Where to Ski in February

Craig Charley - Headshot

That sweet spot in the middle of the season, choosing where to ski in February is all about snow, snow, snow. These resorts promise plentiful powder days on deep, stable snowpacks.

Just to be clear, we're talking about off-peak powder havens here. If you're looking for recommendations for family skiing, head over to our Where to Ski at Half Term blog.

We love February skiing because you get more snowfall than in March and April and a deeper snowpack than in December and January. That means that the slopes - and the backcountry - are in prime condition.

It's often when resort base areas and villages feel the most wintery too - the culmination of months of snowfall building up before temperatures start to rise in spring.

All of our resorts are great to ski in February, but the destinations below are the highest rated by our team for great value and superb mid-season snow.

For personal recommendations and a tailor-made price, call our ski specialists on 01273 224060 or enquire online and we'll be in touch.

By Craig Charley, Marketing Manager


There's only one place to start when talking about mid-season powder and that's Japan.

Home to the world's biggest snowfall totals, where 14 metres is not unheard of and 10 metres is seen as a bad year. Most resorts can only dream of snow that consistent every winter!

December to February is the main powder season in Japan, but January is when it's at its busiest so we prefer to hold off until February. The lifts and slopes are quieter, but you still have the same great snow. Plus, the snowpack is nice and settled (peaking mid-February), perfect if you're looking to spend a few days with a guide or cat-skiing in the backcountry.


The north island of Hokkaido is home to the snowiest and most famous of Japan's resorts and Niseko tops the charts when it comes to February snow, averaging 246cm and 22 days of snowfall.

As you can probably guess, that means sunshine is at a premium - but who cares when conditions are like this...

Niseko - Powder Boarding in the Trees
What February in Niseko lacks in sunshine it more than makes up for with snow

As the country's most developed ski resort, Niseko is the perfect introduction to skiing in Japan.

You can still appreciate all the joys of an authentic Japanese experience - steamy hot springs, delicious cuisine and impeccable hospitality - without forgoing Western comforts - luxury hotels and apartments, speedy lifts, and first-class rentals and ski school.

The four interlinked ski areas offer something for everyone, but to make the most of Niseko in February you'll want to be comfortable going off-piste.

There are a few ways to do this - in the well-spaced trees between runs, through the 11 backcountry 'gates' (avalanche beacon, shovel and probe required), with a local guide or with a day of cat-skiing.


For an alternative Hokkaido resort which promises huge helpings of snow with a more traditional atmosphere, try Furano.

Furano - Powder Smiles
Nothing but smiles after the latest storm in Furano

The in-bounds terrain here is smaller, but there's a huge backcountry to explore including a number of smaller local areas like Asahidake, Kamui and Tomamu. These are best experienced with a knowledgeable local guide and offer an unforgettable experience. You'll often be the only ones on the mountain!

The snow in Furano tends to be lighter and drier than Niseko as it's more inland, and as a much quieter resort you can still find fresh tracks days after a storm.

Furano itself is a proper working town, so it feels particularly authentic (and less expensive!). There are many relaxing onsen, plenty of places to eat and drink (keep an eye out for izakayas - a bit like a Japanese pub with small plates and local beers) and there are often traditional events taking place too.


If you prefer to stay on Japan's main island with access to Tokyo and Kyoto by lightning-fast bullet train, Hakuba is a great place to use as a base for exploring multiple resorts on one lift pass.

Hakuba - Snowboarding Powder
Pure powder snowboarding in Hakuba

Hakuba Valley is a collection of ten separate and unique ski resorts, accessible by shuttle bus or car hire from the main accommodation base of Happo One (pronounced happo on-ay).

The skiing here used to focus on the pistes, but over time the resorts have become more amenable to off-piste, opening access and introducing gates for accessing the best powder. Known as the 'Japanese Alps', the terrain tends to be steeper than in Hokkaido with many of the best intermediate runs following the spine of a mountain rather than a steep face.

Happo One is the largest ski area (which is why we recommend you stay there!) while interconnected Goryu and Hakuba47 are just 10 minutes away. Cortina is our favourite spot for tree-skiing and is where you'll find the best locals on a powder day.

Off the slopes, there are plenty of winter activities including snowshoe tours, snowmobiling and cross-country, plus many wonderful Japanese onsen. It's also a good base for visiting nearby cultural attractions including the iconic snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Monkey Park, temples and sake breweries and the many delights of Nagano city.

