“Best” can mean different things to different people. When it comes to skiing, “best” can refer to the quality of snow, the scenery, or the accessibility and affordability of a location.
For this article, we define “best” as the most unexpected and unusual places to ski, both in the U.S. and beyond. After all, you already know all about Vail and Zermatt…but do you know you can ski in Antarctica and even Hawaii?
Check out these best places to ski in the US and beyond, and then check them off your snow bucket list!
Best Places to Ski in the U.S.
Sometimes, the more you travel, the more you realize that your home has just as much to offer as anywhere else. The same holds true for skiing! America has so many varied and beautiful places to ski right in your own backyard.
1- Mauna Kea, Hawaii
When you think of great skiing the first place that comes to mind isn’t Hawaii most likely, but the peak of Mauna Keae is worth exploring. From its base on
the ocean floor, this extinct volcano is one of the world’s highest island mountains and offers some of the world’s highest skiing on its “Pineapple Powder.”
- 19.8206° N, 155.4681° W
- Summit Elevation: 13,796’
- Ski Season: Late January through March
2- Silverton Mountain, Colorado
Coming in second on our list of best places to ski in the US, the motto “All thrills no frills” perfectly describes this mountain especially known for its heli drops into 400 inches of average total snowfall (which they brag as exceeding the number of daily visitors).
- 37.8846° N, 107.6659° W
- Summit Elevation: 13,487’
- Ski Season: November through April
3- Mt. Shuksan, Washington
Skis? Check. Boots and poles? Check. Avy gear? Check. Sleeping bag? Check. Beyond that are unneeded luxuries here in this alpine-climbing-in, unbelievable-skiing-out wilderness. You will get to see the lush green of Washington, and the next day see the snowy white peaks like Mt. Shuksan.
- 48.8310° N, 121.6029° W
- Summit Elevation: 9,131’
- Ski Season: November through April
4- Mad River Glen, Vermont
With a history steeped in racing, this venue is home to the most challenging skiing in the East.
- 44.2025° N, 72.9175° W
- Summit Elevation: 3,637’
- Ski Season: Mid-December through April
5- Liberty University, Virginia
We’ve included this location on our list of best places to ski in the US as it’s the best place to keep up your skiing skills year round. Liberty University’s Snowflex Centre offers year-round programs to get better at your game during the offseason. Work on your freestyle progressive maneuvers on the Bagjump or Olympic trampoline.
- 37.3529° N, 79.1769° W
- Summit Elevation: 876’
- Ski Season: Lesson, programs, coaching, and equipment available year round
Best Places to Ski Around the World
Now, let’s say you’re ready to take your Instagram brags to the next level. Consider yourself unbeatable when you post about your adventures skiing at any of these extreme venues.
6- Mount Etna, Sicily
If skiing an extinct volcano is too pedestrian for you, why not give skiing atop an active one a try?
- 37.7510° N, 14.9934° E
- Summit Elevation: 10,991’
- Ski Season: December through February
7- The Himalayas, India
As described by one skier, Gulmarg in Kashmir “combines big mountain skiing, powder, backcountry, avalanches, men with guns, poverty, filth, driving chaos, random acts, culture, hawkers, Russians, beggars, colonialism, Ukrainians, monkeys, and culinary mysteries all into one!” Could a slope get a better review? We think not!
- 34.0260° N, 74.2248° E
- Summit Elevation: 8,694’
- Ski Season: January 1 through March 31
8- Union Glacier, Antarctica
Cross-country ski the last 60 nautical miles from base camp to reach the most southerly point on earth. This expedition captures the ultimate in polar exploration (and in cost at around $64,000)!
- 79.7500° S, 82.5000° W
- Summit Elevation: 2,297’
- Ski Season: November through January
Best Items to Pack for a Ski Trip
Now that you know the best places to ski in the US and around the world, how and what should you pack for such a ski trip? The appropriate answer here is light. You’ll already be packing in your required ski gear and equipment, so the last thing you want is to be weighed down even more with unnecessary items.
Here are our suggestions for what else to pack for the above adrenaline-inducing adventures, perfectly streamlined to fit in your lightweight, waterproof 40L carry on bag:
- Icebreaker Zone base layer
- Mountain Hard Wear Dome Perignon Lite beanie
- Darn Tough Over-the-Calf Padded Light socks
- L.L. Bean Wicked Good slippers
If you’re ready to pack for your next adventure, buy a Nomatic travel bag and get on your way!