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Believe it or not, the Southwest has some of the best snow skiing and snowboarding in the United States. With most alpine areas above 10,000 feet and many above 12,000 feet, several ski areas offer vertical drops of over 2,000 feet. Average annual snowfall ranges from 100 to 300 inches. Many areas, aided by vigorous snow-making efforts, open around Thanksgiving, and most open by mid-December, making this a popular vacation spot around the holidays. As a result, you'll see a definite rise in hotel room rates in and around ski areas during the holiday season. The ski season runs through March and often into the first week in April.
From the June long weekend to the October long weekend, you can go night skiing, downhill or cross-country skiing, snowboarding or tobogganing, or even ski off-piste with a guide. If you're a complete novice, there are instructors who cater for all skill levels. And at the end of an exhilarating day on the slopes, you can relax in a small family-friendly lodge or a heritage-listed chalet before hitting the lively apr s-ski scene.
Good accommodation and ski facilities are plentiful, offering access to downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as sci alpinismo, which combines skiing and mountaineering skills on longer excursions. Snowboarding and most other winter sports are also equally well catered for.
Several of the small towns in this region get their biggest jolt from winter downhill skiing and snowboarding at Windham and Hunter Mountains (see Sports & Outdoor Activities, below), though the areas, with their golf courses and summer music and arts festivals, are also good year-round destinations. The village of Hunter has a newly thriving arts scene due to the efforts of the Catskill Mountain Foundation, Rte. 23A (& 518 263-4908), which operates an arts center, farm market, excellent book store and cool movie theater. In Tannersville, next door to Hunter, is a sight for naturalists the Mountain Top Arboretum,
Being a nerd for old ski stuff, I love this museum. It has timelines showing major developments in skiing and snowboarding, along with gear and memorabilia from the different periods. It displays uniforms and equipment from each winter Olympics. And it devotes an entire room to the 10th Mountain Division. I'm partial to the vintage posters advertising ski areas and ski movies, and the old-time footage of powder skiers shown on the TV. See map p. 242. 231 S. Frontage Rd. E. (in Vail Transportation Center, Level 3), Vail. 970-476-1876. www.skimuseum.net. Open Tues-Sun 10 a.m.-5p.m. Closed May and Oct. Admission 1 adults free for children under 12.
Borovets has three chairlifts, 10 draglifts and a gondola from the Borosports complex in Borovets to Yastrebets, costing 10 15 lv one way return. A one-day lift pass costs 60 lv. With one, you can board a minibus to the slopes for free from the main hotels. Borovets also has decent snowboarding, with gear going for about 50 lv per day. Lessons cost about 120 lv for six hours.
The Kola Peninsula is a place of amazing, if stark, beauty, and apart from the liveliness of Murmansk and other towns, it's the fresh-air attractions that make it exciting -skiing and snowboarding at Kirovsk, hiking in the Khibiny mountains, fishing some of the world's best salmon rivers, snowmobile safaris in winter, swimming in the White Sea in summer. The Kola Peninsula is also extraordinarily rich in rare minerals and semiprecious stones, and hunting for these is another special pastime here.
THE HIGHER ALTITUDES BECKON IN WINTER. Skiers the world over come to Taos Ski Valley for pure skiing under bluebird skies. Family owned and 100 snowboard free, Taos Ski Valley combines a relaxed atmosphere with varied terrain from groomed runs to steep chutes and sheer pitches. Nearby, Red River Ski Area, Angel Fire Resort, and Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort welcome skiers and snowboarders on their challenging runs and terrain parks. Want something more serene Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area has miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Snowboarding in Red River by Carl Brown. Taos terrain park by Kevin Rebholtz. Skiing Taos' groomed slopes by Jeff Caven.
