Skiing – a fresh approach
Fancy skiing, a winter sun holiday or a cultural getaway? Unsure where to go, or lacking inspiration for your winter holiday? Discover 5 original destinations for off-the-beaten-track ski holidays.
On the slopes of Mount Olympus in Greece or Cyprus
To descend from Mount Olympus, like a mythical god, head for Greece. The country’s highest peak stands at 2,918 metres, offering great snow cover and fantastic ski hikes. On clear days, the nearby Aegean Sea – just 17 km away – offers a stunning view. Prefer downhill skiing? Head over to Cyprus, and try out the only ski resort in the Troodos mountains. It has its own Mount Olympus, reaching a height of 1,952 metres. Its slopes boast four ski lifts, each named after a Greek hero, including one chairlift named Zeus, in all modesty.
Portugal, far from the beaches
Another favourite spot for beach holiday enthusiasts, Portugal also attracts skiers in winter, at its resort located at an altitude of 1,900 m in Serra da Estrela in the centre of Portugal, not far from Coimbra. Although it is not the highest of resorts, winter temperatures can drop as low as -20°C. Natural snow cover, boosted by several snow cannons, provide the conditions for all snow sports on 9 marked runs, ten or so off-piste trails and a snowpark.
At the gates of the Moroccan desert
Soak up a little warmth in Marrakesh and the next day, head to the Atlas Mountains, just 80 km away, to try your hand at a range of snow sports. This incredible experience awaits you in Southern Morocco, thanks to Oukaïmeden ski resort, the highest in Africa. Located some 2,620 m above sea level in the High Atlas, the resort is overlooked by the majestic Jbel Toubkal (4,167 m), the highest peak in the mountain range. Around twenty runs offer an altitude difference of 1,000 metres, from the summit 3,600 m above sea level.
Blue and white dreams in Hawaii
Beautiful stretches of blue and white side by side… Mauna Kea, whose name means “White Mountain”, is a volcano that has been dormant for over 4,500 years. It rises majestically in the middle of the South Pacific, peaking at more than 4,205 metres above sea level. Descending its slopes is not for the faint-hearted: you won’t find any ski lifts or hotels here – but a breath-taking landscape that provides the perfect setting for snowboarding or cross-country skiing. A road accessible via 4X4 vehicles takes you up to the summit. This mountain is also famous for its astronomical observatories: it has the advantage of being one of the world’s darkest places, well preserved from light pollution.
Lapland, the champions’ league
Once in your life, experience a true winter wonderland and head to Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland. The country has 75 ski resorts yet not a single mountain! Many of the country’s hills are covered in snow for 200 days a year, from October to May. The most fervent skiers will opt for Pyhä ski resort, a small resort located just a short drive from the airport in Rovaniemi, Lapland’s capital, and 10 short kilometres from the Arctic Circle. For those hoping to ski in the footsteps of champions, the go-to destination is Ruka, in eastern Lapland, one of Finland’s most popular resorts. Its world-class facilities play host to 8 rounds of the Ski World Cup every year in late November, in disciplines including ski jumping, cross-country skiing and Nordic combined.