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Best Skiing Getaways

By Jennifer Jordan

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.

Aspen, Colorado

“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 Having been to five continents and over 40 countries, her travel column can be found at the Millenium limo website.

Whistler-Blackcomb – A World Class Ski Resort

By Michael Russell

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.

Whistler Ski Resort, Canada - photo by Jason Weimer

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

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