Global Destinations: The World’s Most Scenic Ski Resorts

by Amanda Ellis | February 20, 2024

From the majestic peaks of the Canadian Rockies to the quaint alpine villages of the Swiss Alps, the world is speckled with resorts that offer not only exceptional skiing but also breathtaking scenery. Whether you’re an avid skier, an outdoor photographer, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of snow-capped mountains, these destinations are sure to captivate your senses. Here’s an overview of six of the most scenic ski resorts around the globe.

Lake Louise, Canada

View of the Fairmont Chateau in Lake Louise, Canada backdropped by snow-capped peaks.

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise stands as a beacon of pristine wilderness coupled with high-caliber skiing. As one of the first resorts to open for the ski season, Lake Louise offers the thrill of hitting the slopes in a remote, immersive natural landscape. The historic Château Lake Louise, a monumental hotel built in 1890, adds to the charm of this picturesque destination. With a variety of terrain ranging from groomed trails to powder bowls, Lake Louise caters to skiers of all levels while providing unparalleled sights of the surrounding mountain ranges.

  • Average Snowfall: Approximately 177 inches (450 cm) per year
  • Open/Close Dates: Mid-November to early May


View of the cozy ski town of Zermatt at night in winter. The Matterhorn is visible in the distance silhouetted against a clear sky.Zermatt, Switzerland

Home to the iconic Matterhorn, Zermatt is a paradise for skiers and nature enthusiasts alike. Set against the backdrop of the most photographed mountain in the world, Zermatt affords sweeping outlooks that will leave you awestruck. With a year-round ski season on the glacier, visitors can enjoy scenic skiing regardless of the season. Accessible from both the Swiss and Italian sides of the Matterhorn, Zermatt boasts varied terrain suitable for skiers of all abilities, along with opportunities for exhilarating off-piste adventures.

  • Average Snowfall: Approximately 262 inches (666 cm) per year
  • Open/Close Dates: Year-round on the glacier; main ski season from late November to late April

Ohau, New Zealand

Looking out across the turquoise waters of Lake Ohau in New Zealand to a snowy mountain in the distance.For those seeking an adventure off-the-beaten-path, Ohau in New Zealand’s South Island is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by the masses. Encircled by spectacular mountain views, including the Southern Alps and the renowned Ben Ohau, Ohau offers a uniquely unpopulated experience. With most of the terrain dedicated to off-piste skiing, visitors can enjoy pristine powder runs with a skier-to-hectare ratio that ensures plenty of space to carve turns. Despite its remote location, Ohau is well worth the journey for those seeking untouched natural beauty and world-class slopes.

  • Average Snowfall: Approximately 236 inches (600 cm) per year
  • Open/Close Dates: Late June to early October

View from above looking down into the quaint town of St. Martin de Belleville, France in winter.St. Martin de Belleville, France

Situated in the picturesque Three Valleys ski area, St. Martin de Belleville combines traditional charm with superior skiing. Once a quaint farming village, St. Martin de Belleville now offers access to 600 kilometers of skiable pistes. Surrounded by traditional wooden chalets and a 16th-century Baroque-style church, this French ski resort exudes charisma and elegance. With long, intermediate-level runs that wind their way into the village, St. Martin de Belleville guarantees memorable turns amidst sublime alpine scenery.

  • Average Snowfall: Approximately 134 inches (340 cm) per year
  • Open/Close Dates: Late November to late April

Cortina, Italy

View from below a ski lift at Cortina ski resort backdropped by the Dolomites in winter.

As a gateway to the Dolomiti Super Ski Area, Cortina presents not only exceptional skiing but also some of the most breathtaking panoramic vistas in the world. Renowned for its natural beauty and stunning architecture, Cortina has been featured in films such as “Cliffhanger,” further cementing its status as a world-class ski destination. Whether you’re exploring the slopes or immersing yourself in the local culture, Cortina is sure to leave a lasting impression.

  • Average Snowfall: Approximately 169 inches (430 cm) per year
  • Open/Close Dates: Late November to late April

Big Sky, Montana

From the towering heights of Lone Peak to the expansive vistas that stretch into Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky, Montana, is a beacon for those who seek both exceptional skiing and awe-inspiring landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned skier, an avid photographer, or someone who simply revels in the majesty of towering mountains draped in white, Big Sky promises an unforgettable experience. Here’s why Big Sky, Montana, stands out as one of the most scenic ski resorts in the world.

Big Sky, Montana View of Lone Peak in Big Sky, Montana, piercing the sky, surrounded by miles of ski runs under a vast blue sky.

Perched atop the Madison Range, Big Sky Resort offers a skiing experience that feels as boundless as the sky itself. With more than 5,800 skiable acres and a vertical drop of 4,350 feet, it’s known for giving skiers and snowboarders the feeling of having their private mountain. Beyond the adrenaline of its runs, the resort offers breathtaking views that encompass dense forests, rugged mountain terrain, and clear, crisp skies. The iconic Lone Peak, visible from nearly every vantage point within the resort, serves as a majestic backdrop to a day on the slopes. The resort’s commitment to preserving the natural beauty of its surroundings ensures that every visit is both thrilling and visually spectacular.

Average Snowfall: Approximately 400 inches (1,016 cm) per year
Open/Close Dates: Late November to mid-April

From the sheer expanse of its ski runs to the natural splendor that surrounds it, Big Sky, Montana, is more than just a ski resort; it’s a sanctuary for those who seek to immerse themselves in nature’s grandeur while enjoying some of the finest slopes in North America. Whether carving through deep powder or taking in the panoramic views that span to the horizon, visitors to Big Sky are guaranteed a skiing adventure that’s as visually stunning as it is exhilarating.

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