While some people flock to the beaches in the winter, others can’t wait to hit the slopes! If you prefer snow to sand, here are some of the top ski towns in the world, combining ski-time with world-class off-slope activities.

Telluride, Colorado

Located in a box canyon the San Juan Mountains, this town feels straight out of the old West with saloons and historic Victorian architecture preserved from its days as a mining town. The town features a gondola system of public transportation serving skiers and pedestrians alike. In addition to world-class skiing, you will have no trouble finding lots to keep you busy, with spas, climbing activities, restaurants and shopping.

Park City, Utah

This former mining town east of Salt Lake City is the home of the 2002 Utah Olympic Park, and to not one but three popular ski resorts – and it has integrated ski-infrastructure into the downtown area with ski-lifts that come right to the main street. With plenty of slope options (including night-skiing, snowboarding, Heli-skiing and runs to suit every skill-level), you find it hard to make time for the many spas, restaurants, festivals and other activities.

Aspen, Colorado

This well-known ski-town par excellence in the Colorado Mountains is a favorite with the international slope-set. In addition to exceptional skiing, a vacation in Aspen can include high-end dining and shopping, visits to the city’s art gallery and historical attractions – and possibly a celebrity sighting or two.

Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia

Located north of Vancouver, Whistler is home to one of the largest resorts in North America, and has been a top-pick for ski-bums and the well-heeled for many years. Home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, you can try your skills at ski-jumping in the Olympic Park, or enjoy tobogganing, snowshoing, snowboarding and other slope-side activities. Afterward, be sure to spend time in the chalet-style, pedestrian-only town.

Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

In La Belle Provence, a visit to this ski-town set in the Laurentian Mountains to the north of Montreal is a must. One of the favorites in Eastern North America, this resort features world-class skiing and other winter sports, including alpine touring, dog-sledding, skating and more.  It also has a casino and luxury accommodations.

Lech Zürs, Austria

One of the world’s best destinations for Alpine skiing, this resort is set near the farming village of Lech and features more than 180 miles of slopes. In addition to checking out high-profile racing, visitors can test themselves on the advanced slopes, or enjoy cross-country and hiking trails. Events are organized all season. A full range of accommodations and dining is available for those who want to relax and enjoy the stunning mountain views.

Zermatt, Switzerland

This is Europe’s highest ski-resort, known for the reliability of its snow and its view of the Matterhorn. Breathtaking views combined with the convenience of the “ski-in, ski-out” rooms offered in several hotels makes this an excellent choice. For a more rustic experience, you can choose one of the many smaller chalet options. Enjoy hiking, heli-skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities, and take in a spa to wind down after a long day.

Whether you want to stay close to home or prefer to travel the world, there are many excellent ski towns to choose from – have fun!