Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Impressions from the 30-A in SW Florida

The North-West corner of Florida boasts some of the most magnificent beaches of the United States, called the “Emerald Coast”.  I love especially the stretch along the “30-A” with its small-town beach life on a scenic highway, that meanders along Florida's green-blue shallow water and white powder sand dunes.

Highlights are the attractive small towns of Rosemary Beach, Seaside and the Grayton Beach State Park.  Both settlements are relatively new and very tastefully built, with lots of bicycles to rent and lovely restaurants and coffee shops to enjoy.  It’s is only a twenty minute drive from the busy “March-Break” place of Panama City Beach with it’s tacky entertainment stores, but one feels like coming into a different world on the 30-A.

Visit Grayton Beach State Park if you really want to get away from it all - no TV, and no WiFi - just soothing Pine and Palm trees and stunning seascapes.  Thirty cabins are nestled into the pine woods only minutes away from the Gulf of Mexico, with a mile of sugar-white beaches and crystal clear water.

Seaside FL

Panama City Beach

Azalea Blooming in February

Spanish explorers named the new-found part of North America
“Pascua Florida”, which means Flowery Easter" or "Flowering Easter”.
But it is not only flowering in Florida on Easter, but all year-round!

Seaside Beaches

More to follow

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Wi-Fi Passwords at Airports Around the World

"Finding an open wireless connection in many airports isn't always easy, or possible, without a password," writes Anil Polat in his article.  "The difficulty of getting online is why I asked you for, and created, an always-up-to-date list of airport wireless passwords around the world."

Anil Polar posts the current passwords on his Facebook page whenever a new password or airport is added.  The map of current airport wireless passwords worldwide, Is now also available on Android, and is also available as download to use it off-line.

Many of these passwords are easy to remember — at San Diego Intl. Airport, for instance, simply type in "firstclass" - which is a password for many Delta Sky Clubs.  At the Montréal, Canada, Intl. Airport, the password for the VIP Maple Lounge is “montreal."

Happy traveling - and much air under your wings.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Travel Delight: Delicious Austrian Food

Living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in Salzburg, Austria, and traveling the impressive Alps and other parts of this wonderful country, I enjoyed for many years fantastic dishes in cosy restaurants and in lovely coffeeshops.  The words "gourmet" or "epicure" really fit in Austria. There are not only three meals - or occasions to relax, such as the "jausn", a 10am break - but at least five! times during the day where delicious delicacies or a glass of wine or coffee and pastries are served.

There are not many places in the world where you can marry in an enchanting castle, but I was lucky to have my wedding in the baroque Mirabell castle in Salzburg.  It was built in 1606 for the mistress of a high-ranking catholic bishop...  After the wedding ceremony we went to a gourmet restaurant to indulge in a fine dinner which included "Wiener Schnitzel" and "Palatschinken" among other delicacies. 

Austrian Cuisine:

Delicious traditional meals and desserts like Kaiserschmarren, Schnitzel and Tafelspitz can be found almost everywhere in Austria. Recreate your favourite dishes at home with these step-by-step recipes.
These most favourite Austrian recipes are listed at the Austrian Tourism website. 

Here some examples:

Tiroler Gröstl is one of the hearty favourites from the skiing and hiking region of Tirol. Traditionally, it is a delicious and satisfying way of using up yesterday’s left-overs. It makes a great shared-from-the-pan mountain lunch, particularly when combined with a separate pan of “Kaiserschmarren” or "Apfelstrudel" to indulge.

The true origin of the Wiener Schnitzel has become a matter of vigorous debate between culinary historians in recent times again. One thing, however, is absolutely certain: the Wiener Schnitzel is truly cosmopolitan. The earliest trails lead to Spain, where they were coating meat with breadcrumbs during the Middle Ages. The Jewish community in Constantinople is similarly reported to have known a dish similar to the Wiener Schnitzel, in the 12th century. So whether the legend surrounding the import of the “Costoletta Milanese” from Italy to Austria by Field Marshal Radetzky is true or merely a nice story makes very little difference. So long as the schnitzel is tender and crispy!

