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posted on February 24th, 2017

Slope envy

Smack-dab in the middle of snow season, skiers and snowboarders have little else on their minds this time of year. Whether or not you have a favorite spot nearby, dreaming of far-flung resorts and untried powder is an enticing pastime. Read on for a few of our favorite ski resorts worldwide.

Murren, Switzerland

It almost seems redundant to explain the pull of the Swiss Alps for snowhounds — but we’ll try anyway. The Jungfrau ski region, including the longest downhill run in the world, the Lauberhorn, is one of the most legendary on earth. Plus, it’s hard not to be inspired by the views of the north face of the Eiger, a craggy brute of a mountain conquered by only the bravest climbers. Head into the town of Interlaken for some Swiss fondue in one of the shingled, sloped-roof buildings typifying everything you’ve ever imagined a Swiss ski town to be.

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Because there’s truly nothing better than après–ski with the world’s best pizza and pasta, Cortina is a can’t–miss. And après–ski is what Cortina does best. A quintessentially Italian town that values beauty and pleasure above all else, seeing and being seen here is part of the fun — and the focus on the eating and drinking scene means that the slopes are less crowded than many of Europe’s other popular resorts. But the snow is nothing to scoff at; as the host of the 1956 Olympics, Cortina’s runs, flanked by arresting Dolomites scenery, will keep diehard skiers happy.

Chamonix, France

Step into Chamonix and you’ll feel like you’ve entered an impossibly idealized Disney version of a European ski town. French chalets line the streets, and the world-famous, blindingly white Mont Blanc towers above. The host of the first winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix is where skiers go to prove themselves. Though you will find lower level runs as well, the steep mountainsides and glistening glaciers make Chamonix heaven for freeride enthusiasts.

Alyeska, Alaska

Whether you want to go off-piste or stay on the well-groomed runs, Alyeska is a standout in this isolated state. Ski one of the many black diamonds to feel like you’re heli-skiing without actually shelling out that kind of cash. It’s a quiet spot best suited to a snow-centered trip, and it gets high marks for pure natural beauty. Added bonus: lucky visitors can catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis.

Niseko, Japan

Nearly bumping borders with Siberia means the influx of snow is near-constant in Niseko, making for incredibly light, consistent powder. You’ll find four independent, interconnected resorts here around Mount Niseko Annupuri, and you can ski all with one lift ticket. The off-piste areas are abundant, and night-skiing is a huge draw — giant stadium-style lights illuminate the forested slopes for a magical experience. The town itself has a laid back vibe reminiscent of a surfing town, but with snow and sushi added.

Image credit: Ski World

Virginia is equally enamored with words and globetrotting. Whenever possible, she likes to combine the two through travel writing to help other wanderers discover and fall in love with the world.