Most of you have already skied on the highest, biggest or most famous ski resorts in your country, or some other countries. You might have also tried the best snow park out there and tasted the Aprés ski. But, have you ever seen the smoke of an active volcano while skiing? Or admire the volcanic landscape while taking a break in the bar at the ski resort? Maybe you didn’t know, but there are quite a lot of destinations where ski areas are located on the volcanoes. Some of them are »sleeping« some of them can surprise you with an eruption as happened in 2018 in Chile.
So, would you like to spice up your skiing adventures in the future? Read further and you will get to know some of the volcanos you can ski down. You can visit Ratoong’s website to rate the ski resorts you already have been skiing on and help other travelers find their perfect ski resort!
1. ETNA, SICILY, ITALY
The highest active volcano on the continent is 3340m tall. The gondola brings skiers 2500m high and from there, they can enjoy 12 km of mostly intermediate slopes with some more challenging ones as well. More ambitious skiers can book a mountain guide and hike to the summit of Mount Etna with touring skis and then experience the 1400m long descent. Mount Etna is spectacular, with amazing views of the rising smoke from the crater and the azure sea.
There is information about Etna not interrupting with eruption since 2004, but the latest volcano eruption happened recently in February 2021.
2. MAUNA KEA, HAWAII
Yep, besides beaches, sun, surfing, and shave ice, you can also ski in Hawaii! Mauna Kea is a 4200m volcano and sometimes it receives enough amount of snow to ski and snowboard. There are no slopes and lifts so it is truly off-piste skiing. So, before your adventure, you should think about transport. The best to have is a four-wheel car and an additional driver, so he can pick you up at the bottom and drive you up on the top again. Also, don’t bring your best equipment as it can happen, you may come across some lava rocks and it can cost you some serious damage to the gear. The best time to visit the Mauna Kea is from late January through March.
3. ELBRUS, RUSSIA
Mount Elbrus is with its 5642m no longer an active volcano. Recently modernized lift infrastructure gives you the pleasure to enjoy skiing at the altitude of 2350m to 3840m. The area offers you 35 km of slopes, one of which is impressively 12 km long. But the real reason to travel to Elbrus is the big mountain Freeride skiing. Descents of over 2000 vertical meters give you joy on many gorgeous runs down to the valley. However, skiing on one of the coldest mountains in the world is considered to be very dangerous, so a guide is highly recommended.
4. VILLARRICA VOLCANO, CHILE
What makes the skiing experience on volcano Villarica so special is the stunning landscape with dramatic volcanic peaks and massive lakes. Also, the volcano is still very active and in the crater, it sits lava lake which throws orange light on the smoke at night.
You can enjoy 39 km of slopes at an altitude of 1200m-2100m. There are 7 lifts, the slopes suit more beginners and intermediate skiers. If you want more of an adventure, you can hike the summit and see the volcano in action. The lifts can be closed due to bad weather, but hiking around the volcanic area can bring joy and adrenaline for expert skiers, bringing on some challenging Freeride terrain with natural half-pipes and jumps.
5. MOUNT RUAPEHU, NEW ZEALAND
Mount Ruapehu is the home of three ski resorts. The largest one has the longest cable car (1,8 km) in New Zealand. It is also opened in summer for hiking the summit of the volcano. Skiing on the mountain itself brings magnificent views of snowy peaks and the green rainforest at the bottom. This is also the place where the scenes of Lord of the Rings were filmed.
The best time to visit Mount Ruapehu is late in the Southern Hemisphere season in August and September. Because of its location next to Lake Taupo, it is a storm magnet, but if you have the time to wait for bluebird day, it is worth it.
6. MOUNT ZAO and NISEKO, JAPAN
Mount Zao is known for its excellent powder conditions. There are 30 ski lifts and the slopes are suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Due to heavy snowfalls and cold winds, you can see their spectacular snow sculptures called »Juhyo« or more known as »snow monsters«. They are accessible for skiers and non-skiers with gondolas or ropeway. The longest run starts at the summit in the monster tree aria and is 10 km long. On the mountain is also the famous hot spring town.
Known for the fresh powder, even more, is Niseko, located in Hokkaido, the north island of Japan. They say it is the powder capital of the world. The amount of snow they can receive is incredible –14-20m per year– and because of the cold, the powder is dry and fluffy. So, prepare to have an extra layer of clothing when you will go enjoying the »Japow«.
If you found this destinations interesting, don’t miss our post “Unusual must-try snow destinations” and discover some of the most rare places to enjoy your ski vacation!
So, have you already decided where you want to go on your next great ski adventure? If you don’t, you can use Ratoong to find and book your next ski holiday using our platform.