Three modern chairlifts, one with heated seats and windbreak hood, and a double T-bar lift whisk skiers and snowboarders of all ages warm and dry up to the wide world of snow. For downhill skiing, 23 kilometers (14 miles) of optimally groomed ski slopes ranging from easy to challenging are waiting for you. Thanks to the artificial snowmakers covering 10 kilometers (6 miles), winter fun in this accessible and idyllic landscape is guaranteed until far into the springtime. www. bergbahnen.li
More than 50 Olympians have trained at Howelsen Hill Ski Area ( 970879-4300), a winter sports center in Steamboat Springs. At 90 years and counting, this is the oldest continuously operating ski area in Colorado, good for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Most visitors come here for the night skiing, but Howelsen Hill also has ski jumps, Nordic trails, and a half-pipe course for snowboarders. The hill hosts about 75 competitions every winter. On most days, it's also open to the public. By Western standards, it's puny come here for the night skiing, the Nordic trails, or the history. If none of these attracts you, you're better off at Steamboat Ski Area.
There are five national parks scattered across the province. On the western flank, Jirisan National Park is noted for serious climbs. Hallyeo National Maritime Park is a spectacular ocean playground encompassing coastal islands from Namhae to Geoje. Along the border separating South and North Gyeongsang provinces, Gayasan National Park is famous for Haeinsa, one of the country's most important temples (although it's located in South Gyeongsang province, access is easiest from Daegu pi 95). Tucked into the northwest corner of the province, Deogyusan National Park is where you'll find downhill skiers and snowboarders hitting the slopes at Muju Resort (p301).
Not surprisingly, this part of the country is an adventure playground for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Aviemore, Glen Coe and Fort William draw hordes of hill walkers and rock climbers in summer, and skiers, snowboarders and ice climbers in winter. There are purpose-built mountain-biking trails at Nevis Range and Laggan (near Newtonmore), the world's biggest indoor ice-climbing wall at Kinlochleven, and three of Scotland's five ski resorts at Nevis Range, Cairngorm and Glen Coe.
Rf uw Local snowboarders have numerous reasons for adoring the steep little mountain they call A-Basin. The Arapahoe Basin Ski Area ( 888-ARA-e Jgg p, PAHOE or 970-468-0718 www.arapahoebasin.com) has free parking right near the base, so you won't need a travel agent to get from your car to the chairlift. The 13,050-foot summit the highest inbounds terrain of any North American ski area leaves flatlanders breathless but lets the area stay open into summer for die-hard boarders. And, finally, the terrain is a hoot. A-Basin is less than one-tenth the size of Vail yet has as much really steep terrain as you'll find in Vail's entirety. When not hiking the chutes on the area's East Wall, skilled boarders gravitate to the steep gullies and glades below the Pallavinci Lift. Intermediates can cruise the gentle bowls nearer the summit. Beginners are relegated to the lower mountain or Keystone. Even the trail map seems relaxed and familiar, as befits an area for locals. It advises that the...
W England is where skiing and boarding began in the USA. New Hampshire in general, and the Mount Washington Valley in particular, are recognised as the birthplace of downhill. Yankee ingenuity dreamed up mechanical ways to get skiers to the top of the mountains with ease - and suddenly everyone could take part. Equally revolutionary was the invention and perfection of the snowboard in Vermont. Jake Burton's flagship store near Burlington, VT is like a shrine for riders. By then, folk in Maine's Aroostook County had been swooshing through the snow with ease for 100 years. Back in 1870, Swedish immigrants introduced cross-country skiing as a means of transport ever since, it has been part of the local lifestyle.
Mall of the Emirates is one of Dubai's best family destinations, and you could easily spend a day here. It includes Ski Dubai, where families can ski, snowboard, sled, or even throw snowballs. The Magic Planet offers a huge selection of rides and games, including a bowling alley and climbing wall for older kids as well as a supervised play area and day care for tinier tots. Mall of the Emirates also houses the Cinestar Cinema and the Dubai Community Theater and Arts Center, where children's shows are often performed. See p. 116 and 105.
The resort has 70 marked downhill runs (mainly red and blue with a few black and green) totalling over 80km, a dedicated snow-boarding area and some cross-country routes. Some runs start almost at the top of Veleta, the Sierra Nevada's second-highest peak. A one-day ski pass plus rental of skis, boots and stocks or snowboard costs 50 to 60 depending when you go. The resort has several ski and snowboard schools six hours' skiing instruction in group classes costs 63.