Get more details and all the original recipes for these wonderful comfort foods at the Austrian Tourism site - from one of the most fantastic travel destinations in the world.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Travel Tactics, Creating Time Wealth, and Lateral Thinking

“If in doubt, just walk until your day becomes interesting” Rolf Potts
"Rolf Potts is the author of Vagabonding, one of my favorite books of all-time.  It was one of just two books (the other was Walden) that I carried with me around the world from 2004-2005.  Those adventures led directly to The 4-Hour Workweek" said Tim Ferriss about world traveler and author Rolf Potts.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, Potts' first book, mixes practical advice with philosophical insights about the value of travel.  Upon its release in 2003, the Boston Globe called it "a valuable contribution to our thinking, not only about travel, but about life and work."  USA Today dubbed the author "Jack Kerouac for the Internet Age”.
"World travel doesn’t have to be a wealthy person’s sport. In this often hilarious conversation, Rolf and I dig deep into travel tactics, creating time wealth, “managing success,” and much more.  It’s a fun romp through every imaginable topic, from business to poetry, and from Wall Street to psychedelics."  ~ Tim Ferriss

Selected Links from the Episode

Connect with Rolf Potts:

Creative Nonfiction Workshop
at the American Academy in Paris, France, July 1-29, 2016  

Rolf Potts and Dinah Lenney will facilitate this workshop, which delves into the essence of nonfiction storytelling.  Since the Paris setting is ripe for place-based narrative, travel writing will be a central aspect of this workshop — but students will also be encouraged to explore the art of personal essay and memoir. 
Though this class primarily aims to sharpen and evolve writers' instincts for constructing narratives, it will also touch on the practical matters of working with agents and editors, and submitting stories for publication.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Digital Nomads: How to Travel the World on a Budget

Ever thought about leaving the 9 - 5 rat race behind you and travel the world?  A lot of people would love to see the world while working, or at least love to travel more – if they only had the time…or the money… if they had no family, can’t quit their job…  or whatever… There’s always a reason: It’s dangerous, it will be lonely - or what will I do after?


Where is the creativity?  
"But I have young children” has been countered by families like the seven-year family-travel veterans at SoulTravelers3.  When asked why:  “To see the world and know it more deeply, connect deeper with ourselves as individuals, as a family and with others and experience freedom and peace in new ways with lots of time and enjoy it all.”

John Russell Interviewed Seven "Nomads".

"For many, the Internet is an opportunity to combine work and traveling the world. The term ‘digital nomad’ is frequently overused and often simply means hacking around in cheap accommodation with a small level of income to keep you going. But, there are some folks out there who have shown that you can combine a career with the freedom to travel on your own schedule."

You can do it! 

Seniors and youngsters, hippies and millionaires, people of every race, gender and every nationality.  They experience the spirit of travel:  freedom, personal growth and creative expression.  There is always a connection to be made, a story to be shared, and a bond to be formed.
Jody Ettenberg, full-time traveler: "It’s not a calming choice to walk away from what you grow up being told is normal, but at the same time if you are excited enough about that flexibility to build life on terms you find compelling, the latter is a very rewarding option."

It’s the attitude, not your bank account. 
You are born with your energy, attention, and all of your time. Over the years, you learn to exchange these things for money.

Not all of the strategies and tactics here are totally free, but in each section there are free options – with which you could go on a trip costing you very few money.  The image regarding travel is one that’s all glory and fun and magic and luxury. The reality is different. Perma-travel is just real life lived somewhere else.  It also doesn’t require any special talent or knowledge. 
Natalie Sisson, SuitcaseEntrepreneur: "Invest in your future now and make the change you need to live your best life.  I can’t tell you how many people I talk to, advise, mentor and coach who are afraid of living their dream.  Sometimes it pains me to see them make excuses for not taking action or to let limiting beliefs overpower their natural talents and gifts."


It’s possible to travel the world without spending a dime!  All our basic needs: food, water, shelter – can be had almost for free through various techniques, and the travel-specific need, transportation, can often be done for free as well.  We have to pay with either time and energy or money.  It just means we’re making a tradeoff in these several areas:

Time – if we’re not spending money, we’re going to have to trade our time for a lot of things. That might mean waiting for a car to pick us up while hitchhiking, walking instead of using public transport, or working in exchange for food or shelter.

Convenience – No more priority boarding, taxis, or other premium conveniences. Creative solutions to travel problems that don’t cost anything tend to take longer and be less “fun” than exchanging cash for instant solutions.

Comfort – There are ways to end up staying in luxurious locations for free, but as a general rule, comfort is going to be sacrificed if we’re not spending money.

