Life’s too short to deal with mountaintop traffic jams and selfie-snapping sightseers on your ski trip. Here are three hidden slope sanctuaries that have managed to remain untainted by bumper-to-bumper commercialization. Here are the best ski hills you’ve never heard of.
Image via cerrocastor.com
If you think the Middle East is all camels and sand dunes, think again. Mzaar, about an hour from Beirut, is the region’s largest ski resort. Towering over the sunny Mediterranean shoreline, a glistening white mountain range offers 42 slopes and 80 kilometres of pristinely pisted ski track. Due to a lack of local interest in the snow (and the fact that Lawrence of Arabia didn’t ski), Lebanon’s treeless slopes went uncarved until the ’40s and, thanks to a long civil war, weren’t modernized until fairly recently. These days, Mzaar’s 2,466-metre tall peaks offer one of the most visually rich, yet traffic-free, skiing experiences in the world. For après ski options, hit up the resort’s bevvy of excellent bars and restaurants—or, hell, take a dip in the sea.
Deep in the land of soccer and sunburns, there lies a tundra boasting the longest winter-sport season in the world. Situated at the end of the world, where snowcapped mountains meet shimmering seas at Ushuaia, Mount Castor boasts jaw-slackening views and snow up to your thighs. Due to its proximity to Antarctica, its 1,701 kilometres of slope guarantee icy temperatures and bountiful powder—low elevation be damned. Ski aficionados consider it Argentina’s “secret resort”; expect friendly service and nary an Instagram-happy tourist in sight. In between runs, dine on some authentic Fuegan barbecue at the quality eateries scattered throughout the mountain.
It doesn’t get more remote than Siberia. Even once you land in Russia, you’ll still need to take the longest domestic flight in the world to reach the frozen peninsula of Kamchatka. It’s an arduous journey, but it’ll feel worth it once you’re heli-skiing down the 2,000-metre flanks of a giant active volcano. Closed to outsiders until the fall of communism in the ’90s, the peninsula still remains untainted by large-scale development, brimming with geysers, thermal springs and mud pools. Once you’re spent, soak in the 5-star Russo-Balt Kamchatka’s geothermal pool.