9 Ski Destinations You Haven’t Heard Of Slideshow
November 18, 2011
Myoko Kogen, Japan
Americans who, 10 years ago wouldn't have trekked to Japan, have since discovered the fantastic slopes, like Hokkaido. But, an hour north of Nagano, Myoko Kogen is unspoiled by tourists, despite being one of Japan's oldest ski areas. Those in the know head there for great snow, hot springs, and a charming town with welcoming izakayas offering sake, fresh sushi, ramen noodles, and Japanese-style tapas.
Sleep: Myoko Akakura Kanko Hotel, for ski-in and out access and Japanese-style with fine dining.
Monte Rosa, Italy
Finding a lesser-known mountain in the Alps may seem impossible, but Italy's Monte Rosa is ideal for piste, off-piste, and heli-skiing off the beaten path, even allowing you to ski into Switzerland. The views, too, are nearly incomparable and the jewel-box-sized villages are rustic and charming, offering hearty Swiss and Italian fare like rich fondues and pastas with fantastic wines.
Sleep: Le Vieux Rascard, for a classic bed-and-breakfast.
Kicking Horse, Canada
Canada is full of ski destinations of all sizes, but most are well known by even the amateur skier. Kicking Horse is at once one of the least traversed and most appealing areas, with a rugged atmosphere, ski-in and out village, and mouthwatering food. The Eagle's Eye Restaurant (pictured), on top of the mountain, serves excellent food with unparalleled views, while the eccentric Heaven's Door Yurt sits at the base, offering hearty mountainside eats like thick sandwiches and hot chocolate.
Sleep: Vagabond Lodge, for homemade breads and a cozy après-ski vibe.
Grand Targhee, Wyo.
Sitting on the other side of the Teton pass from Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee gets tons of snow (nicknamed "champagne powder") — often much more than its touristy neighbors. The small ski resort offers luxe creature comforts like a full-service spa to relax weary, frozen muscles and fine dining at the Branding Iron Grill, but Chef Nacho's taco stand is not to be missed for carnitas and fish tacos.
Sleep: Teewinot Lodge, for rooms with views of the slopes.
Skiing and Morocco are not often mentioned in the same breath, but that shouldn't be the case considering the great slopes in Oukaïmeden, just south of Marrakesh. Africa's highest ski resort, Oukaïmeden is as plush as it is unspoiled and ungroomed, with beautiful hotels and restaurants alongside donkeys that shuttle between lifts, rather than buses. It's close enough to Marrakesh that you could make this a quick day trip.
Sleep: Club Louka, for simple rooms and mouthwatering Moroccan fare.
Valle Nevado, Chile
Skiing in Chile has become incredibly luxurious, with La Parva being called the Aspen (or Squaw Valley) of Chile. But Valle Nevado is still adventurous and off-the-grid, with heli-skiing, deep powder, stunning views of the Andes, and a handful of modern lodgings and delicious cuisine.
Sleep: Hotel Valle Nevado, for luxury accommodations with little else around.
Mt. Waterman, Calif.
Just more than two hours from Los Angeles, Mt. Waterman is an old-school California ski destination with little more than a diesel-fuel chair lift, great snow, somewhat rough terrain, and hardly anyone around you. The nearest city is La Canada, which boasts a handful of great eateries like Dish and Taylor's Steakhouse.
Sleep: Choose your favorite LA haunt, as there are no resorts at Mt. Waterman and this is an easy day trip from LA.
Traditional as they come, Saint-Lary boasts expansive skiable areas just next to the Pyrenean National Park. The town may be small and hidden, but it's inviting and well-designed with cozy lodges, centries-old architecture, a mountaintop restaurant, and a beautiful thermal bath. The region also boasts dairies and working farms you can visit on non-skiing days.
Sleep: Hotel Mercure, for thermal baths and spa appointments.
Bridger Bowl, Mont.
Known well amongst locals, Bridger Bowl is a not-for-profit ski area with 2,000 skiable acres with great snow and varied terrain. It boasts three slope-side eateries that offer tasty and hearty options for skiiers, from Jimmy B's Bar and Grill's homemade breakfast pastries and sandwiches to the Saddle Peak Lodge's fireside burgers and pizza — and both come with stunning views.
Sleep: Gallatin River Lodge in nearby Bozeman, for fishing and homemade, locally sourced cuisine.