5 Reasons For A Ski Trip To Europe!

If you are a skier or snowboarder, there are at least 5 reasons for a ski trip to Europe. The glitz, glamour and après ski of the Alps are calling. And some of the great ski destinations of the world are calling – Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, and more.Olympiaregion SeefeldOlympiaregion Seefeld

A European Ski Vacation is as much about experiencing culture, history and alpine scenery as it is about skiing. The full European alpine experience is hard to beat – après ski thermal baths to soothe sore muscles; Italian cappuccino in Italy (after skiing in from Switzerland); drinking beer in Munich after a day of skiing on nearby mountains. A European ski vacation offers a unique experience on another continent with different cultures —and world class skiing!

Here’s 5 points to ponder if you are thinking it’s time for a ski trip to Europe:

  1. Why Europe?

Why not? If you haven’t been to Europe, you have to go (ski season or any season). Almost everything is different – language, cuisine, money, electrical outlets, time zone. And now add the ski specific differences in Europe – over 4,000 ski areas; huge terrain; great snow; incredible lift systems and super long top-to-bottom runs.

Skiing in St. Moritz, Switzerland

  1. When To Go?

Generally speaking, most mountains in Europe open at the end of November and close mid to late April, with a few exceptions.

January tends to hold the best deals for European ski resorts and is less busy than peak holiday times. Most resorts are quiet and more peaceful. Fewer skiers on the slopes means that there are of course shorter lift lines! Prices can be almost double at peak times such as Christmas and New Year, and during the school holidays of Christmas, Easter, and particularly February Reading Week.

If you are going on your skiing holiday during late March-April (with longer and sunnier days), you’ll greatly reduce the risk of poor skiing conditions by skiing at a resort with a higher altitude. Val Thorens, France; Zermatt, Switzerland; Livigno, Italy all fit the bill. As a glacier, Zugspitze is skiable from early autumn until late spring, the highest (2,100m) and most snow-sure mountain in Bavaria, and just 90km from Munich.

Skiing in Val D'Isere, France

  1. Where To Stay?

Choices for accommodation range from traditional Alpine chalets and guestrooms in charming historic hotels to fully equipped apartments. Deluxe and moderate accommodations are available at most ski resorts in Europe. Austria and Italy are known in particular for their great value. If you’re after luxury, there’s no shortage of first-class transportation, five-star boutique hotels and world-class experiences! A few top Europe luxury ski resorts include Courchevel, France; St. Moritz, Switzerland and Cortina, Italy.

Modern ski resorts, (purpose-built ski resorts) are of course perfect for skiers and boarders. Purpose-built ski resorts are situated at higher elevations and have consistent snow conditions. They offer ski in, ski out and true slope side lodging. Think Val D’isère, and Les Trois Vallées, France.

Historic Alpine villages provide both true alpine ambiance and the quintessential Europe experience with skiing. Walk cobblestone streets; eat traditional local cuisine and stay in centuries old chalets. The nearby slopes are typically a short shuttle, train or cable-car ride away. Think Zermatt, Switzerland; Chamonix, France; and St. Anton, Austria.

  1. What To Do? (When You Are Not Skiing)

Many European resorts offer spas, boutiques, bars, restaurants and other off-mountain activities. Resorts near major cities offer city shopping, dining and sightseeing—perfect for a day away from the slopes. For example, skiers in Seefeld, Austria can take a quick 20 minute train ride down the mountain to Innsbruck. Or do it in reverse- stay in the city and travel up to the slopes. Munich can be a perfect springboard to the nearby mountains of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Nearby Wallberg or Alpspitze are great options too. You can ride all day, and then enjoy Munich by night.

SkiEurope- munich2

  1. Ski Terrain, Passes and Guides

Europe is home to thousands of miles of groomed and off-piste terrain, and several resorts are interconnected by lifts and trails. A multi-resort ski pass like the Dolomiti Superski Pass offers 700 miles of Italian Alpine terrain spread over a dozen resorts. The world’s largest ski area, Les Trois Vallees in France, includes Meribel, Courchevel, Val Thorens and 5 more resorts. The Milky Way Ski Area straddles France and Italy and offers the opportunity to ski across actual country borders (and have a croissant in France or espresso in Italy).

