You now know all of the countries that are ISIA members, and some may have been new to you. However, on top of that, there are so many more countries around the world that you can ski in, and maybe even pick up a job in. Because where there’s a ski resort, there are usually skiers/ski instructors so you never know where you might end up!
China’s oldest ski resort, Yabuli Sun Mountain Resort, opened in 1957. Since then, another 70 or so resorts have popped up and around $100 million has been invested in modernising the resorts in recent times. While the infrastructure and terrain are yet to rival Japan’s, the resorts are perfect for beginners (so lots of instructing opportunities) and are mainly made up of man-made snow and runs. However, they are becoming increasingly popular with tourists, particularly Chinese ones, with a recorded increase from 10,000 skiers in 1996 to 5 million in 2010.
The Rwenzori Mountains are located on the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and are home to Africa’s third highest peak, Mount Margherita (5,109m). Whilst skiing in Uganda is not a commercialised opportunity with formal ski areas, the glaciated mountain range offers a number of opportunities for high-altitude ski touring. You might also be able to spot leopards, chimpanzees, elephants and mountain gorillas in the Ugandan mountains, a bit of a difference to a regular ski destination.
The African continent is only home to two ski resorts and the country of South Africa is home to one of them, Tiffindell Ski Resort located in the Southern Drakensberg. It’s only been running since 1993 but is home to a terrain park, ski school, ski hire and a couple of main runs. It’s a fair trek from the main points in South Africa with Johannesburg 790km away and Cape Town a whopping 1177km away, but it’s definitely one for the bragging list.
Yes Iran, and yes, there is more than one ski resort there. There are two main resorts, Dizin and Shemshak and both of them are less than two hours from the capital, Tehran. The resorts are pretty high and snow coverage tends to be fairly reliable, even though the infrastructure might be a little dated. Whilst drinking alcohol is not widely accepted across Iran, you might find the ski resorts a little more lenient and be able to drink in some areas such as the hotels.
Kashmir in India offers some great advanced skiing opportunities, including heli-skiing. The main ski resort is Gulmarg and plays host to the world’s highest gondola, taking you to a staggering 13,400 feet high. It’s definitely a unique skiing destination and is much less groomed than traditional ski resorts, but does offer some real adventure skiing.
You’ll find only one ski resort in Lesotho, Afriski, and it’s only one of two ski resorts on the African continent. Lesotho is a small enclave country within South Africa, and being in the southern hemisphere the ski season is a short period between June and August. Afriski can only accommodation about 250 people at a time, with a 1km ski slope and a beginners’ slope, but it’s home to a variety of accommodation and an established ski school and ski hire.
There are several ski areas in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, but Oukaïmeden is seen as the main one. It’s only 45 miles from one of the cultural highlights in Morocco, Marrakech, and located in the High Atlas Mountains. Oukaïmeden is Africa’s highest ski resorts, with the village sitting at 2,600m and the chairlift taking you to Jebel Attar at 3,258m. The best months for skiing are January and February, but then there are only really 5 runs for the more advanced and the nursery slopes so your skiing will be limited. But there is a ski school, so you never know where your next job offer might come from!
You’ll find four ski slopes in the mountain range of Troodos in Cyprus on famous Mount Olympus. The Troodos Mountains stretch across the western side of Cyprus and are home to picturesque mountain villages with a variety of accommodation styles in the villages of Platres or Kakopetria. Or check out the Cyprus Ski Federation and Club for more information about ski school and racing.
In the early 20th century, a Lebanese student studying engineering in Switzerland brought back the popular hobby to their home country. There are now six developed resorts in Lebanon, with a season of similar length to most European winter seasons, if a little shorter on occasion. The sociable Lebanese are also fans of the après-ski culture and so you’ll find a great ski atmosphere in the resorts in the evening with plenty of eating, drinking and entertainment.