Skiing has an impressive history. Its story began thousands of years ago when the Northern people of Scandinavia and Russia started to use wooden planks as a means of transportation. In Russia, scientists discovered fragments of ski sticks dating back from 8000 or 7000 BC. It was a unique way to help people adapt to the environment and another chance to get over the cold winter periods in the region and to get food fast.
Later on, skiing became part of the military and war areas of interest. Countries such as Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia or Poland had had skiing teams since the 15th century. During the two World Wars, skiing was highly used for military purposes.
It was only by the end of the 19th century when skiing started to be recognized as a sport and, later on, it was also included in the Olympics. Once the platter lifts appeared at the end of the 1930s, this sport grew even bigger in popularity in Europe and North America. Nowadays, millions of passionate skiers visit the most popular slopes in Europe every winter.
The reasons why we choose skiing instead of other sports are many, starting from the ones related strictly to the pleasure of practising it and ending with social, emotional and health reasons.
On this page, you will find the top 10 list of ski resorts in the world. Use the comment section to share your opinion about the list with us. You may also want to see our list of the best ski resorts in Europe.
10 Trysil – Norway’s largest ski destination
Trysil is Norway’s largest ski destination and offers a varied set of alpine opportunities, regardless of whether you’re looking for family-friendly skiing, wide slopes, terrain parks, or off-piste challenges. And best of all – they have a snow guarantee!
Trysil offers interconnected ski areas, all with their own distinctive characteristics. From the black slopes in Høgegga to the red, blue, and green slopes at Skihytta, Trysil Turistsenter, and Trysil Høyfjellssenter.
The large children’s areas on both sides of the mountain are where you will find Valle the snowman and other fun-filled opportunities for children, and ensure a good skiing experience for the whole family.
Stay comfortably in one of Trysil’s high standard resort hotels, hire a cabin where several families can live together, or choose a modern holiday flat adapted for active people. You will find that almost all accommodation in Trysil is situated on or near the slopes, with ski-in/ski-out facilities.
Visit Instagram Account @skiresortsinnorway
9 Hemsedal, Norway
(The Scandinavian Alps)
In the small village of Hemsedal, you are greeted by alpine mountain surroundings and some of Norway’s best skiing and fly-fishing.
Stable snow conditions and plenty of ski lifts and slopes have made Hemsedal, an alpine ski resort in the mountains halfway between Oslo and Bergen, one of the largest and most popular places for winter holidays in Norway.
Hemsedal Skisenter has wide and long pistes, several terrain parks and designated areas for children, whilst neighbouring Solheisen is a smaller ski area in the nearby Grøndalen Valley. The two areas provide varied terrain to suit the whole family.
The resort as a whole also offers excellent off-piste and cross-country skiing conditions, as well as a vast repertoire of non-skiing activities like dog sledding, snowshoeing, ice climbing and horse sleigh riding. And there is no lack of places to stay, from grand hotels to comfortable cottages, cabins and chalets.
And there are plenty of things to do here when the snow is gone, too. The Hemsila river offers top-notch opportunities for fly-fishing. The lush and varied nature surroundings provide an ideal base for activities including hiking, climbing, horseback riding and cycling.
Hemsedal is also an excellent starting point for mountain biking. At Hemsedal Skisenter you can take your bike on a chair lift up to 1,100 metres and try the downhill park, or cycle further into the mountains. The many graded and signed routes run through a scenery of majestic mountains and vigorous valleys.
Rjukandefossen, one of many impressive waterfalls in the area, is a powerful two-part waterfall, falling 18 metres through a narrow gulley. Nearby Hydnefossen is one of the highest waterfalls in Norway, with a main fall of 155 metres.
Hemsedal village has a range of accommodation options, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. After a day in the slopes you can join the après-ski or dance to the hottest DJ’s at one of Hemsedal’s nightclubs.