Mt Hutt ( 03-302 8811, snow-phone 03-308 5074 www.nzski.com daily lift pass adult child 84 45) is one of the highest ski areas in the southern hemisphere, as well as one of NZ's best. It's close to Methven and can be reached by bus from Christchurch (118km to the west). Ski shutdes run to from both towns. The ski area's access road is a rough, unpaved ride - drivers should be extremely cautious when the weather is lousy. Mt Hutt has beginner, intermediate and advanced slopes, with a six-seater chairlift, various other lifts and heliskiing to slopes further afield. The wide-open faces are good for snowboard learners. For info on where to stay and eat in the area, see Methven (p558). The closest commercial ski area to Christchurch is Porters ( 03-318 4002 www.skiporters.co.nz dally lift pass adult child 70 38), 96km away on the Arthur's Pass road. Its Big Mama is one of the steepest runs in NZ, but there are wider, gentler slopes too. There's a half-pipe for snowboarders, good...
Your family can have fun anywhere in the state, but if you want a little help with your kids now and then, the ski towns are among the best places to be. In the past 20 years, the ski areas have shifted their focus from attracting rowdy baby-boomer partiers to luring responsible baby-boomer families. All the resort areas offer reduced-price lift tickets for children, and many allow young children to ski and snowboard for free.
With the Himalaya looming overhead, it's little wonder that trekkers come here in droves. Start any trekking challenge in style on the high-altitude routes ofZanskar (p391) and Ladakh (p379). Go rafting on the churning Indus River near Leh (p372), then head south to Manali (p310) for more treks plus hot-air balloon rides, paragliding, rafting, rock-climbing, zorbing and skiing (January to March). Zip over to Uttarakhand for yet more excellent rafting and trekking from Rishikesh (p459) and ski and snowboard opportunities atfluli (p470). For adventure without the mountain chill, head to the west coast. Lonavla (p823) in Maharashtra is a famous paragliding launch pad. Beach resorts in Goa (p854) offer diving and water sports, and more paragliders launch over the ocean at Arambol (p867) and fln-juna (p861). Rafting trips up to Grade IV are possible in Karnataka's Dubare Forest Reserve (p907).
Travel agents can arrange treks and other adventure activities around the valley (see p310). Himalayan Extreme Center ( 9816174164 www.himalayan-extreme-center.com) offers rock climbing at Vashisht, Solang and Aleo (Rs 800 per day, with all equipment) and three- to five-day high-altitude skiing and snowboarding tours (from Rs 2000 per day).
Bukovel - Our band name, GreenJolly, means 'sledge' or 'ski' in Ukrainian, and skiing is one of our greatest pleasures. Not many people abroad would think of Ukraine as a skiing destination, but Bukovel is world-class. It's Ukraine's most prestigious and expensive resort with trails for all levels, snowboarding, snowmobiles and numerous spas.
To enjoy the dunes, stop first at the visitor center to view displays on the area. Then, drive to the Dunes parking area, hike a quarter-mile across the flats to the dunes, and start climbing, preferably when it's not hot or stormy. Wear closed-top shoes on hot days and carry plenty of water. The summit of High Dune is only about 1M miles from the parking lot, but the deep sand will slow you. When you reach the top, have fun You can run, jump, roll, snowboard, or ride a saucer downhill.
Deeside (site of Balmoral Castle, the British Royal Family's Scottish residence). Out of season, a good winter snowfall in the Highlands provides an opportunity for snowboarding or skiing. Edingurgh's organized celebration at New Year - known locally as Hogmanay - has seen a rise in visitor numbers in late December. During most weeks of the year, but especially during the summer, a festival is held somewhere across the country.
In winter, thousands of Europeans head off skiing and snowboarding Crosscountry skiing is popular in some areas, and snowshoe hiking (walking uphill on shoes shaped like tennis racquets) is the latest up-and-coming activity. A skiing holiday on the Continent usually works out to be twice as expensive as an equivalent summer holiday, by the time you've paid for ski lifts, accommodation, equipment hire and the inevitable apr s-ski drinking. At the Stubai Glacier in Austria (see p98), you can ski or snowboard all year.
