Alyeska, USA

The whole point of learning to snowboard off-piste is so that you can float through powder, slalom through trees, and leap off cliffs knowing your landing will be soft no matter how wrong you get it. The dream of riding what Americans call "the back country" is sold in countless videos, many of them set in Alaska.

The whole point of learning to snowboard off-piste is so that you can float through powder, slalom through trees, and leap off cliffs knowing your landing will be soft no matter how wrong you get it. The dream of riding what Americans call "the back country" is sold in countless videos, many of them set in Alaska.

The resort of Alyeska is just 40 miles from Anchorage airport, and only a few hours further from London than is Breckenridge in Colorado. The resort's Alyeska Prince Hotel is large and comfortable, with a pool, sauna and restaurants. That all sounds soft-core; as soon as you step outside, however, everything changes.

The 1,000-acre area within the resort boundary is small by North American standards, but an unusually high percentage of that is steep and ungroomed. And the snowfall is huge. Some resorts organise press conferences when they get 400 inches in a season; Alyeska's winter average is 1,000 inches. What really sets Alyeska apart is that the next valley (plus the one after that – and so on for thousands of miles) is wilderness. Chugach Powder Guides operate both heli-boarding and snowcatting (the snowcat departs from the hotel car park) in the mountains where those dreamtime videos were shot.

There are vast expanses of untracked snow, on challenging ridges, gentle open fields and in higgledy-piggledy woods. You can gaze forever across peaks of a scale not seen in Colorado or Utah towards 20,000ft Denali (Mount McKinley); and you can experience the strange sensation of riding above the salt water of Turnagain Sound. Alaska is a dream, but an accessible one.

The only British tour operator serving Alyeska is Inghams (020-8780 8811). Prices from £550 per person per week

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