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Top 10 ski destinations in Asia-Pacific

written by Webjet Australia August 14, 2015

Crisp, fresh powder. The classic swooshes and crunches breaking the peaceful stillness. Spectacular views and refreshing air. Exhilarating runs down the slopes before stopping for a steamy mug of cocoa or pint of beer to warm you up.

It’s ski season, people.

Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway at the best ski fields of the Southern Hemisphere or planning ahead for a jaunt up north, here are 10 of the best ski destinations in Asia-Pacific.

1. Queenstown, New Zealand

Season: Late June/early July through September

The Remarkables loom in the distance for Queenstown visitors.The Remarkables loom in the distance for Queenstown visitors.

There’s a reason why professional skiers and Olympic athletes head to New Zealand to train up: The mountain slopes are fantastic. Queenstown is the ski resort Mecca that boasts around 100 licensed options, from beginner to advanced. Who wouldn’t want to say they’ve skied down The Remarkables, which were also featured in a certain movie trilogy?

2. Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Season: Late June/early July through September

Like Queenstown, Lake Wanaka is a jumping off point for a number of excellent skiing options, many of which offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding scenery. In particular, check out Treble Cone, which World Ski Awards named New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort in 2014.

3. Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand

Season: Late June/early July through October or November, best in the spring

Let’s not leave the North Island out. Mt Ruapehu is the place to go, and it’s easily accessible from major cities like Wellington. Whakapapa and Tuora are the two commercial fields, boasting the highest lift in New Zealand. If the volcano looks familiar as you arrive, that’s because it took on the role of Mount Doom!

4. Seoul, South Korea

Ski season: Usually November through March

Hit the slopes in South Korea.Hit the slopes in South Korea.

You’ve got a number of extraordinary options for ski resorts close to Seoul in South Korea, many of which are accessible by bus. For example, High 1 Resort offers 18 slopes ranging from beginner to advanced, and the place even has a casino, while the Silk Road Slope at Muju Deukyusan is Korea’s longest at 6.1 kilometres. Phoenix Park is a two-hour bus ride from Seoul, but you’ll enjoy a facility that’s been chosen for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games.

5. Thredbo, Australia

Season: Early June through September

Thredbo – which is accessible from the Canberra airport – has some of the most advanced runs in Australia, while also catering to beginners. In addition to having the steepest slopes in the country, Thredbo boasts some of the longest pistes.

6. Perisher, Australia

Season: Early June through the beginning of October

Located in New South Wales, Australia, Perisher is our biggest resort. In fact, it beats out every other resort in the Southern Hemisphere as far as skiing is concerned. Expect plenty of entertainment and after-hours options in addition to four ski areas. It’s great for snowboarding, too:

7. Niseko, Japan

Season: Late November to early May

Expert skiers say they experience a sensation of floating on the light, dry powder of Niseko, according to the Finanical Times. This resort area may be one of the best skiing locations in Asia, impressing internationals and locals alike, and it’s not far from the Japanese town of Sapporo. You might recognise the name of that city because it hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics.

8. Nazawa Onsen, Japan

Season: Late November through early May

Located near Nagano, this resort was rated the best overall resort by Powderhounds because it offers far more than its 50 kilometres of slopes and historic, cultural ties to skiing. Nazawa Onsen is seated on a thermal hotspot, meaning you can warm up in hot spring (onsen) pools at the public bathhouses in town after enjoying some of the best snow in Japan.

9. Lake Baikal, Russia

Season: Beginning of November through beginning of May

Although the ski resorts in the mountainous Caucasus region are among Russia’s best (they hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, after all), we wanted to keep our focus firmly on the Asian part of Russia. That takes us to Siberia, where the stunning Lake Baikal is an attraction in itself as well as home to a number of excellent resorts. From the slopes of the Baikalsk Alpine Resort or Sable (Sobolinaya Mountain), you can see the Baikal, which is the world’s deepest lake.

10. Gulmarg, India

Season: Mid-December to mid-May, peaking between February and March

Skiing in the Himalayan Mountains is not for the faint of heart, at least not if you’re taking the world’s highest gondola in Gulmarg. Steep drops, copious powder, remarkable heights: Kashmir skiing is for advanced off-piste skiers only, but it’ll be an experience you’ll be hard pressed to top.

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