select - Unusual Ski Destinations
Written by Brian Johnston
So you’re a seasoned skier who has already hit the famous slopes of Europe and North America? Perhaps it’s time to look beyond the predictable in some of the world’s more unusual ski destinations
Sitting in the Baekdudaegan Mountains two hours east of Seoul, Yongpyong is an all-season recreational favourite, particularly attractive in winter for its excellent snow conditions. Korea’s largest ski resort has hosted World Cup skiing and the Asian Winter Games. Sixteen lifts, a terrain park and 25 kilometres of groomed slopes cater for skiers and boarders, with lifts remaining open until midnight for floodlit skiing. For beginners, the 700-metre wide Mega Green is just the place to start learning.
Seoul, South Korea
Distance: 7,116 km
Flight Time: 8 hours 40 minutes
Nagano stepped out on the world stage when it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998. It’s the centre of a sprawling ski area that covers the Hakuba Valley, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa, and other minor resorts, providing a huge range of terrain and well over 150 lifts, all accessed on the same ski pass. Skiers, boarders, and freestylers alike can make the most of the long, groomed slopes and excellent snow cover, and can soothe sore muscles in the region’s hot springs at the end of the day.
Distance: 8,279 km
Flight Time: 9 hours, 30 minutes
Africa’s highest ski resort certainly has plenty of altitude, with the resort sitting snug at 2,600 metres and the highest chairlift to Jebel Attar reaching 3,258 metres. Hard to believe you’re close to the Sahara Desert, but the Atlas Mountains have no shortage of snow and make for surprisingly challenging skiing, as not all runs are groomed. You can also enjoy other alpine activities such as snowshoeing and sledging.
Distance: 5,736 km
Flight Time: 10 hours, 25 minutes
Frequency: Daily via Tunis
Just an hour out of Beirut, this highly scenic ski resort above the Bekaa Valley offers natural beauty and excellent skiing, with some 80 kilometres of groomed runs that rise up to 2,465 metres. It’s the largest ski resort in the Middle East, where wide, gentle lower slopes will suit beginners, while the upper reaches provide challenges for experienced skiers and snowboarders. Meanwhile, the town offers plenty of restaurants, some energetic nightclubs, and lots of après-ski entertainment. On a good day, you can see the Mediterranean glinting in the distance.
Distance: 1,818 km
Flight Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
Frequency: 3 flights a day