Every ski season hordes of visitors descend on some of Europe’s most popular ski reports. France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland are synonymous with ‘winter ski holiday’ but with their huge popularity these can get crowded and don’t come cheap. So if you are after something a little different, perhaps unusual, or simply want more value, then check out our first installment of alternative places where you can ski, and snowboard of course.
You don’t actully have to leave the UK to get on to the white stuff. The Scottish Highlands boasts five ski resorts. Arguably the most picturesque may be Glencoe Mountain Resort with its respectable 20 runs and 8 lifts, but if size matters then maybe head over to the Cairngorms National Park where you’ll find the largest ski resort in Britain at the Glenshee Ski Centre with it’s 40km of runs and 21 ski lifts. A great resort for beginners would be The Lecht Ski Centre. In addition to the above you also have the options to hit the slopes at Cairngorm Mountain Resort or The Nevis Range Mountain Resort. So with plenty of choice at home, maybe you don’t need to fly to the Alps?
The Czech Republic has a lot more ski resorts than you may think. Too many to mention by name and they are spread across the country, many of which straddle the border regions. This essentially means you’re spoilt for choice with a combined 710 kilometres of slopes served by 944 ski lifts, across over 312 resorts. The relatively small size of the country means most of these resorts are easily accessible from Prague, and with a well-deserved reputation for its beer culture, skiing in the Czech Republic is bound to provide a great and affordable apres ski.
Yes, you really can have a winter sun holiday and still manage an afternoon of winter sports. The impressive Troodos mountain range with its idyllic forests stretches across much of the western side of Cyprus and has six runs including a beginners’ run, three blues, a red and a black named after Greek gods like Aphrodite, Zeus and Hermes. Altogether there are about 5km of runs which have 100% snowmaking coverage. So yes, while small you can ski and soak up the sun on a beach all in the same day.
Learn More: cyprusski.com
You can be forgiven to not immediately thinking about taking a ski holiday to Georgia, but this beautiful country has some immense mountains which are home to seven ski resorts. The highest and largest of which, Gudauri, offers 35km of runs with 14 lifts and reaches up to an altitude of 3,276 meters. Georgia is a fantastic destination all year round, but if you’re after a great value ski trip then book your flights now.
Learn more: gudauri.com
Yes, you can actully ski in Africa! In fact, Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains are home to three of several African ski resorts. The highest of which, Oukaïmeden, stands at over 3,000 metres, has seven lifts and offers up to 10km of skiable slopes. So if you are after somewhere a little different from your average European resort, but don’t want to travel too far from home it’s worth considering heading to the land of deserts, camels and tagines!
Learn more: oukaimeden.org
There’s more to Lebanon than great food and ancient history. It’s also home to six well developed ski resorts (with a seventh under development) all located within the Mt Lebanon range. Collectively that’s 127 kilometres of runs with 48 ski lifts all within about an hour’s drive from the capital Beirut. It’s a fraction of the cost compared to the Alps, and the Lebanese apres-ski scene is one you’ll no doubt fondly remember.
Learn more: lebanontraveler.com/en/magazine/6-ski-resorts
One of the advantages of being a brutal dictator is that you get what you want. So when Kim Jong-un decided that he wanted the DPRK to have a ski resort that’s exactly what he got. The Masikryong Ski Resort has a summit of 1,360, and with 9 runs covers approximately 2,430-square-kilometres of development including a luxury hotel, ice rink, swimming pool and restaurant.
Learn more: exploredprk.com/masikryong
Interested in learning ski or snowboard
We learnt to snowboard in Arinsal, Andora. In fact we loved it so much we’ve been returning every year since. Check out our story on snowboard school.