Adventure, Europe, North America

January is a fantastic month to take yourself off on a skiing holiday. Start your year by enjoying the wilderness and treating yourself to a stay in an idyllic ski lodge and you’ll definitely feel as though you’ve started the year on the right foot. With great snowfall, perfect temperatures and wonderful atmosphere, here are my top five ski resorts to visit in January.

Meribel, France

In France, you are spoilt for choice of ski resorts to choose, but for me, there is something truly magical about the Meribel ski resort. Located within the iconic Three Valleys ski region, The resort still has a uniquely British air about it, over 70 years after Brit Peter Lindsay developed the area.  The resort has fantastic slopes to keep all ranges of skiers entertained, with the Altiport perfect for beginners. For the more experienced skier, there is cross-country and off-piste skiing available, with group guides available for hire. For the snowboarder, try out your skills at the Moon Park which has a great range of facilities available including free video recordings of your runs.

Meribel truly comes to life during January. There are a number of events held throughout the month, including Russian Christmas Celebrations and many ski and snowboarding championships. On average, 95cm of snow falls on the top of the peaks during January, providing great and reliable snow cover to ski on. The resort tends to be quieter in January than in the following months so you’ll benefit from quieter slopes and great deals on accommodation.

Whistler, Canada

Arguably the largest ski resort in North America, Whistler is in its glory during January with possibly the most reliable snow conditions in the world. Shielded by the western coast of British Columbia, temperatures are much milder here than in Alberta’s Rockies with averages. You’ll still need to wrap up warm though as temperatures average just -3 degrees.

Whistler offers much for every level of skier, with over 200 trails to choose from. As well as skiing and snowboarding, you’ll also be able to try fun winter activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling and ice skating.  Take a ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola which connects the peaks of Whistler mountain and Blackcomb mountain or take a tour of the Olympic Venue sights from the 2010 Winter Games.

Obertauern, Austria

Sitting amongst the Radstater Tauern Mountains, Obertauern is a resort that is primed and ready to go for the skier. Located at the heart of the action, you’re treated to over 100km of runs with fantastic cableways connecting the peaks. January has perfect conditions, with guaranteed snow throughout the month, with the last two weeks of the month being it’s ‘Powder Snow’ weeks. Take advantage of the great conditions and ski the legendary Gamsleiten 2 peak, the steepest in Austria. If you’re not feeling as brave there are many slopes perfect for the novice and intermediate skier and 7 ski schools available to help you learn and gain confidence on the slopes.

The resort has a fantastic Apres-ski and great nightlife, almost as irresistible as the slopes. Relax in one of the ski huts as you enjoy some fantastic food by day and party by night! I would definitely recommend WeltcupSchirm for a lively night out.

Aspen, USA

Aspen is certainly the place to be during January as the resort plays host to the ESPN Winter X Games as well as being a popular destination for New Years celebrations. January sees the highest snowfall in the region with average temperatures dropping to a brisk -5 degrees. Sitting within the Rocky Mountain’s Sawatch Range, The Aspen/Snowmass is home to 4 ski areas including Aspen Mountain and is arguably the best ski resort in the USA.

Aspen has a reputation which precedes it and whilst it can be expensive, it’s worth every penny. The town has retained much of its traditional character and is a great place to eat and shop. For the skiers, there is much to keep you entertained. If you’re a beginner, then Buttermilk is the place for you but if you’ve more experience then you pretty much have the run of the place with each slope offering something exciting especially those on Aspen Mountain.