Nozawa Onsen

Less than two hours from Hakuba on the other side of Nagano (and even closer to the Jigokudani Monkey Park!), Nozawa Onsen offers the most authentic ski experience in Japan.

Nozawa Onsen - Bluebird Powder
Quite possibly our favourite ever Japan ski photo - pristine bluebird powder in Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa is Japan's oldest ski resort - first recorded by students in 1897 before the Ski Club was established in 1918 - while the town can be traced all the way back to the 8th century!

The 'Onsen' part of the town and resort's name means 'hot spring' and is perfectly apt. There are 13 public onsen (plus a number of private onsen in select hotels) and hot springs run through the village. There's even a special cooking area where you can buy vegetables and 'onsen eggs' cooked right in the natural hot water!

Food is a highlight here with sushi, tempura, soba, yakitori, teppanyaki, sukiyaki and okonomiyaki all on offer, as well as Western cuisine if you need some home comforts.

The mountain features a good mix of green, red and blue runs, plus dedicated off-piste terrain at the top Yamabiko area. It's where you'll want to spend a lot of your time as Nozawa Onsen averages over two metres of snowfall in February!


February is prime time for powder skiing in Canada.

The snowfall totals are as large as December and January (if not larger!), with the added benefit of a deep and safe snowpack.

By now, even the most adventurous terrain is open, the heli and cat-skiing operators are in full swing and it's time to go exploring.

Sun Peaks

If you want to ski like a local in Sun Peaks then February should be your month of choice.

The snowbase is deep, the ski-through village is in pristine shape (no walking required), the lifts are open longer and, perhaps most importantly, the temperatures have crept up above the -6.1°C average of the earlier months.

Sun Peaks - February Powder © Reuben Krabbe
Untouched February powder in Sun Peaks' easy-access off-piste © Reuben Krabbe

Canada's second-largest ski area and its most convenient village, Sun Peaks is a firm favourite of the Ski Safari team.

It's one of those resorts where, once you visit, you want to go back again and again - and that's exactly what many of our customers do!

Everyone you meet in the resort is warm, welcoming and treats you like a local. There are twice-daily free mountain tours provided by local 'Sun Hosts' and you can even ski with Olympic champion Nancy Greene Raine three days a week (if you can keep up!)

The well-planned trail and lift system makes it easy to get around, and there's an easy way down from every lift so even beginners can explore all three mountains.

There are some lovely bowls and glades for off-piste enthusiasts, but the perfectly spaced trees of Gil's are where we usually head on a powder day.


Panorama is another Ski Safari favourite promising all-abilities skiing, great snow and an extra convenient village.

Panorama - Powder Glades © Kari Medig / Panorama Mountain Resort
They say no friends on a powder day, we say sharing is caring! © Kari Medig / Panorama Mountain Resort

It's one of Canada's snowiest resorts in February which is good news for advanced skiers looking to tackle one of the biggest vertical drops in North America.

The famous Taynton Bowl should be in prime condition by mid-season, ready for endless powder turns through former heli-ski terrain. Much of it is hike-to, or you can grab a snowcat tow for just $5 per rider, per tow. If that's not enough, RK Heliski are based right in the resort ready to take you to more than 1,700 square miles of open snowfields, glaciers and gladed trees in the Purcell Mountains.

It's not all about experts in Panorama, fantastic snow cover means that beginners can get started right outside their ski-in ski-out accommodation while intermediates have heaps of blues and easyish black runs to explore all over the mountain. With well-spaced trees, Founder's Ridge and Sun Bowl are great spots to improve your off-piste ability on a powder day.

Revelstoke & Kicking Horse

The next two resorts on our list are less all-ability and more steep, deep and challenging. Revelstoke and Kicking Horse, just two hours apart along the Trans-Canada Highway, are home to big vertical drops, hair-raising inbound chutes, ridges and bowls and a vast backcountry best accessed with the help of a helicopter or snowcat.

Revelstoke - Bluebird Powder Day in February - Tally Ho Glades © Tom Poole
Bluebird powder day in Revelstoke's Tally Ho Glades © Tom Poole

This is a serious twin-centre for serious skiers. Advanced terrain is where both resorts excel, and there's not a huge amount for beginners or early intermediates.

Revelstoke is home to America's longest lift-serviced vertical, where the off-piste and backcountry options are limitless. There are options for lift, heli, cat and hike-to skiing, so once you're warmed up we recommend the services of a guide to get the most out of the mountain.

