A Canadian Rockies golf vacation could very well be the most memorable holiday you’ll ever take! The Canadian Rockies truly are one of the top natural wonders of the world, internationally renowned for the stunning scenery, the sparkling clean air, and the quiet of unspoiled wilderness. This is as close as it gets to paradise on earth.
Snow-gilded mountain peaks, gem-like lakes, lush green river valleys and wide blue western skies are almost scenery clichés, but on your Canadian Rockies golf vacation this is reality. Golfers from around the world come to just stand and stare at one of nature’s crowning achievements. The fact that you’ll be playing golf in such a fabulous setting is just the icing on the cake. Of course, the numerous world-class golf courses in the area take full advantage of their gorgeous settings.
Verdant fairways weave themselves around glacier-fed streams and towering stands of evergreens, and often the greens themselves are back-dropped by achingly beautiful vistas. If there is a heaven, surely it must look like this! In such circumstances, it can be very difficult to concentrate on your golf game.
There are a wide variety of golf courses to choose from, all of them fabulous in their own unique way. Stanley Thompson, Canada’s master golf architect, designed the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course in 1928. He sensitively incorporated the natural scenic splendour into his design. The course winds along beside the pristine wilderness of the Bow River overlooked by the snow-capped peaks of Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle. This amazing course will both challenge and delight you.
SCOREGolf Magazine rates the Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club as the #1 Best Golf Resort in Canada with good reason. Designed in the 1920’s by Stanley Thompson, few golf courses in the world can match the rugged majesty of this national treasure. The design features wide fairways carved through thick forest, dramatic bunkering and holes aligned with distant mountain vistas. It presents a cunning blend of beautiful landscapes and challenging terrain.
Of course, a Canadian Rockies golf vacation would be incomplete without luxurious accommodations, fine dining, unique shopping experiences and pampering spas. Fortunately, resorts like Banff and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies have been offering these amenities for well over a century, all in a unique manner. Hedonistic luxury in the heart of spectacular unspoiled wilderness is now a Canadian Rockies tradition.
About the author
Copyright 2007 – Golf Canada’s West. Author K. Gordon Schultz is President of the http://www.GolfCanadasWest.com K. Gordon Schultz is president of Canmore Golf & Curling Club and the founder of Golf Canada’s West – Customized Golf Vacations. His company offers customized golf vacations packages to Alberta and British Columbia being the Western Canada’s leading golf vacation specialist. Toll free 877 323 3633, or visit http://www.GolfCanadasWest.com
Whistler-Blackcomb is renowned as North America’s leading ski resort. The two mountains rise up majestically from the valley, with over a vertical mile up to the peak. So imagine you only have a single day to ski. Which mountain do you choose? Each has their advocates. Some people will always head for the Whistler Village Gondola or the Creekside gondola, both of which head up Whistler Mountain, and others head unerringly for the Excalibur gondola or the Wizard chair, the main gateways to Blackcomb. So what are the differences? What kind of skiers choose one over the other? Is there any real difference between the two mountains? Which conditions favour Whistler over Blackcomb, and vice-versa?
Powder days (for experts)
If the weather gods have blessed the day with fresh powder, there is little question that Whistler is the mountain of choice for expert skiers. Two words explain why: Peak Chair. The Peak Chair on Whistler gives access to an immense variety of off-piste runs to cater for all levels of powder skier. (If you are at the very high end, you can head for Air Jordan, a terrifying leap off a cliff which involves a 50 foot descent to a intermediate landing point only 60 foot square, after which you have to take off again and descend another 40 feet to the soft snow below. Fluff your first landing and you are looking at several months in hospital…if you are lucky.) There is no lift on Blackcomb to compare to the powder terrain opened up by the Peak Chair.
Powder days (for the rest of us)
Less accomplished skiers in the powder head for the Blackcomb Glacier on powder days. This is an enormous bowl where you can still find fresh tracks two or three hours after the lift has opened. Whilst the over-ambitious can easily do themselves a lot of damage in the many couloirs and cliffs off the Peak Chair, they can’t come to too much harm on the Blackcomb Glacier.
