As winter casts its frost over most of the globe, snow enthusiasts are gearing up to tackle the steep descents of the world. If a week in Taos, N.M., simply isn’t enough anymore, then why not just block off an entire month for an international escape?
Luxury tour operator Scott Dunn offers the Epic Round the World Ski Tour as part of its “bucket list” collection, featuring excursions beyond the imagination. This 34-day journey carves through the terrains of three continents and checks off six “holy grail” pursuits for powder hounds: Zermatt, Niseko, British Columbia—and more specifically Whistler, B.C.—Aspen, and Iceland.
“Every passionate skier wants to ski the trees of Hokkaido or hit the backcountry powder of British Columbia,” says Cammie Burke, the agency’s expert on European ski regions. “This incredible itinerary combines some of the best ski and winter sport destinations in the world, packed into a month of traveling.”
Looking at some of the one-dimensional itineraries of the past, Scott Dunn set out to challenge skiers with more robust trips, enhancing not only the length of the journeys but also the experience as a whole. The diverse locations allow participants to fully indulge on and off the slopes, whether that be sightseeing in bustling Tokyo, savoring its delectable whisky and fresh sushi, or filling up on the poutine of Vancouver, B.C.
For participants, the whirlwind begins in the village of Zermatt, Switzerland, where the towering peak of the Matterhorn becomes the trip’s first snowy playground. Spend time gliding through Swiss mountain meadows, then traversing cross-country to Cervinia, Italy, for a plate of piping-hot pasta and a warming glass of Nebbiolo.
From there, recharge in Zurich before a flight to Niseko, Japan, where chilly Siberian winds create continuous snowfall ideal for powdered backcountry runs. Onsens, geothermally heated salt and mineral baths, encourage you to hang your poles and soothe fatigued muscles before exploring the bustle of Tokyo.
The trip continues as such: on to glacial lakes and the Canadian Rockies for open groomers or heli-skiing in Whistler’s Sea to Sky Highway, followed by an amble through Vancouver. Farther north, you’ll heli-ski British Columbia’s 9,500 square kilometers of wilderness then cut through Aspen Snowmass.
Iceland’s Troll Peninsula caps the trip with narrow chutes, vast couloirs, and expansive valleys navigating from cresting ridges to the coastline. The remote accommodations at Deplar Farm offer time off the slopes for Icelandic pony rides, kayaking, surfing, whale watching, and if luck so has it, the celestial wonder of the Northern Lights.
Each destination is met with luxury accommodations chosen to inspire proper rejuvenation with a series of supplemental adventures when a ski break is required. Pricing begins at $46,800 per person for economy flights, and $79,000 for business class, originating at Heathrow airport. All transfers, accommodations, and full-board meals during heli-skiing are included.
“I would recommend that guests are accomplished skiers due to the nature of the skiing experiences included,” advises Burke. “They do not need to have heli-skiing experience. However, it would be beneficial to have previously skied backcountry and in powder.”
Novice skiers are welcome to tag along, of course. Scott Dunn will craft an itinerary full of off-the-slope adventures, such as a tour of the glacier palace in Zermatt, snowshoeing Whistler’s forests, dog sledding, and more. Of course, if 34 days of skiing seems a bit overwhelming, then consider this an outdoor adventure, with a side of heavy snow.
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