Kicking Horse picks up where 'Reve' left off. More perfect powder and more steep and deep, black and double-black diamond rated runs. This is another iconic mountain for die-hard skiers and boarders and you'll have boasting rights for the rest of your life.

As with other resorts, we recommend visiting from February for the best backcountry conditions.

49th Parallel Ski Safari

Like the idea of going to North America but can't decide between Canada and the USA? Our border-crossing 49th Parallel Ski Safari allows you to do both while skiing or boarding two of the best steep and deep resorts in the world - RED in British Columbia, Canada and Schweitzer in Idaho, USA.

RED - Searching for the Perfect Line © Ryan Flett
Searching for the perfect line in RED © Ryan Flett

Much like our Revelstoke and Kicking Horse combo above, this is a twin-centre best suited to advanced skiers and riders.

It's a chance to ski two hidden gem resorts where you'll be treated like a local and where the terrain is as big as your imagination. Officially, both resorts feature 50% advanced and expert runs, but the 'go-anywhere' philosophy on-mountain means there's far more than first meets the eye.

Even better, crowds are non-existent - especially in February. Schweitzer's tagline is 'Your Own Private Mountain' while 'fiercely independent' RED is one of North America's biggest ski areas. With no major cities nearby and limited on-mountain accommodation, you're guaranteed a very healthy serving of powder per person.

Expect well over a metre of snowfall in February, all the better for tackling the endless tree runs, chutes and bowls.


Continuing the theme south of the border in the USA, February is just a great month to ski.

The top tip from those in the know is to head to Colorado's Rocky Mountains where you're guaranteed huge helpings of snow across large and varied ski areas.

Aspen Snowmass

One of Colorado's (and the world's!) snowiest resorts in February, the four mountains of Aspen Snowmass receive an average of 157cm of snowfall. Whether you opt for the glitz of Aspen town or the purpose-built convenience of Snowmass Village, good times on the slopes are guaranteed.

Aspen Snowmass - 17 February 20cm Snowfall © Matt Power Photography
Taking the glory line back into town, the double-black diamond rated 'Niagara' on Aspen Mountain © Matt Power Photography

Conditions on the four mountains are impeccable in February, while Aspen town is buried under a magical wintery blanket and Snowmass Village's ski-in ski-out accommodation is super snow-sure.

As much as we love spring skiing at Ski Safari, sometimes when you visit a genuine working town later in the season the locals are starting to look towards summer. But in February, the snowstorms (and powder days that follow) still spark a giddy atmosphere.

We recommend spending at least a day at all four of the ski areas - Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain and Snowmass - but on a powder day, Highland Bowl is the destination of choice. This expansive, hike-to bowl is a team favourite, but is definitely expert-only! For an intermediate powder fix, Snowmass has you covered. Or for a left-field choice, Buttermilk is usually the quietest resort so you're guaranteed fresh tracks through to the last lift.


Let's face it, ski towns are just prettier when they're covered in snow, and Breckenridge is one of the prettiest with its colourful storefronts lining Main Street. Look above them and you'll spot the resort's five 'Peaks' promising a cruisy, intermediate paradise.

Breckenridge Lake Chutes on Peak 8 © Andrew Maguire Photo
Heading into advanced terrain like Breckenridge's Lake Chutes on Peak 8 is all the better when it's just you and your guide © Andrew Maguire Photo

When the snow is falling hard, stick below the tree line for better visibility and free top-ups between every run. Our favourite spots are Lost Cabin, Ore Bucket, Rip's Ravine (for the kids) and The Burn (the name says it all!)

Once the skies have cleared, expert skiers will be rewarded up in the alpine with countless chutes and bowls off Peaks 6, 7 and 8.

If you're not content with Breck's 2,908 acres, your lift pass grants you access to three more resorts within an hour's drive - Vail, Beaver Creek and Keystone.

The deep February snow doesn't just make the scenery and skiing better, it also provides optimum conditions for winter activities like sledding, sleigh rides, ice skating and snowshoeing.


Vail is world-famous for its powder bowls, so you'll want to visit in February for the best chance of them being full of powder! With soft snow under-ski, it's the perfect place to try North America's 'go-anywhere' approach to off-piste skiing.

Vail - February Powder Day © Charles Townsend Photography / Vail Resorts
A perfect February day in Vail © Charles Townsend Photography / Vail Resorts

Fairly unique for North American skiing, the terrain in the expansive Back Bowls and opposing Blue Sky Basin is incredibly intermediate-friendly, especially after a good helping of fresh snow.