A local ski guide is also worth your consideration. An experienced local can take you through little known ski terrain, keep you safe and will have the inside scoop on local lunch spots and après ski parties. A ski guide in Europe packs a ton of value and can go for as little as 250 euros per day.

And at the end of your European ski holiday, you can still have more Europe! Add on a trip extension to an iconic city like Paris, Berlin and Rome, rich in history and culture. Europe ski vacation anyone?

Visiting 4 of British Columbia’s Most Stunning Natural Wonders

According to Destination British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province includes six tourism regions: Vancouver Island, Vancouver Coast and Mountains, Northern British Columbia, Thompson Okanagan, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and the Kootenay Rockies. There are so many natural wonders among them, it would be difficult to experience them all in one trip, but RV travel can make it easier, while making it more affordable too.

You may want to start by researching RV rental in Vancouver. B.C.’s largest city is an ideal spot for kicking off your adventure exploring its many stunning natural wonders, perfectly situated along the west coast of the province.

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, Whistler

You might be familiar with Whistler as the spot that co-hosted the Winter Olympics with Vancouver back in 2010. Just 90 minutes from the city, the area is home to Whistler and Blackcomb mountains which are linked by one of the town’s most popular attractions: the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola. As you ride the glass-bottomed gondola which soars a mile over Fitzsimmons Creek you may spot bears roaming the breathtaking landscape below.

British Columbia

Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island can be reached via a scenic drive- or walk-on ferry ride from Vancouver. Once there, you can experience one of B.C.’s true natural wonders. Pacific Rim National Park is made up of three units: Long Beach, the West Coast Trail and the Broken Group Islands. It includes everything from unspoiled beaches and rocky shoreline to old-growth coastal rainforest and abundant wildlife, including bald eagles, bears, harbor seals, a variety of whale species and more. Surf, hike, kayak, soak in hot springs, embark on boat excursions or just enjoy quiet contemplation among some of the world’s most impressive and lush scenery.

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve

The Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, or Gwaii Haanas as it’s often called, is a remote collection of nearly 140 islands that offer the ultimate wilderness experience that includes rare animals that can’t be spotted anywhere else, including the Haidi Gawaii black bear. The surrounding waters are filled with marine life like whales, dolphins, seals and sea lion, while tufted and horned puffins, peregrine falcons and bald eagles soar through the skies. Join a guided kayak excursion and you can paddle around sea coves, tiny islands and hidden coves while watching the wildlife.

British Columbia

Yoho National Park

This park is rather aptly named for a Cree expression of “awe and wonder.” Nestled in the western slopes of the Rockies, it’s the ultimate outdoor adventurers’ paradise, with everything from magnificent waterfalls like the 100-foot-high and 500-foot-wide Wapta Falls to sparkling lakes, massive glaciers and jagged mountain peaks. The Burgess Shale fossil beds can be found here as well – these incredibly detailed fossils of prehistoric marine life are a half-billion years old providing a fascinating look at the Earth’s ancient past.

 

7 Adventure Sports That You Must Try at Least Once in India

India is a land of mighty mountains, high waterfalls, fast flowing rivers, endless deserts and deep oceans. It is a place which is blessed with the beauty of mother nature. It is the best place for enjoying adventurous and thrilling sports. The country is experiencing an increase in the number of adventure tours. Here is a list of seven adventure sports that you can enjoy to the fullest in this wonderful country

1. Scuba Diving

Photo by joakant, CC0 1.0

If you have a love for water and want to experience the life deep in an ocean, then this is the perfect sports for you. You can experience the colourful and beautiful underwater flora and fauna that will bring a smile on your face. The best place to experience this sports is Lakshadweep or Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Lakshadweep is well known for its colourful coral reefs that are home to millions of beautiful marine creatures. You will need some lessons and training before venturing on your underwater journey. This is one of the sports that you should experience while you are young.

