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National Geographic National Geographic. Travel and Adventure. By Aaron Teasdale. Published 11 Nov , GMT. Photograph by Paul Zizka, Aurora. Best For: Photographers with a taste for old-world culture and never-ending descents Switzerland is a country of classic ski towns, but Zermatt is its crown jewel. Though surrounded by several glacier-clad peaks, everything here—the town, the skiing, the sky—is dominated by the spiking pyramid of the mighty Matterhorn, one of the most distinctive mountains on Earth.
The village itself allows only electric cars you arrive by rail , and luxury hotels sit side by side with centuries-old wooden barns. Streets are narrow and cobbled; restaurants are abundant and expensive. Zermatt offers three interconnected Swiss skiing zones, each with its own cluster of lifts and all skiable with a single ticket and accessible directly from town.
There are also two ski zones just across the Italian border. The scenery is unrelentingly stunning but the skiing and snowboarding is even more so, with vertical drops of up to 7, feet on terrain that varies from never-ending cruisers to north-facing powder runs. The more than 50 on-mountain restaurants are among the finest anywhere, and taking time for a relaxed lunch is de rigueur. He has climbed the Matterhorn more than 20 times. Here are his recommendations. Best Digs: Hotel Bahnhof is a simple, low-budget hotel that is well known by climbers.
The Mont Cervin Palace is an old, classic, five-star hotel. Best Eats: Walliserkanne has a really good low-budget menu. Try Chez Heini for high-quality lamb in the company of celebrities. Best Rest-Day Activity: Visit the Matterhorn Museum to learn about the history of the mountain, the first ascent, and more. Located in a deeply cleaved valley near the trisection of France, Italy, and Switzerland, the town sits in the shadow of the highest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc, and a tangle of other glacier-clad mountains.
The many lifts and trams access terrain so steep and rugged that many skiers will be wishing for a ride down, as well. One ticket gains access to the 11 different ski zones scattered discontinuously across the valley. If the snow is good, vertical drops of over 9, feet are possible.
With more glaciers—and their pesky offspring, crevasses—than any ski area in Europe, skiers and snowboarders who enjoy staying alive should hire a local guide before heading out of bounds. Best Digs: The recently renovated Hotel du Louvre is in the center of town. Le Hameau Albert 1er in downtown Chamonix is the only five-star hotel. Best After-Ski Party Spot: Chambre Neuf, a Scandinavian-influenced bar, has live music and is host to the best after-ski vibe the town has had in years. Photograph by Damiano Levati, Aurora.
Best For: Well-heeled scenesters and celebrity-stalkers with a love for top-quality skiing Hype aside, Aspen is still the ski town all North American ski towns compare themselves to—and one of the few places that manages to be both hip and classic at the same time. Riddled with galleries and boutiques and coffeehouses and gourmet restaurants, this is where movie stars mingle with Olympic athletes and where full-length fur coats never go out of style.
Its runs spill right into downtown. Snowmass is the mega-mountain with the second most vertical in the U. Aspen Highlands is the local favorite and features the steepest terrain of the four. Buttermilk, with its ample greens and innovative ski school, is perfect for beginners. Lift tickets are good for all four mountains, which are easily reached from Aspen and each other by free shuttle buses. Here are her recommendations. Best Digs: The Tyrolean Lodge on Main Street was built by a legendary Aspen family and has remodeled rooms with vintage ski decor and the best rates in town.
Best Eats: At Grill, two local skiers and chefs quickly serve up healthy burgers, creative sandwiches, and sal. For 24 years, Cache Cache has been the place to go for the most sophisticated, French-inspired cuisine in Aspen, with an incredible, high-energy atmosphere. Best After-Ski Party Spot: Just steps from the gondola, Ajax Tavern lures you in with the smell of truffle fries and a stylish patio scene. Then view a cutting-edge contemporary art exhibit at the Aspen Art Museum. Photograph by Scott Markewitz, Aurora.
Best For: Aesthetically minded skiers who appreciate fine wine With the dramatic peaks of the Dolomites rising like ruddy cathedrals in every direction, the ski areas around Cortina have been called the most beautiful in the world.
Many of the bejeweled visitors here seem to be vying for the same title. There is a free shuttle bus that connects the ski areas with continuous service during the operating hours of the lifts. Beginners and intermediates will have the most fun on the many gorgeous, groomed runs Socrepes and Mietres are dedicated to children and beginners.
You can see the entire valley from the terrace of Il Meloncino al Camineto. Many people come to Cortina just to ski this high, steep slope cupped between dozens of thorny Dolomite peaks. Photograph by Mauritius Images, Alamy. Best For: Diehard skiers who wear their duct tape with pride and beginners who look forward to doing the same someday The adventure capital of the Northern Rockies, Bozeman is an old Montana university town of cowboys and ski bums, pickups and unleashed dogs, and two of the premier ski hills in America.
