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Top 10 ski resorts in Europe and North America


Posted by Mike H of Ellis Brigham under Skiing, Snowboarding on 4 November 2013 at 12:00 AM

Our friends at Ellis Brigham are real experts when it comes to skiing or snowboarding. Between them, their staff have ridden most resorts in the world, won multiple championship titles and survived avalanches, so there are few more qualified to give honest, expert advice on equipment, clothing and where to go! We asked their team to select their top resorts in Europe and North America for advanced skiing/snowboarding, the family holiday, value for money, nightlife, and luxury - and this is what they came back with…

Let's start off with the top 5 ski resorts in Europe:

Best For… Advanced Skiing/Snowboarding

Chamonix-Mont Blanc, France.  Just ask any advanced skier or snowboarder who has visited Chamonix’s backcountry, and you’ll understand why this is considered the world’s best resort for the experts. The Aiguille du Midi and Vallée Blanche Glacier offer the intrepid some of the most varied and challenging backcountry accessible by lift anywhere in Europe, and with such a huge area every discipline is catered for to their hearts’ content.


“One word: Backcountry. Chamonix has to be my favourite place to ski. There’s something for everyone, but I’m big into my ski mountaineering and the backcountry and steep terrain makes Chamonix incredible for it.”

- Rob, Skiing Expert

Best For… The Family

Les Arcs/La Plagne, France. Keeping the kids happy is vital for the enjoyment of a family skiing holiday – ask any parent! The villages of Les Arcs are a brilliant option if you’ve got little ones in tow, with excellent children’s facilities at Arc 1950 and Arc 1800. The resort has an exceptional ski school, wide range of other forms of entertainment like tubing and climbing, the traffic-free villages are a perfect choice for those with kids.

Les Arcs

“Les Arcs is a really family-friendly resort, with plenty of easy runs. As the villages are ski-in, ski-out, it really makes the whole experience more enjoyable for the parents and kids. Definitely one of the best for little ones.”

-Steve, Snowboarding Expert

Best For…Value

Pal-Arinsal, Andorra. The tiny Pyrenean country of Andorra offers some of the best value skiing and snowboarding anywhere in Europe. The country - nestled between France and Spain - is a tax haven, so expenses such as food and drink – usually extortionate in resort – are astoundingly low. The village of Pal-Arinsal is perfect for beginners and intermediates, while the adjoining steeper area of Arkalis is only a short bus journey away, providing superb terrain for advanced skiing and snowboarding.

Pal Arinsal

“Pal-Arinsal is a fantastic resort for those on a tighter budget. Not only does the ski area cater for anyone and everyone, the food and drink is exceptional for the price – check out their steak house – you won’t regret it.”

-Mike, Skiing Expert

Best For… Nightlife

St. Anton, Austria. Besides its phenomenal skiing, St. Anton is the ultimate après resort. Whether you’re looking for a decadent hot chocolate, indulgent glass of Glühwein or tankard of Bavarian beer after a long day on the mountain, St. Anton has it all. The resort is home to two legendary on piste bars: Krazy Kanguruh and Der Moosewirt that both guarantee to kick start the après ski in style.

St Anton

“St. Anton basically has 3 resorts in one place, and the off-piste skiing is amazing. The  après ski is incredible too, with lots of good bars and restaurants in a lovely old town that is full of atmosphere and tradition.”

 - Justyna, Skiing Expert

Best For… Luxury

Verbier, Switzerland. The Royal family’s resort of choice, Verbier has more celebrity than you can shake a ski pole at. The Swiss resort is home to some of the world’s most lavish five-star chalets and hotels, and even boasts a Michelin-starred chef. As part of the 4 Valleys ski area, Verbier provides access to an enormous 410km of snow-sure runs.


“Verbier has a fabulous ski area, with some superb heli-skiing available. The town is stunning, with a lot of high end boutiques, designer brands, spas and massage parlours.”

 - Steve, Snowboarding Expert

Not forgetting across the pond, here's the top 5 Ski Resorts in North America:

Best For… Advanced Skiing/Snowboarding

Kicking Horse, BC. The Canadian home of Champagne powder, Kicking Horse is heaven for the experienced skier or snowboarder. With chutes, spines, drops and tree lines every way you turn, this powder hound’s paradise will push your skiing or snowboarding to the limit. A short hike to the Terminator Peak summit and you’re greeted by miles of untouched backcountry bliss.

