Unusual skiing destinations: Ski resorts you have never heard of

 Beijing scored the winning bid for the Winter Olympics in 2022 this week. Who even knew Beijing had mountains?

Clearly not the IOC which awarded the bid based on a plan to build skiing and snowboarding venues at Yanqing,​ northwest of Beijing, destinations that boast a mere 5 to 21 centimetres of average snow depth. The rest will be provided by snowmaking – a lot of snowmaking.

Roy & HG may have been onto something when pitching Smiggins Hole after all.

Yanqing isn't the only unheard of ski and snowboard area yet to be discovered by Australian ski dollars. Greece, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Iran all offer ski and snowboard options if you're willing to put in the effort for more natural snow than Winter Olympics 2022 will offer.

We've compiled 10 you might want to put on your boasting bucket list.

Shymbulak, Kazakhstan – a mere half an hour's drive from the other bidder for 2022, Almaty. With eight lifts accessing a thousand metres of vertical with a top elevation of 3200 metres. But be quick, Prince Harry has already skied here so word is out.

Alshan Ski Resort, China – thankfully Alshan has more snow than Yanqing and is the training base for the China ski team. Set in the prehistoric forests of Mongolia, you'll have to fly to Beijing, then to Ulanhot​ and catch a bus.

Parnassos Ski Resort, Greece – this is the largest ski resort in Greece, known more for tropical islands and melting economies than a ski mecca. Parnassos is made up of Kellaria, Fterolakka and Yerodovrahos​, all linked by 13 chairlifts and 23 ski runs.

Iran – take your pick from Tochal, Dizin, Shemshak and Darbandsar, the ski resorts of Tehran's mountain ranges. The chairlift lines are no longer gender segregated but while each resort offers a more relaxed leisure attitude to Tehran, be respectful of the principles of Islamic law when hitting the slopes.


Cerro Castor, Argentina – the southern most ski resort in the world sits a mere 195 metres above sea level but don't let that deter you – the resort offers snow skiing from June to October. Expect 10 lifts and 28 trails, 800 metres of vertical and 600 hectares of skiable terrain.

Mzaar, Lebanon – an hour's drive from Beirut, Mzaar is the largest ski resort in the Middle East. Founded in 1960, the area offers skiing from 1850 metres above sea level to 2465 metres.

 Blafjoll, Iceland – in the southwest of Iceland, Blafjoll has 15 lifts for downhill skiing and a plethora of cross-country tracks. Most resort skiing is tame in Iceland but if you're an advanced skier then heli skiing will get you to the steeper runs of Iceland.

Greenland – Kiwi mountain guide Kevin Boekholt​ offers heli skiing trips to Greenland each May for intrepid skiers and boarders looking for a unique cultural experience and the opportunity to ski from mountain peak right down to the sea. Polar bear sightings are de rigueur. Contact Kevin at Greenland-heliskiing.com

Gulmarg, Kashmir – don't let the armed forces protecting the border deter you. Gulmarg has some seriously good skiing at very high altitude in the Himalaya. The resort is best described as "rustic" so take a guide. Mount Hotham's head of ski patrol Bill Barker takes group ski tours each year. Contact him at billstrips.com

Yongpyong, Korea – prepare to hear a lot about this Korean resort three hours from Seoul as it was awarded the 2018 Winter Olympics. There's still time to get in early to experience the 31 runs on the mainly intermediate mountain accessed by 15 lifts.

Instagram2Win a ski trip to Whistler

We've partnered with SkiMax this season for the annual #misssnowitall Instagram competition. You could win seven nights for two at the swanky Fairmont Chateau in Whistler, plus lift passes for two people at Whistler Blackcomb​ for six days and return flights for two from Sydney to Vancouver thanks to SkiMax.

Just tag your winter-inspired Instagram pics #misssnowitall #skimaxholidays to enter. We'll publish five finalists each week, with one winner at the end of the season. See this week's top entries in the gallery at the top of the page.

The Fairmont Chateau in Whistler.

The Fairmont Chateau in Whistler.

Pro photographers can win a Sony 4k Action Cam with Helmet Side Mount and Board Mount worth $697 (they are not eligible for the Whistler prize) by tagging their pics #misssnowitall #skimaxholidays #pro. We'll choose one pro shot a week as a finalist with one overall winner at end of season.

The Sony 4k Action Cam.

The Sony 4k Action Cam.

Click here for competition terms and conditions. See the latest entries below.

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See also: Ten ways to tell you're a snow addict
See also: Who has the best snow - Australia or New Zealand?

Follow on Instagram and Twitter @misssnowitall