Where to go for Snow
Dec 05, 2014 02:28PM
● By Dia
It’s no wonder North Texans find snowfall fascinating. After all, the winter precipitation in our area sets the tone for iceskating more than lift-riding. But it’s time to grab your goggles and hit the slopes! Powder may have been falling in the valleys since early November, but resorts in the United States and abroad have definitely opened their slopes now that it’s December. As a veteran skier, you’ve certainly been tracking snowfall in the Rockies and perhaps the Alps already. However, there may be a place or two not on your snow radar worth exploring this season. What this means for snow buffs and snow boarders alike is taking a quick trip to a “local” resort, wandering farther north or heading overseas to a well-kept resort secret.
Close to home
Just a short plane ride from Southlake, the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado has been the delight of skiers for more than 50 years. What may be considered the old standby when it comes to U.S. resorts, with more than 5,200 acres combined of both rugged and groomed terrain, Vail has plenty of powder for the taking. The majority of the groomed terrain is at the front of Vail Mountain. There are wide, long runs including Riva Ridge, Born Free, Simba, Lodgepole and Bear Tree. At the back of the mountain, hill riders will enjoy some of the “legendary” Back Bowls. Explore the China Bowl, which offers the only groomed blue runs in the Back Bowls, and for more adventure, ski the Siberia and Outer Mongolia Bowls.
Down time is easily found in one of the three bases at Vail Mountain; Lionshead, Vail Village and Golden Peak. Each of these offers world class dining and shopping, along with a lively nightlife scene. You won’t find any cars along the cobblestone streets throughout the bases, and with heated streets, who needs them? And after a long day of moguls and catching air, there’s no better place to rest your head than on a pillow at one of the many lodges. Lionshead Lodge allows you to choose from gold or platinum level condominiums. We recommend the latter. A step up from the gold level, one-, two- and three-bedroom platinum condos offer a full kitchen, dining area and balcony. Designed to make you feel at home, there are designer fixtures throughout the condo, and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.
If looking for a quick trip for the family or weekend getaway for two, Vail is convenient and packed full of activities. Don’t worry if hitting the slopes is not your forte, or if this is the first time for the kiddos. Vail offers ski and snowboarding school for all ages. Vail.com,
Averaging a whopping 475" of snow per year for the last five years, the Jackson Hole Ski Resort in Wyoming is a definite destination on the avid skier’s northbound itinerary. Located along the Teton Mountain Range, Jackson Hole offers not only 2,500 acres of skiable terrain inside the boundaries of the resort, but access to more than 3,000 acres of additional backcountry. With almost an equal number of expert (50 percent) and intermediate (40 percent) runs among its 116 named trails, there is something for all levels of skill. Interested in more than just skiing? Try snowshoeing, kite boarding or dog sledding.
With all the snow activities you’ll be participating in, you’ll probably work up a hefty appetite. Start your day right, and ride the aerial tram to Corbets Cabin. Choose from a variety of toppings for the freshly made waffles the Cabin serves. For lunch and dinner, stop by the Couloir Restaurant. It’s Great lunch fare in a casual dining atmosphere, but make reservations for dinner for a more intimate and upscale feel.
After your daytime mountain top experiences, slow down and enjoy the other side of Jackson Hole, a city that’s filled with everything from fine dining and retail boutiques to local saloons and luxurious spas. And when you are worn out from wandering the streets of this eclectic town, find a place to rest your weary snow and sightseeing legs. Hotel Terra offers more than just luxurious suites, rooms and studios. Just because it is winter and there’s a ton of snow accumulated on the ground, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pack your swimsuit. The rooftop heated hot tub and infinity pool should be just the right temperature for relaxation. JacksonHole.com, HotelTerra-
Ski the rising sun
Japan may not be on your peak and valley radar. However, with strong weather systems moving across the Sea of Japan from Siberia —yes, that Siberia —the snow depth at the Niseko, Japan Ski Resort is something to behold. Niseko is actually comprised of five different resorts, with some clocking an average snow depth of 45 feet! What this translates to: a different set of attire than you’re used to in U.S. resorts. Deep snow calls for warmer boots and thermals.
SKI RESORTSThe five resorts of Niseko are Annupuri, Higashiyama, Hirafu, Hanazono and Moiwa. One of the pluses of having a “home base” for reaching these resorts, is having a central location for resort representatives, mountain staff, transport staff, ski school and rental staff. You may have to exchange your currency, but there is no need to fret over not speaking the language —there is a whole support system of English-speaking staff members. Although the resort itself may be accommodating to Americans and other nationalities, there is something to be said about venturing out and exploring the Japanese culture. From festivals and cuisine to shopping and art events, Japan has a rich historical background.
Talk about unique! From late December to early January, forget dog sledding in Japan. Try reindeer sledding, an activity offered at Niseko Resort Village. Only part of the laundry list of outdoor experiences found at the resort, reindeer sledding will definitely make a great addition to any vacation photo collection.