8 Ski Resorts Kopaonik, Serbia
Kopaonik is the largest ski resort in Serbia with excellently prepared runs, which offers unlimited joy to all categories of skiers, from beginners to highly skilled ones. Kopaonik ski resort comprises about 55km of runs for alpine skiing and12 km of runs for cross country (nordic) skiing. For those who enjoy skiing at night, we have prepared a lighted run “Malo Jezero” in the very centre of the resort. Apart from that, for the youngest skiers and all those who are taking their first ski steps, we have prepared a secured “ski kindergarten” area with a conveyor belt and a carousel which makes learning basic skiing skills easier.
The artificial snowing system covers 97% of the resort. This system covers the following runs: Karaman A and B, Pancicev Vrh, Duboka 1 and 2, Suncana Dolina, Malo Jezero, Krst, Krcmar, Knezevske Bare, Mali Karaman, Marine Vode, Karaman and the adjoining ski roads, as well as the run in Gobelja. The artificial snowing systems make the skiing season last longer, and the skiers, both the beginners and those more experienced ones, can be sure that they will be able to enjoy the season on excellently prepared runs.
All the runs are well connected with a system of chairlifts and ski lifts, with a capacity of over 32.000 skiers per hour. The system comprises one six-seater chairlift, with the capacity of 3,000 skiers per hour, 4 detachable high-speed four-seaters ( with a total capacity of 10,000 skiers per hour), 3 fixed four-seater chairlifts with a loading conveyor belt (total capacity of about 6,200 skiers per hour, two T-bar ski lifts with a capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour and eight platter type ski lifts with a capacity of 6,500 skiers per hour, as well as three interconnecting ski lifts.
During the entire winter season, but also during the summer, apart from skiers and snowboarders, the four-seater chair lift “Pancicev vrh” also takes the visitors to this ski resort who take a sightseeing tour of the mountain and take part in other numerous activities that the ski resort offers.
Apart from the runs for alpine and cross country (nordic) skiing, the ski resort Kopaonik also has a snowboard park, which hosts numerous domestic and international competitions.
Read more about Ski School Kopaonik: The Best Ski Instructor
7 Ski Arlberg, Skiing In Austria (Österreich)
The Arlberg has always been known for its pioneering spirit when it comes to winter sports. These and other innovations made the Arlberg famous as the cradle of alpine skiing. Today, this pioneering spirit can still be found at the Arlberg. With the opening of the Flexenbahn cableway between Zürs and Stuben/Rauz in winter 2016/17, Ski Arlberg has recently reached another milestone. An average of 9 meters of snowfall each winter and about 70 per cent of mechanically covered pistes make the St. Anton, St. Christoph, Stuben, Zürs, Lech, Schröcken and Warth area one of the most reliable in terms of snow conditions. In Austria’s largest skiing resort – and one of the five largest skiing areas worldwide – skiers can explore 305 downhill skiing kilometres, 200 kilometres of deep snow skiing and 88 lifts and cableways, as well as the spectacular Run of Fame skiing round.
- 305 interconnected downhill skiing kilometres
- 88 state-of-the-art cableways
- more than 200 kilometres of deep snow runs
- one of the most snow reliable regions in the Alps
- various funparks and other highlights
6 Rosa Khutor Ski Resort, Russia
Rosa Khutor is situated in a unique natural-climatic zone. This year-round alpine resort is ready to take on more than 10 500 guests daily. Resort mission — to create a comfortable and safe space for recreation, sport and a healthy lifestyle in a unique place in Russia. Rosa Khutor is a prestigious resort that is nonetheless open to all. It is easily accessible via various transport options and offers a wide variety of activities for guests of different ages and families with children. And it of course offers a myriad of opportunities for outdoor entertainment surrounded by the beautiful mountains… It’s sure to be worth it!
A total of 77 km of ski trails were built at the Resort. Their different levels of difficulty make it possible for any skier to choose a trail appropriate for his or her level. The FIS (International Ski Federation) has certified 13 km of these trails for international competitions.
