Weirdest Places to Ski: 8 Hidden Gems for Winter Adventure


Looking for a winter adventure destination with great powder but without the crowds? Our collection of the weirdest places to ski take you off the radar to remote spots around the world.

When you think of a great skiing adventure, it’s likely that the Alps pop to mind. But did you know that there are plenty of lesser-known skiing destinations in Europe and beyond?

In addition to having unique landscapes, these alternative spots often offer a bargain without compromising on quality. Take a look at some of the most unusual places to ski that belong on your bucket list.

Lesser-Known Skiing Destinations in Europe

Sicily, Italy

If you are a volcano adventure lover, one of the weirdest places to ski is Mount Etna in Sicily. As the largest island on the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is renowned for its stunning beaches. It is also home to the most active volcano in Europe, Mount Etna. Skiing an active volcano? For adrenaline junkies, that would be the ultimate fix.

Though it snows between November and April, the best time to visit is in December, January or February. It is one of few destinations with a relatively warm climate due to the Mediterranean location. Enjoy tackling both downhill and alpine slopes with a great view of the sea. When you’re done, enjoy snowboarding one of the old lava rivers and exploring lava caves.

Troodos Mountains, Cyprus

Another unique skiing spot is in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus. Yet another hidden gem on the Mediterranean, Cyprus is a famous spot in Greek mythology. It is home to beautiful coastlines, intriguing ancient ruins and the breathtaking Troodos Mountains.

Snow season here runs from January to March, sometimes extending into April. Though the slopes do not offer the most extensive runs, it more than makes up for this. The views from here are simply spectacular and the varying terrain makes for a fun ride. Steep, narrow chutes wind through ragged terrain promising an adrenaline-pumping adventure. It also has sweeping, open faces, ideal for carving wide arcs. The thought of conquering this dramatic terrain is sufficient for any active vacation lover to make their way to this hidden European gem.

Unusual Places to Ski in South America

La Parva, Chile

Chile is the ultimate skiers’ paradise for thrill lovers. It has the perfect peaks thanks to the extensive Andes Mountains and a variety of terrains for all levels. Winter season here runs all the way from June to October, a period when most of the Northern Hemisphere is still too warm.

One of Chile’s best kept secrets and weirdest places to ski is in La Parva. The snow here is typically dry and powdery, offering just the perfect amount of fluff to carve through. During the winter period, the area experiences consistent snowfall and reliable coverage. If you love thrilling backcountry adventures, the snow here extends to off-piste areas. There is an awesome blend of gentle slops and challenging steeps for all experience levels.

Cerro Caviahue, Argentina

Argentina is another great off-radar destination for powder chasers. Just like Chile, it has a long ski season extending from June to October. It also boasts great terrain diversity and amazing views of the Andes and the Patagonian peaks.

What makes Caviahue one of its weirdest places to ski is the unusual volcanic terrain. Traverse the breathtaking slopes crossing through ancient lava flows and strange volcanic formations. Advanced skiers will love the off-piste opportunities here. But there are less challenging runs for beginners to tackle. After a long day on the snow, enjoy a rejuvenating soak in one off the natural hot springs right in the snowy landscape. If you are fortunate, you might just hear the Copahue Volcano rumbling in the background.

Unique Ski Spots in North America


Chugach Mountains, Alaska

One of the best places in the world for a ski expedition is Alaska. The season here runs from January to May with varying conditions for unique experiences. Its stunning scenery provides the perfect backdrop for adventure – with beautiful glaciers and vast mountain ranges everywhere you look. Among its best skiing spots is Girdwood in the Chugach Mountains.

The Chugach Mountains have some of the tallest Alaskan peaks and this unparalleled wilderness feel. If you are looking for backcountry seclusion, one of the best places is Chugach State Park. It has countless ridges and valleys and vast expanses of untouched powder. Whether you love snowboarding or off-piste skiing, there is something here for everyone. For seasoned skiers, the wide-open bowls, couloirs and steep chutes here offer adrenaline-pumping adventures.

Mauna Kea, Hawaii

When it comes to tropical paradise islands, Hawaii is among the top contenders on the planet. But did you know that it is also home to some of the world’s weirdest places to ski? At the right time of year, you can actually ski down one of the steepest dormant volcanos. Note that skiing here is not for the faint of heart. High altitude sickness and rapid temperature drops are par for the course.

The peak of Mauna Kea, ‘the white mountain,’ sits more than 4,200 meters (13,800+ft) above sea level. February and March are the best months to visit. Though there is no lift to get you to the top, there are observatory roads all the way up but you will need a 4-by-4. And the reward for your effort is certainly worthwhile – at the top, you get epic views of the island as well as the Pacific Ocean. There is close to 2,000 meters (1.24 miles) of vertical, ideal for experts.

Odd Skiing Destinations in Asia


Kashmir, India

It is no surprise that the Himalayas, one of the most picturesque mountains in the world, is also one of the best ski destinations. Sitting in a vibrant jungle landscape, it is characterized by changing snows. The ski season here is relatively long, from December to May, but February and March are the best months.

In the heart of Kashmir, Gulmarg stands out, offering an extraordinary off-the-beaten path experience. Situated at an altitude of nearly 2,650 meters (8,690ft), this gorgeous town has a captivating view of snow-capped mountains. The adventure here is ideal for those who love off-piste, backcountry skiing and snowboarding. There is exceptional powder and great spots for beginners and experts alike.

Kiroro, Japan

Looking for the perfect family skiing destination? Kiroro is likely to tick all boxes. It has an extensive snow season running from November all the way to May. The best months for a family ski vacation are January and February – they have the most reliable snowfall.

This laidback area has a great blend of black, red and blue runs with light, dry powder. There are two scenic peaks with captivating scenery all the way down. For the little ones, English-speaking instructors are on hand if anyone needs lessons. The more adventurous family members are free to try out a bit of off-piste terrain. When the day is done, enjoy a soothing session in traditional hot springs.

Venture Off-the-Beaten-Slope to the World’s Weirdest Places to Ski

As it turns out, you do not have to confine your love for skiing to just a handful of destinations in Austria and Switzerland. Whether you love backcountry or off-piste skiing or prefer Nordic, downhill or cross-country adventures, there’s a spot for you. Though the world’s weirdest places to ski are often remote and unexplored, the reward is well worth any effort or sacrifice you make.

So, go on, venture off the beaten slope and enjoy a taste of some of the world’s best snow adventures.

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