Safety - If we’re not spending our money, we’re going to be relying on other people a lot more for transportation and shelter, and with that comes increased risk.  Yet, most people are kind and helpful, and most places are safe.

Opportunity – Obviously, less money means less choice. Transportation being the most obvious example here. Also – Visas often cost money, and depending on the passport you hold, it might be a requirement that you have a certain amount of funds before entering some countries.


Why Try Thrifty Travel?
Most people think that traveling for $1,000 a month is crazy.  You don’t need to travel for free.  I like taking the metro, seeing museums, going to movies etc..  This sort of lifestyle might be called “minimalist travel.”  You might have heard about study after study showing that our consumerist model of living isn’t good for the individual or planet, and recently there’s evidence that the average Western lifestyle is a recipe for mental illness. Minimalism means letting go of all these things that are weighing us down, stressing us out, and actively preventing us from feeling as happy and fulfilled as we could be.


Planning - What You Need to Know
Is it safe? Wars, hazardous weather patterns this time of year, diseases are rampant etc.
Climate – what will I need to wear, will I be comfortable?
Visa Info – How long can I stay? Are visa runs possible?



Get Tourist Info.

TripAdvisor: Huge library of user reviews for hotels, sightseeing opportunities, restaurants WorldTravelGuide Type in your destination or just browse travel suggestions
LonelyPlanet: The world’s leading travel website for good reason.
ExpatsBlog: Contains a nice forum where expats (or travellers) can discuss their destinations, exchange tips, plan meetups. Also contains articles relating to expat lifestyle.
Visas: Just Google “wikipedia visa requirements for...

Colin Wright a Digital Nomad:
"I can go anywhere I want at any time, and so long as I can hop on the Internet every once in a while I can continue to do my work (work that I love) from wherever I land.  I work for myself, so I make all the decisions (creative and otherwise) about what I do and how I do it, and I have an absolutely amazing audience of readers who are encouraging and wonderful and make even the tricky aspects of my lifestyle incredibly easy and enjoyable in lots of ways."


Travel Insurance
What type of insurance should I get – if any? Health: Screw that up, and there’s no 2nd chance.  Lonely Planet recommends WorldNomads. Why are they the best?
They are one of the only providers who let you extend your insurance or purchase some for the first time, while outside your country of residence.  They are not only by far the most flexible – but it’s also amongst the cheapest private insurance providers you’ll find. Generally, the longer you purchase the insurance for, the lower the cost. 



Travel as a lifestyle is much different than a weekend in New York City or the spring break in Miami.  What Travel Bag / Backpack Should I Use?
In general, we are going to fill the amount of space we have, especially if this is our first trip – it’s just human nature.  I recommend a 20L bag, try out several, get them adjusted properly for your body, and choose something that’s going to be comfortable to have as a companion for the following months or years.

2 blouses / shirts

1 long-sleeve shirt / Turtleneck
2 T-shirts

1 pair of convertible pants
1 pair of shorts (optional)
3 pairs of underwear
3 pairs of socks
1 pair of extra shoes / flip-flops
Maybe a lightweight towel
Travel belt, light jacket
For colder climates, you might consider borrowing (or buying) a jacket and other winter wear at your destination, saving you bag-space and weight while on the move.
Toiletries: toothbrush, soap, deodorant, hygiene products.
Razors, nail-clippers, toothpaste, shampoo etc. can usually be found on-site.
Other important items:
Passport, driver's license, insurance, copy important documents and keep them separate.
Money, wallet, bank cards
Phone, e-books, computer
Tim Ferriss has shared his light-weight packing list, which is complete with the “necessary” survival electronics at less than 10lbs / 5 kg.


Flights / Boats / Busses
The plane ticket is generally the largest item in the travel-budget.  A single flight has the ability to rip through hundreds, if not thousands of dollars that could be put towards some good, local fun in the form of food, excursions – or even just saving the money and traveling longer.  Depending on your own situation and priorities, your flight searches might be biased towards any one of the three:
  • Route
  • Connections
  • Price
The lowest priced airfare usually has crappy connections, obscene flight times, or routes to obscure airports that are costly to get to and from.
The best connections might save you a stressful layover, but it might behoove you to consider overland connections or other more time-consuming (yet cheaper) options.
And the best routing will practically deliver you from door to door, but at what cost (and are the connections reasonable)?
When to Buy: According to the analysis of a CheapAir database of over 1.3 billion fares, 54 days in advance came out as being the best time to buy.  Tuesday afternoons are often the best time for deals.
The pros don’t necessarily do anything special other than be thorough.  They check tickets on multiple flight-aggregation websites, and then always check out promising-looking tickets on the website of the specific carrier.

