Living North explores the best ski resorts for travellers who aren't fans of endless chairlift queues, mid-slope collisions and the thousandth fall of the day.
Best for: Exotic culture
Though not exactly a common skiing destination, South America is great for snow sports. Bariloche is one of the liveliest towns in Patagonia, and Mount Cathedral, or Cerro Catedral, is a stunning area to visit; it's renowned for its views of the Nahuel Huapi Lake. Not only is the skiing extensive and affordable – lift passes start from as little as £25 per person – but the après ski is thriving, boasting bars with dazzling views, artisan breweries, casinos and some amazing dining options; we recommend Butterfly, where you can sample a seven-course tasting menu of delicious local dishes. If you're in the mood for a party atmosphere, visit during August's National Snow Party, which is a week-long, snow-filled fiesta of torchlight parades, a chocolate celebration and many other quirky events.
Where to stay: The views from the Catalonia Sur Aparts & Spa are breathtaking as they overlook the mountains and lake, and can be enjoyed from the two pools, sunbathing deck, restaurant and deluxe bedrooms. www.cataloniasur.com.ar
Getting there: Fly from Newcastle to San Carlos de Bariloche (via Amsterdam and Buenos Aires) with KLM and Aerolineas Argentinas
Best for: Once-in-a-lifetime experiences
Even if you aren't too keen on donning ski boots, Finland is a great place for snowy activities. Iso Syöte is the ultimate winter playground; you can go snowmobiling to see the elusive Northern Lights from a unique vantage point, try husky-sledding and snowshoeing as means of traversing untouched snowscapes, or even meet a real-life Rudolph at a nearby reindeer farm. There are plenty of other outdoor options, such as ice fishing and ice rally driving, and if your kids are in need of a break from the ski slopes, a visit to Santa Claus in Lapland will have them reminiscing for years to come.
Where to stay: Go all out and rent the aptly-named 'Eagle View Suite' at Hotel Iso Syöte. The walls and ceiling are made entirely of glass, offering panoramic views of the snow-blanketed landscape. Where else in the world can you curl up in a cosy bed or bubbling jacuzzi and watch the Northern Lights overhead? www.hotelli-isosyote.fi
Getting there: Fly from Manchester to Oulu (via Helsinki) with British Airways and Finnair
Best for: Somewhere a little different
Opt for an altogether more exotic experience, swap tartiflette for tempura, schnapps for sake and salami for sushi, and head to the Far East for some sublime skiing. If you're in any doubt that Japan is hot news when it comes to winter sports, the numbers speak for themselves: Hakuba receives an average of 14 metres of snowfall every season, with the valley comprising 10 ski resorts and over 200 runs. It's also amazing for après ski; onsens, the Japanese equivalent of hot tubs, are natural thermal rock pools tucked away in the woods and foothills, and are utterly heavenly to relax in. There are exciting activities aplenty, from showshoe and fondue evenings to origami and noodle-making classes, and a plethora of sightseeing opportunities such as the Jigokudani Monkey Park, the Zenkoji Temple and Matsumoto Castle. Tokyo is a short train journey away, so make sure to clear a day or two in your itinerary to explore the iconic capital.
Where to stay: La Neige Higashikan is a boutique hotel with separate log cabins nestled in the beautiful woods of Hakuba. Curl up next to a roaring fire in the cosy lobby before retiring to one of the 11 deluxe bedrooms, each of which include a large Jacuzzi, or indulge in some French fusion cuisine in the hotel restaurant. www.laneige-higashikan.com
Getting there: Fly from Newcastle to Tokyo Narita (via Dubai) with Emirates