When picking a vacation spot, palm trees and sandy beaches tend to come to mind. But before booking your next seaside trip, consider a popular ski destination, instead — especially while you still have the powder to play with. While it may not have steel drums and island vibes, staying in a quaint chalet nestled between snow-capped mountains might be just the escape you need.
Turns out, you don't have to be a skier (or snowboarder) to enjoy a snowy getaway, either. Head to a cabin for a romantic weekend, or a resort town where there's restaurants and shopping, galore. But if hitting the slopes is your favorite winter activity, it's time to plan an adventure. After all, isn't it time you explore a mountain outside your hometown?
"Whether you’re in it for the first tracks or après-ski, there's something for everyone on a ski trip," says Ali Killam, consumer trends spokesperson for Airbnb. She suggests "taking in the fresh mountain air," and while you're at it, book an experience or two and check a few items off your travel bucket list.
Ahead, discover ski destinations to suit any vacation style. From trending hot spots and travel pro picks to Airbnb's top ski accommodations and experiences, check out some of the best snowy spots around the world, and get ready to book before spring.
Trending Ski Destinations
Move over, tropical vacations; trips to ski destinations are becoming more and more popular. "Passion-based travel for activities like ski is on the rise and we’ve seen off-the-beaten path destinations trending on Airbnb significantly in recent years," explains Killam. "For travelers craving a cold-weather adrenaline rush, there's no better escape than to a new ski destination like Karuizawa, Japan, Zhangjiakou, China, or the Lombardy Mountains, Italy, all of which have had major growth on the platform." Below, check out some of the top trending ski destinations for Airbnb travelers this season:
- Karuizawa, Japan (444 percent)
- Zhangjiakou, China (217 percent)
- Great Smoky Mountains, TN (207 percent)
- Lombardy Mountains, Italy (186 percent)
- San Carlos De Bariloche, Argentina (186 percent)
- Poconos, PA (179 percent)
- Whitefish, MT (171 percent)
- Apennine Mountains, Italy (170 percent)
- Eastern Townships, Canada (166 percent)
- Snowy Mountains, Australia (165 percent)
Picks From The Travel Pros:
In addition to fashion, culture, and some legendary cuisine, Japan — and in particular, the island of Hokkaido — is also a go-to destination during the snowy season. "I went to Niseko, Japan in the autumn and it was beautiful," recalls Amy Brueckner, chief of staff at CIRE Travel, which specializes in luxury corporate and honeymoon travel. "I can only imagine it, come winter!" She adds that the ski town is also home to tons of restaurants and bars if you want to satisfy your inner foodie. "I had a fabulous meal at the Michelin-starred Kamimura; elegant French dining with a Japanese flair. Make reservations way in advance!"
As it happens, Airbnb-ers are also fans of Japan's snowy excursions. This Guided Snowshoe Trek in Niseko Forest is one of the site's most-booked experiences. Also in Hokkaido are two of Airbnb's most wish-listed accommodations: the Crofton House near Moiwa Ski Resort, and the Rusutsu Chalet, within walking distance of the Rusutsu Resort ski lifts.
If you're a lover of both water and snow sports, head to California where you can have the best of both worlds. "I love Big Bear Mountain in southern California," says Esther Klijn, who specializes in honeymoon and high-end leisure business travel for CIRE. "I think the big novelty of this place is that you can wake up in the morning, go surfing, and then drive an hour to the mountains and go snowboarding the same day. We always used to hit up Big Bear Mountain Brewery for a beer and a burger after a day on the slopes."
If lake living is more your style, you can still get your fill of snow and scenery further north on Lake Tahoe. The epitome of rustic charm, the Lake Tahoe Chalet is ranked one of Airbnb's most dreamed-about stays. While it's close to ski resorts and a casinos, it's also the perfect place for snow-shoers, country skiers, or vacationers who simply want to unplug.
For a taste of Old World romance without the long journey to Europe, Canada should be your go-to destination — plus, it's perfect for ski bums. "Whistler is just north of Vancouver, British Colombia, so you’ll likely start your voyage on the Sea to Sky highway, which really sets the tone for your trip," says Katy Rebrovich, senior leisure agent for CIRE. "Whistler is nestled in the incredible Coast Mountains, so breathtaking scenery is a given. With Olympic-level runs for both skiing and snowboarding, world-class après ski and the proximity to the city and the coast, it really is the best combination for skier, boarder, and partier combined."
Visiting Vancouver, but staying in the city? Airbnb enthusiasts loved booking this Ski or Snowboard experience, where a host will provide passes, transportation, and equipment for a day on the slopes at Cypress Mountain.
Another must-do excursion is this Mt. Seymour Snowshoeing & Photography package, also in Vancouver. And not too far away in Squamish, you can take the Snow Cave Overnight Tour for an adventure unlike any other.
If you're staying in Toronto, don't leave without booking this once-in-a-lifetime Dog Sledding and Snow Tubing experience.
Most Wish-Listed Ski Homes:
If your top priority is booking a cozy cabin surrounded by nature (but still not too far from civilization), stay tuned. In addition to the accommodations mentioned above, check out some of the most wish-listed Airbnb properties, featuring snowy views and rustic atmosphere — skiing and snowboarding optional.
- Transylvania Log Cabin (Pesteana, Romania): You'll feel worlds away as you explore nearby castles, ruins, and sprawling mountain views ... all for a mere $24 per night.
- Casita en la Montaña (Andorra, Spain): This quaint house is literally in the mountains, and has rave reviews from past lodgers.
- Charming Chalet in Liechtenstein (Steg, Liechtenstein): Between Austria and Switzerland is Liechtenstein, where you can rent this picturesque chalet and enjoy breathtaking beauty.
- Xalet Carlemany (Andorra, Spain): Planning a family reunion abroad? Rent this large stone house, which sleeps 15, and comes with a hot tub and fireplace.
- Luxury 5* Chalet, Sauna, Hot Tub - Verbier Region (Sion, Switzerland): This gorgeous mountain escape features exposed beams and modern amenities for you and nine of your closest friends (or family members).
- Peaceful cabin in winter wonderland (Kittilä, Lapland): If snow, skiing, and serenity are what you're after, this quiet cabin in Lapland -- between Sweden and Finland -- is your ideal retreat.
- Apartur Las Leñas, week 30 ski (Las Leñas, Argentina): You won't have to choose between stellar skiing and city life in Las Leñas, the bustling resort town where this duplex resides.
Favorite Snowy Experiences:
If you're an adventure-seeker who plans your trips around activities, this list is for you. Check out some of Airbnb's most-booked ski experiences (including the ones mentioned above) for some serious bucket list inspiration.
- Ski & Snowboard for Riders! (Santiago, Chile): If you're staying in the city and want a day on the slopes, book this ski/snowboard experience to El Colorado, hosted by a ski enthusiast.
- Relaxing Countryside : Somewhere Snowy (Wonju-si, South Korea): There's no better way to explore a new city than with a local. This tour includes stops at nearby eateries and a hike to White Cloud Mountain.
- Mt Baker Ski or Snow Board!, (Glacier, WA): Are you a serious snowboarder or skier? Mountain enthusiasts in search of the best trails will love this guided tour of Mt. Baker Ski Area.
- Dogsledding Day-trip in snowy Målselv (Tromsø, Norway): Mush! If you're looking for a snowy experience you'll never forget, this is it.
- Moonlight Snowshoe on Mt. Hood, (Troutdale, OR): See the wilderness in a different light — literally. With moon and starlight reflecting off the snow, this nocturnal adventure is sure to be a memorable one.