We typically associate winter sports with Europe. Meanwhile, skiing is possible all around the world, even in those places that at first glance at a map seem to have little to do with snow or winter. We have checked where to find the most exotic places for winter sports.
Such places can be found on each continent. All it takes is some imagination, quite a big budget to pay for the trip, and you can enjoy ski slopes in southern Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and even South America. Here, we present 5 most exotic ski resorts around the world.
1. Mount Parnassos: skiing in Greece
Greece is one of the favourite holiday destinations among Poles, but usually in summer and autumn months. Meanwhile, the south end of the Balkan Peninsula offers great conditions for skiing and snowboarding. The resort for enthusiasts of winter sports in Mount Parnassos has 36 km of ski routes, mainly blue and red ones, as well as 17 ski lifts.
The height of 1,600-2,300 meters above sea level provides excellent skiing conditions and an opportunity to admire a nearby national park. Ski-pass prices start at EUR 30. The season lasts from December to March, when good snow conditions and sub-zero temperatures are guaranteed.
After a day spent on the slopes, you can unwind in numerous taverns and restaurants, while sight-seeing enthusiasts can visit archaeological sites located in the nearby city of Delphi.
CURRENT EPIDEMIC SITUATION IN GREECE
Currently, there are no restrictions for entering Greece.
2. Volcano skiing in Turkey
Turkey is a very popular destination among Polish tourists. Most of them, however, focus on the coastline, spending their summer vacation at luxury hotels and sandy beaches. But Turkey is also a very good place for skiing and snowboarding. Excellent conditions can be found in the very heart of the country, i.e. Cappadocia. For winter sports enthusiasts, there is a volcano called Mount Erciyes, offerring 34 ski routes at an elevation of 2,100-3,916 meters above sea level.
The peak of the volcano can be accessed through one of the 14 lifts or via a ski touring route. Before skiing downhill, one can admire the breathtaking view against a backdrop of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The resort operates a ski school for children and adults, while the safety of tourists is ensured by specialist patrols. The season in Turkey lasts from December to April, with sunny weather and excellent skiing conditions.
After a day on the slopes, one can enjoy an air balloon flight, a popular thing in Cappadocia. Tourist can expect modern hotels, posh restaurants and plenty of monuments, such as Uçhisar Castle or caves in volcanic tuff.
CURRENT EPIDEMIC SITUATION IN TURKEY
Since 1 June 2022, there have been no restrictions connected with entering Turkey.
3. Winter sports in the summer, or skiing in Chile
Those who dream of skiing also in the summer should think of planning holiday in Chile. When we experience the heat of summer months, Chile prepares for winter. Enthusiasts of winter sports from all around the world can enjoy a resort in Portillo.
At an elevation of 2,210 metres above sea level, the resort offers 23 routes and 12 ski lifts. The season lasts from June to October. During this time, the temperature falls below zero, ensuring excellent skiing conditions. The top of the mountain is accessible through special 5-person T-bar ski lifts. The number of ski passes is limited, so one does not need to worry about traffic on the slope. It is a place where you can come across famous athletes from all around the world: Portillo is a resort where top skiers train in the summer.
Hotels around Portillo offer all-inclusive packages: with accommodation, catering, ski pass as well as access to spa and wellness facilities. A 7-day stay costs a few thousand dollars.
CURRENT EPIDEMIC SITUATION IN CHILE
Since 14 April 2022, Chilean authorities have not been requiring tourists to provide a negative PCR test or a vaccination certificate. Chilean authorities conduct random COVID tests for arriving international passengers. A passenger receiving a positive test result will have to undergo 7-day quarantine at the address specified in the health state declaration or at a place specified by the Ministry.
4. Winter at the Antipodes or skiing in Australia
Australia has no shortage of places dedicated for winter sports. Its largest resort, which also is the largest winter resort in the southern hemisphere, is Perisher Resort. Enthusiasts of skiing and snowboarding can enjoy routes stretching across 12 thousand square kilometres!
Perisher offers 100 km of ski routes and 47 ski lifts. You can start your route at 2,034 metres above sea level, with a breathtaking panorama of the Snowy Mountains. One disadvantage of skiing in Australia is high prices.
The season at the Antipodes lasts from June to October. This period offers the best snow conditions and sub-zero temperatures. After a day on the slopes, you can enjoy numerous restaurants and multiple apres ski attractions.
CURRENT EPIDEMIC SITUATION IN AUSTRALIA
On 6 July 2022, Australia lifted the requirement for tourists from abroad to present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate. Australian borders are open to holders of all kinds of visas, regardless of the vaccination status.
5. Desert skiing in Dubai
The last skiing destination is the most exotic one. While resorts in Greece, Turkey, Chile or Australia are far from being the most popular, they are still located in the mountains. Meanwhile, the slope in Dubai was built in the middle of a desert, uses artificial snow, is specially cooled and located under a roof.
Mall of Emirates is a shopping centre that allows you to ski at an artificial Ski Dubai resort. It offers 5 slopes with varying levels of difficulty, the longest stretching for 400 m. The lift itself is 85 m high (equal to about 25 storeys) and 80 m wide. The resort opens in the morning and stays open until midnight. The temperature inside is minus 2 degrees, while outside it reaches 30-40 degrees Celsius. The centre is open all year round, every day from morning till midnight.
The entrance fee is AED 150 for adults and AED 140 for children. On top of that, there is also the cost of renting a ski suit and equipment; you will also need gloves. Apart from skiing, the Ski Dubai resort has facilities for sledging, skating, making snowmen, doing snow aerobics or visiting an ice chamber. There is also a restaurant in the resort.
CURRENT EPIDEMIC SITUATION IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Currently, there is no requirement to undergo tests after arrival. All travellers can be randomly selected for RT-PCR tests. Travellers are not subject to quarantine after arrival. Those who receive a positive result in random RT-PCR tests can be put in quarantine.
Insurance for skiing in exotic places – How to choose
If you are going skiing outside Europe, you definitely need to get insurance. The European Health Insurance Card will not work there, and the costs of health care and rescue services in Australia, UAE or even Turkey can be very high. Therefore, the insurance policy should cover these two elements for a sum of at least EUR 50,000 and EUR 10,000, respectively. Also, it is worth making sure that the insurance provides:
- accident cover – in case of an accident, you will be compensated for an injury;
- third party liability cover – in case you cause an accident, compensation (if any) will be paid to a third party by the insurer;
- luggage and ski equipment cover – so that you can receive financial compensation in case of theft or damage.
It is also a good idea to check whether the policy offers coverage for doing winter sports. The insurance can be expanded to include events occurring under the influence of alcohol (which normally is excluded from cover) as well as doing extreme sports (such as off-piste skiing or heliskiing).
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the insurance should also provide cover in case of COVID-19 infection. Currently, most insurers provide such addition. Compare travel insurance online to see what offers different providers have on.