5 Zermatt Ski Resort, Switzerland
If you’re in search of a destination out of the ordinary, a Zermatt ski vacation is sure to deliver. The first thing you’ll notice when arriving in Zermatt is a remarkable, and probably welcomed, lack of noise. Since 1891, the local doctor is the only person allowed to have a car in Zermatt. So you, and everyone else will be travelling by train, which is a highly enjoyable experience. The only in-town transportation is by horse-drawn sleighs or electro-taxis and ski buses. Fortunately, Zermatt is a destination resort; that is, the village is difficult enough for weekend skiers to reach to keep most of them away, and the vast terrain – more than 188 miles of marked ski trails (including Breuil-Cervinia) and a resort lift capacity of nearly 92,000 people per hour – easily absorb any crowds. Even during the busiest holiday season, lift lines are not impossibly long and uncrowded slopes are there for the taking.
Mile-high Zermatt—an idyllic mountain village at the foot of Switzerland’s iconic Matterhorn peak—has developed into one of the world’s most famous ski resorts. Favoured by its southern exposure, sheltered by the wind and generously endowed with snow, a Zermatt ski vacation offers some of the most spectacular skiing in the Alps. Vacationers looking for off-piste activities will be delighted to know that Zermatt has sledging, curling, ice climbing, snowshoeing, winter hiking. Evening adventurers have a ton of nightlife options in Zermatt’s 50 bars.
The scope and variety of Zermatt skiing is tremendous, with a network of lifts serving trails that rise over 12,000 feet. Three main ski areas offer wide-open slopes for beginners while the more advanced skiers enjoy the challenge of the internationally known Tiefbach, Aeroleid or Momatt. You can ski over the Theodulpass to Cervinia, Italy for lunch.
The Klein Matterhorn cable car, ascending to 12,533 feet—the highest cable car station in the Alps—has opened up new glacier ski runs which provides Zermatt with year-round skiing. Glacier skiing generally means off-piste, but Zermatt offers eight controlled, glacial pistes, totaling 11 miles of skiing. If you do head off-piste, be sure to hire a guide so you can safely get the goods. For cross-country and touring skiers, a variety of courses are available.
4 Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
Whistler Blackcomb is a ski resort located in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. By many measures it is the largest ski resort in North America and has the greatest uphill lift capacity. It features the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for moving between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains at the top. With all of this capacity, Whistler Blackcomb is also often the busiest ski resort, often besting 2 million visitors a year.
Whistler was originally conceived as part of a bid to win the 1968 Winter Olympics. Although the bid failed, construction started anyway and the resort opened for the first time in January 1966. Blackcomb mountain, originally a separate entity, opened for business in December 1980. The two resorts underwent a period of intense rivalry through the 1980s and 90s, with constant upgrades and improvements that was unseen at other resorts. By the mid-1990s the area was repeatedly named the best resort in many skiing magazines. Intrawest, the BC real estate firm that developed Blackcomb, purchased Whistler in 1997 and fully merged their operations in 2003.
Whistler Blackcomb was the centrepiece of a renewed bid on the part of nearby Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, which they won in July 2003. Whistler Blackcomb hosted the alpine skiing events, including the men’s and women’s Olympic and Paralympic alpine skiing disciplines of downhill, Super-G, slalom, giant slalom and super combined. Unfortunately it was plagued with a lack of fresh, natural snow during the Olympics leading to many complaints over hill quality.
Over the next decade, Intrawest expanded by purchasing additional ski resorts across North America, before expanding into golf and other resorts as well. Whistler Village, widely recognized for its livable design, formed the basis of similar Tyrolian-inspired developments at their expanding series of resorts, as well as other resorts that hired Intrawest to build similar developments on their behalf. In 2010 Intrawest sold off much of its 75% interest in Whistler Blackcomb Resort via a public share offering.
On August 8, 2016, American company Vail Resorts bought Whistler Blackcomb Holdings for C$1.39 billion. Nippon Cable minority interest in Whistler Blackcomb resort has continued throughout the ownership changes, by way of ownership of a 25% interest of the Whistler and Blackcomb partnerships.
3 Ski Resort Jahorina, Serbia
Jahorina ski resort (Serbian Cyrillic: Ски центар Јахорина) or Olympic Center Jahorina, is the largest center of winter tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Located 15 km (9.3 mi) from the municipality of Pale, it is situated on the slopes of Jahorina Mountain, Dinaric Alps. It is mainly a destination for alpine skiing, snowboarding, hiking and sledding.
