One run to rule them allMount Ruapehu, New Zealand
New Zealand’s Mt Ruapehu is not your average ski slope. One of three active volcanoes that form Tongariro National Park, this World Heritage Site was made famous in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as Mount Doom. But don’t let the moniker put you off. Grab your gear and make like Frodo for the summit. There are two ski areas: Whakapapa (pronounced "fukka puppa" – really) on the northwestern slopes, and Turoa on the southwestern side.
If snow is something you’ve only ever seen in movies, Whakapapa’s Happy Valley has gentle slopes for beginners. If you’re a seasoned snow baby, head to the top of Turoa on New Zealand’s highest lift, the Highnoon Press, and plummet down Australasia’s longest vertical descent (722 metres).
Whakapapa is four to five hours by car from Auckland or Wellington. Get to New Zealand with Air New Zealand.
An all-day lift pass will set you back around US$70.
Whakapapa has ski runs for all levels.
This still-active volcano last erupted in 2007.