Recommended Resources: – Search for flights across a whole week, month, or year!
KayakExplore – Nice world map interface let’s you see prices to any destination around the globe 
WhichBudget – search many budget airlines simultaneously
Rome2Rio – Comes up with interesting route combinations you probably wouldn’t think of yourself.
TravelSuperMarket – A British flight aggregator worth testing out.
And the best of the rest, which are worth checking if you have the patience: CheapOAir, Momondo, HipMunk, Kelkoo,, Dohop, and TravelSpec.  

If we want to look at free flights, we need to look at using travel points through credit cards and frequent flyer cards for specific airlines.  Lots of credit cards offer a truckload of miles for signing up, and often, simply by putting your normal living expenses on the card you can rack up enough miles for free flights without much sweat.  Steve Kamb from NerdFitness flew around the world for only US $418, and he recommends: 

"The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card. 10,000 points on first purchase, 15,000 points when you spend $5000 in six months.  These points are great for hotels, or you can convert them to many different airlines with a 20% bonus (convert 20,000 points to AA, get 25,0000 AA points, for example).  This is one of the few cards I gladly pay the yearly fee for each year."

"The Chase Sapphire Card – 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in three months. These points also convert to various airline and hotel programs, or you can pay for flights and hotels directly with your points.  This is also one of the few cards I gladly pay to keep open each year."

Free alternatives that are really useful if you don’t mind doing a bit more legwork include: One Mile at a Time and FrugalTravelGuy.  Another resource is: "23 Ways to Reduce Your Flying Cost" by TheMoneySavingExpert.


There are ton of ways other than flying to get around the globe – by car, bus, train, bicycle, boat, on foot, and for the truly adventurous: hot air balloons, camels, and dog sleds.

In order to find routes for planes, ferries, busses, trains, start with, an amazing search engine that will find routes based on all available transportation options.

You can discover all the service providers who cover that route, and link directly to their website to book a ticket.  Because in a new and unfamiliar region, we’re not going to know all the local companies who provide bus, train and ferry services – and unlike a Google search, which will tend to turn up the high priced tour services who are savvy marketers, Rome2Rio has often covered the carriers the locals use too.
For increased safety, let someone know when you’re leaving and where you’re going, as well as the number/place to contact if you don’t check in by an agreed upon time.  Travel with a friend, or with a fellow traveller you met along the way.

Travel and Work as a Way of Life.

Follow Tim Ferriss’s recommendations from the 4-Hour-Work-Week: stay in one place for at least three months, get to know the culture and learn a new skill.  This has the added benefit of lightening the monetary strain on our transportation budget – as no transportation is the cheapest transportation.


Hospitality Exchanges.
A hospitality exchange is where you are the guest in somebody’s home free of charge. Typically, these arrangements last only a couple days, though if host and guest get along this might stretch to a week or more.  Often, the type of people you’ll find to be hosts are those who are interested in travelling (and travelers) themselves:
CouchSurfing – The most well-known service, CS provides the opportunity to browse online listings, learn about your prospective hosts/guests, and make arrangements. They have a solid system of safety checks in place to help keep out troublemakers, though that in no way means you can skip doing your own due-diligence.  When you’re ready to contact someone, read my article about how to make the perfect couch request.

HospitalityClub – It might be unfair to say “basically like CouchSurfing”, but Hospitality Club is a reputable alternative to the industry leader.

GlobalFreeloaders – One interesting twist: They require guests to reciprocate within 6 months. If you’re not going to be up for that, best pass on them. – a cycling-specific version of the above. Many world travelers make their mode of transportation the bicycle, and this is a great way to find a place to stay with a fellow enthusiast. 


Stay For Free with Volunteering.
To a lot of people, the idea of working for a good cause in exchange for the opportunity to live in another country sounds wonderful.  Unfortunately, when looking for volunteering opportunities abroad, there is frustration that a lot of would-be volunteers share: many of these opportunities cost more than it would just to stay home and play video games.