Kicking Horse

“Kicking Horse is easily the best place to ride if you know your stuff. There’s such a huge variety of terrain with a massive vertical range, and the snow there is just phenomenal.”

 - Steve, Snowboarding Expert

Best For… The Family 

Sunday River, Maine. Despite being one of the most visited resorts in the state, Sunday River’s huge, gentle terrain provides a quiet, beginner-friendly skiing experience. With 668 acres and 132 runs - 69% for beginner/intermediate skiing - the resort is a superb place to learn to ski or build your confidence. But advanced skiers have no need to worry – Sunday River is home to one of the steepest runs the US – White Heat – so there’s plenty of challenging terrain to keep improving your skills on. 

Sunday River

“My love for skiing was born on the east coast of the US, in a small resort called Sunday River. Here was a perfect place to learn the ropes in a quiet and friendly environment, with almost non-existent lift queues (even during the holidays!) blessed with a great variety of terrain. A great place for learning thanks to the excellent local ski school - I had some great instructors and would love to return.”

- Mark, Ski Expert

Best For…Value

Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Hidden amongst the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Steamboat Springs is a quiet Mid-Western town, but with some of the most epic runs of Champagne powder you’re ever likely to find. The small-town atmosphere feels distinctly uncommercialised, and the friendly locals will make you feel incredibly welcome - amazing bang for your buck!


“Steamboat has an understated, relaxed feel to the place. It rides more like a European resort of go anywhere, do anything – you don’t feel restricted to the trails. There’s access to a huge area of off-piste, incredible snow and amazing tree lines, and the hot springs are awesome!”

-Steve, Snowboarding Expert

Best For… Nightlife

Aspen, Colorado. With bars, clubs and venues to suit every taste, Aspen is North America’s après capital. Boasting international live acts and events on a daily basis, this skiing Mecca is as much about the après as it is the world-class terrain. Events not to be missed include the Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series, X-Games Aspen and CORE party.


“There really is something for everyone in Aspen. No matter whether you’re looking for a chilled evening in a bar, a really good meal or to dance the night away, this place does après like nowhere else in the US.”

- Mike, Skiing Expert 

Best For… Luxury

Whistler Blackcomb, BC. Vancouver’s mountain playground, Whistler Blackcomb is the ultimate ski resort. With 40 lifts providing access to over 8000 acres of skiable terrain, it’s enormous. The town itself is home to premium accommodation and great eateries, while the snow-sure mountain has enough piste, backcountry, park and world-class ski schools to keep everyone happy season after season.


“Whistler is just a fabulous set up – it’s the Disneyland of skiing and snowboarding. If you imagine a perfect resort, you’ll probably imagine Whistler. Everywhere you go, you’re looked after. Stunning runs and a great town – Whistler Blackcomb has it all.”

- Steve, Snowboarding Expert

Love the powder? Add skiing and snowboarding to your sports and share your favorite ski resorts.

  • Encourage

    encouraged this.



    Thanks for the low down @bikeridemike! I've skied quite a few of the resorts on this list, and you're spot on. I did a season in Whistler and that has to be my all time favourite resort, the skiing is so varied and great all-round resort. I love Les Arcs in Europe, as the tree skiing is awesome, which also provides shelter when the bad weather kicks in.

    Mike H and Adrian K encouraged this.


    Thanks guys, really appreciated! Hard work deciding which resorts came out on top though with so many amazing ones to choose from - especially when our guys at Ellis Brigham have ridden probably over 90% of the world's resorts!

    Adrian K encouraged this.


    I can confirm the quality of St.Anton's apres. The week I was there was immense and I absolutely loved it even though a few places had closed since it was the last week of the season. I'd also give a very honourable mention to Val D'Isere for the incredible Folis Douce.


    Revelstoke Mountain Resort needs to be on that list

    Mike H encouraged this.


    For back door resorts to massive ski areas, St Martin de Belleville should be top of the list.

    Mike H encouraged this.


    Great Read. I have been to Whistler Blackcomb many times, and have driven through the Kicking Horse Pass

    Adrian K and Mike H encouraged this.


    Good read. Been to Chamonix/Argentiere couple of times. Great off piste snowboarding.

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