8 Secret ski destinations

BY Richard Mellor

1st Jan 2015 Travel

8 Secret ski destinations

From budget-friendly Bosnian gems to surprisingly-empty French Alp resorts, these under-the-radar resorts are our little secret.

Nagano, Japan

Nagano Japan skiing

Let Hokkaido hog the Japanese ski limelight while you nip off to Nagano.

The perks here extend beyond the powder (although the dozens of resorts, former Winter Olympic runs and multi-slope passes certainly help).

There are apres-ski meaning onsens (hot springs) and small, sake-drenched izakaya bars, while the Jigokudani Monkey Park’s macaques mustn’t be missed. Plus Tokyo is under two hours away. If you needed any more convincing, by western standards prices are relatively low.


Dizin, Iran

Dizin Iran
Image via Good Ski Guide

Think Iran and you might not immediately think skiing. But beyond the deserts, bazaars and turquoise-tiled domes await 5,000m-high mountains and some excellent snow runs.

The main ski resort, Dizin, is just two hours from capital Tehran. Be warned, though: due to strict Islamic laws, some lifts are segregated for men and women.

The apres-ski scene is also more reserved, with more mint teas and less hot toddies.


Jahorina, Bosnia

Jahorina, Bosnia skiing

Eastern Europe is a treasure trove for budget-conscious skiers, and this dinky resort is one of the best bounties around.

A week with flights won’t come near a four figure price tag, even including tuition, and there are good lifts—with an eight-passenger gondola in construction—and hotels in nearby Pale.

Higher up, the 25 miles worth of quality runs have previously attracted the Winter Olympics, hosting the women's alpine skiing events in 1984.


Nuuk and Sisimiut, Greenland

Nuuk and Sisimiut, Greenland
Image via Greenland

The world’s biggest island has a deserved reputation for winter adventures, yet it flies under the skiing radar.

Despite catering to both cross country and alpine styles these cities have trails mapped out and a ski centre complete with lifts and hire equipment.

Up here in the frozen Arctic, is snow ever a problem.


La Grande Terche, France

La Grande Terche France
Image via Allez Alps

Two six-mile red slopes are interspersed by pretty forests and valleys in this secret corner of the Portes du Soleil ski area.

In the total there are 22 miles of pistes, plus unexpectedly cheap lift passes (from around £14 per day) and access to the excellent Roc d’Enfer circuit.

Doused in Alpine charm, the accompanying village has deliberately family-friendly facilities.


Monte Cimone, Italy

Monte Cimone Italy
Image via Visit Italy

South of Modena offers runs to suit all abilities, fake-snow equipment for months when the weather gods don’t play ball, some 30 miles of piste and a competent lift system. But that’s not the best bit.

The best bit is the mountain restaurants with their lardo-lined tigella, their chestnut-stuffed tortelloni and their cured meats. This is skiing, Italian-style.


Taos, USA

Taos USA
Image via Snow Brains

New Mexico might sound sun-soaked, but the Sangre de Cristo Mountains still attract powder enthusiasts with their steep chutes, glades and double black diamonds.

Instructors offer tutorials while, down in Taos town you'll find affordable hotels and a buzzing alternative art scene.

American skiing doesn’t come any quirkier.


Grossglockner, Austria

Grossglockner, Austria

Austria’s Tyrol is hardly a secret, what with iconic St Anton and Kitzbühel. But the East Tyrol exclave remains off the ski-beaten track.

Named for its highest peak, the Grossglockner region boasts two linked resorts above the villages of Matrei and Kals, with intermediate-friendly reds and challenging blacks.

Children aged under five can ski for free, and those aged six to 18 get half-price passes.