SKI-IEZE THE DAY | Which Snow N Ski Destination Should You Travel To?

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SKI-IEZE THE DAY | Which Snowy Destination Should You Travel To?

17th January 2023

I love the snow.

And I’m incredibly fortunate to have been lucky enough to experience the snow scene all over the world.

So, here’s a round up of my favourite places to experience snow – whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tobogganing, or even an elite biathlon champion looking for their next winter holiday destination.

CANADA | Best For: Stunning Scenery, Snowshoeing, Parties



Canada’s raw natural beauty is unparalleled. From the staggering mountains, the glowing green-blue lakes, the alpine forests, the soft powder snow… it’s a place of pristine beauty and definitely one to add to the bucket-list.

I was lucky enough to explore Canada for seven months, living in Banff for five of those. It’s a magical little town, (emphasis on the little – it’s pretty much one main street), straight out of a fairy-tale. 

Smack in the middle of the famous Banff National Park, you’ll often see deer walking around the town, and if not, there are multiple hikes in the area where you’ll encounter wildlife

In winter, there are also three ski hills to choose from – my ski pass was for Sunshine, and I also went snowboarding at Lake Louise too. 

One thing you absolutely must do if you go to Canada for the snow season is to go snow shoeing in the Canadian Rockies. It was one of the most liberating expeditions of my life. 

Words can’t describe the feeling of being on the top of a mountain, seeing the endless expanse, and carving fresh footprints in deep powder snow. You might be with friends or loved ones, but you’ll feel completely alone in the moment – it’s just between the mountain and you. So still, so quiet, so untouched by humans… it brings everything into focus and instils a profound sense of peace.

On the contrary, once you get back to civilisation, there’s a huge social scene. 
Banff (and Whistler too for that matter) are melting pots of travellers from all over the world, so the hostel party scene gets pretty rowdy and makes for a lot of fun.

Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies | Photograph by Gemma Edwards

The prettiest sunrise I’ve ever witnessed. From my apartment window in Banff, Canada. | Photograph by Gemma Edwards

Lake Louise in all her glory. To see Lake Louise, it’s usually best in late spring or early summer, but I was lucky enough to see it on the cusp of autumn and winter - just before it would freeze over. | Photograph by Gemma Edwards.



If you’ve decided Canada ski season is on your horizon, you’ll need Canadian Dollars (CAD)!
If you’re doing a short stint, take a balance of cash (some people say it smells like maple syrup!) and a Currency Pass prepaid travel card, and for a longer stay, have it weighted more towards your Currency Pass (more money, less physical cash to carry!). Or, if you are like me and decide to move there for a working holiday, use our Travel Money Transfers service to get the bulk of your money set-up in destination.

EUROPEAN ALPS | Best For: Culture, Luxury, Multi-Country Travel


Gorgeous villages, whimsical architecture, alpine forests, and frosted mountaintops… winter in Europe is a dream. 

I found the snow scene in was a lot more refined – skiing was preferred over boarding, and there was more focus on the art of skiing and self-mastery, and everything had an air of luxury - with more  families and partners travelling rather than the solo travel scene of Switzerland.

My lovely Swiss host family took me cross country skiing for the first time too. In my humble opinion, cross country skiing is more rigorous and difficult than regular skiing – there’s no gravity to pull you along – but it’s a beautiful mindful exercise to weave through the trees at your own pace!

Afterwards we had all the delicious, carby, comfort food too. Whether it’s cheese fondue in Switzerland, Tartiflette in France, or Kasepatzle in Austria, the Europeans have mastered the art of apres-ski in food and drink alike. 

The main appeal of the European Alps, is that they span countries – from the Swiss Alps to the French Alps, Italian Alps and Austrian Alps, there are so many unique and beautiful cultures to explore all on the same stunning terrain. While Euro-Summer is all the hype, it’s absolutely worth your while to experience the European Snow Season.

The view from my host-family’s chalet. I can’t quite remember the name of this village, but it was a short drive from Geneva, just across the Swiss border in France near Chamonix. | Photograph by Gemma Edwards

This is hands-down the most perfect snowman I’ve ever created. Do you see that wonderfully spherical shape?! Probably my proudest accomplishment. Perfektenschlag. | Photograph by Gemma Edwards

We went cross country skiing through these snow-laden trees. I was kind of atrocious at cross country skiing (did not have the necessary endurance haha) but it’s such a refreshingly mindful exercise. | Photograph by Gemma Edwards



Of course, it depends on where you go!
For me, I was based in Switzerland and also went skiing in the French Alps, so I needed Swiss Francs (CHF) and Euros (EUR). If you’re headed to the Italian mountains or Austria, you’ll only need Euros (EUR). As always, taking a blend of cash and prepaid travel money card is best practice! Plus, with Euros loaded, you’ll be able to travel around to the many neighbouring countries!

JAPAN | Best For: Everything (I might be biased)


The first place I ever saw snow was Japan, and even though my adventures have taken me to many other gorgeous places around the world, Japan is still my favourite. 

Firstly, the snow is powdery and soft, but the temperature is much more manageable than other places around the world (-10 degrees Celsius as opposed to -30 in some places). 

Secondly, many Japanese ski hills offer night skiing. As someone with an obsessive need to make the most of my time on the slopes, having night skiing is paramount. Also, night skiing just has an entirely different vibe, which I love. It’s a lot calmer, there are fewer people, so you can just glide down piste gently without a care in the world.

Finally… it’s the Japanese onsen experience. There is nothing more rejuvenating after a massive day on the slopes than to soak your weary bones (and extremely tired muscles) in a volcanic hot spring. It’s the most relaxing feeling in the world. Plus, most of the hotels and onsens offer skincare as well, so you leave glowing. I swear my skin has never been better than after an onsen. 

And on top of this (so yes, I lied when I said finally), the culture, the food, the people, the history – it’s all just incredible to experience, and something you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

My advice?

Go for the full experience. Trust me. 

If you can, go for a hotel with traditional Japanese futon rooms, includes a Japanese breakfast (really, there is nothing like it), has an onsen (if you’re shy, you can sometimes get rooms with a private onsen too), and if there’s the option, ski in ski out. When it comes to slopes, honestly you can’t go wrong with any in Japan.

I don’t have any photos of onsens because, well, the reasons should be obvious.So please enjoy this royalty-free photo of a snow monkey in Jigokudani Monkey Park, Nagano. I can assure you that’s exactly how it feels to relax in a Japanese onsen. Sublime.

My most recent trip to the Japanese snow fields was to GALA Yuzawa, in Niigata prefecture. This is the most conveniently-located from Tokyo! | Photograph by Gemma Edwards

There’s also a stunning lake which you can see from the top of the mountain! I also don’t have any photos (too busy snowboarding!), but some other ski resort recommendations include: anywhere in Hokkaido, and Hakuba is very popular with travellers too.



You’ll need Japanese Yen (JPY) for your winter holidays in Japan. It’s a cash-centric country, so make sure to take some physical bank notes as well as load up a Travel Money Oz Currency Pass in Japanese Yen for bigger splurges (and it also just makes it so much easier for longer stints abroad!). Be mindful of ATM fees though – read our Asia ATM Lowdown for advice on best practice! 

Whichever winter destination you choose, we have the travel money to help you ski-ieze the day!

Whether you’re carving up the Canadian ski hill, sipping some mulled wine in the European Alps, or planning to go for an all-inclusive ski holiday in Japan, we’ve got the currency you need to live your best carpe diem life. 

Come and see us in store and chat with our experts for tailored advice, or if you prefer, check out our online currency guides and inspirational blogs.

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