Wrangling all your powder hungry mates is the trickiest part, but your choice of destination could make or break your trip. What makes for a manic group adventure? Fresh snow, evening antics and comfy accomodation in equal measure. So you can sleep if off in pillowy comfort. Boys trips or girls weekends, grab your goggles and rent your skis, it’s time to hit the snow.
Nestled between the mountains of France and Spain, Andorra is a low cost option for those groups looking to hit up a European ski field. Forget the Alps, where you’ll pay for the privilege of being seen, the after hours offering here is much more suited for a bunch of Aussies on tour. If you don’t feel like lugging your board or skis across the continent, Soldeu offer very affordable hire options. A quaint village by day but a raucous place to be by night, head to The Pussycat Disco or Fat Alberts for a night you won’t remember.
Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
A classic destination for the Aussie in pursuit of quality snow, and for those who haven’t seen foreign snow fields – hold onto your jaw. The incredible expanse of Whistler is a sight to be marvelled at. You’ll need a good length of time if you hope to even attempt conquering the landscape, and then there’s the off slope activities. Yes, the lift passes are the exx-iest across Canada, but the terrain is worth the extra cash. Thanks to it’s sheer size, the nightlife is always abuzz and the accomodation options endless. Go on, start searching flights.
Mt Buller, Australia
If it’s a long weekend escape or a snow field closer to home you seek Mt Buller in Victoria is for you. Just three hours from Melbourne CBD and you’ll find yourself surrounded by dusted mountains. No the snow isn’t as good as overseas, but if you time it right you may just get a fresh layer to cruise across. After a long day lift side wind down at one of the thriving après ski venues. From Herbies Bar at Hotel Penison to Snow Pony, treat yourself to a post run cocktail.
If the Kawaii hills of Japan are your dreamland, consider venturing to Niseko as an alternative to Hakuba. For one it’s home to the largest resort in Japan, making it ideal for a new run each day explorations. There’s a load of rowdy Aussies here too, for you to sink a few with post a day on the snow. It can get pretty packed over the holiday periods so be sure to head out early if you’re in search of fresh runs.
When you get a lift pass here, it acts as a passport giving you access to nearby Hinterlux Glacier and other runs nearby; so you won’t get bored. If you want to raise the stakes a little and steepen your incline, Mayrhofen is for you. With a range of off-piste options for the adventurous, they boast the steepest run in Austria. Post coasting along the powder head to the igloo hotel for your first round. White Lounge is perched with exquisite views from 3,000 metres up for a midday drink. Or if you’re looking to warm up after, dart to Harakiri Bar for an evening session.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Across the ditch you’ll find yourself surrounded by likeminded raucous individuals, in search of a balance of partying and snow. Queenstown is so close you’d be a fool not to visit for yourself. Known for it’s adventure activities, you can bungee, plunge, dive or cruise around on your off slope days. Though, the snow itself is absolute perfection, so we suggest strapping in for the whole length of your stay. Thanks to the bevy of university students making their way here each season, the nightlife is especially happening. It never stops at après ski, it’s a mammoth weekend of bevies, so prepare your liver for a battering.
Catedral Alta, Chile
South America is an often forgotten winter wonderland, and this Chile locale is no exception. If it’s #views you seek, Caterdral Alta is about as aesthetic as it gets. When you reach the peak you’ll be gazing out over Lake Nahuel Huapi with mouth agape. Thanks to the exchange rate a trip here is handsomely cheap and the accomodation abundant. The big win here is the option to stay on mountain. Just plan a trip in shoulder seasons if you can, if you want to avoid hordes of Brazilians waiting to climb the mountain aside you.
The Aussie snowcapped dream, Hakuba is a snowy paradise for those who like their powder with a pour. Upon arriving at Hakuba Backpackers or any of the nearby stays, you’ll be welcomed by many ochre accents and rarely hear a single word of Japanese for the duration of your stay. With the bandwagon of bogans comes endless eateries, epic parties and a whole bunch of other foreigners for you to meet and greet. Just be wary, the Japanese skiers avoid this area in case you were hoping for a cultural experience with your snow activities.
Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
Freshies abound, this Italian resort will have you gliding like it just snowed, for days after. The lift pass is cheap and the village delightful, making it wonderful for bigger groups. Rent a larger abode and spend your evenings cosy warm inside; kept warm by a pint of your choosing of course. The après ski here is some of the best across Italy, it’s not a party affair instead expect to swill your nights away with a good vino by the fire.
Oh Canada! A trip to Banff gives you the option of three ski resorts, Lake Louise, Sunshine Ski and Mt Norquay (the closest of the three to town). The snow if delightfully powdery and great for all skill levels. The scenery is captivating and the runs especially enjoyable, you’ll be wanting to extend your stay no doubt. But post snow, the after hours game is truly exceptional. Endless bars on mountain or in town, pack your bags for a big one boys and girls.
Wanaka, New Zealand
Ever considered taking your skiing to the skies? For the experienced skiers, Wanaka makes for a phenomenal entry into heli-skiing. Get dropped mountain side and traipse down impeccable runs untouched by other skiers. The general consensus among avid snow lovers is that the snow is even better here than Queenstown, so you’ll want to glide for yourself. But if it’s booming nightlife you’re after, Wanaka is a more subdued affair.
Image source: Andorra Traveller, The Art of Living, Autopia Tours, Ski Total, See Japan, Iglu Ski, Life Without Andy, Southern Guides, Expedia, Pinterest, Dream Ski Adventures, Jetstar, Crystal Ski, Thomas Cook, Epic Gap Year.