9 Unusual Places To Go Skiing

 

 

While most head to France, Germany, Austria or Switzerland there’s a whole bunch of places that’s aren’t quite as well known.

Think skiing in Algeria, Iran, Hawaii, Israel and even the UK… yes, really.

Here are a number of unique places to try – some different because of the terrain but others due to everything else you can see in the country.

1) Mount Etna, Sicily

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North side, known as Piano Provenzano, of Mount Etna (Picture: Getty images)

It is actually possible to ski on Europe’s largest active volcano during the winter time.

Not only that but once at the top of the crater you can look out across the Ionian, Adriatic and Mediterranean seas while inhaling the putrid smell of sulphur.

There is plenty to do with slopes for both beginners and experts. On the northern side there are loads of trees to weave between while lower down the volcano the lava flows have left perfect terrain for blue runs.

It’s also a great spot for snowboarders and kite boarders.

There are two resorts on Mount Etna – Piano Provenzano and Refugio Sapienza – for more information see the Etna website.

2) Cairngorm, Scotland

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A ski tourer tackling Cairngorms in the UK (Picture: Getty)

Rather than jet off to somewhere else, it’s possible to stay right here and ski in the UK.

Cairngorm in Scotland is the most popular resort in the UK and is well known as being great for families.

There’s a funicular railway that can take people right to the top where there is a restaurant, shop, mountain exhibition and viewing terrace.

There are 11 ski lifts with 11 green runs, 11 blue, 10 red and three black runs.

The resort is fairly easy to reach by sleeper train from London, the roads or by flying to Inverness. It’s not necessarily going to beat some of the real corkers abroad but this is a great way to ski without having to travel too far from home.

 

3) Union Glacier, Antarctica

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It’s possible to ski in the sub zero conditions on Union Glacier (Picture: Mike King/metro)

Heading to the South Pole is a once in a lifetime kind of adventure – so why not give Union Glacier a ski?

There are no resorts, ski lifts or queues so to get where you need to go it’ll mean proper cross-country ski touring.

And that means you’ll have to go with a proper tour group, which – unfortunately – also means fairly substantial fees.

Still… it’s the South Pole.

4) Mzaar, Lebanon

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Peaks range between 2800 meters above sea level in the mountains one hour away from Beirut (Picture: Getty Images)

Only one hour away from Beirut is Mzaar Ski resort on the 2465 metre-high Mount Lebanon.

The 80 kilometres of slopes are varied in difficulty from easy blues and greens for beginners to more challenging runs at for experienced skiers.

 

5) Mauna Kea, Hawaii

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Skier in Hawaii atop of 755 ft Mauna Kea mountain on Hawaii’s ‘Big Island’ (Picture: Getty Images)

Yes, it is actually possible to ski in Hawaii. Not only that but when you ski there it is on top of a volcano. Okay it’s a dormant one but Mauna Kea, if you measure it from its base (which is below sea level), is even higher than Mount Everest.

A lot of the slopes, around 65%, are best for experienced skiers but there are still plenty of options for both beginner and intermediate skiers.

However that said Mauna Kea isn’t an official ski resort and that means no public transportation to or from the summit, no food and limited public toilets.

That and no proper ski tours are allowed so anyone skiing there does so at their own risk.

6) Dizin, Iran

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Iranians descend a slope at the Dizin ski resort (Picture: Getty Images)

Nothing beats the Alborz Mountains north of Tehran for somewhere totally different to ski.

The ski resort of Dizin, at 2,650 metres, often has snowfall in excess of 50cm with views of the tallest mountain in Iran Damavand.

Once you are there it’s pretty cheap too with a lift pass costing £6 and ski hire around £8 a day. The Islamic dress code is a bit more casual on the slopes at Dizin but there is still gender segregation on the lifts.

7) Jahorina, Bosnia

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Bosnians and tourists ski down Mount Jahorina, 30 kms south of Sarajevo (Picture: Getty Images)

There are 25 slopes with 11 lifts at the Jahorina ski resort in Bosnia, which has an elevation of up to 1,889 metres.

The resort is in the Dynamic Alps in the south of Sarajevo with a range of slopes for different levels as well as cross-country trails and floodlights for night skiing.

8) Chrea, Algeria

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Algerian people playing in the snow (Picture: Getty Images)

The 0.5km of slopes in Chrea are mainly for beginner and intermediate skiers but make for a totally different experience.

The African resort itself is at an elevation of 1,550 metres with three lifts and a curious history.

The Chrea resort used to have a secret FLN (French Front de Libération Nationale) base with the slopes left completely barren between 1992 and 2002 and the stores and hotel were demolished and replaced with military vehicles, barracks and militia.

But they were driven out allowing the area to once again become a tourist destination.

9) Mount Hermon, Israel

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Ski lifts carry the thousands of visitors flocking to Mount Hermon up the snow-covered slope (Picture: Getty Images)

There aren’t many places in the world where you can drive two hours from the desert to a ski resort.

But in Israel’s Golan Heights to the north of the country you can do just that.

There’s plenty of snow in the winter time and around 300,000 visitors that go to Mount Hermon, which is 2,814 metres above sea level, to ski among other activities.

The resort has fourteen ski runs and five chair lifts.

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