Fortunately, Nora Dunn compiled a lot of volunteering opportunities that she shared on Ramit Sethi’s blog,

Stay For Free – House & Pet Sitting.
There are people all over the world that want to have their homes and pets looked after by complete strangers.  Staying for free in posh manor houses most of us can’t even envision owning – to look after a dog or a cat and water the flowers once a week!

Many of the house sitting sites are quite similar to CouchSurfing in terms of the profiles and review process, the main difference being in the nature of the agreement.  A big benefit – these arrangements are usually for longer time periods than the CS variety, from weeks to several months is common:

Cheap Rental.
If you can’t find a free option that is convenient or desirable, then there are a lot of budget options available, such as Hostels:
HostelWorld: Listing for over 27000 hostels around the globe. 
HostelBookers: The main competition of HostelWorld will sometimes have better prices.
Airbnb: where people can list their home, apartment, or spare room.  It’s generally a bit more expensive than a hostel, but there’s the benefit of often having private space, as you will have the place to yourself or be sharing the space with the owner.  Airbnb also provides convenient maps so you can see where exactly the places are located.

Renting a Room / Apartment
Renting an apartment is the way locals do.  Use Craigslist or Kijiji in North America and Europe, Gumtree in Australia, in other parts local newspapers or local sites on the Internet. To find a great location at a great price:  Explore the area, talk to locals, and enquire at different places about vacancies.  This is by far the most comfortable and enjoyable way to live in a new region and to dive into the culture for several months.


Inexpensive / Free Food
Depending on the destination, food can be ridiculously expensive (Norway, Switzerland) or barely worth the energy it takes to consider the price (Laos, India).  The low-cost solution is to have living arrangements that include food, however this often will not be the case. 
The most simple option is to eat food fresh from markets / supermarkets – buy what the locals do, and pay what they pay.
In addition to this, often times religious buildings will serve free meals.  If you are planning on looking for free food this way, the least you can do is to take part in the ceremonies, be curious and respectful, and take a genuine interest in the people.


Earning Money While Traveling.
The best way to earn money on the road for most English speakers will be ESL.  
Dave’s ESL Cafe has a great bulletin board where companies make requests.  Most listings are for Asia, with some Central / South America and Middle Eastern opportunities as well. Another option is doing some sort of freelance work such as writing, programming, translating, graphic design, editing, marketing, or customer support through sites such as UpWork, Guru, or even Fiverr if you have some weird niche skill.  If you’re a writer, TextBroker is a great place to find writing jobs.  For graphic designers, try 99designs.

What you should do is check the local laws.  Some countries, such as Thailand, may consider freelance work online while in the country illegal – unless you have the appropriate work visa.  Always verify the working and taxation regulations.  Find out well ahead of time what the laws are.



Are we willing to do what’s necessary to get what we want?  Or maybe we just like the idea – the daydream. That’s okay too.  After all, not everything is as good in reality as it is in our imagination.  And perma-travel, if nothing else, will be different than you imagine.  One thing is sure, once you become a long-term traveler / digital nomad: You will enjoy a good quality of life for less money.  You decide...

More Resources - Just Click on the Links:

Listen to a FREE Audio-Book by Tim Ferriss: The-4-Hour-Work-Week

18 jobs & skills that enable you to work from anywhere and travel the world

How to Travel the World While Working

Workation for digital nomads - work and travel at the same time

Nora Dunn at TheProfessionalHobo gives tons of advice and interviews digital nomads

How to Succeed at Becoming a Digital Nomad

Why You Should Quit Your Job and Travel the World

5 Digital Nomad Office Spaces

Living and working in paradise: the rise of the 'digital nomad'

Digital Nomads are congregating in Ubud / Bali

10 ways to become a digital nomad without the skills to work online

Great Nomad Forum with lots of Questions and Answers / Tips


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Skiing at Exotic Places Around the World


Zermatt, Verbier, Sankt Moritz or Aspen, Colorado, are well-known ski areas.  However, there are skiing and snowboarding places in countries and regions, sometimes at the other end of the world, where one has never heard of - with fantastic snow conditions and marvelous ski resorts, such as:
Primarily a resort town, Mount Buller, Victoria, is popular with snow sports enthusiasts in winter due to its close location to Melbourne. The Winter season starts in June, 25 lifts are bringing skiers up to around 100 kilometers of ski runs. The ski area around the town has a network of 22 lifts, capable of moving more than 40,000 people per hour.  If you don't want to drive, there are 4-wheels, coaches (overland busses), and even a limo from Melbourne airport or a helicopter which are bringing you to the resort.