All the runs are either blue or single black diamond (all the double-black diamond terrain is on the front side of the resort) so even if you're relatively new to off-piste skiing you have a huge playground to enjoy.

Less than two hours from Denver, Vail can be busy on weekends, but during the week the lift lines and slopes are gloriously crowd-free.


Ski Safari customers and regular readers will know how much we love skiing in Scandinavia, so why does it appear so far down our list for February skiing?

Typically, the UK and Scandinavian half term weeks fall in the middle to end of the month, meaning you only have around a week to enjoy off-peak prices and child-free slopes.

Of course, Scandinavian resorts are still some of the quietest in the world at half term, so if you don't mind a bit of extra busyness, take a look at our Where to Ski at Half Term blog which is full of recommendations for Norway and Sweden.

In February, the days are starting to get longer, the slopes are still floodlit in the evening, and cool temperatures keep the snow in pristine condition for days between snowfall.


Scandinavia's largest resort, Åre in Sweden usually isn't fully open until late Jan/early Feb when the 'Högzon' (High Zone) opens at the top of the mountain above the tree line.

This is where you'll find the best views and steepest runs, dispelling any misconceptions that Scandinavia is just for beginners.

Åre - Scenic Views from the 'High Zone'
Åre's 'High Zone' often doesn't open until early February, maintaining the adage that "good things come to those who wait"

Åre's varied slopes are supremely quiet in early February, and that's reflected in hotel rates too. It's the cheapest time to stay at the prestigious Copperhill Mountain Lodge, a hotel that never fails to impress our customers.

Sitting in a secluded forest on the edge of the resort, a deep blanket of snow only adds to the hotel's tranquil location. Especially when you're relaxing in the award-winning spa!

Like North America, Sweden has a forward-thinking approach to off-piste - you can easily head into the trees or fresh snow between pistes and there's some really challenging terrain that's best experienced with a guide.

Don't be worried about daylight hours, in February sunrise is before 9am and sunset is after 4pm - plus, select slopes reopen for floodlit evening skiing from 6pm to 8pm Monday to Saturday!


Geilo's slopes are quiet even over peak periods, so if you want to feel like you're skiing your own private resort, head there in early February. Regularly voted Norway's Best Ski Resort in the World Ski Awards, there's skiing for all abilities and plenty to do off the mountain too.

Geilo - Snowboarders High Fiving on Perfect Groomers
You can pick up plenty of speed on Geilo's perfect groomers when there's nobody in your way!

While there are runs for all abilities, Geilo is a fantastic place to learn to ski or improve with 55% of the terrain suitable for beginners. Taking lessons when the resort is at its quietest means that you can really focus on your technique without having to worry about dodging other skiers or snowboarders.

With deep, white snow all around, February is also a great time to try the many non-ski activities on offer in Geilo - from dog sledding, snowkiting and snowmobiling to cross-country skiing, fat-biking and ice fishing, it's an all-round winter destination.

The rail transfer along the famous Bergen to Oslo railway line adds an extra touch of magic - in mid-winter, you'll pass frozen lakes and waterfalls, snow-covered forests and stunning fjords.

Western Norway's Fjords

Like the idea of combining skiing in two of Europe's snowiest resorts with a magical journey through Norway's dramatic fjords? Head to western Norway in February.

Myrkdalen - Powder © Sverre Hjornevik
Myrkdalen's extensive off-piste area comes into its own in February © Sverre Hjornevik

The neighbouring resorts of Myrkdalen and Voss (40 minutes away by bus and skiable on one lift pass) remain under the radar for UK skiers, but provide some of the best ski conditions in Europe. They receive an average of 6.6 metres of snowfall each season and as much 10 metres in a particularly good one!

With few people on the mountain, there's more than enough powder to go around just off the lifts, but more adventurous skiers can head further afield with a guide to ski tour with the fjords as your backdrop. You can ski tour straight from either resort or take the train up to Vatnahalsen Mountain Lodge, where you'll find some of the world's best mountain guides.

Once you've had your fill of the skiing, the fjord adventures begin. Fjord cruises and rib tours along the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord and picturesque Aurlandsfjord; the world-famous Flåm Railway; Viking dinners in Flåm itself; snowshoe hikes up to the Stegastein Viewpoint - you're spoilt for choice in this unspoilt winter wonderland.

Speak to the Tailor-Made Ski Specialists

For a tailor-made price for any of the destinations above, or personal recommendations from our friendly, knowledgable team, call 01273 224060 or enquire online and we'll be in touch.

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