Where the pros go: ski racers, freestylers & Olympians reveal where to make tracks this season

We ask skiers and boarders who make their living on the snow, where they go to get the best runs, whether that’s for backcountry action, a spot of freeriding or simply on piste.Saturday, 16 November 2019

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Paddy Graham, British freeskier & Red Bull athlete
My favourite spot in Innsbruck, where I’m based, is Nordkette. It’s really steep with long runs almost back down to the city in good snow. I also spend a lot of time around St Anton, which is a great freeride resort. I’d like to go back to Japan too, they get so much snow there. I like Kiroro Resort, close to Sapporo; it’s a little quieter than the bigger resorts like Niseko. I’d also love to get a ski trip to Scotland sorted soon, maybe off the back of Ben Nevis and ski touring around Glencoe.

Menna Fitzpatrick & Jennifer Kehoe, blind skier & guide
We’ve got a really exciting calendar on the Para-Alpine World Cup for this winter including St Moritz in January, which is one of our favourite places, and then onto Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, which is great because we use the same slope as the men’s World Cup and it’s so well prepared. We’re visiting Liechtenstein for the first time and then onto Jasna in Slovakia. Finally, we head to Lillehammer in Norway and then round things off at the World Cup finals in Åre, Sweden. 

Izzy Atkin, Team GB freestyle skier & ODLO ambassador
I’m based in Park City, Utah, for the winters. I really like it there as it’s close to lots of ski areas such as Alta, Snowbird and Park City Mountain where I train. I have some X Games events coming up, and I think a China trip will happen next winter. I really want to combine that with a visit to Japan to ski the legendary powder there. Laax is probably my favourite place in the Alps, but I really like the Stubai Glacier for early season training, too. The past few years I’ve trained in Cardrona, near Wanaka in New Zealand, which I love.

Marion Haerty, freeskier & The North Face Ambassador
Competing on the Freeride World Tour takes me to so many legendary places: Canada, Japan, Austria, Switzerland and Andorra. I’ve been living in Chamonix for the last couple of years and can always find something new to ride there. With one of the highest lifts in the world (Aiguille de Midi), this huge area offers me access to loads of amazing runs that are perfect for steep freeride sessions and backcountry ski touring. And I love the little resorts nearby like Arêches Beaufort or Chamrousse near Grenoble.

Darren Turner, ski teacher & ambassador for Rossignol Skis
I live in the French resort of Serre Chevalier where I ski most of the winter. La Grave, a short drive away, gives me that big mountain fix with its steep off-piste terrain. I enjoy popping to Sauze d’Oulx just across the border in Italy for a nice lunch, too. I’ll be in Tignes and Val-d’Isère in December — when it snows, it’s probably the best resort for introducing people to off-piste skiing, with so many wide open bowls. I’ll be heading to Zermatt at some point — you can’t beat the Matterhorn and the beautiful old town.

Graham Bell, five-time Olympic downhill ski racer & BBC presenter
The first Olympic test events for Beijing 2022 start in February next season, and I’ll be there to ski the course ahead of the World Cup racers, camera in hand, filming from the racers’ point of view. Three race pistes have been designed in Xiaohaituo, 55 miles north of Beijing, by Bernhard Russi (1972 Olympic champion). The downhill track will have a vertical drop of 2,854ft and some steep, challenging sections. It’ll be my first time skiing in China, the fastest-growing ski market in the world. I can’t wait. 

Published in the Winter Sports guide, distributed with the November 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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