New Zealand
Queenstown is New Zealand's favourite winter playground, an excellent and unique snowboarding and skiing destination. Queenstown has four ski fields within easy reach. It's an exuberant après ski culture and a vibrant alpine resort town, Queenstown is a snow-lovers’ paradise. All four Queenstown ski fields cater for learners, families and advanced skiers and snowboarders, with one of the longest seasons in the Southern Hemisphere, running from early June until early October.

The home of Pacific surfers is a paradise for skiers too!  Ride with a jeep to the over 13,000 ft high (4205 meter) Mauna Kea with its observatory and swing downhill through powder snow, crossing the lava of volcanoes.  There are no lifts, no grooming, no resorts - just plain skiing.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Some of the best places to ski in the Southwest are in the Santa Fe area.  The season typically lasts from late fall through early spring, bringing up to 300 inches of snow a year to some ski resorts and plenty of races, winter festivals and other events.
The 16-mile drive up the mountain to Ski Santa Fe is breath-taking.  A shuttle bus picks up skiers at the parking lots.  Tickets cost around $40, unless you are over 72, then it's free!  The chairlift goes up to an elevation of 11,250 ft, the snow is beautiful and ski runs are easy.  A fabulous resort, an almost hidden jewel.


Taos, New Mexico
"Surrounded by sacred wilderness, and infused with the cultures of the Native Pueblo, Taos Ski Valley is steeped in legend and mystique.  Its vast, rugged terrain and generous, free-spirited community calls out to a different kind of adventurer—a mountain lover with a passion for adventure and a taste for cultural discovery."
Eight alpine ski areas with fifteen lifts and three cross-country trails are inviting snow tourists.  Half of the runs are black market, the other half of the 110 runs is for beginners.  Taos a 17-century Adobe village with lots of art galleries, is only 10 minutes from the ski area situated.

When summer rolls around, there is no reason to store your skis.  Simply pack up your equipment and head across the equator.  The months of June to mid-October are ideal for hitting the slopes of Las Lenas in northern Argentina.
There are 40 gorgeous miles of groomed hills.  However, the real attraction is the “off-piste” skiing. There is over 500 thousand acres of wild runs that await experienced snowboarders and skiers.
Another ski area, the most southern in the world is Cerro Castor near Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina.

Among a breathtaking mountain scene, Portillo or Valle Nevada offer fantastic ski runs. South America’s oldest skiing locations are world-class.

Oukaimeden, a Moroccan ski area has a summit of 10,738 ft, offers seven lifts, and lies only 50 miles outside of Marrakesh in the Atlas mountains.  Snow can be expected from January to March.

South Africa
A South African “National Treasure” in the Southern Drakensberg district: Tiffindell came into existence in 1993, born by avid skiers and run by passionate snow lovers.  Since then the resort has grown to become a true Alpine resort for all seasons. During their Winter (June, July, August) it is all about snow! No wonder, at an altitude of 2720 meter (ca. 8.500 ft), nestling snugly on the slope of Ben McDhui (3001m), the highest peak in the Cape Province.

Did you ever plan to spend your Winter vacation in Kazakhstan?  Avoiding the alpine crowds?
Shymbulak, also known as Chimbulak is a very sunny ski resort near Almaty, the largest city of Kazakhstan. It is located in the upper part of the Medeu Valley in the Zaiilisky Alatau mountain range, at the elevation of 2,200 metres above sea level. The Ski Resort applied for the Olympic Winter Games. However the easy slopes for skiers and snowboarders have a gondola, the world’s third-longest gondola at 4.5 km length to the 10,000 ft (3,200 meter) high Talgar-Pass, plus six lifts. Rentals of ski and snowboard are available along with locker facilities.

Of the six ski resorts in Lebanon, it’s Faraya  Mzaar which is the most developed. With 18 lifts and a maximum altitude of 2465m, it’s popular with the cool Beirut crowd who come to ski, party and ‘be seen’ at weekends.  Young Saudis like to ski.  Their fathers at home are not amused, as there are lots of female skiers without wearing a veil : )  Tripadvisor reviewers wrote: "Definitely the highlight of my trip to Lebanon. Amazing place, lively and with lots to do. You must try the "ski-do", the snowmobile."  "From Beirut to Faraya Mzaar is like half an hour drive uphill.  We drove there on a day in March mid morning , spent like four hours and drove back to the warm spring of Beirut.  We took the ski cable commuter uphill and enjoyed the scenery and the freezing temps and the light wind chill."  "You can go skiing in the morning and than enjoyed the warm breeze of the Mediterranean in the afternoon."

