While most people schedule their annual getaway for the summer months, there's just something about an authentic winter holiday that makes us want to pack our bags straight away. If you're used to a holiday on the beach, why not mix up traditions and embrace skiing, snowboarding and chilly weather for the ultimate winter sports holiday?
There are so many sports to enjoy over winter, and one of these wintry destinations will ensure you get the chance to try them all:
New York, USA
You may know the Big Apple as the home of bustling city life, but head out of the city and you'll find a winter wonderland perfect for snow sports. There are nearly 100 downhill and cross country ski centres within the state, so if you want to try out skiing and snowboarding, you'll be treated! Bristol Mountain and Willard Mountain are just two of your options. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there's also tobogganing, snowshoeing, ice skating and snowmobiling offered at snow resorts across the state.
Those who wish to watch the action instead of get in on it themselves will enjoy the winter sports events on offer. The Empire State Winter Games at Lake Placid in February is New York's "premier winter sporting contest" and showcases athletes from skiers and bobsledders to skaters and lugers.
You won't find many opportunities for snowy winter sports in the city of Vancouver, but it's the perfect base for travellers and is within close reach of several prime surrounding mountains. Mt Seymour, Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain are all within an hour's drive of the city, and they are home to an array of sports activities to suit every type of traveller.
With 240 hectares of skiable terrain at Cypress Mountain, the first sport on your list is likely to be skiing or snowboarding. The mountain's runs largely cater to intermediate and advanced skiers, but there's also beginners, expert and freestyle areas. 19km of groomed nordic (cross country) ski trails, 7.5km of which are illuminated for twilight and nighttime skiing, as well as 10km of marked snowshoeing trails and a snow tubing slope.
If you want to indulge in an incredible winter sports holiday with a slightly more modest price tag, why not head close to look to your own backyard? Victoria is home to plenty of prime alpine areas and some of the most gorgeous mountains in the world.
Start your travels at Mt Hotham, which is also known as the 'powder capital' of Australia. This mountain has an elevation of 1,861 metres, and is home to the most prolific natural snowfall in Victoria – but even if the snow isn't delivering, the snowmaking system will! Overall, the mountain has 320 hectares of skiable area, and caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
Beginners will love starting out on the gently sloping beginners areas, before progressing to higher ground when they get more confident. Extreme skiers and snowboarders might like to tackle the double black diamond terrain – there's an area for everyone.
Mt Hotham doesn't just offer your everyday skiing and snowboarding – there's plenty more sports to enjoy. Cross country skiing is a favourite with visitors, and between Mt Hotham and nearby town Dinner Plain, there's over 35km of groomed trails to explore. For kids, tobogganing in the two snow play areas will delight, as will embarking on a kids snowmobile ride. Sled dog racing is available at Hotham, and a team of beautiful husky dogs will whisk you over 3km of fresh snow.
Other famous areas include gorgeous Mt Buller and Falls Creek, which both offer skiing and snowboarding, as well as twilight skiing, tobogganing and snowshoeing. At Falls Creek, you can also explore the mountain aboard a snow bike, play snow bocce, and slip 'n' slide through the snow on a snow tube.
Queenstown and Mackenzie, New Zealand
Winter sports opportunities in New Zealand are up there with the best in the world, and it's just a hop, skip and a jump across the Tasman to get there!
Queenstown is one popular winter destination for tourists, and it's known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. Embrace the theme and head to one of this region's famous peaks to fit in a spot of skiing, snowboarding and all the winter sports in between. Coronet Peak, the Remarkables and and Cardrona Alpine Resort are all within close reach of this stunning New Zealand town, and all are perfect if you want to experience sports in the snow.
Coronet Peak is the closest mountain to Queenstown, and also boasts New Zealand's largest snowmaking system. There are 280 hectares of skiable terrain offer areas for all abilities, including moguls and open bowls for the experienced skier.
If you're headed to the Canterbury area, the Mackenzie region won't disappoint. Prime areas for winter sports dot the region, including boutique areas such as Mt Dobson, Ohau and Roundhill – take your pick and get skiing!