World’s most Unusual Ski Destinations Around the World

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Maria Sergeeva
November 20, 2017
If you are a passionate skier but tired of well-trodden destination especially of those where you can't find anything special but an excellent lift-linked ski area and après ski, if you dream of combining ski slopes and sights it's time to look for amazing ski resorts in unexpected places
For those who think they’ve tried everything in skiing, how about an après ski on the beach?
After reading this article you won't be surprised seeing your friend taking his ski equipment at Hawai!
 
Ski seasons in Europe last from October to May, but if those 8 months are not enough for you, you can extend the season up year-round.
 
 
Morocco
 
By foot or on a helicopter, you could see the Sahara Desert, thousands of meters below the Atlas Mountains, which makes Morocco one of the world's hidden ski curiosities with total of 13 km of slopes. The ski resorts in Morocco reach up to 3268 m. 11 ski lifts transport the guests.
Getting fifty miles east of Marrakech lies Oukaimeden, you will find Morocco's most remarkable ski resort.
The skiable area -- often almost deserted -- tops out at 10,603 feet, 6 feet higher than Val Thorens, France, one of Europe's most popular ski destinations. Snow there is virgin, the powder is crisp and dry. For the casual skier or beginner, it would be one of the best ski resorts.
 

More experienced skiers should look southeast. Imlil, two valleys and a large diversion away, is the gateway to the High Atlas, and a favorite jumping-off point for ski tours.

 
Skiing in Morocco is not only about snow, speed, views and fresh air but also about culture, including meeting locals and dining with Berber tribes, where you will taste "Berber whiskey," mint tea with tonnes of sugar.
 

With a belly full of couscous skiers can hunt out the best snow in couloirs beneath the highest peaks. The tallest of them all is Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa.
You can ski from the top, says Nordenborg, although he admits it can become quite windy at the summit, 13,671 feet up. To put that in context, Toubkal eclipses the Aiguille du Midi and the Vallee Blanche -- one of the world's premier off-piste runs -- by over 1,000 feet.
 
Given how remote Toubkal and neighboring peak Ouanoukrim are, avalanche training is a prerequisite on ski treks. Even if a tour remains incident-free it's tough on the body: each ski day hikers can expect to cover as many as 3,280 vertical feet between roughly 9,800 and 13,100 feet.
 
Morocco also offers so popular at the moment heli-sking.
Not counting our guide (and the pilot of course) there are four of The only heli-skiers in Africa,  Heliski Marrakech offering drops at over 13,000 feet will take you will take you from the luxurious Kasbah Agounsane in the Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil helicopter as it lands high in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.
 
Ten miles north of Toubkal, the operator takes skiers to remote slopes high above the tourist village of Setti-Fatma, an area seldom visited by ski treks.
Just half an hour from Marrakech, the operator runs from mid-February to mid-April. By mid-March, spring transforms snow a smooth substance easy for maneuvers.


The 5-star Michlifen Ifrane Suites & Spa is situated in one of the most attractive regions of Morocco, 60 km from the two great imperial cities of Meknes and Fez in the Atlas Mountains.
 
Morocco mountains also offer some nice hotels to stay, as for example The Michlifen Suites and Spa, often described as the “Little Switzerland” and located at an altitude of 1650m in one of the most privileged and attractive regions of Morocco: The central Middle Atlas and at an equal distance from Meknes and Fez. Since the hotel opening in 1973, it has accommodated so many famous and top VIPs’ guests.
This hotel features 3 restaurants, a Spa and an indoor swimming pool. The Michlifen Ifrane Suites & Spa features 70 air-conditioned rooms and suites with free Wi-Fi. Each guest room has a balcony overlooking the pool or surrounding forest area.
 
The hotel’s spa has a hot tub, sauna, and a hammam, and provides beauty and massage treatments and the best mountain view.
 
  
Pakistan
 
Though the mountains of northern Pakistan are some of the tallest and most impressive in the world, the country has only had a single commercial ski area. Developed with the aid of the Austrian government, the hotel and chairlift in the former British hill station of Malam Jabba sat at 9,200 feet in the Swat Valley of the Hindu Kush, an area once called the “Switzerland of the East” by Queen Elizabeth II, with an international ski tournament held there in January.
 
