Beaufort & Blake Recommends: 5 Alternative Ski Destinations
It’s time you turned your back on those classic Alpine-European resorts this season and tried somewhere off the beaten piste. To help you avoid those onerous lift queues, hordes of kamikaze ski-schools and après bars that, at some point or another, will feature a Euro-chic saxophonist - we’ve pulled together our top five alternative ski destinations.
1. Kiroro, Japan
Unlike the other high profile Hokkaido ski resorts; Kiroro has managed to remain under the radar - offering powder hounds not only an incomprehensible amount of snow but also a lack of crowds. With an average 13 metres of snowfall per season and a base of two to four metres, Kiroro is a resort that will keep all powder-holics occupied. We recommend you learn some Japanese before your trip to avoid any lunchtime culinary mishaps!
2. Åre, Sweden
Not heard of Åre? Those sneaky Swedes have somehow kept this little gem (their premier ski resort) to themselves. The 100 pistes have largely been untouched by non-Swedish skiers and the off piste section in Central Åre will keep any experienced skier challenged for days. Once recognised as one of the ten best ski-resorts in the world by Conde Naste Traveller, this alternative ski destination is certainly one to be considered. And let’s be honest, it’s not exactly a chore hanging out with those good-looking Scandinavians.
3. Cerro Castor, Argentina
Whilst the transfer might be a little longer than you’re used to, Cerro Castor is a resort that will take your breath away. Located at the end of the world where the mountains meet the sea, Mount Castor boasts thigh-high snow, 30km of off piste and unbeatable views. Be warned – the Argentinean season runs from June until the end of September so this is not one we would recommend for an immediate winter getaway.
4. Oukaimeden, Morocco
Travel just two hours south of Marrakech and you’ll find yourself in the small village of Oukaimeden – Africa’s highest ski resort. The resort’s one chairlift leads to five un-groomed but incredibly fun runs, which are only suitable for the more experienced skier. Oukaimeden is one for the more adventurous snow-junkie but we promise that the leap of faith will pay back in the form of sublime off-piste and miles of untouched, virgin snow. We recommend you plan ahead as it’s highly unlikely your iPhone will be much help at this resort.
5. CairnGorm Mountain, Scotland
“Scotland?”, we hear you cry. Yup, you don’t have to fly half way round the world to find world-class skiing. Simply head north of the border to find yourself in the beautiful snow-covered Highlands. CairnGorm Mountain offers 30 km of runs, 11 lifts and will leave you with a whole new sense of appreciation for Scotland. Whilst the resort may not have the prestige of its European counterparts, this is the perfect way to quickly satisfy that ski craving.