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The mountains are calling! The powder’s fresh and the snow is thick but which resort will you answer to?
You’re woken at 6am by the sound of a snow digger. The proof is in the sound of its tread; today is going to be a magnificent day. An early breakfast to fuel you – and resort eggs always taste the best – by the time you take your first step on snow, the atmosphere is fervent with excitement. The combined anticipation for a fresh whip of mountain air, the echoed laughter and the inevitable failures and solitary successes that lie in the day ahead. Whether you share the mountain with your friends, family or your own thoughts, a ski holiday has a little bit of something to enthral every snow lover. From fun runs to back country treks, green runs to diamond blacks, everyone gets a thrill out of the inevitable “woo-hoo” ski moments.
Family fun in Canada
The most family-friendly sport of the lot, kids love to ski because the snow’s soft and the gondolas soar, while parents get to perfect their bowls, glades and cliff chutes.
In Canada, there are two key ski states; British Columbia and Alberta. Both regions provide a huge playground of diversity, from vast slopes to gentle grooms, designated beginner’s areas, off piste, tree runs and exhilarating heli-ski drops. There’s something to suit all abilities. In addition, both BC and Alberta offer an abundance of snowfall, there are no closed days and because the Canadians are kings at building practical ski resorts, queues are unlikely. That’ll curb any impending tantrums. From dad!
When the kids tire of skiing, take them snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dog sledding or zip lining, the opportunities are endless. And if you’re wary of the long haul, add on a stopover in Vancouver, LA or San Francisco; three cities to enthral them all.
Empty-nesters in the USA
It’s difficult to know what you’ll find the most superior on a USA ski holiday – the scenery, the service or the snow. From California, Wyoming, Utah to Colorado, you’ll discover plenty of diverse views, from lakes and cowboy ranches, to mining towns and pistes skimming a casino mecca. Even the Spring Mountains outside Las Vegas offer an immaculate ski terrain.
Frequent snow dumps and light, dry powder are trademark attributes of US snow, with an average ten metres of powder per season. With resorts that are as charming off-piste as they are on, snow services are efficient and faultless, with tours ran by snow hosts often culminate in a mug of steaming hot chocolate. Yum!
Not to be out-done by European rivals, the après ski scene is also alive and kicking, from dog sledding to cat skiing and the obligatory night cap (or caps) next to a roaring fire and a sheepskin rug.
Young go-getters in Japan
With three-quarters of the country lending itself to mountain, Japan’s a haven for the avid skier or snowboarder. Boasting some of the most reliable and heaviest snowfall in the world, resorts are rich in thick, metre-deep powder. As the better-known Japanese resort, Nisko enjoys an enviable 16 metres of snow per year, but with over 700 winter resorts dotting the map, there’s light powder to be found all-over, as well as a relatively low-lying landscape which will thankfully keep the altitude sickness at bay. A popular choice for the international jet-set, Japan is one of the closest ski destinations you can get to in the northern hemisphere. Partner your trip with a stopover in Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto. Once there, experience a Japanese style of ski culture. Eat your weight in freshly cooked tempura and switch your après ski from a lively all-nighter, to an Onsen hot spring bath.
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