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The Best Winter Travel Destinations for People Who Love the Cold

1. Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

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This is one of the most popular winter sports destinations in the world, and with good reason. "There are few other places that offer this amount of terrain for exploration," says Robin Van Gyn, a Roxy snowboarding athlete. Whistler also happens to be her home base. "I've been here 15 years and I still don't think I've seen it all."

As for what to do when you get there? "There's something for everyone, including snowboarding, skiing, cross-country skiing, hiking, outdoor hockey (a Canadian favorite), world-class yoga and spas, and of course incredible food." Plus, it's close to Vancouver—just an hour and a half by car—so travel logistics are simple.

(BTW, here's all the winter gear you need for cold-weather sports.)

Photo: Thomas Northcut/Getty Images

2. Aosta Valley, Italy

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This Italian resort town is another one of Van Gyn's favorites, and her reasoning is totally solid: "Pasta, Pizza, Powder." But the culture is also a win. "Not only are the mountains epic, but the people are super welcoming and helpful, plus it tends to be more affordable than some other places in Europe," she says. "Imagine winding up tight roads on the hillside flanked by huge castles from the past (that's actually what the Aosta Valley is known for) and arriving in a quaint little village covered in snow." So basically, a fairy tale with winter sports.

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3. Anchorage, Alaska

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If you're craving some serious natural beauty, consider heading to this Alaskan city. "Most people visit Alaska in the summer when temperatures are higher, but consider visiting in the winter, when the stunning Northern Lights are visible and hotel rates are much lower," says Brian Han, a HotelTonight marketing executive and their resident travel expert. There's also plenty of skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling here, if that's what you're after.

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4. Hakuba Valley, Japan

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Japan might not be the first place you think of for winter travel, but it has a vibrant winter sports scene that allows you to be immersed in Japanese culture at the same time. "The Hakuba Valley has many resorts to choose from," says Torah Bright, a Roxy snowboarding athlete and two-time Olympic Medalist. "You can be a zealous skier and snowboarder with the nine ski resorts in the area catering to all skill levels, she adds.

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5. Park City, Utah

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A classic winter destination, Park City has a ton to offer. "If you can't make it to Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the Winter Olympics, catch some of the action in Park City," Han says. "The ski hotspot will be abuzz this winter with the Winter Olympic trials taking place December 30 and 31." Aside from what's happening on the mountain, the surrounding town is chock-full of cute shops, great restaurants, and bars. There's even a burgeoning boutique fitness scene, with a nearby OrangeTheory, Pure Barre, and a CrossFit box.

Related: How to Protect Your Skin While Skiing and Snowboarding

Photo: Rob Hammer/Getty Images

6. Patagonia, Argentina and Chile

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There are plenty of places to visit in Argentina that will be super warm this time of year (our winter is their summer), but for active travelers who aren't looking for hot weather, this is a prime time to take on Patagonia. From November to February, you can expect lows around 40 degrees, making it ideal for hiking, visiting the region's glaciers, and checking out the landscape.

Van Gyn recommends checking out Bariloche from June through September—it's her favorite training spot during the North American summer months. "The idea of giving up our summer days to head south to winter is a bit backward, but trust me on this one," she says. "Bariloche is in Patagonia and perched above a humongous lake, so it feels like you are snowboarding above an ocean. The culture is rich and I always make a point of getting some days in Buenos Aries tango dancing and antique market shopping before running to the mountains."

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7. Silverton, Colorado

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Going to Silverton is like stepping into the past. "It's an old mining town from the 1800s, rich with gold rush history," Van Gyn says. "The town is just as you would have imagined it back then, but then add a few feet of champagne snow on top, and that's the visual you will get when you arrive." Sounds pretty cool, right? Most winter sports are done with the help of a guide here, since it's mainly a back-country resort. "The resort's open Thursday through Sunday, and on days off I would head to Bonnie Belle cabin to get in some touring and a little dose of cabin life at 12,000 feet."

Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

8. Savannah, Georgia

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No, Savannah isn't cold, but it happens to be a great place to visit in the winter, especially if you're not looking for somewhere freezing but also not in need of a tropical escape. "Call it the next Charleston," Han says. "Winter is low season in this history-rich city, with temperate weather but thinner crowds and lower prices." And if you're still looking for a holiday trip destination, this might be your place. "Savannah has a famous cocktail hour on New Year's Eve, where open-container laws are lax and the town takes to the many historic town squares. Charming hotels dominate on HotelTonight in this destination." For an active twist to your trip, check out the running trails in Forsyth Park and hiking routes in Skidaway Island State Park.

(Not sold on the whole hiking thing? These benefits will make you want to hit the trails.)

Photo: Daniela Duncan/Getty Images

9. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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Jackson Hole airport recently added nonstop flights from 12 major U.S. cities, making it easier than ever to get out west to this famous American ski locale. Aside from the ski mountain, the nearby Yellowstone National Park is a veritable winter wonderland during the colder months, with fewer tourists than usual and *lots* of snow. The area is also home to the National Elk Refuge, which offers sleigh rides through the grounds during the winter. How could you pass that up?!

Photo: Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images/Getty Images

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