With the rise of Japanese powder skiing and an endless winter made possible with trips to South America and New Zealand, the once-vast world of skiing is quickly becoming smaller and smaller.
Skiers and boarders are going deeper than ever in search of fresh and unique ski experiences. Suddenly, the once-outlandish ski excursion looks tame to the average palette.
But there is still plenty of skiing that lies outside the reach of normality, downhill adventures so far out there that no one in their right mind would consider bringing along their winter sticks for the rides.
We took a look at a handful of the strangest ski locations in the world and compiled our list of the five places you’ll never ski. Or will you?
40 Tribes, Kyrgyzstan
Most people would have trouble locating Kyrgyzstan on a map, much less seek out its skiing potential, but this landlocked country is one of the last hidden gems in the ski world.
With cold storms spinning down from Siberia and collecting moisture off Lake Issyk-Kul in the northeast, Kyrgyzstan's mountains receive an abundance of light, dry powder akin to that found in Utah and Colorado.
The 40 Tribes backcountry crew has been skiing here for the better part of a decade and lead guided trips out of its yurt system near Karakol. For those willing to brave the long and often multiday trek to this Central Asian hideout, 40 Tribes promises nothing but the best in Silk Road powder.
Mount Hermon, Israel
Nestled cozily along the Israeli-Syrian border … wait, did we say “cozily”? Smack dab in the middle of one of the most contentious active-border situations on Earth, Mount Hermon is Israel's prime ski destination, with nearly 1,500 feet of vertical drop and 14 trails.
Open from January through March, Mount Hermon offers some of the best skiing in the Middle East if you can, you know, get over the active minefields near the base and military outposts along the summit.
And you thought double black diamonds were dangerous.
Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Snowboarding in Hawaii certainly sounds like a fantasy, and for most of the year, it is. However, when the world's tallest shield volcano, Mauna Kea, receives snow every few years, a dedicated few have turned the mountain into their own private shred playground.
Serviced by a country road that leads to the mountain's observatory, the Mauna Kea zone may be the most unique car-shuttled skiing and snowboarding destination in the world. When the snow is good, it's not uncommon to see people pull off the double (snowboarding and surfing in the same day).
Mauna Kea has also played home to the Mauna Kea Snowboarding Championship since 1994.
The region of Kashmir doesn't conjure up images of a winter wonderland, but the contentious region near the Pakistani-Indian border is quite literally that. Sitting at the foothills of the Himalayas, Gulmarg is the crown jewel of the region, a skiing paradise that offers an astounding 5,000 feet of vertical drop and an amazingly cold and dry powder snow.
Add to that some glade skiing through monkey forests and only one gondola servicing the top mountain terrain and you have all the makings of a ski trip that you'll really have to see to believe.
Think your resort is cold? How about schussing above the Arctic Circle? Such is the reality for skiers and boarders at Riksgränsen, the world's most northerly resort.
Because it operates nearly 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Riksgränsen’s resort must run its season around the sun, opening in February and running until late June. The months of May and June see exceptionally long days, as the region's midnight sun keeps ski days going nearly 24 hours.