When the weather is stormy and winds of 70km/hour are battering the high alpine, it is likely that the uppermost lifts are closed. Almost certainly the Glacier Chair and Seventh Heaven on Blackcomb will be shut, as well as the T-bars on the Horstmann Glacier. You’ll probably find that Crystal Chair is also closed. This leaves most of the interesting terrain in Blackcomb inaccessible. However on Whistler, even if the Peak Chair and the Harmony Chair are closed, you still have the Village gondola (which has the added bonus in a storm of offering a sheltered ride all the way to the top), the Garbanzo Chair, Big Red and the Emerald Express. These lifts will remain open in any conditions that you want to be up on the mountain at all in. Garbanzo in particular gives access to many tree-sheltered runs which can be great in a storm.
Most of both Whistler and Blackcomb is faces north or west, and receives the sun only obliquely. This is one reason why the snow lasts a long time. However, on a cold but sunny day (and most sunny days are cold in the Whistler winter), you want the sun full on to soften up the piste and to keep you warmer as well. At these times you want to be on Seventh Heaven, the only major south-facing slope in Whistler.
Both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are well-covered with trees in the bottom two-thirds of the skiable terrain. However Whistler has the edge in terms of the sheer area of skiable treed terrain. Runs like Club 21 and Sidecut on Whistler are similar to Bark Sandwich on Blackcomb, but the tree runs off the Peak Chair are incomparable.
If you are one of the people for whom ski runs are short intervals between lengthy doses of café cognac, and for whom lunch is the central part of the day, Whistler has little to offer, and you will probably spend more time on Blackcomb. None of the restaurants in Whistler has much atmosphere, whereas Blackcomb has a couple that are passable: Christine’s in the Rendezvous and the Crystal Hut.
So each mountain has its supporters, and each mountain is better for certain conditions and certain types of skier. Just make sure you try them both when you come. And if you are looking for somewhere to stay, give a try to Holiday Whistler, who have a great choice of Whistler chalets, as well as condos and townhomes.
Ask Canadians where they are heading for a winter break and you are most likely to hear Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Caribbean cruises.
These tourist spots are quite hot among Canadians, because of their sun-soaked beaches and mildly warm climate. Industry experts agree that tourism demands for all these locations are hitting their all-time high because of the lavish accommodation, sight-seeing arrangements, and the variety of travel packages, which these destinations offer.
Mexican Coastal Resorts
In Mexico, Mayan Riviera, Cozumel on the Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun, and Los Cabos on Baja Peninsula are the most popular tourist destinations. Particularly, the Yucatan has witnessed a spectacular rise in resort and hotel development because of its amazing beaches and Mayan archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza and Tulum. The Mayan Riviera is also popular as the top destination for Canadian travelers. Climbing up the popularity charts are also Puerto Vallarta and a revitalized Acapulco on the Pacific coast. In Puerto Vallarta, the destination that is gaining rapid popularity is Nuevo Vallarta, which is located at north of the old town.
Growing Golf in Cuba
Cuba was devoid of any golf culture until the famous Varadero Golf was built. After it was set up, the island has just not looked back in terms of the sport’s popularity. Today, Cuba is the most sought after golf destination and is a vital attraction for the local as well as international sports lovers. Currently, the much famous Varadero Golf Club does over 32,000 rounds annually. It intends to add nine more holes to its existing facility, according to the management. A European has been given the responsibility to design the new golf site that is likely to have five holes on ocean, instead of the existing two.
Dominican Republic’s all-inclusive Packages
The growing popularity of The Dominican Republic as a tourist spot is reflected in a spectacular rise in its hotel rooms to nearly 40,000. The destination is among the favorite tourist spot for the Canadians, because of its all-inclusive vacations. In such packages, one up-front payment covers facilities including airfare, accommodation, unlimited alcohol, food, and resort activities like tennis and windsurfing. So much so that the popularity of the Dominion Republic’s all-inclusive packages have reached Caribbean and Mexican destinations. Canadian tourists heading to the Dominion Republic pay as low as $999 per person for an all-inclusive trip to a hotel/resort situated at just 10 minutes away from Puerto Plata.
Even the biggest tropical storms move at snail’s pace when compared with the cruise ships, which is the biggest reason for the growing popularity of the Caribbean cruises. The nice weather of the Caribbean serves like an icing on the hot cake. Even a hurricane in the cruise’s path seems like a vacuum cleaner that sucks the moisture out of the air, leaving behind bright sunny days for the tourists. Moreover, with the political uncertainties across the globe, the Canadians prefer holiday trips close to home, which is another reason contributing towards the increasing popularity of Caribbean cruises.
