15 Countries With Ski Resorts You Probably Didn't Know Exist
So almost everyone knows about the popular skiing destinations around the world, such as resorts in the Alps, USA and Canada. But there are lots of destinations that the majority of people haven't ever thought about going to for skiing. It's a big world out there with plenty to see and plenty to ski, so go and explore!
Is It Actually Worth It?
Now I wouldn't say that the skiing itself is necessarily the best in all of these locations, but the experience of going to some of these places alone as well as being able to say that you've skied there makes up the for the lack of high quality skiing at some. On the other hand, there is also some awesome skiing to be enjoyed! Some of these places you might think to be rather odd, unexpected and unusual places to ski, others might make sense immediately but you may have never thought about skiing there. Anyway, here it is:
China is known for many things; ancient traditions and culture. a long and fascinating history, and of course cheap production of consumer items, rapidly growing economy and communism. Skiing, on the other hand, is not really something China is well known for. However don't let it put you off, there are a number of skiing resorts in China just waiting for you to ski and enjoy. Ski and experience the rich culture of China...sounds good to me! Check out this website for some top resorts in China:
That's right, you can go skiing on the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. And you thought the only thing you could do in the Med was going on a cruise, lay on golden beaches, swim in crystal blue waters and enjoy the warm climate, bet you never imagined skiing! But believe or not, you can ski there, the Troodos resort is the place you want to be looking for:
Believe it or not Lebanon was once a peaceful and popular tourist destination, sadly that's not really the case any more. Recent conflicts putting off visitors to the country inevitably has meant that Lebanon is no longer considered much of tourist location, and many travellers try to stay away. However, against common belief, the bomb shells aren't always falling, peace does still exist in the country, just make sure tensions aren't high when choose to go, and don't worry I'm sure the UN will get you out if things go downhill...no pun intended. Besides, I can't think of a better way to go than a blazing fireball gliding down the slops at high speed melting the snow as you go, though I imagine this would frustrate the skiers behind you. I can see I'm really not selling this one very well... So I'm going to move on to the next place.
You might be thinking that climate change has had a much more drastic effect than you realised! But don't worry, that's not the case here! Ski Dubai is an indoor 'resort' obviously nowhere near the size of real resorts, but it's big enough to warrant its own chair lift! If you're a skier and you ever find yourself in Dubai, feeling a bit hot and out of your element, then go to Ski Dubai to cool off a little.
Skiing in the Atlas mountains, and get this, you even have a choice of resorts, Oukaimeden in the High Atlas Mountains or Mischliffen in the Middle Atlas Mountains. Just don't expect the lifts to be working all the time, you may have to walk or catch a ride on a donkey. You probably won't see many other people up there, there aren't exactly many Moroccan skiers and seeing someone in full robes on skis is certainly a unique sight. It's most definitely a very different experience to your average ski resort.
Unfortunately, the story here is one of climate change taking away a resort.
A lot of skiers already know about skiing in South America, though it's often not a place at the forefront of people's minds for skiing, so there are a couple of South American countries on the list just to jog your memory! Chile and Argentina are probably the better-known countries in South America for skiing, but Bolivia also once had its own ski resort! Yes, that's right, with a base at 5200 metres (more than 17,000 ft), Chacaltaya was the highest ski resort in the world!
There may have only been one lift, but many people had fond memories of their time here skiing on the glacier... And ultimately the experience of skiing here you could view as more of a challenge... the challenge being to actually make it up the lift and ski down the slope without succumbing to the altitude.
Sadly, the last ice melted in 2009 and there's little more than derelict and abandoned buildings left of the Chacaltaya 'resort'.
So what do you call a ski resort located in a country in South Africa...Afri-Ski of course! Afri-Ski can be found in Lesotho not too far from Johannesburg. The resort even has it's own website. It's not really that it's such a big resort that it warrants its own website(because it only really has 2 slopes and a park, though the area is larger than that covered by groomed pistes), but possibly more that it is one of just two skiing resorts in Southern Africa!
There are quite a few resorts in Australia, this may not be a surprise to many, as it is better known that skiing is a possibility in both Australia and even more so in New Zealand. But for a quieter and lesser known resort, consider Tasmania. The ski resort is located in the Ben Lomond National Park, it's certainly not the highest resort in the world at only 1300 metres above sea level but you'll avoid all the ski traffic you get in the better known resorts.
Once part of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro is not a country known for it's skiing, yet there's definitely skiing to be done and it's not bad either! There's even night skiing available, probably not something you'd expect from a place you probably didn't know you could ski.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Even though its been more than 20 years since the Siege of Sarajevo, some people still believe that this is a country in conflict. This is very much not the case and it is now a perfectly safe country to visit. Something which is likely even less well known is that you can also ski here!
There's not much in Greece older than many of the ancient structures and buildings, but the mountains are. They've been there a long time and aren't going anywhere any time soon either. Skiing in Greece isn't by any means unknown but it's lesser known about worldwide than many skiing destinations in Europe
Ukraine is actually the largest country in Europe so it shouldn't really come as too much of a surprise that is has a range of ski resorts ranging from slightly larger and busier resorts to small, quiet resorts based in places which haven't really changed much for several decades. Prices are generally relatively cheap as well. Don't worry, you won't get radiation poisoning, just if you do decide to go on road trip through Ukraine and you happen to find yourself in an entirely abandoned city, just go back and check the signs don't say Pripyat.
Here's a place it's almost guaranteed not to be busy! We all know the controversy surrounding Iran and how well they get along with the United States, I believe the US government currently have a travel warning against going to Iran, as for the rest of the world, we'll go and enjoy the snow all to ourselves as that makes roughly 310,829,000 people less likely to be there. When choosing to go skiing in certain countries, obviously it is important to take this sort of advice into account.
Going to see Santa and his reindeer not your cup o' tea? Or even if it is you could always pay the ol' man a visit après-ski, because there are a number of ski resorts in Lapland, I can't guarantee that they all have Santa and reindeer included. Lapland is known as a true place of natural beauty, albeit frozen natural beauty (the best kind), though if you're reading this article that's probably what you like anyway. And of course you'll likely have the opportunity to witness the Aurora Borealis between September and April, it's a good job you can't see it every hour of the day otherwise it could make safe skiing very difficult with your attention being diverted on the beautiful natural light show.
Japan actually has more resorts than any other country in the world, although the size of many of these resorts aren't quite the size of many of the major ones in the USA, Canada and Europe. Japan has over 600 resorts to choose from, so there's plenty of skiing to be done there. And blossom from cherry blossom trees isn't the only thing which falls in mass in Japan, snow does too! Immerse yourself in the culture and the snow and let the hospitality of the Japanese overwhelm you (Warning: this is a not a guarantee, Japanese have their fair share of grumpy people like the rest of the world).
The content of this article is for entertainment purposes only. Check your country of origin's advice on travel to any of the locations mentioned before traveling.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Phil Hobbs