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Six ski trips of a lifetime, from Iceland to Iran

After the privations of recent months, we’ve scouted around for some unique and spectacular ways to spend winter in the mountains. From Iran to Iceland, the Rockies to Russia, why wait to book that ski trip of a lifetime?

By Alf Alderson
Published 14 Feb 2022, 11:59 GMT
Hikers on Baffin Island.

Hikers on Baffin Island.

Photograph by Getty Images

1. Baffin Island, Canada

Not many skiers can claim to have visited Baffin Island. The remote landscapes of this northern Canadian territory are accessed by helicopter, allowing you to ski beneath the midnight sun on nameless mountains that may never have seen ski tracks before. You’ll be based in a luxury Arctic camp, surrounded by gigantic granite walls and glaciers seemingly stretching to infinity; and it’s not just about the unique skiing experience. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy dog sledding, Inuit throat singing performances, snowmobiling and guided polar bear safaris — definitely not your average ski trip. C$175,000 (£101,000) total, excluding flights, group booking only (eight people).

2. Kamchatka, Russia

Kamchatka might be on the other side of the world (it’s 12 time zones away), but skiing here is like navigating a diˆ erent planet. In the course of a single descent of up to 6,000 vertical feet, you may encounter smoking volcanoes, steaming hot pools, vast powder fields and unforgettable views across the most active volcanic landscape in the world. And all this before finishing up on a black sand beach from where — if you’re brave enough — you can skinny dip in the cobalt blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. James Morland of Elemental Adventure advises clients that: “This is adventure skiing rather than powder skiing. You should be prepared for any conditions. If you are, it’ll be the ski adventure of a lifetime.” From €6,950 (£5,940) per person, excluding flights.  

3. Skeena Mountains, Canada

On the border of British Columbia and Alaska, the Skeena Mountains offer adventurous skiers the opportunity to explore peaks so remote that many remain unnamed. From a base of cosy log cabins, helicopters transport just four skiers plus two guides into a ski area the size of Greater London — it’s safe to say it won’t be crowded. The region combines a winning mix of snowsure alpine terrain and tree skiing. On a seven-day trip with Last Frontier Heliskiing, the average snow depth is around 10ft and the average ‘vertical’ more than 14,000ft. From £4,843 per person, excluding flights.

4. Ísafjörður, Iceland

This trip combines sailing the spectacular fjords of northwest Iceland with ski touring on the imposing peaks rising above the icy deep waters of this stretch of Nordic coastline. For ski touring, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering, this pristine part of Iceland is world-class, and on this ‘sea to ski’ adventure, you’ll be sailing out of Ísafjörður on a beautifully restored old oak schooner. Early season trips may be lit by the Northern Lights, while late-season adventures in May could well allow you to ski for almost 24 hours a day (energy permitting). And on what other ski trip might you encounter whales and dolphins on your way to the mountains? This is one for both experienced skiers and those with good sea legs. €1,800 (£1,540) per person for a six-day trip. Flights not included.

5. Riksgransen, Sweden

If a regular ski season isn’t long enough for you, Riskgransen, just north of the Arctic Circle, will provide you with skiing well into June — including under the midnight sun, should you so wish. It will also appeal to those seeking to reduce their carbon output since you can get to the resort by train direct from Stockholm, and access the slopes on skins. For avid downhillers, there are regular ski lifts and even helicopter transport. As for just how much skiing is available, the Riskgransen website answers that question with laconic Scandinavian brevity — ‘a lot’. Heliskiing from £2,460 per person for three days, not including travel.

6. Dizin, Iran

Skiing isn’t always simply about hooning down snow-laden slopes, as a culture-packed ski trip to Iran will attest. You can, however, do plenty of that in Dizin, in Iran’s Alborz Mountains, thanks to the plentiful supply of light and fluffy snow that usually graces this vertiginous resort, set at an altitude of between 8,500-12,000ft. But don’t just stick to the slopes — a ski adventure in Iran also offers the opportunity to go sightseeing at historical and cultural sites including Shiraz, Isfahan, the impressive pre-Islamic monuments of Persepolis and, of course, the capital city, Tehran. Add to that fantastic food and incredibly friendly people and you have a unique adventure. From £2,000 per person including transfers, sightseeing, local guides and internal flights.  

Ald Alderson is author of Ultimate Skiing Adventures – 100 Epic Experiences in the Snow (Fernhurst Books, £20)  

Published in the Winter Sports guide 2021, distributed with National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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