Slopes Beyond the Alps: Unconventional Ski Paradises Around the World
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Slopes Beyond the Alps: Unconventional Ski Paradises Around the World

January 4, 2024 Share

Tired of the Alps, Aspen, or Canada? Here are some unexpected global ski slopes that might have fallen under the radar.

In the heart of the passionate skier lies a relentless quest for the next great ski slopes, the next unforgettable run, the next hidden gem that awaits discovery. Far beyond the well-trodden pistes of the Alps and the Rockies, there exist ski destinations so unexpected, they rewrite the narrative of a typical winter escape. From the Andes to the Caucasus, from volcanic peaks to indoor snow in deserts, these 21 skiing spots around the globe are invitations to adventure for those who dare to ski the uncharted.

South America

Our journey begins in Argentina, where Las Leñas beckons with its majestic Andes backdrop. Here, wine and winter sports intertwine, offering a season from June through September that includes 30 diverse routes and a breathtaking vertical drop of over 4,000 feet​​. Further south, Bariloche captivates with its blend of downhill and cross-country skiing, along with snowshoeing and snowmobiling on snowy flats, embodying the spirit of Argentine winter​.

Image courtesy of Juano David

Chile, another South American marvel, extends its ski season into the U.S. summer. Iconic resorts like Portillo and Nevados de Chillán provide vast terrains, runs for all levels, and the unique opportunity to soak in thermal springs post-ski, thanks to the region’s volcanic activity​​.

Australia/Oceania

In Australia, the snow-draped landscapes of Perisher and Thredbo emerge as stark contrasts to the country’s sunbathed coasts. Perisher, in Kosciuszko National Park, sprawls across 3,000 acres with 100 trails, while Thredbo offers 50 runs and a vibrant ski village, proving the Southern Hemisphere’s prowess in winter sports​​.

Tasmania’s Ben Lomond offers summer skiing, a testament to the island’s diverse climate and geography, while Ski Dubai in the United Arab Emirates astonishes with one of the largest indoor ski areas, offering skiing in the desert​​.

Asia

The slopes of China, near Beijing, reveal Dolomiti Mountain Resort and Yabuli ski resort. The former, named after Italy’s stunning Dolomites, offers a winter escape amidst cedar trees, while Yabuli, set among pine forests, presents over 30 miles of slopes and amenities like a Club Med​​.

Japan, with its storied history in winter sports, surprises with resorts like Niseko and Hakuba. Niseko, on Hokkaido, caters to all skill levels across four resorts, while Hakuba, in Nagano prefecture, boasts 10 resorts, creating a winter sports haven​​.

Kazakhstan’s Shymbulak Ski Resort, near Almaty, combines good skiing with spectacular views, while Tabagan Ski Resort, closer to the city center, offers year-round sledding runs amidst spruce trees​​.

Europe

Azerbaijan’s Ağbulaq in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains offers powdery slopes perfect for skiing and snowboarding, complemented by modern facilities and a cozy hotel, making it a hidden treasure for winter enthusiasts​​.

Bulgaria, a European jewel, surprises with its affordability and charm. Resorts like Borovets and Bansko offer a mix of beginner-friendly and advanced runs, complete with ski schools and captivating snow-covered landscapes​​.

Image courtesy of Antonia Chekrakchieva

Georgia’s Gudauri and Goderdzi Mountain Resort stand out for their affordability and dependable snowfall, offering a different perspective on European skiing with less crowded slopes and stunning scenery​​.

In Cyprus, Troodos offers the rare opportunity to ski in the morning and sunbathe in the afternoon, with affordable ski passes and up to 2.5 meters of snow in its higher areas, showcasing Europe’s most southerly ski destination​​.

Italy’s Mount Etna in Sicily offers the adrenaline rush of skiing on an active volcano, with views that are as breathtaking as the ski slopes themselves​​.

Africa

Lesotho’s Afriski revels in its high-altitude conditions, offering skiing and snowboarding alongside alternative activities like bumboarding and paintball, making it a unique destination in the snow sports world​​.

Morocco, in North Africa, surprises many with its ski resorts, blending rich cultural experiences with the excitement of winter sports​​.

South Africa’s Tiffindell transforms annually from a summer haven to a winter utopia, dependent on snow machines but no less enchanting, complete with a snow park and slopes at the highest pub in South Africa​​.

North America

Hawaii’s Mauna Kea provides a unique skiing experience for experts, devoid of traditional facilities, where the thrill of skiing on a Hawaiian mountain is unparalleled.

Alabama’s Cloudmont offers a mix of warm summer and winter slopes with entirely artificial snowmaking, showcasing the diversity of skiing experiences available in the USA.

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Author: Laura Scalco
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