With many ski seasons around the world opening soon, at Alternative Airlines we have decided to compile a list of our favourite, lesser-known ski resorts worldwide — guaranteed to get you itching to ride the slopes this winter.
Prices in this blog are as of 2018 and are subject to change
Andorra might be the sixth smallest country in Europe, but it’s got a big reputation for its array of excellent ski resorts. One standout resort is Grandvalira, which has a number of different hotels you can stay at. During your ski holiday, we recommend spending a night at the Igloo Hotel — a unique experience that offers you the chance to sleep under stars in an igloo at 2350 metres high!
A night at the Igloo Hotel will cost between $119 USD —$346 USD depending on whether you want a shared or private room.
Andorra airport (LEU) doesn’t currently facilitate commercial services. The best airport to fly to is either Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN) or Toulouse Blagnac Airport (TLS), both of which offer daily shuttle bus transfers to Andorra. Airlines that fly to Barcelona include Iberia, Norwegian, Jet2 and Vueling. Airlines that fly to Toulouse include easyJet, Ryanair, Air France and Volotea.
Best for those at a beginner—intermediate level, Bansko is one of eastern Europe’s most popular ski resorts. The resort is famous for its skiing and snowboarding facilities and the beautiful architecture found in the nearby old town. It's also one of the top 3 cheapest skiing destinations in Europe and overall, Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries in the whole of Europe.
You can stay at one of the many hotels at the resort. The average price for a week-long package inclusive of one meal a day, lessons and a ski pass and equipment ranges between $450 USD—$550 USD
Sofia Airport (SOF) is the closest airport to Bankso. You can fly there on airlines such as Wizz Air, Lufthansa, BH Air and flydubai.
Bansko Ski Resort. Credit: Bankso Ski Zone
Set off on an adventure that’s suitable for all members of the family with a ski holiday at Geilo Ski Resort. Geilo is recognised as the best ski resort in Europe for beginners and has a much more relaxed vibe off the slopes than other resorts in Europe. There are many bars fit for a casual drink in the surrounding area and all restaurants are family friendly.
You can expect to pay $100 USD—$200 USD per night for a double room with breakfast included. However, food and drink in Geilo can be quite expensive. So, it may be cheaper in the long run to go half board or even all inclusive.
We recommend flying into Oslo Airport (OSL) and then riding the Oslo—Bergen train, which stops at Geilo. We recommend taking this train journey in order to experience the stunning scenery of Norway’s mountains. Airlines that fly to Oslo include Norwegian, Scandinavian Airlines and Widerøe.
With a $225 million USD renovation, Jasná — which is located in the Low Tatras mountains — has become a recent dark horse as one of the world’s greatest ski resorts. The resort boasts 50 km of slopes and 12 free ride zones. Plus, as Slovakia is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, it only cost $2.25 USD for a beer!
Hotel prices range between $40 USD—$70 USD per person/per night, with cheaper prices the further away from the slopes you stay.
The main closest airport is Vienna international Airport (VIE), just over the Slovakian border, where many international airlines fly to and is a connecting point to Poprad-Tatry Airport (TAT). Airlines that fly into Vienna International airport include Austrian Airlines and Turkish Airlines. Wizz Air offer limited to flights to Poprad-Tatry Airport. Alternatively, you can fly to Bratislava Airport with Czech Airlines, Pobeda and Ryanair.
Jasná Ski Resot. Credit: Wotjet S.
The Niseko mountain — which is a town in Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido — is made up of four different ski resorts, all of which have plenty of challenging slopes and serve up some of the best powder skiing in the world, as well as easier pistes for beginners.
Accommodation starts at the resorts around $40 USD per night for a double room, but this doesn’t include your ski pass. Ski equipment will cost around $80 USD a day to rent, so bring your own if you can. Learn more about travelling with ski equipment on our sports baggage page.
Fly into Haneda - Tokyo International Airport (HND) and — if you can manage the long journey — visit Mount Zao on the way up to Niseko for a quieter skiing experience and a chance to see the towering snow monsters. You can fly into Tokyo on airlines such as Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways. Alternatively, if you’d like to skip Mount Zao, you can fly into Tokyo and then get a connecting flight directly to New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido, with the two aforementioned airlines or Spring Airlines.
Niesko mountain. Credit: Roderick Elme
Featured on our Amazing Movie Destinations that you Must Visit blog, Timberline Lodge presents fantastic skiing opportunities on Oregeon’s tallest mountain, Mt.Hood. Timberline Lodge is open throughout summer and well into September, making it the resort with the longest ski season in North America!
A double room at the Timberline Lodge will cost between $165 USD—$250 USD depending on whether you choose an Economy Room, a Queen Room and the time of year that you visit.
Fly into Portland International Airport (PDX), which is the closest airport to Timberline Lodge. From there it takes one-hour and 20 minutes by car or bus. Portland International can be reached on airlines such as Southwest, Delta and Alaska.
With more than 50 runs over 80 km of the Mzaar-Kfardebian mountain range, Mzaar Ski Resort is the largest ski resort in the Middle East. The fun doesn’t stop with the slopes either — the resort has an abundance of restaurants, lively bars, an indoor pool and even its own cinema!
Day passes range between $19 USD—$33 USD, depending on which area you ski in. Half day passes and weekend passes are also available, as well as entire ski season passes. Prices for a double room at the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts start at $275 USD.
Mzaar Ski Resort. Credit: Sarbast.T.Hameed
Surrounded by the UNESCO World Heritage Site status Dolomite mountain range in the south of the Alps, Cortina d’Ampezzo has one of the most awe-inspiring backdrops that you’ll find while riding the slopes. Combine that with a historically rich town, stylish nightlife, culturally diverse tourists, as well as a world-cup worthy skiing piste and you have one of the most impressive skiing areas in the world.
The Dolomite region is also one of the best places on earth to see the fall colours, in particular, Naturpark Sennes-Prags — which is only a 45 mintue drive from Cortina d’Ampezzo. So, if you travel early in the ski season season, you be able to see the fall foilage before hitting the slopes.
A seven day ski pass in high season will around $390 USD, while a double room in a mid-range hotel on the resort cost between $150 USD—$200 USD per night.
The closest airports to Cortina d’Ampezzo are Treviso Airport (TSF) and Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE). Cortina airport can be reached on airlines such as Ryanair and Pobeda, while Venice airport can be flown to on airline including Volotea, Air France, easyJet and Lufthansa.
Cortina d'Ampezzo. Credit: Manuel Bierbauer
If you’re seeking a skiing adventure, ski around the terrain of Nevados de Chillan, which is located amongst three active volcanoes. Don’t worry, none of the volcanoes have had a major eruption since the 19th century, but Nevados de Chillan’s history of lava flows has left some rather unique backcountry and off-piste terrain, which makes this quiet and relaxed resort standout.
You can get bed and breakfast at a mid-range hotel starting at $215 USD.
The best way to get to Nevados de Chillan is to fly into Santiago International Airport (SCL) with an international airline such as LATAM Chile and then get a connecting flight to Concepcion Airport (CEP) with LATAM Chile again, Sky Airline or JetSmart. From there, your hotel should be able to arrange a transfer, which will take around one hour and a half.
Want to travel with ski equipment? Have a look at our special baggage and sports equipment page for information on how to fly with ski equipment.
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