7 Unusual Ski Destinations Around the World

When thinking of a ski vacation, most people probably picture the United States’ Rocky Mountains or the Alps over in Europe. And it’s true—these destinations are the crème de la crème of skiing with pristine slopes, gorgeous lodges, and plenty of activities for the whole family. But for those looking for a different kind of ski adventure, consider one of these seven spots that likely haven’t crossed your mind.

1. Oukaimeden, Morocco

Courtesy of Flickr/Jørn Eriksson

Courtesy of Flickr/Jørn Eriksson

High in the Atlas Mountains is Africa’s highest ski resort, Oukaimeden, at 8,530 feet. The peaks here separate Marrakech from the Sahara—a location that you might not expect to have snow. But from January to March, the slopes are skiable, and visitors are treated to incredible views of the desert. As it’s only 50 miles from Marrakech, Oukaimeden makes for a great day trip.

2. Antarctica

Courtesy of Flickr/Andreas Kambanis

Courtesy of Flickr/Andreas Kambanis

Sure, you probably knew Antarctica has snow and ice. But you probably didn’t know you can join a skiing expedition to the remote continent. Most of Antarctica is a desert, so don’t expect too much fresh powder, but where else in the world can you ski with penguins? Adventurers should note, however, that the terrain can be extremely unforgiving, and all skiers should be highly experienced.

3. Tasmania, Australia

Though mainland Australia is better known for its beaches, deserts, and generally hot climate, the island of Tasmania is home to several alpine ski destinations, chief among them, the mountain Ben Lomond. The season typically runs between July and mid-September—which is winter in the Southern Hemisphere—and can be reached by shuttle bus from the cities of Launceston and Hobart.

Where to Stay

4. Santa Fe, New Mexico

This southwestern city is well known for its Pueblo-style architecture, thriving art scene, and arid desert climate. So how did Santa Fe make this list? Just 45 minutes from downtown is Ski Santa Fe, a resort that has some 77 trails and 225 inches of annual snowfall.

Where to Stay

5. Lesotho

We’d hazard a guess that many skiers don’t have Lesotho on their radar. (In fact, many people might not even know where Lesotho is.) But all of the tiny country, which sits entirely within South Africa, rests at an extremely high altitude—the lowest point is 4,592 feet above sea level. As such, the mountainous terrain can accumulate snow, and therefore, you can ski!

6. Dubai

What doesn’t Dubai have? Okay, it doesn’t have real mountains, but it still has five ski slopes, including a black run. Considering it's quite hot in the Middle East, they’re all indoors, of course, at the Mall of the Emirates. Ski Dubai also has a zipline above the slopes and even live penguins.

Where to Stay

7. Cyprus

If you’re tired of lounging around at the beach on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, head up to the Troodos Mountains, where you’ll find the only ski center in the country. It’s only a one-and-a-half hour drive from the resorts and archaeological sites of Paphos, an hour from Limassol, and two hours from Famagusta.

Where to Stay

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