2. Skiing

Photo by Barney Moss, CC BY 2.0

Everyone likes playing with snow, but when it comes to adventure sports, the Himalayas in India has lots to offer. In winter you can go to any of the snow camps in Kashmir and you can enjoy the amazing feeling of skiing. It will be a very thrilling moment when you go whizzing down the hill on the snow and the cold air rubs your cheeks. Shimla and Gulmarg in Kashmir are the best destinations for this sport. Heli-skiing is one in which a helicopter is used to transport people to a hill from where they come skiing down the hill. Beginners need some lessons attain balance and control. Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Manali and Auli are some of the best places for skiing in India.

3. Paragliding

Photo by JaStra, CC0 1.0

It has been the dream of man to fly like a bird in the sky since ancient times. The thrill and adventure of flying high in the sky is immeasurable. Paragliding is a sport made for this purpose. In this a para glide is used which is very light and can be used to fly in the air. Biling, Solang, Kangra, Kullu and Manali are some of the best places for paragliding in India. Some training is needed to understand and control the movement of a paraglide. The paraglide is essentially a large kite and can fly for hours and many kilometers.

4. Trekking

Laddakh, Photo by McKay Savage, CC BY 2.0

India has a large number of mountain ranges with green flora and a great place for nature lovers. India has all kinds of trekking terrain that for all kinds of trekking adventures. Manali, Laddakh, Kumaon region and the Chembra peak of Kerala are the best place to visit for trekking. Trekking is a great way to communicate and relax in the lap of mother earth and nature.

5. Rafting

Photo by sarangib, CC0 1.0

India is a country of rivers that flow with great pace. There are many rivers that come from the Himalayas and these fast flowing rivers are the perfect for river rafting sports. Whether it is Ganges in Rishikesh or Indus in Leh, this experience is unforgettable. It is one of the most dangerous as well as a thrilling experiences. Rafting is generally a group activity and proper training is needed for the sport, but the amount of joy and thrill is immeasurable. This sport requires a great amount of energy and strength.

6. Bungee Jumping

Photo by PROTambako The Jaguar, CC BY-ND 2.0

Bungee jumping is the sport in which free fall is experienced from a great height with the help of a rope that is tied in the leg. The adrenaline rush in the body and the fear makes it one of the most enjoyable adventure sports. The feel of gravity disappears and you will experience total weightlessness. The famous spot for bungee jumping in India are Rishikesh, Delhi, Lonavala and Bangalore.

7. Windsurfing

Photo by dany, CC0 1.0

This water adventure sport requires great skill and is one of the most thrilling sports played on the ocean waves. A ride on the wave is an amazing experience. You have to just adjust the posture to balance your weight. Surfers can use natural as well as artificial waves created from the boat or wave pool machines. Wind surfing uses the power of the wind to propel forward. Proper training is needed before this sport is tried. In India this sport can be experienced in Mumbai, Goa and marina beach in Chennai.

When adventure is mixed with sports a whole new blend of experience is created and India can be the perfect place for these sports. These 7 thrilling adventure sports are waiting for your arrival so pack your bag soon for this wonderful experience.

 

Author Bio:

A passionate traveller and blogger, Rohit Agarwal keeps discovering unexplored places in India. An architect by profession, he keeps on writing his voyage diary on a website owned by him called TransIndiaTravels.com. Here you can find his interesting blogs on travel, tourism, and cuisines.

Ski and Travel…

I’m a big fan of night skiing. When I was a kid, I was a member at a little ski hill called “Uplands”. I would walk over to the hill after school and ski into the night. I remember that each of 4 runs had one light on it near the top. It was primitive but it was the only way to ski during the week.

Fast forward a bunch of years. Instead of school, I’m at the office staring at my ultra-cool Rule#5 Snow Messenger Bag and thinking of skiing. The bag is made of waterproofed nylon with snow crystal print and ski runs named in the lining. It holds my laptop and and tech gadgets to and from work. I pack up and get ready for a quick after work trip to the ski hill. I still can’t wait to go night skiing!