The Swedish winter sports season is long, stretching from November to May. Actually, in the far north, it lasts until the end of June, so at Lapland ski resorts like Riksgransen and Bjorkliden it's possible to go skiing and snowboarding in shorts, under the midnight sun. Compared to the Alps the Swedish mountains are, as a rule, less crowded and have shorter lift lines, good accessibility and competitive prices - advantages that are being discovered by increasing numbers of foreign tourists, from our neighboring countries but also from further afield. Another typical feature of Swedish winter sport resorts is the wide range of activities and attractions. Most of the larger towns and winter sports resorts have something for every member of the family or group - from extreme adventure to low-key activities, out in the open air as well as indoors. At all our larger winter sports resorts there are excellent opportunities for both downhill skiing and snowboarding as well as cross-country....
Let's go where the air is clear, the scenery spectacular and there's a thousand different ways to enjoy yourself. The High Country's greatest asset is its unspoilt, natural beauty, but an action-packed trip awaits, if you dare. Go downhill or cross-country skiing and snowboarding horse ride or walk the mountain trails paraglide over and kayak down pristine, icy streams idle along a bike trail, or puff up an alpine trail. It's all happening in a diverse, fragile and beautiful environment at the southern end of the Great Dividing Range. Mt Bogong, the highest point at 1986m, squats in the Alpine National Park. Mt Buffalo does its buffalo look-alike sprawl in Mt Buffalo National Park. Mt Baw Baw sits prettily in Mt Baw Baw National Park. And for winter playgrounds, there's the magic three Mt Hotham, Mt Buller and Falls Creek.
The Cairngorms are as dramatic and demanding as any of the Scottish ranges, and the coastline, especially from Stonehaven to Buckie, is exceptional. With its excellent visitor amenities, Aviemore makes a good base. This is where hikers, bikers and climbers congregate to take on the Scottish outdoors, and it's the country's skiing and snowboarding action centre. While the ski season traditionally runs from December until April, recent light snowfalls have seen closures as early as February.
Essential surfing for snow adventurers is pistehors.com (http pistehors.com), an excellent English-language website devoted to French off-piste and snowboarding news. Henry's Avalanche Talk ( 04 79 06 16 58 www.henrysavalanchetalk.com), among other things, translates the daily avalanche forecast issued by Meteo France into English during the ski season and runs links to other useful avalanche-related sites. Val d'Isere-based Henry also runs mountain-safety and avalanche-awareness clinics - something more and more resorts are doing in a bid to, bluntly put, save lives. Most are free. France's leading ski school, the cole de Ski Fran ais (ESF www.esf.net) - its instructors wear red - teaches snowboarding and skiing. It has a branch in every resort and touts competitive rates against the crop of smaller private schools it competes against lessons typically cost 40 50 per hour for two four people and 30 per person for a two-hour group lesson. Kids can start learning from the age of four...
And snowboarding and snowboarding and ski virgin terrain. For something truly unique, ski the 29km Tasman Glacier, with Aoraki Mt Cook - Australasia's highest mountain - as your ever-present watchful companion. Skiing and snowboarding - this is a winter wonderland. Whatever your level - beginner to advanced - Canterbury has a ski slope with your name on it
Winter (and early spring in the far north) brings its own tourist season, where snowbound activities such as skiing and snowboarding, dogsled-ding, ice-fishing and snowmobiling are all the rage. Peak ski season in Lapland and the north is generally February to April, when the snow is deep but the gloomy depths of winter are over. True winter (November to January) is the time to view the aurora borealis, but otherwise travel in Scandinavia is a pretty cold, dark and miserable option, when the sauna becomes a sanctuary from the snow and much of the tourist infrastructure outside the main cities shuts down completely. Autumn (late August to September) is the perfect time for hiking and cycling, thanks to the beautiful forest colours.
