It seems everyone is chasing the snow at the moment. From Swiss Alps to Colorado peaks, we’ve seen the lists of top resorts for avid skiers and snowboarders over and over again. Here at Unmissable, we like to do things a little differently. This here is a list of the most unlikely places you and your buddies can ‘chill out’ in the snow.
Just 45 miles from Marrakech in the High Atlas Mountains, Oukaïmeden is Africa’s highest ski resort. Its village is perched at 2,600 meters and its chairlift rises to the peak of Jebel Attar at 3,258 meters and services 5 runs. There are also four drag lifts ferrying customers to the nursery and intermediate slopes.
The chairlift is slow and you are never far from the ground so it is great for those who are afraid of heights. At the top, you will find locals offering to be your ‘guide’, and with just a few signs pointing vaguely in several directions with unmarked boundaries, many tourists opt to hire them. But beware; as with Faux guides all over Morocco, they will not necessarily have any real knowledge or expertise. We would recommend a ski instructor, especially if you are a beginner or intermediate.
While Australia is not the first place that might come to mind when you think of skiing and snowboarding, it is undoubtedly a destination many avid snow-chasers put on their lists. Even if it is just for bragging rights of hitting the sloped Down Under. According to local myth, the name ‘Perisher’ stems from graziers attempting to rescue livestock trapped in high country.
Today, Perisher is the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere. There are four villages that make up the resort for a total of 12 square kilometres of snow. The resort is accessible by road and the Skitube, Australia’s only underground rack railway. Not too shabby!
Tiffindell Ski Resort, South Africa
South Africa has a ski resort! Yep, that’s right. Tiffindell Ski Resort is located in the northeast of the country in the Drakensberg mountain range. True, they don’t get much snow up there despite the elevation. But they make up for it with plenty of snow making equipment. The resort promises three months of ski worthy slopes per year. Considering 2014 offered not a single snowflake, Tiffindell was still able to host FIS sanctioned South Africa’s national ski championship. Impressive, eh!
Ski Portillo, Chile
We came across this incredible destination in one of the GoPro videos. (Gosh, those guys know how to inspire!) While Chile is always on top of our travel list, this bumps it that much higher. Just two hours north of Santiago, set in the stunning Inca Lagoon, you can enjoy endless untracked powder. Ski Portillo is South America’s oldest resort – yes, there are others – and dedicated to being the best. In fact, most of their business is from returning customers. And why wouldn’t it be when there are just as many staff as guests at the resort to see to your every need.
That, combined with views like this – why wouldn’t you come back again and again?
Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Okay, this isn’t strictly speaking a ‘resort’, but who cares when you can say you skied in Hawaii. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island, standing at over 13,800 ft above sea level. There is no resort, no grooming and no lifts. There is a road that leads to the summit to serve about a dozen world-class observatories. Basically, skiers take turns being the driver – picking up other skiers at the bottom of the runs and ferrying them back to the summit. This is not for the faint of heart, conditions vary greatly with winds that can easily make it too dangerous to be at the summit. What’s the reward, other than bragging rights? Views like these to start…