Ski seasons – when to visit the best slopes

Bored of the beach? Head for the slopes!

Kai Sedgwick

Kai Sedgwick
HomeAway travel expert

Ski seasons – when to visit the best slopes Skiing is a sport that attracts adrenaline junkies, particularly those who feel at home in high mountainous regions where the planet’s best pistes reside. It’s easy to see the attraction for such individuals, even if some of us would prefer sunning ourselves on a golden beach with a margarita in one hand and tanning lotion in the other! For those who understand the lure of the soft white powder however, skiing is the ultimate pursuit.

Booking a skiing holiday can be a daunting prospect. The world’s best skiing destinations are, by their very nature, in remote, isolated regions, in some cases a day’s drive from the nearest city. Staying in a rental property close to the slopes is often the best way to go. From chalets in Aspen to villas in Wyoming, HomeAway Holiday Rentals have properties in some of the snowiest spots on Earth. Before you browse the properties, howevwhy not take a look at our list of the best ski destinations for each month of the year?


Top five ski destinations


Spend the Autumn in Whistler, Canada Spend the Autumn in Whistler, Canada

Canada is a premier destination for skiers thanks to its rocky terrain, high peaks and terrifying descents. The British Columbia region in particular boasts some terrific pistes, including those on the famous ‘mega mountain’ Whistler, which has more snow per square mile than any other resort on the continent. There’s plenty of cross-country skiing to be enjoyed, too, on groomed trails, but pay heed to the changing seasons. January is best if you’re heading for the likes of Silver Star Mountain, while July is the best month to tackle the behemoth that is Whistler. If you want world-class skiing close to a city, meanwhile, opt for Mont Tremblant in Quebec - it’s just 80 miles from Montreal - and be sure to go during November-April for the greatest snowfall.

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Try Spring skiing in Chamonix, France Try Spring skiing in Chamonix, France

When it comes to ski slopes, nobody can question France’s credentials; that’s why more British skiers choose to ski in France than in any other country. Whether you’re powering down the 15,781ft Mont Blanc or snowboarding the slopes of the Serre Chevalier, you’re sure to be suitably impressed by the clean air, shocking white snow and variety of slopes available – whatever your level of ability. Slopes in the Chamonix Valley are extremely popular, and are best visited in early spring, but remember to hire a guide unless you’re experienced - the crevasses can be dangerous.

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Enjoy Summer in New Zealand's South Island Enjoy Summer in New Zealand's South Island

It should come as no surprise that the volcanic islands of New Zealand have some of the best ski zones known to man. Head for Treble Cone on South Island, with its wide basins and 1,359 acres of chutes, valleys and declivities. Suitable for both intermediates and seasoned pros, the location of these pistes, occupying the eastern edge of the Southern Alps, ensures they catch maximum snowfall. Nearby towns such as Wanaka - 16 miles east, and Queenstown, 62 miles south - are a haven for skiers in the summer months of July and August. Elsewhere in New Zealand, the Turoa and Whakapapa ski areas provided the backdrop for Mount Doom in Peter Jackson’s movies, and are best visited around September.

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Flexible with dates? Head for the United States! Flexible with dates? Head for the United States!

It’s no mean feat to condense the merits of the United States as a skiing destination into a single paragraph, but rest assured it has its share of jaw-dropping slopes at various times of the year. Around Christmas time, Utah is the place to be. Head for the town of Alta, with its 10,550 feet peaks: popular runs like High Rustler and Eagle’s Nest are a joy to behold. Colorado gives Utah a run for its money in December, with Silverton Mountain being the highest ski-elevation region in the country, and the mining town of Crested Butte a favourite destination of extreme skiers. Earlier in the year, the volcanoes of Oregon (June) and the glaciers of Alaska (April) provide excellent conditions.

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Winter Wonderlands in Italy Winter Wonderlands in Italy

Italy is sometimes overlooked as a ski destination, partly due to the popularity of Europe’s other ski centres - in France, Austria and Switzerland, mainly. Not only does Italy boast arguably the greatest ski resort on the planet - the sublime Cortina d’Ampezzo - but the region as a whole benefits from being less crowded than its European counterparts. With plenty of gorgeous backcountry to explore, head for the Dolomites of Brenta or the snow parks and ski schools of the Val di Sole, and drink in a snow-spangled vista which boasts the highest mountains in the Central and Eastern Alps. Skiing season in Italy is from January to March.

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