Ski Dubai -k-k (& 4 409-4000 www.skidxb.com) is one of Dubai's modern icons. This 22,500-sq. m (242-sq. ft.) indoor ski resort, equivalent in size to three football fields, accommodates skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing at temperatures just below freezing. Never mind that it may be hot as Hades outside, Ski Dubai is a winter wonderland packing 6,000 tons of artificial snow. A tow lift and quad chairlift service the five runs, the longest of which is 400m (1,312 ft.) with a 60m (197-ft.) vertical drop. Snowboarders have access to a quarter-pipe freestyle zone, and ski and snowboard lessons are available for beginners. Lift tickets include winter clothing (except for hats and gloves) along with ski or snowboard equipment. There's also a fun snow park for kids to play in think snowballs. The 25-story high Ski Dubai is connected to the Mall of the Emirates (p. 116). Snow park admission AED 70 ( 19 9.65) ski slope (2 hr.) AED 150 ( 41 21), additional hour AED 40 ( 11 5.50) ski slope...
The Alps it ain't, but skiing and snowboarding in the Czech and Slovak Republics is plentiful, popular and cheap a ski pass at the top resorts will cost at most 25 per day, the less-frequented ski resorts can be half that price. The downhill ski areas are typically compact and crowded during school holidays. Rental equipment is decent, but skiers who are particular about certain brands should bring their own. The season lasts from late December to early April.
Coming off the slopes at the end of a hard day of skiing or snowboarding, you can slide right to the porch of this ski-area institution. Good luck getting a seat inside, but if you like a lot of noise and laughter and tasty dishes such as buffalo meatloaf and Wyoming trout, be patient it beats getting into your car and driving elsewhere. The decor matches the pandemonium It looks like an upscale junk shop, with bicycles, old signs, and, naturally, a moose head or two hanging from the walls and rafters.
At the bottom of eastern Switzerland, connected to the centre of the country only by the narrow Klausenpass, this little pocket gets relatively little attention. That doesn't mean it's undeserving, however, just that you have more of it to yourself. Besides the car-free resort of Braunwald and the dramatic Churfirsten mountains, Glarnerland offers breathtaking hiking, low-key skiing and snowboarding, and plenty of climbing and adrenaline sports. For more information, contact Glarner Tourismus ( 055 610 21 25 tourismus glarusnet.ch).
Where else in the world can you ski on snow in the morning and ski on sand in the afternoon Sandboarding and sand-skiing are very similar to snowboarding and skiing, only slower, slipperier and scratchier. While sand-skiing has yet to really take off, sandboarding now has its own world championships - do a search on YouTube for the dazzling highlights.
SNOWBOARDING & SKIING The snowboard craze shows no sign of abating, at least from January to March (or anytime there's enough snow on the ground). One popular site is the Earl Bales Park, Bathurst Street (just south of Sheppard Ave.), which offers rentals. The park also has an alpine ski centre, which offers both equipment rentals and coaching. Call Toronto Parks and Recreation (& 416 392-8186) for more information.
New England has four distinct seasons, each with its own character, each with its own appeal. Go in winter for snow and crisp sunny days, for skiing and snowboarding in the mountains, city breaks with great shopping, theatre and museums. To celebrate the end of winter, check out the maple sugar festivals, followed by daffodil festivals, dogwood and lilacs.
The tall peaks and forest-clad slopes of the Carpathian Mountains area almost has it all, with some of the country's best trekking options in the Tatras (p304), an extensive array of mountain biking for all experience levels in the Bieszczady (p274), gentle rafting in the Dunajec Gorge (p301) and skiing, snowboarding and snowman-building in Zakopane (p306). Not to be outdone, the Great Masurian Lakes (p490) come up trumps with the best sailing and kayaking opportunities in the country here you can spend weeks exploring the region's sparkling lakes and plethora of tributaries. The rivers in this area also provide a chance to enjoy watery adventures two of the most celebrated, the Krutynia River (p481) and Czarna Hancza River (pl54) can be found in the far north. Salt-water junkies can get a fix with windsurfing and kitesurfing along the long, thin Hel Peninsula (p433), while those who prefer to be in, rather than on, the water can explore one of the many swimming beaches that line the...
