Give your winter quest for fresh powder an element of the unexpected by visiting one of these unique international ski resorts.
Dizin Ski Resort, Iran
Situated north of Tehran on the Alborz Mountain Rage, Dizin is one of the world’s highest elevation snow resorts (11,800 ft). That high altitude gives the resort a long season—November through May—so even as that spring thaw arrives in most of the world, here you can continue shredding snow to your heart’s content.
If Dizin is noteworthy as one of the highest highs, Alyseka has the honor of being among the very few sea-level ski resorts in the world. Yes, Alaska is just such a cold and rugged place that it provides a top-notch experience without the nose-bleed inducing elevation. With 1,610 skiable acres and more than 669 inches of annual snowfall, powder seekers will find all they could wish for at this frosty haven.
Snow-covered mountains are beautiful any way you slice it, but in Iceland you can spend all day out on your board and all night searching the skies for the northern lights. The natural spectacle is matched by the quality of the powder in this breathtaking top-of-the-world paradise. A mix of slopes and cross-country tracks provides conditions for any preference.
The quest for perfect terrain and conditions is a big part of the ski experience. Humans will go to great lengths—and heights—for a memorable day on the slopes. Enter Gulmarg, whose gondola will take you a vertiginous 13,000 feet above sea level to access some of the finest powder anywhere in the world.
Given the tensions between India and Pakistan, it’s a volatile region. But for its natural wonders and its cultural diversity alike, this is one you won’t want to miss.
Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand
New Zealand boasts some of the most dramatic terrain in the world. No surprise, then, that one of the nation’s most popular ski regions is atop an active volcano. The dynamic nature of the topography makes Mount Ruapehu a memorable spot to tackle the snow, but just as important as the geography is the guiding philosophy of this special place.
Unlike most well-developed resorts, the ski zones here are quite publicly accessible, with lots of great descents to choose from. Ski and board rentals are available, as are affordable resort packages that include lodging and meals. Be prepared to share in the cooking and chores, though; the do-it-yourself component helps keep overhead low. And the shared responsibility makes the experience uniquely communal.
Masikryong, North Korea
Yes, the most inaccessible nation on Earth hosts a ski resort. And the conditions on the mountain are stellar. The geographical situation of the resort makes for light, fresh powder.
There’s sure to be a spare, remote beauty in this place so largely shut off from the wider world. But if you manage to arrange a visit, you’ll be assailed by large video-screen propaganda at every corner in the resort—and by the knowledge that your $30 lift ticket costs more than any local can afford.