Usually, when those of us in the northern hemisphere think winter sports we think North America and or the Alps. So here are some unusual places outside of North America and Europe that you may want to consider. We should make it clear we’re not talking about places where you shouldn’t be able to ski – places like the United Arab Emirates, where even in winter the temperature never gets any lower than about 14°C (57°F). This is a list of places where you may not have considered going skiing or snowboarding.
1. Beijing Huaibei Ski Resort, China
There aren’t many ski resorts that can boast of being right next door to the Great Wall of China. In fact, we can think of only one – the Beijing Huaibei Ski Resort. What’s more, at just an hour’s ride from Beijing itself, this is a very convenient resort for tourists travelling from the US or Europe, and its slopes are perfect for beginners. The season there lasts from December until March.
2. Nevados de Chillán, Chile
The Nevados de Chillán are a series of stratovolcanoes in the Bío Bío region of the Chilean Andes, and there are few other places in South America more breath-taking or more exciting to take to the slopes. The resorts here also offer some of the best snow around, and rank highly with seasoned skiers as the best not only in Chile but the whole of South America. Its ski season lasts from June until October.
3. Queenstown/Temple Basin, New Zealand
Veteran skiers and snowboarders will be more than familiar with the resort of Queenstown in New Zealand. Nicknamed by many the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’, it offers not only first class skiing and snowboarding, but a great nightlife, and is equally suited to families and beginners. Six hours’ drive from Christchurch, travellers may want to hire a car and take in the sights of Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki along the way.
Experienced skiers looking for something a little more challenging may want to try Temple Basin, in the Arthur’s Pass National Park. Closer to Christchurch, Temple Basin is nonetheless a more remote skiing experience than what’s on offer at Queenstown. After your two hour drive from the city, you’ll enjoy a 45 minute hike into the mountains before reaching the resort!
The skiing season at Queenstown lasts from June till October, while at Temple Basin the season begins in June and ends in September.
4. Niseko, Japan
The Niseko mountain range in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost major island, include Mount Yotei, known by many as Hokkaido’s Mount Fuji and home to some of the best ski resorts in the Far East. The snow there is among the best you’ll find worldwide, and the blend of great slopes and fascinating culture make this a must for anyone wishing to visit a great ski resort with a difference. The skiing season there lasts almost half the year, from December until May!
5. Oukaimeden, Morocco
We know what you’re thinking. Skiing? In Morocco? Well, yes, though admittedly the slopes at Oukaimeden and the decidedly un-Moroccan-sounding Mischliffen aren’t quite in the same league as the other resorts listed here. Indeed, Mischliffen, near the city of Fes, isn’t really much of a ski resort as such, and is worth visiting mostly for the sake of novelty. Oukaimeden is certainly more promising, and with reports that investors from Dubai are looking to develop it into a significant skiing destination, this may be one to watch in the future. Still, it’s certainly the best ski resort you’ll find this close to the Sahara desert! The season there lasts from January until March, but be aware that the snow can be unreliable.