Not too long ago, the coolest ski experiences tapped out at ski-in/ski-out chalets, heli-skiing excursions and ski concierges who kept your boots warm. But with each passing season, resorts and bespoke companies seem to one-up each other to offer even more incredible adventures, ranging from skiing under the Northern Lights in Scandinavia to having entire mountains to yourself. Here are some of the latest in the world’s coolest ski experiences.
Land to Sea in Iceland
In addition to having their own ski lifts and excellent cross-country options, Deplar Farm in northern Iceland offers heli-skiing that takes guests to the peak on the Troll Peninsula. Over 3,000 vertical feet of untouched powder end at the sea, where skiers can then change into wetsuits and go surfing or kayaking. (Tip: Make the most of your time in Iceland and tack on a few additional days in another part of the country.)
Gourmands in the Dolomites
The Dolomites, in the northeast of Italy, feature some excellent skiing with a variety of terrain and stunning scenery. Most exciting for foodies, however, are the dining options that abound in rifugios, or mountain huts, that serve the best of cuisine from southern Germany, Italy and France (think schnitzel, gnocchi and raclette served with incredible baguettes). Many rifugios also have overnight accommodations.
Skiing Round the World
Luxury tour operator Scott Dunn’s 34-day ski trip starts—and ends—in Europe, but traverses the globe in between. The trip, which can be booked for anytime between December and March, begins in Zermatt, Switzerland, then continues to Niseko, Japan (with a stop in Tokyo), carries on to Whistler, in British Columbia, for heli-skiing, then to Aspen and ends in Iceland. Prices runs around $50,000 per person.
Santa on Skis in Finland
Home to Santa Claus, reindeer and the Northern Lights, Finnish Lapland also boasts some great skiing with fewer crowds and a long season. Frozen forests and lakes look like scenes from fairytales, which, along with a variety of types of slopes (not to mention the opportunity for dog-sledding with huskies), make it an excellent destination for families with kids.
Alaska’s Sheldon Chalet is seriously remote—it takes a plane (or two), a drive and a helicopter to reach—but anyone who has been will argue that the journey is more than worth it. The hotel can accommodate 10 guests at a time who have the option of skiing, exploring the mile-thick Ruth Glacier, luxuriating in natural hot springs, and building igloos.
A Mountain of One’s Own
When money is no object, and privacy and access is the priority, there are private mountain resorts, like Cimarron Mountain Club in Colorado, Yellowstone Club in Montana, and Alpine Ski Club in Ontario. Membership, which is limited and can cost in the millions of dollars, typically comes with a parcel of land upon which you can build your own chalet.
Any trip to the Great White Continent is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but for a skier to ski there has to be the bucket-list adventure to end all bucket-list adventures. All skiing is (obviously) off-piste and must be reached via hiking—there are definitely no chairlifts here—but intrepid skiers are rewarded with skiing on glaciers, past icebergs, amidst penguins and with views of minke whales.
If you miss the opportunity of taking a ski trip this winter, remember that the ski season actually extends all year long, if you head to the Southern Hemisphere. In July, August and September, skiing in Argentina and especially Chile is excellent, and offers a whole different perspective. (In Chile, adventurers can ski down volcanos!) Most importantly, know that Luggage Forward can ship your skis around the world so you can travel unhindered with your gear.