Ultimate Alternative Ski Destinations

Ultimate Alternative Ski Destinations

Ski trips are a great chance to explore new cultures and push yourself physically, so why not take this annual ritual to a new level in one of these lesser-known resorts?

winter frosts have our thoughts increasingly turning
towards the mountains. This year is all about eschewing inflated
prices, long lift queues and overbooked restaurants and seeking out
virgin pistes. Ski trips are a great chance to explore new cultures
and push yourself physically, so why not take this annual ritual to
a new level in one of these lesser-known resorts?

The Powder Haven; Niseko, Japan

Light, fluffy powder, unbeatable Japanese food and a complete
overturn of everything you have ever associated with skiing all
await in Niseko. With snowfall levels to put European resorts to
shame, and powder that stays all day, it’s an exceptional snow
experience. Shun the schnitzels and strudel in favour of king crab
legs, ramen and katsu curry and replace après ski with a
restorative soak in natural hot springs. Stay at luxury boutique
hotel Kimamaya and treat yourself to an extended stopover in Tokyo
en route to Sapporo airport.

The North American Dream; Mont-Tremblant, Canada

On Canada’s East Coast, Mont-Tremblant is easily accessible from
the UK, and while it’s not the largest ski area, the chocolate-box
style village and roaring log fires will cosset you in cosiness.
Fly into Quebec and stay in the gloriously mountainous Fairmont
hotel but wrap up warm, temperatures in January can drop to -30C.
This is the safest option of the bunch but provides varied terrain
for mixed ability ski groups looking for a gentle change of

The Sun Seekers Spot; Riksgransen, Sweden

The resort itself may be small and hotels limited but don’t
discredit this North Swedish destination. Firstly, latitudinal
factors mean the season only opens in March and runs until July,
with 24 hours of daylight by June giving a whole new meaning to
night skiing. Secondly, the pistes are good but the resort really
shines for experienced adrenaline seekers with amazingly affordable
access to a vast multi-peaked heli-ski area. Time to reset your
body clock and experience skiing on a whole different level. Fly
into Kiruna via Stockholm.

The Long Haul Adventure, Cerro Catedral, Argentina

Head here via Buenos Aires for some of the Southern hemisphere’s
most exciting skiing (avoid crowded July and opt for August or
September to visit). This is gaucho country with rugged hillsides,
hearty steaks and a distinctly South American vibe but it’s not
just the culture that’s worth the trip. Cerro Catedral is famed for
its immense backcountry skiing; spend days getting lost off-piste
to the awe-inducing backdrop of the Andes. Stay in the resort or if
you’re looking to sample more Argentinian life, stay in nearby
Bariloche, a charming lakeside town with great restaurants and
stunning scenery.

The Novice Skier’s Paradise; Geilo, Norway

If you’re new to skiing and craving gentle contours then head to
Geilo with easy to moderate slopes perfect for a leisurely
introduction to the sport. What’s more, the resort offers a host of
wholesome off-piste activities for ski-wearied legs. Try
dog-sledding, ice-fishing and fjord-cruising to really immerse
yourself in this winter wonderland. Perfect for late season skiing
with reliable snow cover through ’til late April. Fly into Oslo or
Bergen and hole up in one of many cosy log cabin accommodation

Mystical Mountainsides; Gulmarg, India

For ski mavericks looking to shun the crowds and seek
unchartered pistes, this is the ultimate option. With the world’s
highest cable car, endless off-piste routes and exceptional
heli-skiing for the brave at heart, a trip to the Himalayas has to
be one of the more unique ways to get your ski fix. Après-ski
doesn’t exist and beginners would struggle but for the intrepid,
phenomenal off-piste skiing in the most spectacular setting awaits.
The accommodation options are more limited but consider the Hotel
Highlands Park or Kyhber Mountain Resort for a Himalayan take on
luxury. This isn’t a trip for the non-committal, with an epic
journey via Delhi to Srinagar to reach it, but where else can you
ski surrounded by shrines, monkeys and communist relics?

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