My lifestyle involves travel and skiing in large doses. It’s what I work for. I love to travel and love to ski. Lifestyle products keep me thinking about “apres work” and keep me motivated. Besides the Snow Messenger Bag, Rule#5 has a Backpack, Slim Wallet, Dopp Kit and Regular Wallet under there ski inspired collection. Travelling with frequency seems glamorous but it’s not. Long days, flight delays, long transfers -fun!… The travel part of my life is easier to coordinate and plan with functional products like this. Check it out!

Where to Go in Lake Tahoe When You’re Not Skiing

Lake Tahoe, the cobalt blue lake where California and Nevada meet, boasts a reputation as the ultimate skiing destination for travelers seeking mountainside luxury and rugged adventure. This winter, Tahoe has experienced record snowfall fairly earlyin the season, so visitors looking to plan a trip should act fast, as local resorts will get quickly booked! And while Tahoe is primarily known as a skier’s paradise, with resorts like Sugar Bowl Resort and the upscale Northstar California Resort standing out as popular destinations, there are plenty of options beyond the slopes. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite things to do before or after a day of skiing — or for travelers who would rather take in the scenery than speed down a mountain.

Foodie-Friendly Dining

The Ritz-Carlton’s restaurant, Manzanita, is particularly popular for its refined dishes all made with local ingredients, along with a wine list featuring many Northern California favorites. For a more intimate experience, visitors should check out Cafe Fiore, consisting of seven tables in a tiny alpine cabin. Cafe Fiore is known for its hearty Italian fare, with its house special, scallops and other seafood sauteed in lemon and wine tossed with linguine, a particular standout.

Health-conscious travelers should make a point to stop by Sprouts Cafe, a natural foods cafe established way back in 1990. It’s informal atmosphere is family-friendly, with books and games for kids are scattered about. Another great casual option isBasecamp Pizza Co., which offers hearty fare, including pizzas laden with ingredients ranging from bbq chicken to crisp vegetables. The vibe is laid-back but lively, with a happy hour every day and live music every night.

Daytrip to Truckee, CA

Visitors should trek up to the north shore of the Lake and make a stop in the charming old railroad town of Truckee, CA, now an upscale, hippie town  with a bustling nightlife. The crown jewel is Moody’s Bistro Bar and Beats, tucked into the Victorian-era Truckee Hotel. A hip bar and live music (including past visits by regular Paul McCartney) will make for a lively night on the town. Those interested in a down-to-earth “dive” should stop by the Tourist Club, one of the oldest bars in town and somewhere a party is always happening.

High-Rolling in South Lake Tahoe

Those wishing to get a taste of Vegas-like activities should check out South Lake Tahoe, across the Nevada state line, where a small strip of casinos sits alongside the lake. Harvey’s, which is right along the lake, is known for its old-school atmosphere.  Just down the street is the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which offers, in addition to its casino, three restaurants and two bars and lounges. The MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa is known for its nightlife, as its Opal Ultra Lounge is the place to go for a wild night out. (It’s a favorite of bachelorette parties!) For affordable lodgings in the area, consider the Holiday Inn Express South Tahoe, which is located near the main casino strip and also features a relaxing sauna.

Bustling Galleries for Art Lovers

Art fans should make sure to check out some of the galleries in the Tahoe area, which specialize in various styles of art, from painting to sculpture to glasswork and photography. A long-time favorite is Gallery Keoki, specializing in fine art photography and even offering the service of creating custom fine art installations for homes and office spaces. The James Harold Galleries has a large and varied collection of paintings and sculpture, all by new and known names in contemporary art. To take a piece of Tahoe home, visitors should definitely stop by the Jon Paul Gallery, which specializes in photographic artworks depicting the majestic natural beauty of Tahoe. Photographer Jon Paul even offers workshops for aspiring photographers, hinging on his philosophy of “bringing the fine art of nature home.”

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 28, 2016.

Ski Season Is Coming!

Can you feel a chill in the air or is it just my imagination? With the unofficial start of Fall, I’m already thinking about skiing. If there’s a better way to enjoy the winter, I don’t know what it is- the crisp air; new fallen snow; the exhilaration of the first run of the day. Memories of last ski season are flooding back with the help of these top 3 photos from an Inghams Facebook competition.

