Skiing Off the Beaten Track
Everyone thinks of the Rockies and Appalachians in the United States and Canada, The Alps in the Pyrenees in Europe.
Slopes in Hawaii, Lebanon, South American, and Africa are not the first holiday paradises that fill the imaginations of skiers. Let’s get off the known path and take a turn in the woods to seek out the path unknown.
Sand, sun, surfing, and bikini-clad babes are usually the images invoked when thinking of Hawaii; not skiing. At 13,803 feet (4207 meters) Mauna Kea (White Mountain) volcano stands proudly on the big island of Hawaii boasting a height greater than Breckenridge, Colorado in the continental United States. There is not a ski resort at Mauna Kea but rather a beach resort but Mauna Kea that can occasionally be skied.
The backcountry of Mauna Kea is a well kept secret of the locals, probably because there are no groomed slopes, ski lifts, or lodges to retreat to during the winds that can reach speeds of 80–110 km/h (50–68 mph). East of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, visitors will find the Poi Bow, the popular site for competitions held once or twice a year, depending on weather conditions. The mountain beckons visitors to it from its snow-covered summit, guiding them up the one road that leads to its heights.
Leaving behind the thoughts of the Aloha beaches of Hawaii, adventurers turn their attention to Mzaar Lebanon. Once considered the war capital of the world, Lebanon pulled itself from the rubble and ashes. Well known for its confectionery Lebanon hides a sweet slope of sugary powder in the resort of Faraya-Mzaar, the largest and most developed of Lebanese skiing resorts.
Years of war left Lebanon with scars, but it is increasingly safe and healing in a centre of beauty and winter fantasy land The resort has 42 hills that extend 50 miles (80 kilometres), 11 lifts that expand to Jabal Dib (7531 feet, 2296 meters; mountain of the wolf) to the north and Mzaar (8085 feet, 2465 meters) to the south. Along with traditional alpine skiing, people can practice ski-doo, night skiing, snowboarding. Live shows include ski and fashion events that feature G-string models hired to promote the resort.On the top of Mzaar slope, upon exiting the chairlift, there is a view over the Bekaa valley, Mount Hermon of the Anti-Lebanon and other peaks like Zaarour, Laqlouq and the Cedars.
There may be some special requirements for entry into the country for Americans, Canadians, and some Europeans, so be sure to check before travelling.
In the southern hemisphere, Cerro Catedral (Mount Cathedral) offers snowy refreshment in June through August and summer escape December through February for those on their much-needed ski holidays. Just 12.5 miles (20 kilometres) from Bariloche Cerro Catedral is a house of worship for skiers and snowboarders that visit the resort to worship the snow gods. Name after the granite spires that jut out of the mountain Cerro Catedral reminds visitors and locals alike of a gothic church.
The resort boasts the largest ski terrain in South America, about half of which is off-piste (back country) skiing. While lift lines are a challenge at Cerro Caterdral the resort is in the process of modernization and updating. Currently there are 37 lifts, some high speed, some old slow double chairs, and a handful of T-bars, but in comparison to other lifts in South America, Cerra Catedral is flying high.
The village at the base of the slopes is a quaint home to locals and visitors alike with a range of hostels and 5-star luxury accommodations. Bariloche has nightlife, chocolate confectioneries, a range of restaurants and various shopping areas.
In the Maloti Mountains of the southern African region of Lesotho boarding South Africa, AfriSki is the only skiing resort in the heart of the Maluti-Drakensbery Transfrontier Park. Rich in the history of Africa, Lesotho is a democratic, sovereign, independent country surrendered by the republic of South Africa.
The resort offers a wide variety of accommodations including luxury chalets, lodges, hostels (backpackers), wedding suites and conference facilities. AfriSki has 2 snow runs, a terrain park, and a vertical drop of 1000 feet (305 meters). Visitors will find the design of AfriSki similar to that of a European ski village.
In Morocco, the Oukaimeden Resort is just south of Marrakech in the high Atlas Mountains, which boasts snow-covered peaks in January and February. The accommodations do not feature too many catered ski chalets but there are two hotels to spend a night or two at, while you feast on the slopes. The rustic backcountry will surely inspire the adventurer in you.