How to Ski on Every Continent (Including Antarctica)

It can be hard to find things to do in the winter. Scraping together the motivation to go out and brave the elements gets increasingly difficult as the days get shorter and the weather grows colder. Why not use the conditions to your advantage and head out to the slopes to get your adrenaline pumping? Skiing is a popular winter activity worldwide. If you’re looking for the most pristine powder in every corner of the world, here’s how to ski on every continent.

North America

Mountains covered in snow taken from a ski slope in Vail, Colorado
Credit: Nikolai Voronin/ Shutterstock 

North America is full of skiing possibilities. One of the prerequisites for downhill skiing is, of course, mountains. On the east coast, the Appalachian Mountains are full of ski resorts and slopes. The better ones are in the north, as the southern mountains have very short winter seasons due to the warmer climate.

If you’re looking for the best that North America has to offer, you need to head to the western United States. Colorado, in particular, is famous for its high-end, top-tier skiing opportunities. Many Colorado resorts top the list for best skiing year after year.

For those looking for extreme skiing opportunities, head to western Canada and Alaska. Many of the mountains are completely untouched and require helicopters to reach the tops. Although they might be hard to get to, there is no resort skiing that can compete with these pristine natural conditions.

South America

Aerial view of ski resort gondolas and snowy landscape in Santiago, Chile
Credit: tjalex/ Shutterstock

In South America, the best slopes can be found in the mountains of Argentina and Chile. While everyone in North America is enjoying the warm summer weather relaxing on the beach, true snow lovers should travel to South America for some of the best skiing from June to August. If you want to escape the heat, migrate south to find some fresh powder.

Europe

People skiing in Austria with snowy mountain ranges in distance
Credit: mbbirdy/ iStock

If you’re a serious skier, the slopes in Europe can’t be beat. Not only do they have some of the most pristine mountains and conditions, but they have some of the most high-end, luxurious resorts in the world.

If you want the best skiing experience possible, you should head to the Alps in Austria, Switzerland, and eastern France. There are thousands of ski resorts and towns scattered throughout this area. It would be impossible to visit without coming across dozens of world-class ski opportunities.

Africa

People at the base of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco
Credit: Mehdi ASEBBANE/ Shutterstock 

Africa might not be known for great ski opportunities. After all, most of the continent has a hot climate and some of the harshest deserts in the world. But there are some mountains scattered throughout that provide people the opportunity to get in some slope time. For the best skiing in Africa, you should head to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. While it might not be like visiting the Alps in Europe or the Rockies in the North America, the Atlas Mountains house the largest ski resort in Africa and provide plenty of slopes for any ski enthusiast.

For a true taste of African skiing, head to the Namibian desert for some dune skiing. Dune skiing is exactly what it sounds like: Find a big sand dune in the desert, strap on your skis, and push off! This is perfect for those who like to ski but can’t stand the cold weather. No hand warmers needed.

Asia

People skiing in Japan with mountain in background
Credit: Tetyana Dotsenko/ Shutterstock 

Asia is a continent filled with mountains. There is not one single spot that’s the best for skiing. The top resorts can be found scattered throughout the mountains of Japan, China, and South Korea.

One of the more unique ski opportunities is in Kashmir in southwestern Asia. The Gulmarg ski resort boasts the highest ski lift in the world, which carries skiers to the top station at 13,054 feet. From there, you’ll have great views of the tallest mountain range in the world: the Himalayas.

Australia & Oceania

People on chair lift and skiing in Australia
Credit: Taras Vyshnya/ Shutterstock 

If you’re looking for world-class skiing in the land down under, you’ll want to head to New Zealand. On the west coast is a mountain range called the Southern Alps and, much like the European Alps, it is home to some of the region's best ski slopes.

Australia’s Mount Buller in the southeastern part of the country has the largest ski resort in Oceania with more than 50 miles of beautifully manicured slopes. In the summer, the slopes become mountain bike and hiking trails.

Antarctica

Person climbing up snowy mountain with skis on back to ski down
Credit: VichoT/ iStock

Once you’ve exhausted the list of ski resorts in all the other continents and are looking for a truly unique skiing experience, it’s time to head to Antarctica. There are no towns, ski lifts, snowmobiles or helicopters. In fact, there’s no civilization of any kind. The only way to climb up the pristine, untouched mountains is with your own two legs.

While it may sound like a pain, the landscape in Antarctica is unrivaled. The snow and mountains are completely untouched, providing the absolute best skiing conditions on the planet. Most people who visit Antarctica for the skiing head to the Antarctic Peninsula south of Argentina. Since there aren’t any hotels, most people either camp or stay in boats anchored offshore. If you’re an avid skier, this is a must-do.

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