The holidays are a time for family and friends, a time to be surrounded by the ones you love.
But, this abundance of love also brings about an abundance of chaos: the holidays are a time for screaming babies, sloppy kisses on the lips from your Aunt Shirley, endless requests from three year old nephews for shoulder rides, and accidentally walking in on your Grandpa George sitting on the toilet, a spot he has been for over three hours. Because of this, when someone is asked what they are doing for the holidays, they often reply, “I’ll be with family. So, in other words, I’ll be drinking.”
Nonetheless, the holidays are a time that come but once a year, and leave before you even know it. After they are over – the presents have been unwrapped, the VCR you received from your grandmother has been exchanged for an IPOD, and your in-laws have finally decided, three weeks later, that they’ve worn out their welcome – you may find yourself desperately wanting to take a vacation.
For the person who loves to ski – who prefers to strap their children to the luggage rack of their SUV so that their new alpine skis can ride shotgun, where it’s nice and warm – a ski trip is an excellent vacation getaway. Even for those who don’t particularly enjoy skiing, sitting inside a ski lodge, drinking peppermint schnapps and hot cocoa, can be a welcomed release to the hustle and bustle of the past few months.
There are a variety of places to take a ski trip. Some people prefer to go close to home, others prefer to travel abroad, and still others simply enjoy skiing through the forest behind their house, getting lost in the woods and their imagination. While people can ski in all sorts of places, a few resorts routinely remain a snow bunny’s haven.
“How’s your Aspen?” may be a question asked any skier who routinely crashes, falling to the ground butt first. Known for its steep hills, there is rarely a better place to fall than Aspen, Colorado; falling here may even provide the rare opportunity to have celebrities laugh at you. While it can be a bit expensive, many skiers, particularly those who are well seasoned, find that the challenge of Aspen often warrants the price.
Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the non-skiing life of Aspen is as magical as the slopes. With restaurants, five star lodging, and entertainment unlike most mountain towns, a ski trip to Aspen is really hard to surpass.
Whistler, British Columbia
Huge mountains make up the arguably best place to go for skiing in North America. With some of the biggest drops, this resort provides certain skiers with chills and others with thrills. Many skiers believe that they haven’t truly skied until they have conquered the slopes of Whistler. Soaring down the mountain with the wind in your face, and snow underfoot, the skiing at this location serves as the epitome of the sport.
The village surrounding the mountain adds to Whistler’s charm. Well known for offering after skiing food and drink, it contains everything from Chinese food to French food, from Mexican food to the food of the Greeks. Very much a melting pot of interests, it is almost impossible to find something here that you wouldn’t thoroughly enjoy.
Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France
“Wee wee,” is a term you will surely shout as you coast through the white powder of Chamonix Mont-Blanc. The location that hosted the first Winter Games in 1924, this resort has cemented itself in history, continually vying to be the most famous ski resort in the world. This resort includes the highest peak in the Alps and one of the longest runs in the world.
After skiing, there’s nothing quite like unwinding with a nice bottle of wine, a product for which the French are famous. With an atmosphere unlike many most experience, this ski trip offers more than just fresh powder: it also offers those not from France a fresh outlook on a different culture.
Jackson’s Hole, Wyoming
Wyoming isn’t exactly known as a hot spot when it comes to vacation; it’s not its heat but its snow that lends itself to our list. Possessing the mantra, “Like nothing you have seen before,” Jackson’s Hole is one of the most unique ski resorts in existence. From unparalleled back country to the potential for serious weather conditions, Jackson’s Hole is a ski resort that can be dangerous for the person who doesn’t take precautions. However, for those who ski safely, Jackson’s Hole will prove to be a whole lot of fun.
For anyone who grows tired of skiing, Jackson’s Hole offers experiences not likely to be found anywhere else. These include taking a sleigh ride through a National Elk Refuge, snowmobiling through Yellowstone National Park, and snowshoeing with the Wyoming wildlife.
Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont
Where New England skiing was born, the Stowe Mountain Resort captures the appeal of a small, northeastern town. Over 200 years old, this town possesses dining, lodging, pubs, and skiing unlike any other. Once known as the “Ski capital of the East” this resort is nothing if not varied: from slopes intended to serve the brave to those intended to serve the novices, this resort is sure to appeal to skiers from all over the world.