The steady winds that buff the coastline of the Turks and Caicos mixed with the reef-sheltered shoreline are the perfect combination for the snowboarding of the aquatic world - kitesurfing. The bastard child of stunt kite flying, wakeboarding and windsurfing, this sport is going off right now. Imagine flying the biggest kite you've ever seen, strapping yourself onto a wakeboard and holding on for dear life. Depending on how much sugar you like in your tea, it either sounds terrific or terrifying. The warm T&C waters are already on the radar of the sport's elite - but don't be put off, it's also a great place to learn. Chat to Mike at Windsurfing Provo ( 241-1687 www .windsurfingprovo.tc Ocean Club, Grace Bay) to get hooked up with the how-to (US 150 for a two-hour lesson). Who said all there is to do in the Caribbean is lie on the beach
This is winter playground territory skiers, snowboarders and snow-kiters are all out there, breaking bits of the old bod. If that's not your scene, embrace the air and the scenery on a snowshoe walk where your guide takes you through snow drifts, along snow-capped ridges, through snow-dusted snowgum forests and along icy, crackly litde creeks. You'll find snowshoe walks at Mt Buffalo (p313) and Mt Buller (p300), Falls Creek (p304) and Mt Hotham (p302). Love it Take a three-day adventure on snowshoes up on the Bogong High Plains (p319).
As soon as the first shoots of spring poke through the earth, people in both republics take to the trails. Though the most rugged mountains are in Slovakia, there are undulating hills in both countries just waiting to be walked. You can hike up steep gorges past waterfalls, climb sandstone formations or stroll along gentle nature trails. There are rivers to float down and cycle paths to zip along. Then, just as the last of the autumn rays dip below the horizon, skiers and snowboarders come out to carve up the slopes.
Perisher Blue consists of four adjacent ski areas - Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow Mountain and Guthega - which makes this the largest ski resort in the country, with a terrain that is nothing less than sensational. Seven mountain peaks, 50 lifts and 1,245 hectares of skiable area offer something for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities and aspirations. Perisher's lift capacity is close to 53,000 skiers per hour, and lifts such as the six quad-chairlifts and the eight-seater high-speed chairlift - the only one outside Europe - cut through the queues in record time. For freeride skiers and snowboarders, there are four terrain parks plus a Superpipe.
Espace Killy offers fabulous skiing on 300km of marked pistes between 1550m and 3450m. Ski touring is also excellent, especially in the Parc National de la Vanoise. The snow-boarders' Snowspace Park in La Daille has a half-pipe, tables, gaps, quarter-pipes and kicker ramps, while the runs around Tignes are popular with both snowboarders and skiers. In July and August you can ski on the glacier.
The best of the modest ski resorts in Himachal Pradesh, Solang Nullah sits at the bottom of a long, green meadow about 13km north of Manali. In summer the meadow is used for paragliding, walking and zorbing. From January to March, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy 1.5km of alpine-style runs. A new ropeway is under construction that will raise Solang to the level of the more established ski resorts at Auli and Gulmarg. A small drag-lift
Thredbo Freeriders is the program for skiers and snowboarders aged 7 to 14 years. Thredbo's instructors teach the kids all the fresh moves, and will have them cruising with style in no time. The Freeriders program also offers kids the chance to hone their terrain park skills.
The Ski Club of Great Britain's 'Respect the Mountain' campaign (www.skiclub.co.uk) was designed to help safeguard the long-term future of skiing in the face of climate change. It urges skiers and snowboarders to choose resorts that employ ecofriendly practices, such as bio-diesel fuel in piste-bashers, solar panels for heating and hydro-electricity wind energy for power.
Korea is 70 hills and mountains and in winter the snowy slopes tempt skiers and snowboarders outdoors to Korea's fast-improving ski resorts. Ice skating outside Seoul City Hall is another great winter activity. Contact United Service Organizations (pi 59) in Seoul for ski package trips in winter as well as daylong water-rafting trips in summer (US 45).
There are no proper refuges on Cari-huairazo, so climbers usually set up a base camp on the south side of the mountain. When climbing, do not leave anything unattended, as it could get stolen. The climb is relatively straightforward for experienced climbers, but the usual ice-climbing gear is needed. Skiers and snowboarders have made some descents on this mountain.