Inghams Ski Winner #1

It’s hard to forget what twilight is like during winter- absolutely magical. The fading light brings out colours in the sky and clouds that you would never see otherwise. It’s definitely a time to pause and look up!

Inghams Ski Winner #2

This is what skiing is all about- skis, fresh snow, mountain views and nature. With the added reminder that when your ski day is done, it’s time to warm-up, unwind and have some après ski, indoor fun at your resort or chalet.

Inghams Ski Winner #3

It’s night time and it’s time to gain some appreciation for the town that is the host for your holiday. Get out and walk the streets and alleyways, try an interesting restaurant, drop in at a pub with the locals. And enjoy the view!

The great ski destinations of the world are calling- Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Canada and more. A ski package is the way to go with airfare, hotel, lift tickets and more included. Life is simpler and the details taken care of. With the help of a quality ski holiday company, the world is your oyster. Get out there!

Skiing in Norway: Back to Basics

Skiing in Norway? Probably not your first choice or for most people. How can it compete with the glitz, glamour and après skis of the Alps? It doesn’t have the verticals or expansive terrain of Canada, so it can’t claim that. The only thing it can do is be different. Instead focus on making sure that everyone knows how different it is. And it is different.

I’ve had the fortune to have done a bit of skiing in my time (this an attempt to modestly say I’m a ski bum). This time I decided to venture away from the usual destinations of the Alps. No longer following the masses like a lemming, I opted to book a skiing holiday to Norway with Crystal Ski. I was sold on the fact that Norway had empty slopes. Skiing within yourself and carving sharply to avoid a gathering of people mid run would be a thing of the past! Any sort of ski rage would be non-existent.

Norway- Hemsedal from the Top

What I wasn’t expecting were the resorts themselves. Once you have visited a few resorts around Europe, you get the sense that they are all the same. Identical shops, identical restaurants. Turn left onto any street and it’s lined with spas and hotels. Why would Norway be any different? Well maybe it is because the destinations popularity dipped as others grew; maybe it is because everyone thinks the winters are harsh (they’re not by the way) or maybe it is that everyone thinks that it is really hard to get to. Whatever the reason is, it hasn’t been hit by the commercial fist of the ski industry. It was a rustic quaint resort that oozed skiing.

The resorts themselves were rural looking log cabins lined with snow. Not a neon light in sight. Nothing big, nothing brash just understated. The closest resorts in style to them are some of the lesser known ones in North American. As pretty as the villages are their primary goal is to be a place to stay while skiing. That is not to say that there are no facilities, but they do not overwhelm the resort. Something that can’t always be said (I’m looking at you Aspen). The facilities enhance the experience. At no point do you walk down the street and lose your sense of place. Always there is overwhelming feeling that you are in Scandinavia.

Norway- Hemsedal lodge

Once you learn the history of Norway you begin to realize why it is like this. There aren’t many cultures that are as entwined with all things ski as Norway is. They claim to have invented it; they definitely invented a couple of turns (Telemark and Stem Christie); and they spend an obscene amount of money on equipment. For them it isn’t a hobby, it is a way of life and a means of transport. This is probably the biggest reason why skiing takes centre stage over everything else in Norway. And why Norway is a back to basics destination.

Norway isn’t perfect though. It can be let down by the slopes. They are not challenging enough. No chutes, no gulleys but plenty of fresh powder. At mid week, the urge for something new becomes overwhelming. Cross country skiing becomes a genuine option. In Norway it is a major sport, not just the coward’s way out. So the courses stretch for miles and miles. The fact that Cross country is so important to Norwegians could be why the downhill runs see less attention and why it doesn’t suffer from overcrowding.

So Norway is a destination for skiers who have had enough of the sideshow around Europe and the Alps. If it had a few more difficult runs and alpine lined slopes, it would probably be heralded as a Mecca for the skiing purist. But it doesn’t. But what it did offer me was a week purely dedicated to the pursuit of powder. A week I enjoyed. A week of fresh air living. I left almost as chilled as my Scandinavian hosts. Pure escapism on the slopes.

Thanks to Martin Nolan, certified ski bum, for this post on the often overlooked ski destination of Norway. Follow Martin on Twitter @martinnolan7