The tram to the vaulting, exposed 11,foot summit of Lone Peak opens up a Euro-style world of high-alpine, big-mountain skiing. Beginners and intermediates will find plenty of terrain at both, with Big Sky the deluxe option and the smaller Bridger a no-frills, low-cost choice. Yellowstone National Park, a minute drive away, features back-of-beyond cross-country skiing and wildlife watching. Ask a Local: Tom Jungst moved to Bozeman in to the Montana State University ski racing team and soon began pioneering extreme terrain in the area and appearing in classic ski films by Warren Miller and Greg Stump.
Today he is an educator, machinist, and product deer. Best Eats: Watanabe, across from the high school on Main Street, has no liquor , but the authentic noodle dishes warm you after a cold day of skiing. For a more gourmet choice, head to Starky's. Main Street is all fun! Bring some cross-country skis or snowshoes and check out the frozen waterfalls, ice climbers, and beautiful peaks. Photograph by Patrick Orton, Aurora. Best For: Families hoping to raise the next freeskiing world champion Like its Colorado siblings Aspen and Telluride, Crested Butte is a remote, high-elevation former mining town of historic buildings surrounded by spectacular scenery.
There are restaurants in back-alley log cabins and buildings sided with old plates, and the free shuttle buses to the ski area are wildly painted by local artists. There are currently no chain stores, and with a population of only 1,, shopping options may be limited. Crested Butte Mountain Resort is three miles up the road, and the base village, part of the town of Mt.
Crested Butte, offers conveniently located hotels and condo blocks. Crested Butte pioneered adventure skiing, or running lifts specifically for access to ungroomed, advanced terrain, and the steep, cliff- and couloir-riddled, in-bounds terrain it serves up is as hairy as any in the country.
The ski school also offers powder and steep skiing instruction for intermediates looking to become experts. Ask a Local: One of the original female extreme skiers, Wendy Fisher is a former Olympian, seven-year member of the U. Ski Team, and two-time World Extreme Skiing champion. With a higher price tag, the Lodge at Mountaineer Square is a good option. Best Eats: Teocalli Tamale is great for those on a budget. Photograph by Kennan Harvey, Aurora. Best For: Adventurous skiers with a hunger for the steep and deep Though it serves up some of the most spectacular terrain and best snow in all of Canada, this historic mining hamlet of 4, people tucked into the far southeastern corner of British Columbia still somehow flies below the greater ski-scene radar.
For many skiers and snowboarders it hits the Canadian sweet spot, with more consistent powder than Whistler and warmer temperatures than Banff. Similar to its American cousin, Whitefish, a hundred miles to the south, Fernie is a small, funky town with a tiny yet charming downtown. Restaurants are eclectic and unpretentious, the old train station has been converted to an arts center, and ski bums abound. Thanks to new developments at the base of the hill and in town, lodging options at all price points abound, from hostels to luxury lodges.
Its five distinct bowls will keep advanced skiers and snowboarders drunk on adrenaline all day, while the new chairlift to the summit of Polar Peak opens up hundred-mile mountain views and 3, feet of vertical drop. Diehard powder addicts can head up to the Bear Lodge of Island Lake Catskiing, a few miles past the ski area, for world-class cat skiing. Ask a Local: Brian Bell came to Fernie in , living in his van, to ski for a winter and never left. At the higher end, the Lizard Creek Lodge on the mountain is ski-in, ski-out.
Be sure to ask about the naked table sliding. Then go fondle all the beautiful skis at the local ski shops in historic downtown Fernie. Photograph by Henry Georgi, Aurora. Best For: Powder worshippers with plenty of frequent flyer miles and a taste for hot springs and sushi Thanks to the near-constant storm cycles pumping out of neighboring Siberia, the mountains on the Japanese island of Hokkaido are globally renowned for having some of the most consistent, lightest powder on Earth.
Niseko is the preeminent spot here, an amalgam of four independently owned, interconnected resorts that girdle 4,foot Mount Niseko Annupuri skiable with one lift ticket. The town of Niseko, population 4,, is an easy drive from the four separate base areas and features a laid-back, surfing-town vibe and dozens of onsen, or hot springs, for settling into after-ski comas. Night skiing is huge here, and enormous stadium-style lights brighten 2, vertical feet of skiing.
Deep-powder runs through illuminated nighttime forest are a Niseko specialty. He now operates Black Diamond Lodge and Tours, which offers mountainside lodging and guided powder skiing in the area. Best Digs: Powder Lodge is the cheapest place to stay in town.Mont Tremblant town women nude
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