Top 5 Alternative Ski Destinations

Top 5 alternative ski destinations

Top 5 alternative ski holiday destinations

It’s a new term I’ve come by, and I think it sums up what a lot of skiers feel when it comes to their extortionately priced annual week on the piste – ‘Alps apathy’.

For so long now France, Switzerland et al have dominated the ski holiday. Perhaps this is understandable as the rustic frosty lure of long cabins, après ski and rolling alpine forests is irresistibly charming, and North American skiing is often too expensive, or just too darn cold, for many of us.

But if you’re itching to get away for a white holiday this winter, but are a little stumped as to where to go, take a look at’s guide to the top 5 alternative ski resorts:

Great for first timers:

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Just a two-hour flight from London, Slovenia is one of Europe’s cheapest ski destinations.

With plenty of gentle beginner slopes and the relaxed, untroubled atmosphere which many Alps resorts have lost, this relative newcomer is great for beginners.

Kranjska Gora has slopes to cater for all ability levels, with lots of low slopes and ski tuition for first-timers. It is also one of the better-equipped resorts for alpine skiing in the country, with ample facilities for snowboarding, tobogganing, ice-skating and ice climbing.

Best for powder:

Niseko, Japan

Japan has managed to establish itself as a major ski destination during the past decade or so, but despite having over 60 resorts, British skiers have been slow off the mark in exploring the eastern piste.

If however you’re sick of checking the snow forecast everyday before your holiday, the enviable snowfall and shockingly deep power make Niseko well worth a visit.

Facing the dormant Mt Yotei volcano, Niseko compares very well indeed to similar European and North American mega-resorts. With fantastic après-ski and the nearby city of Sapporo as a day-trip option, Niseko may just become a regular Alps beater.

Best for out of season:

Portillo, Chile

In PowderQuest Magazine’s top 10 for powder, Portillo is near unbeatable.

Located just over 100 miles from Santiago, with runs set amongst smoking volcanoes and the steamy springs of the Andes, skiing in Portillo is an experience to say the least.

Chile’s ski season runs from July to September, so Portillo’s bountiful snow can be enjoyed out of the usual December – April period.

Most unlikely:

Salt Lake City, USA

While you may not think of the Mormon capital as a ski destination, SLC provides a great base from which you can explore a different Utah ski resort each day.

Snowbird and its linked neighbour Alta are amazing for powder and Big Cottonwood, Brighton and Solitude are gems, which are often overlooked.

When most Brits think or North American skiing names such as Whistler and the Rockies immediately spring to mind, but their popularity, particularly with the elite set, inevitably leads to higher prices. SLC however can offer an affordable skiing holiday, with endless variety, and the excitement and nightlife of a major city.

Close to home:


OK so Scottish skiing is old news, but most of us completely dismiss skiing on our doorstep as undesirable, and doomed with low snowfall and hit and miss conditions.

The reality is actually quite the reverse, and while Scottish ski resorts might not quite live up to the glitz and glamour, not to mention après ski options, of more popular European destinations, the UK’s ski resorts provide a cheap and easy alternative for a few much needed days on the piste.

Higher levels of snow fall in recent years means Scottish skiing is now a viable option, but seizing the day is the name of the game when it comes to skiing north of the border – simply check the conditions online and jump in the car for a few spontaneous days on the piste – perfect for snow junkies itching for their next fix of the white stuff.

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