Forget skiing in the Alps: Try unusual ski destinations worldwide

Mar 14, 2023 BY Luke Rees

A ski holiday usually means a trip to the Alps, or perhaps Scandinavia or the Pyrenees. If we’re feeling flush maybe a US or Canada or powder hunting in Japan. But rarely do any of us consider a somewhere more of the beaten path. So next winter forget skiing in the Alps, instead visit one of the most unusual ski destinations worldwide.

Forget skiing in the Alps: Try unusual ski destinations worldwide heli ski in Turkey

Usual vs unusual skiing destinations

You can ski in some surprising places ranging from Mauna Kea in Hawaii to Gulmarg in India. Not all exotic ski destinations offer particularly challenging, reliable or varied skiing. But what they do offer is the chance to have an entirely different experience to one you’d have in the Alps.

Yes you can hop on a morning flight to Geneva from London and ski in Chamonix in the afternoon. That’s convenient, and you’ll no doubt have a fantastic time tearing up the powder when you get there. But it’s hardly adventurous in the true sense of the word.

Now, those of us who get our kicks hurtling down mountains tend to be the kind of people who love having adventures. The Alpine skiing in Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland is wonderful in many ways. But it is a known entity and does not have that real feeling of exploration that many of us crave.

So just once, forget skiing in the Alps. Instead try skiing in unusual destinations around the world!

Skiing during North Macedonia cat-skiing holiday photo of Rob Stewart

Try unusual ski destinations worldwide

Getting out of your comfort zone means experiencing different cultures, landscape and attitudes to those you will see from your fancy hotel in St Moritz. Why not travel to Morocco and ski in the Atlas Mountains? Or pay a visit to Georgia, Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan which have 16 ski resorts between them.

How about a skiing trip to India’s Gulmarg, with its breathtaking views over deep Himalayan valleys, and pistes as high as 4000 metres? Or the seven well-kept Lebanese ski resorts, where you can see all the way to the glittering Mediterranean as you ski.

In Cerro Cathedral in Argentina, you’ll be treated to facilities that compare to many Alpine resorts. Likewise in Chile there is more Southern Hemisphere skiing with views of Patagonia and/or the Andes. You can also ski in Australia and New Zealand during the Northern Hemisphere summer.

Or go for the most unusual of them all and ski down a volcanic cone in Hawaii. There are many other weird and wonderful destinations to ski worldwide. Including ski resorts in Lesotho and South Africa plus Jamie Barrow even went snowboarding in North Korea.

Many of the more unusual ski destinations worldwide are in developing countries. This means that your ski dollars are supporting a local economy that needs the cash more than France or Switzerland’s does.

In the last couple of years I have been heli skiing in Turkey, which has 30 ski resorts and cat skiing in North Macedonia. The experience was incredible in both and felt like a proper adventure while discovering a culture. You can do similar in Albania, Greece, Kosovo, which shows there is plenty of skiing in Southern Europe.

Forget skiing in the Alps

By going further afield you will also be help with the growth of the sport, and that can only be a good thing. Skiing and other winter sports are fairly insular, they are dominated by people from a very small number of countries.

Remember the film Cool Runnings? Perhaps it’s time we saw more winter sports champions emerging from corners of the world we wouldn’t expect. If, say, an unknown Indian won the downhill at the next Winter Olympics, wouldn’t that help to encourage more potential champions to take up skiing?

Amazing heli ski in Turkey Day 1 crew Black sea in background with Jeremy Heitz Forget skiing in the Alps: Try unusual ski destinations worldwide

Ski culture is Alpine culture for many of us, and there is nothing wrong with that. Skiing in the Alps is rightly some of the best on the planet. You can take on some of the world’s most challenging pistes, followed by a few hours of beery après and a dinner of raclette – a winning formula. But it’s not so good that it can’t be altered just sometimes.

Of course, don’t completely forget skiing in the Alps – it is great. But if you want to try unusual ski destinations worldwide you will have a wonderful experience! Check out these skiing holidays worldwide to get started.


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