Why go to the Northern Hemisphere for snow?
If you’re not keen on facing the heat of our Australian summer, make tracks north! Here are a few reasons why ski resorts in the northern hemisphere are worth the trip:
- The resorts are larger, and apart from the cost to actually get there, are generally less expensive.
- Much of the ski gear for hire in the bigger resorts gets completely replaced at the beginning of each snow season – bonus!
- There's a fantastic après-ski nightlife, plus plenty of shopping and entertainment options to keep you busy when you’re not on the slopes.
- They’ve also got state of the art facilities like heated chair lifts that can take as many as 2400 passengers per hour!
- December and January will have lots of snow and less crowded slopes.
- February and March have longer, sunnier days.
- And because everyone should experience at least one White Christmas!
Here’s our top list of winter destinations for a ski holiday if you're heading up north.
1) Ski at the biggest resorts in the United States
Not surprisingly, the ski resorts in the USA are big, bold and brash… but they’re also some of the ones with the most up to date facilities and activities.
The popular places to ski are:
- Utah: The ski resorts are located near Salt Lake City like The Canyons, Park City and Snowbird Ski Resort.
- Colorado: Ski the Rocky Mountains at Breckenridge, Vail and Keystone, or, if you want to hobnob with the rich and famous there’s always skiing in world famous Aspen.
- You can also ski in the northern states of Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and Montana.
Check out our Spotlight on USA post for more highlights!
2) Try snow sports in Canada
Canada’s ski facilities are just as impressive as the USA but more laid back, and offer plenty of off-slope activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing and dog sledding.
Popular places to ski are:
- Alberta: The town of Banff has Sunshine Village and Lake Louise.
- Quebec and Ontario: These are slightly smaller, but may be the thing if you’re not into crowds.
- If you’re homesick, head to the popular Whistler Blackcomb Resort which is staffed by so many Aussies you’ll think you're back at home!
If you're thinking about a Canadian working holiday, check out our IEC Travel Insurance guide for more information.
3) Try a different ski holiday in Turkey
Want to take the slope less travelled? Head to Turkey!
It may not have the world-class facilities of Aspen, or the impressive Après Ski life of European resorts, but you’ll certainly get to experience the rich Turkish culture without the crowds or the price tag!
Some of the most popular places to ski in Turkey are:
- Bursa: Ulugag (where the wealthy Turkish go)
- Bolu: Kartalkaya
- Erzurum: Palandoken
4) Ski and then soak in Japan
You might be surprised to learn that despite it's small size, Japan has over 500 ski resorts. That's almost as many as the much larger United States!
The bonus with skiing in Japan is that the ski resorts are located in the rural areas, so you won’t be paying Japanese city prices.
Not to mention you can also look forward to soaking those tired limbs in an onsen (hot thermal springs) bath after a day on the slopes.
The most popular places to ski in Japan are:
- Haikkaido: Niseko, Furano
- Nagano: Happo One, Hakuba resorts
- Tohuko: Appi Kogen and Zao Onsen
PS: If you’re also going for a cultural immersion, avoid Niseko as a lot of Australians like to go there. English is spoken widely and even the signs are translated for you!
Read our Spotlight on Japan blog post for more handy tips!
5) Hit the Olympic ski slopes in South Korea
If you want to maximise your snow time, South Korea is nearest to Australia and is on a similar timezone to us.
What’s more, their biggest and most popular resort Yongpyong opens at 8:30am and stays open till midnight so you can fit in plenty of action on the slopes!
Pyeongchang County will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics, so you can also try out the facilities before the professionals come and do their thing.
The popular places to ski are:
- Pyeongchang: Yongpang, Phoenix Park
- Jeongsan: High 1
- Gucheon-dong: Deogyusan
Make sure you read our Spotlight on South Korea post if you haven't travelled there before!
6) Enjoy the most scenic ski resorts in Europe
Much of the ski action is in the Alps, spanning the Mediterranean coast of France through to Switzerland, Northern Italy, Austria and Slovenia.
However, snow slopes for the Europeans are more of a romantic notion, so off-slope activities tend to take precedence over skiing.
Think horse-drawn sleigh rides, rich comfort food, stunning scenery from cable cars over snow-capped ranges, church spires, chalets and ancient cobblestone streets.
Some of the most popular places to ski are:
- France: Chamonix Mont Blanc (which hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924), and Val d’Isere.
- Switzerland: Zermatt, St Moritz and Verbier.
- Italy: Sestriere and Dolomites.
- Austria: the home of alpine skiing boasts St Anton, Lech, Zers and Innsbruck ski resorts.
Seize the season and make tracks north for a white Christmas or a ski holiday this December!
If you're planning to hit the slopes, make sure you have travel insurance that covers skiing, snowboarding and any other winter sports you want to do.
Fast Cover's Snow Sports Plus travel insurance policy covers a huge range of winter activities, both on and off-piste!