The origins of Jahorina ski resort trace back to 1923. Between the First and Second World War, ski jumps and a mountain lodge were constructed along with the first Yugoslav ski rally at Jahorina in 1937. After World War II, Jahorina in Sarajevo hosted the “International Students Winter Week” in 1955, a forerunner to the Winter Universiade that would start five years later in Chamonix, France.
The Jahorina ski resort is the largest and most popular ski resort in Bosnia and Herzegovina and offers a variety of outdoor sports and activities. It is primarily a destination for alpine skiing, snowboarding, hiking and sledding. It is located at elevations between 1,300 and 1,916 meters, with over 25 km (16 mi) of ski slopes and modern facilities. It has 25 tracks, with the total capacity of the about 10,000 skiers per hour. The average snow depth on ski runs during February is 106 cm (42 in) (ten-year average). The usually high levels of natural snowfall are complemented by artificial snow production equipment. Floodlighting enables night skiing. Cross-country trails and other sport facilities offer additional options in the Jahorina winter sports resort. Hotels, holiday apartments, bars and clubs are all found at the ski resort.
The winter sports resort was the site of the Women’s Alpine competitions for the 1984 Winter Olympic Games of Sarajevo. The other venues nearby were Bjelašnica ski center and Igman Olympic Jumps hill. Following a decade of golden years, much of the infrastructure has deteriorated during the 1990-s Bosnian War.
Since the 2010-s, the Jahorina ski resort received tremendous investments in its infrastructure, worth millions of euros. The ski lift system was upgraded from 2012 to 2018 with new Leitner chairlifts. Together with a gondola lift (under construction), Jahorina has one of the most modern lift systems in the region. It is planned that an 8-passenger gondola will connect the municipality of Pale and the ski resort, and open up additional 15 km (9.3 mi) of new ski runs. In December 2048, Jahorina ski resort officially put the snow-making system in use.
In 2018, the ski resort recorded 185,000 visitors, the most since the 1980-s.
2 Bansko Ski Resort In Bulgaria
Bansko is a ski and mountain resort located in the south-western part of Bulgaria. The town is situated 6 km from the town of Razlog and 160 km from the capital of Sofia. Bansko lies on the two banks of the Glazne river at the foot of the Pirin mountain, right bellow the highest part of it. The Pirin mountain is an Alpine type mountain with its highest peak – Vihren (2914 m). The town of Bansko is located 925 m above the sea level whereas its ski area – at an altitude of 2000 – 2600 m.
Bansko ski resort is attractive in all seasons. It provides excellent ski and snowboard facilities, as well as a unique history and architecture of an old and new part of the town. Thanks to these features Bansko is a favorite ski and snowboard destination.
During the recent years a multimillion Euros investment in a brand new skiing area has been made by Yulen, the company that runs the skiing area of Bansko. Numerous new luxury hotels and facilities in the area of the Gondola lift station have been constructed.
Ambulance, first aid on the ski slopes and clinic as well as 24h a day emergency ski patrol service are available. Fully equipped hospitals, pharmacies and dentists are available in the town of Bansko.
All dental services and some medical services must be paid in cash to the doctors or clinics. They should provide the necessary receipts, bills and invoices describing the cost and the service, so that you can claim back the expense to your insurance company. In case of injury you should inform your insurance company and follow its instructions.
1 Ski Resort Zillertal Arena, Austria (Österreich)
Can you trek from Tyrol to Salzburg by ski or snowboard? This is possible in the Zillertal Arena, the interconnected skiing area that features 4 cross-regional mountains! The largest skiing area in the Zillertal and the Pinzgau region guarantees absolute family fun on and off the slopes. Whether in the snow & action parks, on the ski movie & speed check courses or during a ride with the Arena Coaster – the Zillertal Arena is a holiday paradise for everyone! The yellow “FUNty”, the Arena mascot, is already waiting on guests! The little ones can carve their first turns in the snow with him, and then the whole family can race down the longest toboggan run in the Zillertal. Numerous first-class ski huts will pamper everyone afterwards with culinary delicacies for fortification. Après-ski fans also get their full money’s worth at the many restaurants in the skiing area or at the bottom stations. Snow fun is guaranteed!