Think of skiing and you’ll probably imagine destinations such as France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. But you might be looking for something different and new, and there are really excellent ski resorts all over the world, including some in some pretty surprising places. This blog is here to shine a light on all the fantastic hidden gems of the ski resort world and to find you a new destination for your snow sports holidays this winter season.
Sun Peaks (British Columbia, Canada)
Sun Peaks, so called because of the almost constant sun winter and summer, started out as a resort on Tod Mountain and since the first chairlift was opened in 1961 it has grown to cover three mountains – Tod Mountain, Mount Morrisey and Sundance. You can easily access all three mountains from the village and ski all three peaks in the same day.
Annual snowfall at this fantastic mountain resort is around 6m, meaning that you’ll almost always have the beautiful light, dry powder that the area is famous for to ski through on the trails. With both Alpine trails and Nordic trails on offer, there’ll be no shortage of adventures to keep you occupied while the children take their lessons in the many different camps and programs available.
Sun Peaks is the second largest ski area in Canada and boasts a total of 135 runs from novice to expert, with the majority falling in the intermediate category, making this resort perfect for any experience level. The longest run on the 2,152m tall Mount Tod, is a massive 8 km long, allowing for some breath-taking views of the snowy landscape.
Looking for something a bit different après ski? Why not get the family out on a rip-roaring dog sleigh ride, or for a bit of peace and quiet learn to ice fish with a local expert. Sun Peaks offers a great range of cafés, bars and restaurants with specialty coffees being a favourite for sunny mornings and cold craft beers for any time the sun is over the yard arm… Alternatively, why not check out their spa and wellness offers to find a massage that can work some of the tension out after a day on the slopes.
Skiing season lasts from November to April. Find out more here.
Big Sky (Montana, USA)
While the United States is well known for their fantastic skiing opportunities, as skiers travel to places like Aspen in Colorado and Eagle point in Utah, they pass by the wonderful resort of Big Sky in Montana. With 295 runs to choose from, ranging from green all the way up to double black diamond, there’s something for everyone, and real challenge for experts.
Due to the consistent snowfall from the Northern Rocky Mountains, this resort is the ideal place for a skier who wants to experience the best of everything on offer, from adrenaline pumping expert trails that take you right to the top of the world, or the summit of Lone Peak at 11,166ft, to the gentle slopes nearer the base of the mountain where you can enjoy a more leisurely ride and take in the sights of this beautiful mountain range.
In terms of Après-Ski entertainment, the Big Sky resort is host to many other fantastic opportunities. Take a break from skiing at basecamp and explore the landscape from a different perspective with zipline tours, snowshoe tours and dog sledding. Or, take a break from the slopes altogether and head for nearby Yellowstone National Park to experience stunning wildlife and the Old Faithful geyser, before returning to the resort to try out all the fantastic dining opportunities or even the solace spa and salon.
The season starts at Big Sky in November and lasts until April so get your skis on and find out more here.
Nozawa Onsen (Japan)
Looking for a ski resort even further off the beaten track? Head further afield by visiting the Nozawa Onsen resort in Japan. Nozawa Onsen village is well known for having the heaviest snowfall in the Nagano Prefecture, so be prepared for a lot of fresh powder on the 12 different courses available. These courses are definitely perfect for those skiers and riders that prefer long runs that change category during the descent so, if you’re a beginner, be careful and make sure you know all the classifications of the course you’re skiing. For adrenalin junkies – go for your life!
Over 40 per cent of the 36 trails available at Nozawa Onsen are categorised as beginner trails so this resort is a great destination for a family or a group of friends with a mixture of experience levels providing endless awesome powder alongside runs for those skiers or boarders who are just starting out and want somewhere to find their feet. There are also a number of different options for children, from day-care and indoor play areas to ski parks and lessons.
To relax after a day out on the mountain, why not visit Sparina, a beautiful spa close to the resort which boasts access to outdoor hot springs, giant baths, restaurants and relaxation rooms to soothe those muscles. Take a break from actively skiing for a day and visit the Japan Ski Museum to discover a history of worldwide skiing as a sport.
Find out more about this fantastic resort here and keep note that the skiing season starts in December and lasts until May.
Mount Olympus (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Never want the ski season to end? Why not take that winter snow and sun experience into our UK summer and consider a trip to New Zealand. Most people, if you ask them, would name Queenstown as the adventure sports capital of New Zealand, and that’s why this hidden gem of the Mount Olympus ski resort is maybe less well known, since it sits further north.
Ski in the playground of the gods with this more advanced resort, containing 20 runs, of which 55 per cent are intermediate and 35 per cent are classified advanced. New Zealand ski areas are often known for being very high and very cold, but the Mount Olympus resort is set in a 2096 metre south facing basin which means it gets the benefit of the high bluff ridges as well as lots of sunshine on the abundant dry powder blown in on the southerly Antarctic storms. Due to its geographic shape Mount Olympus is sheltered from the prevailing winds and therefore holds onto its powder when other resorts in New Zealand find it stripped away.
Discover the peak of Mount Olympus on or off your skis with some amazing hiking trails and ski across the mountain range, or tackle some shorter hikes to truly experience the breath-taking beauty of the rugged landscape.
The New Zealand skiing season starts in July and ends in October, so you’ve got time to plan your visit. Find more information here.
Ski Portillo (Chile, South America)
If heading off skiing to somewhere that sounds pretty exotic is your thing then take a look at Ski Portillo in the Valparaiso region of the stunning Andes Mountain range in Chile. Another southern hemisphere resort means that, for all those skiing addicts out there, you can ski all year round! Snow sports in South America is a truly different experience as you stand at the top of the world and watch the sun glitter across the cobalt blue Laguna del Inca lake and get a feel for why this immense Andean landscape became the first place in South America to host a world ski championship back in 1966 when Jean-Claude Killy was the name on everyone’s lips.
With 35 different runs to choose from, with a high percentage of them classed intermediate, there’s no shortage of things to discover and there are trails for skiers of every ability level and lessons for beginners. Get some thrill seeking under your belt and go heli-skiing to take in the breath-taking views of sometimes intimidating vertical drops, or see if you can spot some of the Inca shelters called tambos that are dotted around.
At the end of a long day of skiing, why not take a break and settle down for a nice meal in one of Ski Portillo’s restaurants, or try out some of their other activities and facilities; the spa and wellness centre, cinema, game room, gymnasium and fitness centre are all at your disposal.
Head to Ski Portillo between June and October to experience the magic of the skiing season there. For more information, click here.
If you’re heading away on a skiing break, or need somewhere to store your skis while you’re not away, why not visit CitySpace Storage and store your valuables or equipment with us? Get a quote and start storing today!