1. Chamonix, France
– European Ski culture at its finest: One minute you’re walking the streets of an old European village, sipping an espresso, and the next minute you’re staring down the scariest line of your life.
– History: Chamonix was host to the first ever Winter Olympics and boasts a ski history that dates back to before your great grandparents were born.
“The extreme skiing capital of Europe, France’s Chamoinx Valley.” – Greg Stump
2. Las Leñas, Argentina
– “Summer” Skiing: Las Leñas’ ski season extends from mid June till the end of September. So when your buddies are sweating it out in the summer heat, you can be skiing a 4,000 foot couloir.
– Ts Marte: The greatest chairlift below the equator accesses 40,000 acres of Big Andes terrain. It’s Heli-skiing from a chairlift.
“Snow, wine and beautiful Argentinians await you.” – Carlos V.
– Deepest powder in the world: Parts of Japan average over 580″ of snow in just three months!
– Unique culture & food: The food and culture in Japan is unlike anything else in the world. Get done with a day of tits-deep powder skiing, hit the onsen (hot spring), and stuff your face with some of the best seafood in the world.
“I got a taste of the Japanese Alps this February and was blown away by the scene. Travel logistics were easy, the locals are as genuine as they come and the ski terrain is seriously out of this world. ” – Seth Lightcap
4. Alaska (Heli-skiing)
– Steepest powder skiing anywhere: What really makes Alaska such an amazing ski destination is the warm, moist winter air coming off the Gulf of Alaska that abruptly smashes into the steep mountain faces of the Chugach. That moist air creates a unique snow, which sticks to steeper faces better than anywhere else in the world.
– Helicopters are AWESOME: Helicopters are called magic carpets for a reason. These machines have the amazing ability to put skiers atop a peak in the time it takes to put skins on.
Video: GNAR in Alaska
“The edge of North America. The apex of all skier and snowboarders dreams. The Chugach mountains.” – Jonny Moseley
5. La Grave, France
– No Ski “Resort” BS: The skiing in La Grave is unlike that of your typical US ski resort. The village owned “telepherique” gondola whisks you from the sleepy French village to the top of some of the gnarliest terrain in the Alps.
– Vertical Drop: The vertical drop totals 2,150 meters, although it is possible to ski below the resort to the road and increase the vertical descent to 2,300 meters. That’s a 7,500 vertical feet!
“La Grave is the only place that could have taken the life of legendary skiing icon Doug Coombs.” – Local Skier
6. Jackson Hole, WY
– Capital of American Big Mountain Skiing: In many ways, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort was the first ski area in America to cater to the big mountain crowd. After a bumpy start, Jackson Hole opened it’s gates in 2000 and allowed skiers to access the all-time backcountry zones surrounding the resort.
“The Tram has undoubtably accessed the sickest terrain in North America for 40 years.” (TGR’s Anomaly)
7. Squaw Valley, CA
– Home of GNAR: Shane McConkey’s old stomping ground is widely known for being home to the quirky game developed by the legend himself.
– Fingers & Palisades: Even if you’re not “getting after it,” entertainment abounds with the pairing of aggressive locals challenging the best terrain in Tahoe– all in full sight of the chair lifts.
“If you see Squaw on a powder day you are going to see a bunch of people fired up like any other ski area. They are going to go out and charge as hard as they can and try to end the day as satisfied as they can.” – Scott Gaffney