When it comes to skiing, the proximity, soft snow and dusty mountains of well-known European destinations like Switzerland, France and Austria are hard to beat – but once in a while it’s worth looking a little further afield.
If you want adventure as well as great skiing conditions, we’ve gathered some places with enough snowfall, slopes and ski facilities to rival Europe’s top locations. Some can even offer better value for money too. If you’re looking at planning a ski trip outside of Europe, but don’t even know where to start, let us be your guide.
Forget Route 66 and the sunshine state, the US’s real gem is the treasure state of Montana and its trove of mountain ranges. With access to the Rockies and Yellowstone National Park, there’s no shortage of slopes to ski.
Located in the southwest, there’s also the Big Sky Ski Resort, aka the mother of all Montana’s resorts, spanning over 5,800 acres as it intersects with the sister slopes of Moonlight Basin. It’s one of the more popular places to ski and caters to all abilities, while over in the mining town of Philipsburg there’s the Discovery Ski Area with great plains for those who prefer cross-country skiing.
Canada has got cooler climates covered no matter the time of year, but as the winter months arrive, provinces like Quebec really transform into dusty wonderlands. Base yourself in the French-speaking city of Montreal and you’ll be able to access both Mont Olympia and Mount Royal in under two hours.
Another few hours northeast and you can swap poutine for even better pistes. Le Massif de Charlevoix boasts the highest point in the Canadian Rockies and is less than an hour’s train ride from Quebec City. Laurentides’ Mont Saint-Sauveur is ideal for budget skiers, with a day pass only setting you back around 60 Canadian Dollars.
With year round sunshine, it’s hard to imagine what Dubai has to offer those looking to do some serious skiing, but the Mall of America actually has one of the biggest indoor ski parks in the world, with 5 runs and the world’s first indoor black piste.
That means that if you’re not entirely committed to the idea of being cold for the foreseeable and want to mix and match your snow and sunshine, Dubai is your golden location. It’s also ideal for beginners, who can attend the ski school to find out if they’ve got the skills to make skiing a serious hobby.
There are more than a few countries Asian countries staking a claim to the top ski destination. What makes Japan a favourite among powder puppies is its ability to let you mix snow with steam. Places like the Noz wa Onsen ski resort near Nagano, Yamagata Zao Onsen in Tohoku and Megahira snow resort in Hatsukaichi City all have epic slopes and amazing hot springs.
That means that those inevitable aches and pains will soon be soothed when you swap the thermal clothes for thermal waters.
Expand your horizons and consider skiing in Korea. With the Taebaek Mountains cutting right through the country and easy access to the city of Seoul, it’s a top contender. The short trip it takes to reach the likes of Bears Town and Elysian Gangchon Ski Resorts means that while you may be doling out the hefty ski fees you can save by staying in city hostels. Add to that the accessibility of Seoul’s party districts, Itaewon, Hongdae and Gangnam, and it’s perfect for those who enjoy gliding by day and getting down at night.
Travelling further out, you can also test Olympic level pistes at Pyeongchang-gun where Yongpyong Ski Resort and Alpensia ski resorts are set to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. For those brave enough, Yongpyong even offers night skiing.
Wanaka, New Zealand
It’s a long way to Wanaka but the beautiful scenery and surrounding mountains of this southern island town make it worth it. To the north there’s the Mount Aspiring National Park where you can hike, jet boat or heli-ski your way around the stunning mountains, glaciers and valleys.
If you prefer your poles on the ground, a little further south and less than 40 minutes from the town centre, there are three top resorts to try. Treble Cone has amazing views over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring, Snow Farm is known for some of the best cross-country skiing in the southern hemisphere and Cardrona has a relaxed family feel with some freestyle features for all levels.
When you think of India you’re more likely to think of spicy food and beach weather. The notion of finding chutes, steeps and cliffs to ski seems a little foreign, but India’s access to the Himalayan mountains mean the country’s well equipped to give you epic turns, twists and carves.
Gulmarg in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir is the country’s most popular place for pistes and, as the home to the highest cable car in the whole world, it’s one for thrill seekers. If you’re more of a slope baby and want to test the sport, head to Pahalgam and the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports for a few lessons.
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