Stowe Mountain Resort makes itself known as a resort laden with originality, stating that no two trails at this resort are the same. There are trails specifically designed for cross country skiing, trails designed for snowshoeing, and even night skiing on Saturdays, an experience that allows skiers to ski down Mount Mansfield over the snow, and under the stars.
So, there you have it. Some of the best places to ski in the world. These resorts are just what you need to give your post-holidays recovery a real lift.
About the Author
Jennifer Jordan is a senior editor for http://www.milleniumlimo.com/. Having been to five continents and over 40 countries, her travel column can be found at the Millenium limo website.
Whistler, British Columbia, is world-renowned as the chosen venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. As one of the top ski and all-season resorts in North America, Whistler beckons travelers from around the world with ski, snow and vacation experiences of a lifetime.
This season, snow conditions were truly the best that they have ever been: more than 4.6 m (15 ft) fell in January 2006, making it the snowiest month in the resort’s recorded history.
Whistler offers world-class skiing in the largest ski area in North America and features 37 lifts, over 200 marked runs, three glaciers and 13 alpine bowls. Riders can try out tricks at the award-winning terrain parks. Adults and kids of all ages can take ski or snowboarding lessons from the pros. You can also enjoy heli-skiing, cross-country skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice climbing and winter fishing. Also new this year, experience the Coca-Cola Family Tube Park, a six to eight-lane adventure accessed via a new tube-friendly, carpet-style lift. You’ll probably run out of energy before you run out of things to do!
The pedestrian-friendly Whistler Village bustles with excitement year-round: restaurants, spas, shopping and entertainment ranging from five-star luxurious to comfortably economical. The resort has 115 hotels, condos and bed & breakfasts, as well as many apartments, self-cater lodges and motels. Some accommodations offer ski- in/ski-out access. A free shuttle service operates between Village North, Whistler Village and the Upper Village.
There’s even a nanny service which means everyone can share in the excitement. Caring for families is a Whistler specialty. Whistler Kids offers ski and snowboard lessons for the little ones. The Nanny Network offers reliable childcare and even dog walking and doggie babysitting services. Teens can enjoy the Ride Tribe program and learn free-ride, park skiing and snowboarding. The LUNA program for teenagers offers alcohol-free evening events from pool parties to movie nights.
You can drive the Sea to Sky Highway, Highway 99, from Vancouver, BC to Whistler in two hours. Flights to Vancouver are available from almost any major city. Scheduled bus services from Vancouver and connecting communities arrive in Whistler daily. The Whistler and Valley Express (WAVE) provides year-round public bus service throughout Whistler and between Whistler and Pemberton.
You might also choose to discover the dramatic beauty of the Sea-to-Sky corridor of British Columbia from a unique perspective while relaxing in comfort and style onboard the new Whistler Mountaineer train. This is a premier three hour train trip from Vancouver to Whistler, BC. As the train hugs the oceanfront, winds through canyons and climbs the steep grades of the BC Coast Mountains, you’ll have front row seats to the endless array of breathtaking views riding in one of their modern dome cars. An exciting addition to your holiday in Whistler.
Some pertinent facts about the Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort:
Vertical: Whistler – 1,530 m (5,020 ft); Blackcomb – 1,609 m (5,280 ft) Terrain: Whistler & Blackcomb combined – 3,307 ha (8,171 ac) Runs: Whistler & Blackcomb combined – 200 runs Whistler: 100 runs- 20% beginner; 55 % intermediate; 25% expert Blackcomb: 100 runs – 15% beginner; 55 % intermediate; 30% expert Lifts: Whistler & Blackcomb combined – 37 lifts Whistler: 20 lifts – 2 high-speed gondolas; 6 high-speed quads; 2 triple chairs; 1 double chair; 9 surface lifts. Blackcomb: 17 lifts – 1 high-speed gondola; 6 high-speed quads; 3 triple chairs; 7 surface lifts. Operating Season: Whistler – late November to early June; Blackcomb – late November to late April
Renowned for panoramic views and après ski delights and with 9 m (30 ft) of annual snowfall together with North America’s largest vertical drop of 1,609 m (5,280 ft), Whistler Blackcomb offers an exhilarating skiing and snowboarding winter holiday.
About the Author
By Michael Russell, your Independent guide to Tourism