, have empty pistes, untracked off-piste for days after a snowfall and there are great views. - Nick HH
Courchevel 1850 (France) - Beautifully groomed pistes, beautiful mountain restaurants and beautiful people (like me). - Wade
Tignes (France) - A cracking resort with a unique feel. A bit more raw, young and exciting than its neighbour Val d'Isere. God I just love that place! - Tommy
St Johan in Tirol (Austria) - It has a massive skiable area if you include the surrounding resorts like Kitzbuhel and is really good for easy piste cruising bladers like me. - Adam Clark
Vail (Colorado) - Huge ski area with uncrowded slopes. It has steep tree skiing, nice groomers and empty powder-filled back bowls. Great nightlife if you are over 21! - August
Morzine (France) - Over 600km of piste, eight snow-parks, no lift queues, good bars and the least French resort in France! Need I say more? - Stephen Adam
Kitzbuhel (Austria) - Because it's the place of scenic beauty, fondues, the Londoner and Monkey Bar and there's always a chance to fall in love! - Steve Stead (Who met his wife there)
Jackson Hole (Wyoming) - Vast and very steep ski area. Some epic lines to hike like the head wall or Cody's Bowl and home town of Mr Backcountry Snowboarding, Travis Rice. An epic resort and a Mecca for extreme skiers and boarders from all over the world. - Dave
Saalbach (Austria) - Family-friendly with a great beginners' area. Pretty scenery and value for money make this a real Austrian gem. There's also a very active aprés ski scene with the usual Tyrolean flavour i.e. Europop, table dancing, Jaeger Bombs and massive beers delivered by dirndl dressed frauleins. - Boyd
Lake Louise (Alberta, Canada) - Some of the most spectacular scenery in the world with a lift and piste system that means beginners and experts can ride the same lift then take a different line down, that is as easy or as challenging as you could want. Some of the best value on-mountain dining anywhere! I guarantee that you will see wild animals like elk, deer, moose, mountain sheep/goats, eagles and if you go late in the season there's even a chance you'll see wolves or bears. - Tracy
Val d'Isere (France) - clichéd it may be, but I can genuinely say that I've never found anywhere else that can match the epic skiing for all conditions, paired with some of the most raucous nightlife & accommodation for all budgets. - Boxy
In conclusion, I found that most staff rated the skiing terrain in France or North America the best, but if you asked them where they had their best experience in skiing then most of them came up with Austria. It's just loads more fun! So early or late season, don't risk the snow - go to a French resort and stay in a Chalet. Mid-season - get yourself to a fun filled, dancing-on-the-table, aprés ski mad Austrian resort and stay in one of their brilliant Spa Hotels.
Written by Adam Johnson
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