INSPIRATION • October 2018
Weary of the well-worn pistes in Chamonix and Courchevel? Then why not try one of these secluded resorts instead, says co-editor of Welove2ski.com, Felice Hardy. These low-key destinations have every reason to celebrate their slopes
Niseko on the island of Hokkaido has superb skiing with wide pistes – and off-piste among the birch trees and bamboos. The conditions here are particularly good, with lots of light, powdery snow falling each season. Niseko has three bases: Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuri. Hirafu is the most villagey and where much of the après-ski takes place. It resembles a small Canadian resort – but with a live volcano looming in the background.
Dream flight: To Sapporo Airport – 106km (1hr 52mins) from Niseko
Montgenèvre is the only French resort in the giant Milky Way ski area; it’s linked on snow with half a dozen Italian resorts, including Sestriere and Sauze d’Oulx. The resort is a good bet for beginners due to the extensive nursery slopes at village level, while also being ideal for less confident intermediates, with lots of wide, tree-lined pistes. Don’t expect to find one of those chic French resorts beloved by Parisians – Montgenèvre is quiet, authentically rural, with a distinct lack of nightlife.
Dream flight: To Turin Airport – 110km (1hr 22mins) from Montgenèvre
Fernie’s skiing has one of the biggest vertical drops (1,082 metres) in the Canadian Rockies but the main action is found in the five powder bowls that provide a dazzling array of steep and deep terrain for off-piste enthusiasts. You can stay in convenient ski-in ski-out accommodation at Fernie Alpine Resort at the base of the ski area, or 4.8km away in the charming old Victorian town of Fernie. Another of Fernie’s attractions is its location, with day trips possible to the nearby resorts of Kimberley and Panorama.
Dream flight: To Calgary Airport – 307km (3hr) from Fernie
The resorts in South Korea are a lot smaller and lower than those of Japan, but the infrastructure is equally good. The county of PyeongChang hosted the 2018 Winter Olympic Games and is made up of four resorts all less than a 30-minute drive away. The biggest is purpose-built Yongpyong, which has the country’s best all-round skiing, open from 8.30am to 2.30am daily. Right next door is the resort of Alpensia, where the Olympic ski-jumping and Nordic events took place.
Dream flight: To Seoul Airport – 172km (2hrs 30mins) from PyeongChang
Sochi is a seaside resort that meanders along the eastern shore of the Black Sea. The mountains form a steep backdrop and the ski region of Krasnaya Polyana was specially developed for the 2014 Olympic Games. Three separate resorts are within a few minutes drive of each other, although they are not linked via piste. In all, they offer 200km of runs and some excellent off-piste. Most developed is Rosa Khutor with 18 lifts; its buildings look a little like those of Whistler in Canada. The overall terrain is steep in all three resorts, so it’s not ideal for beginners.
Dream flight: To BA flight to Moscow then connecting flight with oneworld partner S7 Airlines to Sochi Airport – 46km (42mins) from the resort
To plan your next ski break, visit ba.com