Lots of possibilities in Iran to ski, such as the Shemshak Ski Resort only 60 kilometers from the capital Tehran.  Or at the Dizin ski resort — an under-two-hour drive north from Tehran, up in the Alborz mountains.  This part of the Middle East is the skiing world’s best-kept secret.  The place hosts thousands of powder junkies annually — both locals and foreigners alike — starting around the middle of every fall, when the gorgeous high-elevation resort’s extraordinarily lengthy ski season kicks off.

Kashmir, Northern India
Gulmarg in Kashmir  up to 12,700 ft (4,200 meters) skiers are transported by a Gondola and two lifts. Safe to ski until mid-May!  See a video of this powder snow area:


Dragon Valley, South Korea
South Korea will host the 2018 Olympic Games.  The Yongpyong Alpine Center at the Taebaek mountains is the largest ski and snowboard resort in Korea.  The ski season runs from November to early April.  There are 31 slopes, 15 different lift facilities, including a gondola lift.

Nozawa Onsen, Japan
Relaxation and culture take center stage at this Japanese ski area and village. Throughout the village, steam from the local onsens (hot springs) waft down cobblestone streets, it feels like you’ve taken a time machine back to the shogun era.  Stay in simple ryokans, the traditional Japanese inns, many of which have their own onsens in house.  There is a snowboarders’ park and an extended half pipe.  The T-bars, chair lifts and gondolas make sure that you will be able to expeditiously experience all these things.  Also of note is the night skiing, which should not be missed.
Another attractive ski area in Japan is Furano in Northern Japan on the Hokkaido island, where it snows up to 26 ft (9 meters) each year.

The Sierra Nevada is Europe’s southernmost ski station, and the highest in Spain.  With its high elevation, and 17 chairlifts, plus 2 cable cars, the skiing season can last from late November until early May.
Just 17 miles (27 km) from the city of Granada, skiers take the bus and in 45 minutes have 106 kilometers of ski runs in front of the 10,000 ft (3479 meter) high Mulhacen mountain available. Awesome, especially in the warm spring sun.

Sicily, Italy
Skiing around Mount Etna, a volcano?  Ski touring to the lava-releasing crater?  Europe’s largest active volcano, is commonly known for its role in Greek mythology and unpredictable eruptions, few realize it has ski resorts, too.  The closest airport to Mount Etna is in Catania, approximately an hour’s drive from mountain’s southern slope.  The trails tend to be very smooth, thanks to the volcano’s settled lava!  Better yet, crowds tend to be small, and at about 25 euro per day, ski passes cost much less than those in the north.
Sure, Mount Etna’s slopes may not be as expansive and exciting as those in northern Italy.  But skiing on a volcano, with a view of the sea, makes this the most unique experience of skiing in Italy.



Just a reminder what will happen with all the ski resorts and glaciers around the world, if we do not stop global warming:
LaPaz, Bolivia
Chacaltaya Ski Resort is an abandoned ski resort due to lack of snow and melted glaciers. Fantastic scenery and spectacular views.  April to May and September to November are the best time to make this day trip from La Paz.  

The road is not paved, very bumpy, steep, windy… quite the experience. Rent one of the vans with driver.  Never consider coming up this road by bus! It is just too narrow and dangerous. Put on warm clothes and bring something to protect your ears, it is very windy and cold up here. Use sunscreen and cover your face with a shawl. There is no food to buy on the way, pack some snacks and chew on the Coca leaf or take your altitude pills.

At 5300 meters (17,400 feet), there is a building, formerly “the world's highest ski resort”.  Now due to climate change and lack of snow no longer used.  In 1940, there was 22 km of ski area, on the Chalcataya glacier.  By the 1980s, this glacier had shrunk by half, and by 2005, there was just 100 meters left.  The glacier melted completely in 2009.  This might happen to other ski areas of the world sooner or later too...

My favored place in the snow - aka Champagne-Powder in Big White, BC, Canada - up to 4 meters each year!

Find also photos of exotic ski areas at Spiegel Online.