Clocking up the miles, skiing from valley to valley and exploring vast mountain playgrounds makes for a very special holiday. But which ski resorts are the best for this? Here are the Ski Club's Top 5.

There may be some notable exceptions to this list, such as the Espace Killy, Portes du Soleil and Paradiski, but we take more than just piste kilometers into consideration. Whether you agree or disagree then feel free to let us know in the comments at the bottom!

Ski Arlberg (Austria)

Adult 6 day lift pass: €262

A new entry for 2016/17 thanks to the building of the new Flexenbahn – the Ski Arlberg is now Austria’s largest ski area, and includes the resorts of St Anton, Lech, Zürs and Warth-Schröcken. With 305km of pistes and 87 state-of-the-art lifts to choose from, this ski area will keep you occupied for a whole season, let alone a week. The region is also one of the snowiest in the Alps and is famous for its off piste terrain and freeriding – as the Ski Club’s Content Editor was lucky enough to experience back in January. But don’t be put off if you’d rather stick to the pistes as they are famously well maintained and of course don’t forget the legendary après ski scene in St Anton – as seen here in our 7 in 7 video:

7 in 7: Guide to St Anton

 

Three Valleys (France)

Adult 6 day lift pass: €264 - €294 (depending on time of year)

Located in the northern French Alps and encompassing resorts such as Val Thorens, Les Menuires, Méribel and Courchevel, this long-time British favourite has it all. 600km of marked slopes rising to over 3200m, some fantastic off-piste and one of the Alps’ most snowsure resorts make up the Three Valleys. Val Thorens is one of the first to open and last to close each season, whilst Méribel and Courchevel are fantastic family destinations and offer some seriously smart accommodation. Although slightly smaller than the Portes du Soleil (650km), the snow is more reliable and travelling around the area is much slicker – hence we’ve chosen it in this list.

The Ski Club’s Instructor Led Guiding service is running once again in Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens. Ski Club Freshtracks are running two holidays to Val Thorens this winter.

Pascal Lebeau

Sella Ronda (Italy)

Adult 6 day lift pass: €229 - €287 (depending on time of year)

Perhaps the most famous circuit in skiing, completing the Sella Ronda loop in the Italian Dolomites is a must do for keen piste bashers. The 40km circuit takes you round the stunning Sella Massif and through resorts such as Arabba, Alta Badia, Val Gardena and Canazei, past numerous mountain huts which are renowned for their food. Fit skiers can complete the loop in around six hours, but we’d suggest taking your time and enjoying a long lunch in the Italian sunshine. There are numerous off-shoots from the main circuit which will keep you more than busy – but if you want even more, purchase a Dolomiti Superski Pass and 1200km of slopes are within reach!

Ski Club Freshtracks are running an off-piste holiday to Arabba in March and three trips to Canazei.

Udo Bernhart

Park City (USA)

Adult 6 day lift pass: $568 - $637 (depending on time of year)

Another new one to the list, this big-hitting resort in Utah became the USA’s largest resort last season when it joined up with Canyons resort in a $50million expansion. There are now 250km of slopes and 38 lifts – most of which are high-speed chairlifts or gondolas. The Wasatch Mountains in which Park City sits are famous for their abundant snowfall (average of 10m/season), which is also exceptionally light due to the proximity to the Great Salt Lake – hence the coining of the term Champagne Powder.

Whistler (Canada)

Adult 6 day lift pass: CAD$451 – CAD$674 (depending on time of year)

Although not the largest in North America, Whistler makes up for this by the sheer quality of the terrain and the incredible snowfall record. Transformed in 2007/2008 by the building of the Peak2Peak gondola to link Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, the spectacular off piste skiing and world-class terrain parks are even more accessible than ever. The resort has benefitted hugely from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and after a recent takeover by Vail Resorts, look out for some serious investment in the coming years.

There is a Ski Club Leader in Whistler throughout the season.