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Powder Play: Six Ski Destinations Off the Beaten Path

Crowds on the slopes? Ski Hawaii or Morocco instead.

Forget Park City. Hit the slopes this winter at these six emerging ski destinations.

Lyngen, Norway


Inside the Arctic Circle on Norway’s Lyngen fjord, skiers and splitboarders can hike up mountains and ski down to the beach. (Snowboarders, alas are not allowed.) The peaks rise directly from the fjord, and you’re pretty much guaranteed first tracks on untouched powder.

Après-ski: Refuel with afternoon tea, soup, cakes, and waffles at Lyngen Lodge, then alternate between the sauna and outdoor hot tub like a seasoned Scandinavian.

Where to stay: Book a six-day, seven-night Summit to Sea package at the lodge. From November to March, depending on weather conditions, you might see the Northern Lights from your room. $4,345 per person, meals and transfers included;

Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Photographer: Getty Images/Perspectives

This is for serious skiers only. There are no resorts, lifts, or ski patrol, and at 13,796 feet, the courses are extreme. Hire a driver from Mauna Kea Ski Corp., or rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle to haul yourself to the summit and ski down the “pineapple powder,” with its particular crumbly texture.

Après-ski: The altitude, dry air, and isolated location make the area ideal for stargazing. The Maunakea Visitor Information Station hosts free nightly viewing sessions from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where to stay: Indulge in a traditional Hawaiian lomilomi massage at the Fairmont Orchid. Take a beachside stroll in the afternoon, when sea turtles come onshore to bask in the sun. From $321 per night;

Yongpyong, South Korea

Photographer: Shin Woong-Jae for Bloomberg Businessweek

The biggest ski and snowboard resort in Korea, Yongpyong will host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Nestled in the Baekdu-Daegan Mountains a two-hour drive east of Seoul, the resort offers a glimpse of the Sea of Japan on a clear day.

Après-ski: Carnivores should check out Hanwoo Town, a Korean barbecue restaurant, to sample the country’s specialty: tender, fat-marbled beef from cattle raised on beer-enriched feed three times a day.

Where to stay: Yongpyong’s Dragon Valley Hotel is just steps from the slope. Request an odd-numbered room in the renovated wing to face the mountains. From $270 per night;

Oukaïmeden, Morocco

Photographer: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

See the dunes of the Sahara shimmering in the distance from the Moroccan ski resort of Oukaïmeden, 45 miles south of Marrakech in the Atlas Mountains. The resort has all the amenities you’d expect—rentals, ski school, and restaurants—at dramatically lower prices than in the U.S. or Europe. Trails aren’t well-marked, so hire a guide.

Après-ski: Sun yourself on the terrace and order French fare and cocktails at the fireside bar at Hotel Le Courchevel, which overlooks Mt. Jebel Attar.

Where to stay: Oukaïmeden’s hotels are fine, but those in Marrakech, only an hour away by car, are much nicer. The new all-suite Mandarin Oriental Marrakech is spread across 50 acres of gardens and olive groves only 10 minutes from the markets of the medina. From $707 per night;

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Photographer: John Elk/Getty Images

This 242,188-square-foot indoor ski area is located inside the massive Mall of the Emirates. A 25-story “mountain” has five slopes, including a freestyle area for snowboarders and sledders and the world’s first indoor black diamond run.

Après-ski: Visit the penguin habitat, where, once a week, two lucky adult guests can swim with the creatures for 10 to 15 minutes for $35 each.

Where to stay: An over-the-top ski trip in the desert calls for a stay at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the opulent, all-suite hotel famed for its fleet of Rolls-Royces, full-size Hermès bath amenities, and celebrity guests. From $2,103 per night;

Brasov, Romania

Photographer: Getty Images

The town’s resort is called Poiana Soarelui, meaning “sunny glade,” and you’ll see a lot of them as you whoosh around through the sunlit conifer forests of the Carpathian Mountains. French, German, Italian, and Swiss families have been coming for years to this budget ski destination, a three-hour drive from Bucharest. The runs are well-groomed; plus, the resort has two 262-foot ski jumps and a skating rink.

Après-ski: You’re in Transylvania, so plan a visit to nearby Bran Castle, which inspired Dracula’s haunt in Bram Stoker’s classic novel.

Where to stay: Ana Hotel Sport & Spa at the foot of the slopes is a sleek, Alpine-style property backed by forests with mountain views—and a four-minute walk to the chairlift. From $160;

If your winter season is already a bust, you can ski next summer in Lesotho, Africa’s “Mountain Kingdom,” and New Zealand, where you can carve turns on an active volcano.

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