Are you looking for the best place for your next snowboarding adventure? Empty runs, pristine powder, luxurious accommodation, crazy nightlife… well, some resorts have none of the above!
Here are 9 of the worst ski resorts in the world:
- Tiffindell, Eastern Cape (South Africa)
- The Mondolè Ski Complex, Piemonte (Italy)
- Bansko Ski Resort, Bansko (Bulgaria)
- Arizona Snowbowl, Flagstaff, Arizona (USA)
- Sugar Mountain Resort, Banner Elk, North Carolina (USA)
- Eldora Mountain Resort, Nederland, Colorado (USA)
- Devil’s Head Resort, Merrimac, Wisconsin (USA)
- Horseshoe Resort, Barrie, Ontario (Canada)
- Camelback Ski Resort, Tannersville, Pennsylvania (USA)
In this article, I’ll tell you about some of the world’s worst ski resorts. These are probably worth avoiding for your next snowboard trip (try these resorts instead).
If your favorite resort appears on the list and you’d like to argue their case, head down to the comments section!
Disclosure: I used our trusty friend Tripadvisor to help guide resort selection. Some particularly disgruntled visitors are responsible for these resorts appearing on the list. The opinions within the article are therefore not all my own, but those of Tripadvisor reviewers. They should be treated as opinion and not fact.
WORST SKI RESORTS IN THE WORLD
1. Tiffindell, Eastern Cape (South Africa)
- Slopes: 2.4 km (1.5 miles)
- Lifts: 5
- Season: early June to early September
Location, location, location!
One would expect that a prerequisite for opening a ski resort would be snow.
However South Africa’s Tiffindale, located in the Drakensberg range, doesn’t seem to agree.
Even if you ignore all the environmental risks artificial snow has on the ecosystem, you can’t ignore the icy slopes.
There are also allegedly some serious health hazards in the shape of slippery wood decks without handrails, and old, run-down equipment.
To get to the resort, you have to embark on an off-roading feat. The road conditions are acceptable only to the most adventurous among us.
2. The Mondolè Ski Complex (Artesina e Prato Nevoso), Piemonte (Italy)
- Slopes: 105.3 km (65.4 miles)
- Lifts: 19
- Season: depending on snow conditions
Located in the beautiful Maritime Alps, this resort is known by its pet name ‘Prato No Snow’ due to global warming doing it’s thing.
While offering insufficient parking spaces leaving people open to tickets given out by the local police, the complex does offer to charge you for everything else — you even have to pay to use the toilets.
Overcrowding, old and slow lifts, no towels or hangers, overpriced rooms with missing door locks, and rude staff will quickly make you look at other options in the Olympic Valley.
3. Bansko Ski Resort, Bansko (Bulgaria)
- Slopes: 48.2 km (30 miles)
- Lifts: 14
- Season: Early December to mid-April
The biggest problem this European resort has is its staff (allegedly). This resort’s preferred way of communication seems to be sighs and eye-rolls.
The great restaurants and superb nightlife get hugely overshadowed by overcrowding and huge gondola queues with waiting times exceeding two hours… followed by bumpy slopes.
4. Arizona Snowbowl, Flagstaff, Arizona (USA)
- Slopes: 37 km (23 miles)
- Lifts: 6
- Season: Mid-December to mid-March
This once lovely place has now earned its status as a rip-off.
No rescheduling policy and lousy customer service combined with price surges of more than $200 within a day (and no half-day tickets) mean even the excellent food in the lodge leaves a sour taste in your mouth.
5. Sugar Mountain Resort, Banner Elk, North Carolina (USA)
- Slopes: 14 km (8.6 miles)
- Lifts: 7
- Season: mid-December to late March
Lines, lines everywhere.
With no weekly passes, the ticket lines can form three hours before opening, and the same applies to the restaurants.
Between unkempt slopes full of ice and a (allegedly) rude kids’ ski instructor, it may be best to consider spending your money elsewhere.
Also, this ski resort doesn’t even always know if it’s open. You can expect conflicting information on their website, during a phone call, or if you come in person.
6. Eldora Mountain Resort, Nederland, Colorado (USA)
- Slopes: 52 km ( 32.3 miles)
- Lifts: 10
- Season: late November to early April
With the poor layout and even worse organization, it might be best to skip this one and stay home.
7. Devil’s Head Resort, Merrimac, Wisconsin (USA)
- Slopes: 10 km ( 6.2 miles)
- Lifts: 6
- Season: mid-November to mid-April
Unhygienic and dirty is a summary of the unfortunate reviews from some of the people who visited this resort. Spartan amenities and moldy bathrooms don’t match the exceedingly spicy ticket price.
One reviewer put it like this:
The unwelcoming staff headed by an angry manager, understaffed Devils Den (the bar adjacent to the hotel), and overpacked ski slopes full of garbage make the visit to Devil’s Head an experience you will never forget, but wish you could.
8. Horseshoe Resort, Barrie, Ontario (Canada)
- Slopes: 6 km ( 3.7 miles)
- Lifts: 4
- Season: mid-December to late March
Old and lost to time, this Barrie resort leaves much to be desired.
A beautiful location and excellent ski staff take a back seat to dirty, run-down rooms with torn bed sheets.
The lodgings don’t offer ski storage for guests, and the slopes are icy and sub-standardly maintained. A thorough renovation would do a world of good to this relic of the past.
9. Camelback Ski Resort, Tannersville, Pennsylvania (USA)
- Slopes: 34 km ( 21.1 miles)
- Lifts: 9
- Season: late December to early April
A long-time local favorite destroyed under the new ownership is the best description of Camelback Ski Resort.
Prices are incredibly high here.
You can expect to pay a pretty penny on everything, from the tickets to chicken tenders, not to mention you also pay for the parking.
The mountain is lovely, but the staff is apparently untrained and elusive.
A four-hour wait for ski rentals and long lines made longer by the new RFID cards (that often don’t work) make you wonder whether you even like snowboarding.
Don’t worry, you do, you just need to go to one of these resorts instead.
Thanks for reading about the worst ski resorts in the world.
Any resorts you think should have have made the list?
Let’s hash it out in the comments below.
Otherwise, circle back to some more snowboard blogs to keep reading.