We’ve all heard of the Alps, Rockies and Andes. How about some more unusual skiing and snowboard locations…
Putin’s passion for skiing resulted in resorts appearing in the Russian Caucasus and around Moscow. Krasnaya Polyana in the Caucasus is well established, with little cafes surrounded by steep mountains. Mt Elbrus is Europe’s highest mountain and attracts an intrepid crowd. The ice is think at the peak so head to the lower slopes for gentle terrain.
When to go: December to May
How to get there: Domestic flights from Moscow and St Petersburg serve Anapa, Krasnodar and Nalchik
The Gangwon province of South Korea is peppered with skill hills. Alps Ski Resort (www.alpsresort.co.kr) sits close to the North Korean border and the Seoraksan National Park where the views are magnificent, stretching across dense forests and white crested rocks. Snow falls thick and heavy at this small resort, ensuring reliable winter fun.
When to go: December to February
How to get there: Catch a bus direct from Seoul.
Iran’s modern day skiing originated in the 1930s, but was then banned after the 1970s Islamic revolution. However, men and women can now both enjoy skiing on Iran’s slopes as the restrictions have been eased. In the Alborz mountains, the Shemshak and Dizin resorts (www.skifed.ir) are in easy distance from Tehran.
When to go: November to April
How to get there: Trips are best arranged through local tour operators. Hire a 4WD in Tehran if you want to roam. Public transport is limited.
The Himalaya, legendary for its trekking, offers a few ski spots well worth a detour from the normal trail. From Manali in Himachal Pradesh head for Solang Nullah with its crowd-free slopes and vivid glacier vistas. Or go further west to Kasmir’s Gulmarg where runs rolls through pine-forrested hillsides.
When to go: February and March – January is freezing.
How to get there: Both are just a bus ride from Delhi or Leh.
Safari in the morning, skiing in the afternoon. Tiffindell (www.snow.co.za) on the Eastern Cape may not be coated in masses of snow but there’s enough, and the scenic drive through Wittebeg Mountains makes a good excuse to hit the hill.
When to go: May to mid-August.
How to get there: Rhodes is the closest town. It’s either a 4WD to the resort or a shuttle can be arranged by Walkerbouts Inn (www.walkerbouts.co.za ).
Expect to ski Mexico’s volcanoes in the distant future. Plans for a four-season resort, Las Canadas (www.skilascanadas.com) are in the pipeline, and Iztaccihuatl volcano is likely to become the world’s highest resort.
Plans to Myanmar’s Hkakabo Razi into a ski resort have been halted to guerilla separatists and uneasy relations with Thailand. But once it goes ahead it will allow skiing in one of the world’s remotest place.