For many, an Australian summer means days on the beach and barbeques in the evenings. For some, an Australian summer means the arrival of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere, and the unbeatable powder days and fresh tracks that come with it.
Europe boasts both pristine snow and luxurious ski resorts – here are just five that fit the bill.
If you skied 1-kilometre a day every day at Zermatt, Switzerland, you would have enough to ski a new piece of track every day of the year excluding the main public holidays. And with an altitude that offers you unparalleled views of the famous Matterhorn, you're also guaranteed snow every day of the year. There are more than 60 eateries across the three mountains of the Zermatt ski area, including a 5-star restaurant and a refurbished farmhouse.
Known locally as 'Val Tho', this ski field in the French Alps is the highest of its kind in Europe at an altitude of 2,300 metres. The resort offers access to three ski areas: La Vallee des Belleville, Les 3 Vallees and Val Thorens – Orelle. In total, these three provide more than 1,000 kilometres of runs, not to mention more than 40 bars and 60 restaurants, Jacuzzis, a sports centre and even a bowling alley.
Sweden's Are ski field is world-renowned for its impeccable slopes and diverse range of skill-testing runs. Children can learn to ski or snowboard for the first time with the extensive learners slopes, while the more advanced will be equally challenged by the black pistes and off-piste terrain. For a break form skiing or boarding, Are prides itself on its other options such as ice climbing, snowshoeing, dogsleighing, snowmobiling and more.
Chamonix in France is a mecca for snow lovers. Glide between the white-capped trees (snow ghosts) as you zip down the slopes of the Argentiere glacier, Lognan and the Pendant. If you ski from the top to the bottom of the valley floor, you rack up more than 10,000 vertical feet. The high-mountain Chamonix town is legendary itself, a quaint friendly village that takes a great ski trip and makes it an unforgettable holiday.
Kitzbuehel, in the adventure area of Tyrol in Austria, has a history of snow sports that stretches back more than a century. It has 53 cable cars providing access all over the mountain, and the 2-mile, black diamond, icy Streif is arguably the most famous ski run in the world. This is where skiers from all over the world venture every winter to attempt this intensely challenging course – which offers an average speed of 103 kph.
Snow lovers rejoice! The Northern Hemisphere winter is kicking off and there are countless fabulous and frosty ski resorts to visit this year.