We've all heard of the French Alps and the popular skiing resorts of Aspen for example, but many don't know just how many great alternative destinations there are on offer to hit the slopes! We've compiled a list of the top ten unexpected but nevertheless incredible skiing destinations, so grab your skis or snowboard and let's get started!
The town of Gulmarg in the Kashmir district of India is an unexpected but must-visit destination for the ultimate skiing adventure. Gulmarg is known for boasting some of the finest skiing conditions in the world and the resort is bound to add a whole new dimension to your skiing experience. A word to the wise, these freshly powdered slopes are no place for beginners, you'll need to be of a certain standard to master the off-piste terrain of Gulmarg. That said, these wild and ungroomed Himalayan slopes attract snowboard and skiing enthusiasts from all around the world, so will you be one of them?
Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina sits on the Balkan peninsular and is an unlikely but highly recommended ski destination. The magical resort of Jahorina nestled in Sarajevo's Dinaric Alps is located within the Republika Srpska, a location which was used during the Winter Olympic Games of 1984. The resort's 25km of pristine blue, red and black slopes cater to all levels, so whether you're a complete beginner or near professional, Jahorina will have something for you. Ski season here runs from December to April and there's even floodlighting on some slopes, so you can give nighttime skiing a try!
Mount Etna, Sicily
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and home to Europe's largest active volcano. For daredevils and extreme adventurists, this is the ultimate skiing destination for you. The two resorts of Piano Provenzana and Nicolosi offer smooth alpine slopes and boast incredible panoramic views of the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas in the distance. Optimum conditions occur from November to April, but remember this Mediterranean location boasts a balmy climate, so lots bring lots of sun-cream and maybe even pack a short-sleeved t-shirt!
© Maurizio Distefano/123rf
Morocco and skiing, are you sure? Leave the intriguing sights, smells and sounds of Marrakesh's glistening souks behind and head roughly 30 miles south to Oukaimeden. Here you'll find a surreal ski resort where you can choose ski lift or donkey to take you to the summit - we're not kidding. Season takes place from December to April and is of course dependent on snowfall and weather conditions. Be warned, Oukaimeden is not for the faint hearted skier, slopes here can be challenging, and are dotted with obstacles in the form of rocks and boulders - but surely that's part of the adrenaline-inducing thrill?
Shymbulak is Kazakhstan's charming alpine ski resort, located just 25km from Almaty city. The resort, which is situated in the upper section of the Medeu Valley, was revamped in 2012 and boasts three ski lifts which cumulate at Talgar pass, the highest point in Shymbulak. From November through until May the majestic resort is graced with a huge amount of fresh and powdery snow, making it an ideal, exotic and unconventional skiing destination. Kazakhstan's enchanting resort promises magnificent alpine views, uncrowded slopes and 99 acres of crisp snow terrain.