While some people tend to flock south when they can cobble together a few days of vacation time, winter sports enthusiasts head in the opposite direction. Far from the sunny beaches and endless mai tais found at tropical vacation destinations, ski resorts and mountain lodges offer a completely different form of recreation. Winter sports venues around the world aim to provide unmatched recreational opportunities in natural, picturesque settings, much to the delight of travelers.
If you’re planning a winter sports vacation out of the country, it’s important to make sure you invest in an international travel insurance policy beforehand. Many winter sports can increase your risk of sustaining an injury on your vacation, and if you’re in a different country your health insurance policy probably won’t cover your health care costs. This needs to be part of your standard pre-trip preparation, right along with acquiring passports and visas for the trip.
With those pre-trip tasks addressed, the biggest remaining hurdle is trying to decide where to spend your vacation. Here are some popular destinations that you might not have heard of before.
Nestled into the French Alps, this destination is an exclusive winter sports town rife with ski resorts, shopping, villas and other accoutrement that provide something for everyone. It’s a bustling city with a number of slopes and a population that revolves around winter sports as its lifeblood. Weekends are the busiest time in Chamonix, and the most rewarding if you want to get a true sense of how the town operates at maximum capacity. Of course, weekday trips offer less competition for the beautiful slopes.
When people think of winter sports, Africa hardly comes to mind. But Oukaïmeden in Morocco is one of the rare African destinations providing a world-class winter sports experience. Situated in the Atlas Mountains, these mountain runs extend more than 3,200 meters above sea level and lack any evidence of being located in a subtropical region. Visitors can enjoy 20 different runs offered by this resort, and the rest of the country is beautiful and diverse in its own right–if tourists choose to come down from the mountaintop.
- Alagna Valsesia
Another Alps destination, Alagna Valsesia is on the Italian side of the Italian-Swiss border and isn’t as well known as it should be, considering its size. The destination offers a ski school equipped with 15 excellent ski teachers, and a wide range of runs are offered on the property.
- Poiana Brasov
Positioned two hours north of Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, Poiana Brasov offers intimacy in a beautiful winter setting. Unlike some parts of Eastern Europe, this location is easily accessible from the airport and offers room to spread out and enjoy the view without feeling crowded by other guests. It’s only 10 minutes outside the city of Brasov and worth any skier’s time.
When it comes to planning winter vacations, the problem is rarely finding a place worth visiting. Such a wide variety of destinations around the world gives you the ability to enjoy your winter recreation while still exploring new regions and engaging diverse cultures. Find a destination that suits your interests and prepare for a luxurious experience in a beautiful natural setting.