From Grindelwald, it's also easy to visit Kleine Scheidegg (S&, which is the departure point for the final ascent to Jungfraujoch by train. The rack-and-pin-ion railway from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg costs 46F ( 30) round-trip or 28F ( 18) each way. For information on this and all trains departing from Grindelwald, call the Grindelwald railway station (& 033 828-75-40). SKIING In winter, Grindelwald is one of the major ski resorts of Europe, perfect as a base for skiing in the Jungfrau ski region. It has 22 lifts, eight funiculars, a trio of cable cars, and more than 160km (100 miles) of downhill runs. Snowboarders and novice skiers are also welcome. It's a ski circus for all ages and various skills.
They say if the snow ain't falling anywhere else, you'll surely find some around Flims-Laax. These towns, along with tiny Falera, 20km west of Chur, form a single ski area known as the Weisses Arena (White Arena), with 220km of slopes catering for all levels. Laax in particular is known as a mecca for snowboarders, who spice up the local nightiife too. The resort is barely two hours by train and bus (less by car) from Z rich airport. Laax was the first Swiss resort to allow snowboarders to use the lifts back in 1985, and remains a mecca for snowsurfers, with two huge half-pipes (one said to be the biggest in the world) and a freestyle park huddled
Winter, from December to March, is dry but often bitterly cold, particularly in northern parts. Siberian winds drag January temperatures in most of the country (except Jejudo) to below zero. This is the time of year when you really appreciate ondol (underfloor heating) and oncheon (hot-spring spas) as well as the ubiquitous saunas and spicy soups. White snow on hanok (traditional house) roofs is veiy picturesque, and winter is the time for skiers, snowboarders or ice-skaters to visit.
Kirovsk offers great summer hiking and a long ski season (S Nov-Jun, best Jan-Apr). Pistes are long and wide, with good gradient variation, some moguls and lots of open space for the less confident. Ski-lift passes cost R200 350 2000 per half day full day week. Ski and snowboard rentals (per hour day R100 250) require your passport as deposit. Buses to the slopes (R5) leave from the post office twice an hour. There are parasailing and ski-jump facilities, too.
Out There Clothing (Map p614 03-441 3029 www.otclothing.co.nz 27 Beach St) A NZ label with functional clothing that leaves you looking outdoorsy and stylish as you snowboard, mountain bike, or just sit in a bar. The T-shirts screenprinted with Maori proverbs are simple and unique.
At the Skitube Terminal you'll find everything you need for a day or a week on the snow, including a Mountain Pass Office, a Snowsports School, information Desk and Ski and Snowboard Hire. if you're staying at a lodge in either Perisher or Smiggins, leave your vehicle, free of charge, in the overnight security-patrolled car park at the Bullocks Flat Skitube Terminal.
Comprehensive background information - history, culture, geography and climate - gives you a solid knowledge of your destination, its people and their roots. Regional chapters take you on an introductory tour, with stops at museums, historic sites and local attractions. Then come the adventures - fishing, canoeing, water skiing, rafting, llama trips, snowboard-ing and more. There are sections detailing places to stay and eat transportation to, from and around your destination practical concerns useful web sites e-mail addresses and tourism contacts. Detailed regional and town maps feature
For downhill skiing, try Ski Cape Smokey, Box 123, Ingonish Beach, NS B0C 1L0, s 800 564-2040 or 902 285-2778, Sydney area 902 539-ISKI, fax 902 285-2615, e-mail larry nscn.ns.ca. It has the highest vertical drop (1,000 feet) in the province and spectacular views. The longest run is about miles with several others of reasonable length. A full range of trails from novice to expert are serviced by a quad chair and snowmaking equipment. The lodge has a canteen, lunch service and a full-service lounge. In mid-February they hold the Cape Smokey Snowboard Race and Valentine Dance. Ski packages are available from Keltic Lodge-White Birch Inn (see Where To Stay & Eat) and they have a listing of area accommodations that are open in winter. Full-day adult weekend rates are 28 (weekdays 22) complete ski rental is 21 per day. Ski Cape Smokey is open from mid- to late December until April, depending on the snow. Hours are 9 am to 4 pm closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
With its excellent visitor amenities, Avie-more makes a good base for exploring the region and is regarded as the gateway to the Cairngorms. This is where hikers, bikers and climbers congregate to take on the Scottish outdoors and in winter it's the centre of the country's skiing and snowboard-ing action. While the season traditionally runs from December until April, recent light snowfalls have seen closures as early as February. Check Ski Scotland (ski.visitscotland .com) for the latest conditions.
