Snapshot: Ski Resorts

Whether you’re a beginner hoping for a first ski experience, or an experienced skier looking for new destinations, here are some ski destinations that may not be on every major skier’s map. From new and unknown to those under-the-radar, here are some ski resorts you can explore.

 

PORTILLO, CHILE

Imagine a bright yellow hotel next to an emerald lake with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains: this is Portillo. With limited lodging on the mountain, skiing at Portillo feels like an exclusive getaway. The terrain caters more to the advanced skier with its steeper slopes. Sitting at about 3,000m above sea level, you have to go easy on your first day to get used to the thinner air. Portillo is 2 hours away from Santiago and has the ultimate ski in ski out accommodation at almost 10,000 feet.

Beginner Friendly: 2.5/5 | Snow: 3.5/5

 

ÅRE, SWEDEN

Scandinavia is widely known for its long winter nights as it is close to the Arctic Circle (you can see the Northern Lights), and there’s nowhere else better to go skiing than at its largest resort: Åre. Boasting more than 100 years of history, Åre gives you a sense of the Alps in Sweden without the altitude problems. It caters to skiers of all levels across four areas: Duved, Tegefjäll, Central Åre, Åre Björnen. The easiest way to get to Åre is via Trondheim, Norway (170kms); you can drive or take a train, both of which take around 3 hours.

Beginner Friendly: 3.5/5 | Snow: 3.5/5

 

CERRO CATEDRAL, ARGENTINA

Cerro Catedral, named for the granite spires that resemble a gothic church, boasts incredible views with vistas across Lake Nahuel Huapi. Being one of the most well-developed ski resorts in South America, skiers have lift access to 1,200 hectares of terrain – more than enough for skiers of all abilities. The food and accommodation can be relatively inexpensive, considering the proximity of Bariloche, a major city in Northern Patagonia. Bariloche is a 2 hour flight from Buenos Aires.

Beginner Friendly: 2.5/5 | Snow: 2.5/5

 

ANDORRA

Hidden in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, Andorra is a mountain kingdom (smaller than Singapore!) blessed with abundant snow and sun. There are two large ski areas: Grandvalira and Vallnord which make up more than 300km of ski runs. If that’s not enough, Andorra has become host to many ski races where you can catch a glimpse of the pros in action. Andorra is about 2.5 hours from the nearest international airports: Barcelona (Spain) and Toulouse (France).

Beginner Friendly: 4.5/5 | Snow: 4/5

 

YABULI, CHINA

Three hours away from Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, lies the Yabuli ski area. Like all other Club Med resorts, it is all-inclusive. Therefore, you have activities lined up, buffets for each meal and a limited group to share the slopes with. This is also the primary training venue for the Chinese national ski team, and the host of the 1996 Asian Winter Games.

Beginner Friendly: 2.5/5 | Snow: 2.5/5

 

ZAO, JAPAN

Located 400 km north of Tokyo, Zao has three main attractions: skiing, onsen and “snow monsters” (snow covered fir trees). This is a medium sized resort, with terrain that’s well suited for beginners and intermediates. Zao is also an ideal location for culture seekers as it retains a traditional Japanese feel. Originally an onsen resort town, the hot springs are said to cure all sorts of ailments and injuries, which makes it the ideal après-ski activity.

Beginner Friendly: 2.5/5 | Snow: 3.5/5

 

GULMARG, INDIA

If the rest of the resorts featured here sounds too normal or you’ve been there before and are looking for something unique, Gulmarg is for you. A combination of big mountains, high altitude (up to 4,000m), culture, and sparse tourist infrastructure makes Gulmarg a real ski adventure. To enjoy Gulmarg, you should be an advanced or expert skier comfortable on off-piste terrain. The nearest major city is Srinagar (1 hour), itself a 90-minute flight from Delhi.

Beginner Friendly: 1/5 | Snow: 3/5

 

POIANA BRASOV, ROMANIA

Other than Transylvania and Dracula’s Castle, Romania has the Carpathian Mountains which is home to Poiana Brasov – one of the best value-for-money ski resorts in Europe. For its size, it’s ideal for a quick ski trip while in Eastern Europe or for beginners who are on a shoestring budget. It’s a 3-hour drive from Bucharest and half an hour away from Dracula’s castle.

Beginner Friendly: 4.5/5 | Snow: 3/5

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