Pakistan has great potential for its ski industry with a large amount of mountainous terrain stretching up to the Himalayas, and also a strong military heritage of ski competition but the country’s ski area development has been held back by economic and political issues. These include border conflicts with India in Kashmir and fighting around the Gulmarg ski area there that was at its low point in the 1990s, but more recently in Pakistan’s own North West Territories the Taliban destroyed the country’s one commercial resort during their occupation of the beautiful SWAT Valley up to 2009. This was one of the less significant atrocities during their occupation of the region.

 
The center had been created in the early 1960s with chairlifts between around 2900 and 3100m above sea level in the Himalayas and a hotel installed in the late 1980s, a gift from Austria. The Pakistan government now has plans to rebuild the center.
 
There are other small ski centres in Pakistan but they are mostly at military bases including Nalter and Kalabagh run by the country’s army and air force. These stage competitions each winter for military personnel and are hotly contended.


 
Pakistan is also of note in world skiing terms as it is the favored access route to K2 and the country’s other four ‘8000ers’ for extreme ski mountaineers attempting to climb and ski down the world’s highest peaks. K2 is considered the most dangerous and has seen several deaths of extreme skiers attempting to conquer it including the ill-fated expeditions of Fredrik Ericsson in 2009 and 2010.


 
Along with 11 ski runs, there are 120 hotel rooms housed in two buildings, a swimming pool, bars, cafés, billiard tables, a karaoke room, a steam room and a dry sauna.
Local tour guides speak English but don't tend to ski; for a large number of ski instructors, you will need a translator.

Hawaii

Mauna Kea (Hawaiian for 'white mountain') is a 13,796' (4205 meter) volcanic mountain whose summit sometimes gets a skiable mantle of snow, so people really do snowboard and snow ski. Snow falls during winter months, though the ski season can run from November through July, and the snow can accumulate to a few meters depth. February and March are the best bets for good snow. This has been called the finest snow in the world, and there is a ski-able area of almost 100 square miles.

There are no lifts, no grooming, no resort, but a road goes to the summit to serve the dozen or so world-class observatories located at the summit. You must be prepared and provide yourself a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get to the top, but it is totally worthy of planning this trip. You will have At the summit, you have an incomparable, unforgettable 360-degree view - Mauna Kea's moonscape terrain, the lush tropical plants below, and the surrounding ocean. As an extra, in the distance, you see Maui's Haleakala crater and an après-ski on the beach in reward.



Basically, skiers take turns being the driver, who picks up the other skiers at the bottom of the runs and ferries them up to the summit. Conditions at the top are extremely variable. Winter temperatures range from 25 to 40 degrees F (-4 to 4 C), but wind chill and the high altitude can make it seem much colder. Between April and November, the weather is milder, with daytime temperatures varying from 30 to 60 degrees F (0 to 15 C).

The snow can have some very strange texture after days of exposure to the intense sun. Some runs can be quite steep and the snow can end abruptly. There is no soft vegetation underneath, only hard lava rock and abrasive cinder. You should be in very good physical shape, aerobically. The air is very thin, less than 60% of the air pressure at sea level, and most people experience altitude sickness to some degree. 



While the snow conditions on Mauna Kea may not be the best in the world, the observatories are unbelievable. The contrast between blue sky and ocean, white snow, and black cinder is unforgettable. You may find Summit Tours of the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy and the Visitor Information Station very interesting. The University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy has provided driving directions to the visitor station at the 9300' (2835 meter) elevation and to the summit as well as information on road closures. Remember, there is no food, water, gas, or bathroom available above the visitor station.

Mauna Kea is sacred to some Hawaiian people, so they expect tourists to treat the area with respect. According to legend, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa were the domains of two opposing goddesses, Poliahu and Pele, respectively. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were produced from their violent rivalry. When planning a trip to the Big Island, remember that volcanic activity there is strong and frequent. Be sure to check the Eruption Update at the Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory. You may luck out and travel there when you can hike up close to hot, orange, flowing lava or witness hot lava flow into the ocean.
The nearest airport is Honolulu and the most recommended hotel is 4-star Volcano starting from $250 per night. The Crater's Edge is located within 2 miles of Volcano Garden Arts and Cooper Center. Also close to this boutique bed & breakfast are 2400 Fahrenheit Art Glass and Volcano Art Center and Gallery.

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