The southern hemisphere has one big advantage: you can ski there in summer when there is no snow north of the equator.

If you can afford the time and the money, treat yourself to year-round snow sports. The main season is from June to August or September.

The Southern Hemisphere: Australia, New Zealand, South America, the Andes, Antarctica, and South Africa.


Despite the beach culture 3.5 million people head for the slopes in South Wales and Victoria each year. The highest European-style resorts are found in New South Wales - Thredbo and Perisher are the two leading contenders. The majority of resorts are situated in Victoria - [R747R, Falls Creek] and [R752R, Mt Hotham] are the biggest. The latter has the advantage of its own airport so it is possible to fly in direct or from Sydney and Melbourne. With 85 runs and good Aussie après-ski, Mount Hotham reasonably claims to be a first-class resort.

Perisher ski resort, Australia

Perisher ski resort, Australia (credit: nanningbear)













Ski lifts are expensive, not only because of the high Aussie Dollar, but the pass prices have actually gone up in line with the cost of living, which has risen 15 percent in the last five years according to the Australian Alpine Club. A day's ski lift pass at [R746R, Thredbo], [R744R, Perisher], Falls Creek or Mt Hotham are all around 114 USD (£71).

The island of Tasmania boasts its own downhill resorts. At Ben Lomond, if you are aged over 70 the T bars are free. The under 70s can buy a daily lift pass for £24.

It's doubtful that anyone would fly in from Europe especially to ski Tasmania, but combining skiing with touring the spectacular Ben Lomond National Park is a realistic option. There is also Mount Mawson in the Mount Field Park.

New Zealand

New Zealand is a first-class skiing destination with good resorts, mostly on South Island. The two largest and highest - [R773R, Whakapapa] and [R772R, Turoa] - are on Mount Ruapehu, North Island.

Mt Ruapehu, NZ

Mr Ruapehu, NZ















A day's pass costs £40 at Whakapapa with the highest ski point at 2300 metres. There is a carpet lift for small children at Turao, as well as New Zealand's only lift accessed glacier skiing. Private ski clubs are a feature of the ski scene here to keep skiing affordable.

The Andes

There are seven Andean countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. The Andes are 4350 miles long - the longest in the world. The average height is around 4000 metres, which means skiing is possible and spectacular in all of them. Heli-skiing and freeriding is very popular.

For years Chacaltaya was the pride of Bolivian tourism as the highest ski resort in the world. The Club Andino Boliviano mountain refuge is still there at 5300 metres with a fantastic view towards Lake Titicaca, 25 miles away. Unfortunately the glacier disappeared last summer ahead of climatologists' expectations after an estimated life of 18,000 years. The honour of the highest ski destinations now moves to the northern hemisphere and is claimed by the Dagu Glacier in China and Gulmarg in India.

Venezuela's sole resort, Merida, has a cable car that starts at 1577 metres and rises up over rocky crags close to the top of the country's highest peak - Pico Bolivar (4981m) with three small glaciers. The skiing is for the competent and intrepid. There are big drops and not a lot of safety netting. As Merida is a university town the après-ski is Latin American and lively.

Columbia boasts the Los Nevados range and a road track up to 4900 metres. Unfortunately kidnapping competes with avalanches as a local hazard.

There are huts on the three highest mountains in Ecuador - Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and Cayamba. Note that if you reach the top of the inactive volcano of Chimborazo (6268m), you are at the furthest point from the centre of the earth thanks to the equatorial bulge.

In Peru back-country skiing and mountaineering is possible based on Huaraz (3000m). There are no ski lifts but donkeys are available for carrying kit or even climbers. There are skiers and races at Pastouri but no resort, facilities or ski lifts.

Argentina and Chile both have well-groomed slopes, halfpipes, terrain parks, and ski-in, ski-out accommodation. The best and most modern resorts are on the Chilean side. Chile has 2500 miles of terrain reaching 3000 metres in altitude.

Valle Nevado, Chile

Valle Nevado, Chile















[R756R, Portillo], South America's oldest and most famous ski resort, is located on the edge of Inca Lake. It offers a stunning setting and is especially popular with experts for its steep, off-piste terrain. [R758R, Valle Nevado], 28 miles from Santiago, is the biggest ski destination in the southern hemisphere. It was constructed in 1988 by French entrepreneurs on the lines of French Alpine resorts. A day's pass costs £41. Nevados de Chillán, formerly [R757R, Termas de Chillán], amongst the volcanoes, is a ski and spa resort in a forest.

The small resort of Cerro Mirador at Puntas Arenas in the national reserve of Magallanes towards Cape Horn is a curiosity with a marvellous view over the sea and mountains. It is known as the worlds most southern ski destination and the ever changing windswept snow formations make the landscape magical and unique - so wrap up warm. A day's pass is £12-50. The 2010 major earthquake fortunately caused no major damage to Chilean ski areas.

In Argentina, Valle de Las Lenas is the highest resort with a top elevation of 3340 metres and a descent of 1100 metres. It lays claim to South America's most modern lift system. A day's pass costs £36. The biggest resort is [R738R, Cerro Catedral Alta Patagonia] in the Bariloche Region with a maximum ski height of 2050 metres and a maximum descent of 1000 metres. Bariloche is big and the ski lift arrangements are top class. The city of Bariloche is modern with a beautiful view of the Andes. Bloggers who know the resort warn to beware of school holidays but recommend it for honeymoons. A day's ski pass is £31. The hut system is excellent and it is possible to do trips of several days trekking from one to the next.


Purists might claim that Mawson Station, Scott Base, and neighbouring McMurdo Sound in Antarctica are the most southerly skiing destinations because they each have one drag lift for local scientific workers and visitors. Some 46,000 tourists visit Antarctica annually by sea or plane. There is après-ski of a robust sort, especially in US-operated McMurdo Sound which boasts a café with the best coffee in Antarctica. Stick to established tracks after a drink. Falling into a crevasse in the ice in the dark is terminal. 30 million dollars has been spent since1989 on removing accumulated waste dumped in the sea over 50 years.

South Africa

Skiing is not too far from Bloemfontein, Lesotho in the Drakensberg Mountains. Skiing is at 3222 metres and costs £13 on weekdays and £17-50 at weekends.