Six Unique Ski Resorts Around the World

Give your win­ter quest for fresh pow­der an ele­ment of the unex­pect­ed by vis­it­ing one of these unique inter­na­tion­al ski resorts.

Skiing in Dizin, IranDizin 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.

alyeska alaskaAlyeska, Alas­ka
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.

hlidarfjallHlíðar­f­jall, Iceland
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.

GulmargGul­marg, Kashmir
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.

Whakapapa skifield on Mount RuapehuMount 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.

masikryongMasikry­ong, 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.