Ask ski enthusiasts about where to go on holiday and they’ll recite the Aspens and Whistlers of the winter sports world.
As luxurious and powder-friendly as these mountains are, maybe it’s time to take the run less travelled to get your snow-filled fix.
Here are some of the lesser-known ski resorts – hidden ski resort gems – where you can play in something a little more untouched.
Kicking Horse, British Columbia
When tourists visit British Columbia to pound some powder, more often than not they will be directed to Whistler Blackcomb or Lake Louise. However, just over an hour east of the latter, through Yoho National Park, is what the township of Field (in Yoho) describes as “Canada’s best kept secret”: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
Kicking Horse Mountain has a mixture of terrain, though most notably stunning verticals and champagne powder snow. The peak itself rises about 2.4 kilometres, with a total skiing area over a whopping 1,100 hectares! That means it has over 120 runs across multiple skill levels, with plenty of lifts to get you to the top.
- When to visit: Late November to Mid April.
Taking a skiing holiday to the Americas often encourages people north, to the States or Canada. When people do visit South America, it would seem that Argentina gets much of the credit. Chile has its own gems too, with Corralco Mountain Ski Resort being an exceptional example.
Only a few hours from Los Angeles (LA Chile, not California), Centro de Ski Corralco rests on the slopes of one of the country’s pretties volcanoes, Lonquimay. This mountain rises to around 2.4 kilometres, showcasing an astounding view of the Malalcahuello National Reserve and Andes mountain range. The skiing area here totals around 500 hectares, with about 37 of that being groomed regularly.
- When to visit: June to October.
Awakino, New Zealand
If you’re looking to taste how the sport of skiing actually began, you need only visit Awakino Skifield, run by the Waitaki Ski Club. When it comes to hidden mountain gems, this is truly one.
Awakino, located about 14 kilometres from the town of Kurow in New Zealand’s Otago region, strips away all the glamour many major ski resorts over-do, and brings back what it’s all about – the skiing and the snow. This mountain is renowned for its fantastic powder, with terrain suitable for all skill levels. It has two high-speed rope tows to get you up the slope, and their website claims that a “busy day” means more than 10 people.
- When to visit: July to October.
Europe and North America don’t hog all the Northern Hemisphere’s slopes. Japan has plenty of its own, many as famous as their western counterparts. However, if you’d like to try one of the slopes less visited in Japan, try the Appi All Season Resort, near Morioka.
The Appi resort area features two mountains, Maemori and Nishimori – both around 1.3 kilometres in height. The courses of these mountains are designed to replicate Europe and North America’s long-distance runs, a rare feature in Japan. Thanks to this, the average run distance is about 2.1 kilometres. The slopes are predominantly north-facing, meaning they get less sunlight during the day, and feature very fine powder snow.
- When to visit: December to early May.
If you’re hankering to hit the slopes, it’s worth examining your gear to make sure it’s still in good nick and check off your travel insurance to make sure you’re covered for those ski runs. Virgin Travel Insurance offers additional options such as the Snow Pack to cover snow sports activities. From peak to piste, they’ll be by your side to see you home.
Where will you be going skiing next? Why not take on one of these hidden ski resort gems?