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Heathrow
Stuart Messham
Airlines and routes, Shopping, Food and drink,
 
Fancy an unforgettable ski trip to one of the most famous mountain resorts in the world? From Switzerland to Austria, carving all the way out to North America, we assess 10 terrific resorts all accessible from the UK’s most connected airport.
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Fresh powder with a Matterhorn backdrop: beautiful.

Switzerland

Good skiing lasts well into April in Switzerland: there’s an abundance of groomed trails, dependable snow conditions and the sort of poppy panoramas that make both lovely memories and enviable Insta backdrops.

Zermatt – accessible via Zurich and Geneva – is the highest winter sports area in the Alps and boasts the pyramid-like presence of the Matterhorn over the town. You can ski year-round here and the free Zermatt Skiguide app will not only guide you between mountains, it’ll offer time and routes based on your skiing acumen, weather and currently open lifts and pistes.

St Moritz – via Zurich – is one of the region’s most famous skiing resorts, hosting the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1942 and providing excellent terrain for skiers of all levels and some of the longest intermediate runs on the continent. There’s sweeping Alpine views aplenty and the Corviglia Snow Park is one of the finest examples of its kind in Europe, if that’s your kind of thing.

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Breath-taking visuals and top-notch mountains? Tick.

Austria

Touted by many as the best destination in Europe for skiing, Austria has world-class slopes, excellent snow cover and some of the best hotels to enjoy in-between exertions.

Kitzbühel – via Salzburg and Innsbruck – is the most celebrated destination in the Alps. Voted ‘Austria’s Best Ski Resort’ 10 times in a row, it boasts 145 miles of perfectly groomed slopes, 57 lifts facilitating fun for all levels of skier and the world-famous Hahnenkamm Streif racecourse where the prestigious FIS Alpine Ski World Cup race has been held annually since 1931. The Lebenberg Schlosshotel-Kitzbühel is a totally wonderful place to set up base with its inspiring architecture, incredible terrace, indoor pool and sauna.

Saalbach Hinterglemm – via Salzburg – offer winter sports fans ultimate fun in the snow with 168 miles of pistes, including 87 miles of blue runs for beginners, 70 miles of red for intermediates and 11 miles of black for more advanced enthusiasts. There’s loads of snug mountain huts, Snowparks aplenty and loads of other stuff to do including toboggan runs. Add in some breath-taking landscapes and you may conclude that one of the largest ski areas in Europe is also one of the coolest.

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February and March are two of the best ski months of the year in Denver.

United States

Denver

See in the foothills of the magnificent Rocky Mountains, a skiing trip to Colorado is nothing if not picturesque and there’s plenty of top-notch resorts to choose from.

Vail Mountain Resort is widely regarded as one of the best ski resorts in the world and it’s not hard to fathom why: blue cruisers and wide-open greens abound, there’s top-notch tree skiing and leg-bursting moguls for the initiated and February and March are considered the best snow months of the year with Vail averaging an awesome 29ft of fresh powder every year. There’s also a brilliantly developed base area with loads of competing restaurants with gorgeous patios and enough retail areas to make sure you stand out for the right reasons when you get to the slopes.

Beaver Creek Resort is located 20 miles past Vail and is renowned more for fun as opposed to breakneck verticals, although there is some truly rapid terrain on offer. There’s 23 lifts to whisk you around a mountain that offers lashings of pure enjoyment on skis and an adorable alpine village at its base with a cute ice rink and loads of eateries and spend-eries to while away your downtime. 

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The best slopes are just 45 minutes from the airport in Salt Lake City.

United States

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is the gateway to some of the finest – read: “gnarliest” – skiing resorts in Utah. With its top resorts only a 45-minute drive from the airport, you’ll be ready for your first run before you know it…

As any seasoned skier will attest, “You haven't skied Utah until you've skied Park City!” It’s the largest ski resort in the US and the sheer volume of runs promise hours of entertainment for even the most seasoned enthusiast. Park City also has a reputation for pinpoint-perfect powder with near-constant snowfall keeping it fresh, dry and floatingly fluffy. With tonnes of entertainment and restaurants on offer, you can be sure of crowds but also plenty of variety.

Alta is a skiers-only mountain that’s a bit less crowded with Mother Nature delivering a colossal 500 inches of the fluffy stuff every year. There’s 6 lifts and 116 runs to explore with extraordinary vistas, Snowcat skiing and Nordic skiing in relative abundance. Get out early in the fresh snow and you can be sure there’s plenty to lap up in the evening when you’re done.

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Warm Spring skiing in captivating Calgary? Yes, please!

Canada

Calgary

The altitude in the Canadian Rocky Mountains means a really long, really snowy season year after year, with deep powder and warm spring skiing both on offer to the skiing enthusiast.  

Banff Sunshine Village has an elevation of 2,195m, boasts three incredible mountains and has a panoramic view of the Canadian Rockies spanning Alberta and British Colombia, which is nice. You can also expect 30m of fresh snow each season and enough downhill variations to keep even the most adventurous occupied.

Lake Louise Ski Resort is also a destination of some repute being one of the largest ski areas in the whole of North America. Advanced skiers are in for a particular treat, with some of the most challenging terrain in the Canadian Rockies. No matter your level though, there’s stimulation in abundance, both on and off the skis.