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The best long-haul ski resorts

Put some miles under your skis, before you’ve even hit the piste with our pick of the best long-haul destinations to ski, ride and tour, from the powder fields of Chile to China’s booming mountain resorts, and way beyond

The best long-haul ski resorts
Snowboarder on Mammoth Mountain

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Chile

Where: Termas de Chillán, Andes
Why: Epic scenery and thermal hot springs add an extra dimension to a standard ski holiday. This year-round ski/spa resort sits 250 miles south of Santiago, with slopes from 5,250ft to 8,200ft. Pistes include Las Tres Marías, South America’s longest run at eight miles, while thermal pools range from 27C to 65C. Cross-country, ski touring, dog sledding, snowmobiling and quality hotels are all on hand, too.
When: Mid-June to October.
How to do it: scottdunn.com

Argentina

Where: San Carlos de Bariloche
Why: With a backdrop of Patagonian Lakes and Andes Mountains, why would you not? Bariloche is a hub for Northern Hemisphere skiers training in our summer months, and is ‘the’ place to stay when skiing Chile’s legendary Cerro Catedral. This year, Ski Instructor Academy Austria (SIA Austria) launched a new course in Bariloche offering great value for wannabe instructors — with a guaranteed job at the end of it.
When: Mid-June to October.
How to do it: siaaustria.com

California

Where: Mammoth Mountain
Why: With a record almost seven metres of snow last January alone, Mammoth, in the Sierra Nevada, has a season that often runs to from June to July the following year. Last spring, Mammoth was bought out by a conglomeration of leading North American ski resorts, surely signalling investment aplenty, and combined passes for some of stellar sister resorts. Mammoth Mountain alone has 3,500 acres of skiable terrain.
When: October to July.
How to do it: skisafari.com

Japan

Why: Furano is yet another Japanese resort with recently relaxed backcountry restrictions, Furano averages nine metres of the light, dry snow for which Japan is famed. Unlike some of the newer resorts, Furano has a year-round community and excellent value dining options, so offers intrepid skiers a real taste of Japanese culture.
When: December-March.
How to do it: skisafari.com

Australia

Where: Perisher, New South Wales
Why: The largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere, and a hit with freestylers thanks to five floodlit terrain parks, Perisher is in the Kosciuszko National Park, six hours from Sydney. Vail Resorts bought Perisher in June 2015, making it part of the Epic Pass, which for US$859 (£678) offers unlimited skiing at worldwide resorts.
When: Mid-June to October.
How to do it: sno.co.uk

China

Where: Beidahu, Jilin province
Why: The 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing, where skiing, freestyling and boarding is exploding in popularity. Beidahu, two hours north of Beijing, has 19 pistes, the biggest lift-served area in the country and, as of last year, China’s second Club Med ski resort, plus a Warren Smith Ski Academy (warrensmith-skiacademy.com).
When: December to March.
How to do it: clubmed.co.uk

Japan

Where: Kiroro, on the island of Hokkaido
Why: In January 2016, this resort in Japan’s northernmost island relaxed rules to allow skiers and snowboarders access to its backcountry terrain. Kiroro is the place to go for off-piste, with a consistent snowfall and dedicated ‘powder zone’ plus the ubiquitous tree skiing for which Japan is so well known: essential in bad weather. Backcounty guides cost £430 per day for up to six people.
When: December to March; best snowfall January/February.
How to do it: differentsnow.com

Published in the Winter Sports 2018 guide, free with the October 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)