Folgefonn is mainland Norway's third-largest icefield and offers summer skiing, snowboard-ing and sledding from mid-June to October. For more information, contact the Folgefonn Sommar Skisenter ( 53 66 80 28 www.folgefonn.no). Short tours to the ski centre leave from Jondal Quay at 10.30am from mid-June to mid-August and return at 3.30pm. From Odda, weekend glacier trips run to Odda Turlag's Holmaskjaer mountain hut contact the tourist office for details.
With world-class facilities and lots of trees, YongPyong ( 033-335 5757 www.yongpyong.co.kr) is one of Asia's best ski resorts. It only missed out on hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics to Vancouver by 56 votes to 53. The season runs from December to March and there are 31 slopes for skiers and snowboarders, plus mogul bumps, cross-country trails and two half-pipes. A lifts-and-gondola day pass costs W56.000 42,000 (adult child), while a day's ski equipment rental is W25,000 19,000 (adult child). Snowboards cost W33.000 for half-day hire, while cross-country skiing (including skis and entry fee) costs W20.000 and sledding W15,000. Day-long ski classes (in English) for beginners are W45,000 33,000 (adult child), but you need a group of 10. Package deals including transport and accommodation are offered with discounts outside the peak season.
Gyeonggi-do has a handful of ski resorts within easy reach of Seoul (an hour or less by bus) and they all provide shuttle buses (around W12,000 return) to and from the capital during the ski season from December to February. Prices vary and travel agents sell package deals that include transport, accommodation, ski-equipment hire and lift passes. Some Koreans ski and snowboard like they drive, so expect a few bumps. Bears Town Resort ( 02-594 8188,031-540 3156 www.bearstown.com) located 50 minutes northeast of Seoul, this resort has 11 slopes, two sledding hills and nine lifts, including the life line little Bear, Big Bear, Polar Bear and (you guessed it) Panda Bear. Accommodation includes a youth hostel and a condominium facilities include a supermarket, heated pool, sauna, bowling alley and tennis courts. English-speaking instructors, snowboarding and night skiing are available. US0, the American troops' activities organisation (see p159), runs ski tours to this resort and anyone is...
This is one of North Carolina's premier ski resorts. It is very busy, often to the point of distraction, for most of the season. Once you get out on the slopes you'll understand why it's so popular. There are 11 ski slopes two for beginners, five for intermediates and four more for advanced skiers. The elevation at the peak is 4,800 feet, and the vertical drop is around 620 feet. The mountain is serviced by two double chairlifts and two surface lifts. There's also a special snowboard park reserved exclusively for those who prefer one board to two. They offer a couple of special programs Kiddy Hawk, which caters to kids aged from five to 12 and Nighthawk, a program for advanced skiers capable of nighttime skiing. The resort offers all sorts of facilities and special services, including a good restaurant, a lounge, coffee shop, and a ski shop where you can rent equipment, clothing and snowboards. You can also take ski and snowboarding lessons. The resort is in the town of Seven Devils...
Interlaken is the world's second-biggest adventure sports destination, just behind New Zealand, and everything you can think of in this regard is offered from here (although the activities take place in the greater jungfrau region). Options include skydiving (Sfr380) paragliding (Sfrl50) night sledding past frozen waterfalls followed by a fondue dinner (Sfr95) skiing or snowboarding including transport, lift ticket and appropriate clothing and gear rental (Sfrl65) and fly-in, drink a glass of champagne then hit the virgin powder glacier skiing (Sfr250). In summer there's canyoning, where you jump, slide and rap-pel down rocks and waterfalls (from Sfrl25) and raffing on the class III IV Liitschine River (Sfr95).
Big boards, chunky wheels and a steep hill are all you need to practise this relatively new sport, a cross between skateboarding and snowboarding. Slalom, jump or speed along at the Greenman Mountainboard Centre (g 01874-636202 www.greenman-mountainboard.co.uk per hr 6 SSat&Sun Easter-Oct), 4 miles west of Brecon.