Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Take A Ski Trip

It's winter, and that means hitting the slopes--at least for some people. I happen to be one of those looking to get some serious time in on the mountain. With limited time off, it can be difficult to fit in a ski trip. Luckily, I was able to swing a little extra vacation time, and now I plan to carve through some powder with my friends in Colorado. Where we'll go, I'm not quite sure yet, but there are plenty of options for us to choose from. Personally, I love Keystone. It's where I learned to ski and snowboard, and my family owned a condo there for years. It's comfortable, and I know the terrain better than any other resort. However, I am open to going other places, and I'm sure Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek will be thrown out on the table. For me and my friends, it's an easy drive to the mountains, but for many it isn't as easy. If you have the time, and the money, I strongly suggest looking into a ski trip with family or friends. Even if you don't ski or snowboard, there's always the apres-ski to enjoy.

So where should you go? Town & Country Magazine has a helpful questionnaire in this month's issue that determines the right ski scene for you. They feature resorts all over the country and the world that provide various perks that suit every individual's needs. If you're more of a ski bunny looking for a nice dinner or cocktail, Aspen is an impressive town full of world-class restaurants and four-star hotels. Not only is the nightlife exciting, but the mountain offers its own thrills with 300 inches a year of fresh powder. Courchevel, France is full of Michelin-star restaurants, five-star hotels and countless spas. And after skiing any of its 93 slopes, you'll certainly want to relax with a nice martini or full-body massage.

For those more avid skiers and snowboarders, Park City, Utah is a local Western gem that has the country's only heated chairlift, as well as 4,000 acres of terrain. It's also nearby other resorts, so you can change things up. Jackson Hole, Wyoming is known for its beautiful scenery and exotic wildlife, but its also known for its adventurous backcountry. Visitors can blaze a trail on their own or hire a professional guide from the ski school, which ever they prefer. Abroad, head to Verbier, Switzerland, where the La Tzoumaz resort offers fast lifts, crazy back-runs and toboggan rides. Are, Sweden's Areskutan is a party day and night. Ski any of the 103 exciting runs during the day, and then socialize with other guests as you warm up in the hot tub accompanied by delicious schnapps.

If you can't find the time or cash to get away this year, and are looking for places close to home, there are a number of smaller ski hills around the East Coast and Midwest. For all you Chicagoans, check out Chestnut Mountain in Galena, Illinois, or Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Michigan. Both of these locations have reasonable lift ticket prices and feature a decent number of slopes, plenty to keep you busy for a day. 

Whether you can spare a week or just a weekend, take the time this season to grab your skis or snowboard and head out on the snowy trails.  

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