Move Over Vail: Here Are 8 Best Ski Resorts | Tech US News


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With winter fast approaching, skiers across the country are gearing up to book this year’s ski adventure. While many skiers have favorite mountains they return to again and again, others look for new and exciting resorts where they can hit the slopes.

A recent Forbes analysis of more than 6,000 ski resorts around the world suggests that skiers may want to skip popular U.S. resorts for better, more affordable mountains elsewhere.

skiers ride a chairlift

In the study, Forbes used 14 different metrics to determine the best ski destinations in the world. They ranked each resort based on quality, cost and accessibility by analyzing length and difficulty of trails, price of day pass, average annual snowfall, guest reviews, après-ski scene and more.. The results were clear, the best skiing and snowboarding destinations are in Europe.

a skier descends the slopes in powder

The only ski resort in the US USA making the top 10 was Vail, Colorado, at No. 9. While it ranked as the best choice for snowboarders and with the most annual snowfall, it also ranked as the most expensive resort in the top 10. In fact, the 8 European resorts that ranked higher than Vail had an average of $68, nearly 70% less than Vail’s price of $239.!

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a ski lodge with skis resting in the snow outside

With the current strength of the US dollar and cheap winter flights to Europe, skiers may want to consider going abroad, where you’ll get more bang for your buck. When considering flights, airport transfers, accommodation and pass prices, it can often be much cheaper to venture to a top rated ski resort in Europe.

a skier looks at snowy mountains

A quick internet search to compare a week’s ski vacation in Vail to its European counterpart showed that even factoring in flights abroad, the price to ski in Europe can be significantly less expensive. We aggregate the average prices of flights, transportation, hotels and ski passes to make a comparison. For our example, we priced a vacation for 2 adults originating at New York’s JFK airport in mid-January and staying 6 nights in a 4-star hotel while skiing for 5 days.

Vail Colorado covered in snow

The result? It’s much cheaper to fly to Europe and ski at a top-rated resort in the Alps. Our comparison showed a $2,250 price difference between similar vacations in Vail and Porte du Soleil, a ski area that is in both France and Switzerland. A week-long getaway to Vail cost $8,808, compared to $6,545 in the Alps. The biggest price differences were in the prices of hotels and ski passes.

skiing in Austria

Not only is a trip to Porte du Soleil less expensive, but it also offers 215 kilometers more trails and 131 more lifts. Skiers can also experience a different culture by venturing across the Atlantic to their next ski destination. Sure, it might take a little longer and be unfamiliar, but isn’t that what traveling is all about?

Swiss Alps at night in winter

For visitors thinking about planning their next ski vacation in Europe, Forbes breaks down the best of the best. Here are 8 resorts that ranked higher than Vail:

  • The Three Valleys, France
  • Les Portes du Soleil, France/Switzerland
  • The Four Valleys, France
  • Ski Arlberg, Austria
  • Zermatt, Switzerland
  • Silvretta Arena Samnaun/Ischgl, Austria
  • Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Fieberbrunn, Austria
  • Ski World, Austria
a skier whips the powder

The Forbes breakdown in other categories should also be highlighted:

Best ski resorts in North America

  1. Vail, Colorado
  2. Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
  3. Lake Louise, Canada
Vail Resort at dusk

Best resorts for advanced skiers

  1. Big Sky, Montana
  2. Snowmass, Colorado
  3. The Four Valleys, Switzerland
a crowd of skiers gather at a mid-mountain lodge to eat and drink while skiers race down a hill in the distance

Best Resorts for Après-Ski

  1. The Three Valleys, France
  2. Ski Arlberg, Austria
  3. Silvretta Arena, Austria/Switzerland

Austria was the biggest hit, with its 14 resorts accounting for 28% of the top 50 list. Following closely behind were France with 11 destinations and Switzerland with 9. The US has 8 resorts in the top 50, including Vail, Big Sky in Montana and Snowmass in Colorado.

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