Category: Skiing

Three Top Ski Resorts

When it comes to picking out the best skiing resort, one of the key aspects that separate elite resorts from good resorts is the quality and the quantity of snow.  Other important factors to take into consideration are terrain, lift-serviced vertical, skiable acreage, efficiency of lifts, town, and ambience. Here’s a list of my top three skiing resorts based on these factors.

1. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming

Jackson Hole is the place to ski and more and more skiers are finding out about it. In 2014, broke its record of skier visits with a total of 563,631 visitors – an increase of 12% compared to the season before that. That said, Jackson Hole does not get annoying packed with never-ending lift lines. When you put it in perspective, Jackson Hole’s numbers are only about a third of the visits seen in Breckenridge or Vail.

One of the coolest things about Jackson Hole is the tram; it’s one of the best ski lifts out there. It scales 4,139 feet in 9 minutes while carrying 100 passengers. Moreover, the tram operator will select cool music to be played through the ceiling speakers, so you can count on riding the tram while listening to some classic Rolling Stone or Frank Zappa jams.

2. Alta, Utah

To many skiers, Alta is considered holy ground especially because they do not allow snowboarders into its snow-bound steeps, chutes and bowls. Another reason why this place so awesome is because it collects so much snow. Surrounding resorts, like Snowbird also benefit from this climate advantage, but not to the degree that Alta does. Snowfall records show that Little Cottonwood Canyon, which is where Snowbird is located, collects an annual average of 540 inches. Alta tends to get 17% more snow than Snowbird – that’s a lot of snow to rip through!

3.  Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort, Colorado

Aspen Snowmass is a combination of 4 hills together between towns of Aspen and Snowmass Village:  Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk. These four skiing areas cover a massive amount of terrain (3,000 acres to be exact), rivaling Vail just in pure size.

Buttermilk, although it is a smaller terrain, has gained popularity by hosting the Winter X-games. It also has a good ratio of beginner and intermediate runs. On the other hand, Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands are known for their advanced and expert runs. Snowmass is the largest of the four with 4,406 vertical feet, 150 miles of trails, and 21 lifts. It literally has everything a skier can ask for – steep cliff chutes, bowls, glades, cruisers, bumps, etc.

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A Short Guide to Verbier

Verbier is one of the top skiing destinations in Europe, if not the world. It is the biggest attraction in Switzerland’s Four Valleys area that is famed for its great skiing.

Verbier StarbuckA combination of factors including stunning panoramic views, a great nightlife, exhilarating terrain, and sunny weather help Verbier stand out from other options. The resort is less than three hours away from the Geneva airport by public transportation and serves as one of the most popular winter destinations for visiting Scandinavians, Dutchmen, and Brits. You will also see your fair share of Americans.

Verbier boasts about one-hundred lifts that provide access to 250 miles of runs, and some of the best backcountry skiing in the entire continent. If you are at the top of of ski area at more than 10,000 ft you have access to spectacular views and can even see as far as Mont Blanc and even Matterhorn.

The terrain at Verbier hosts a number of exciting events for spectators such as the Speed Ski World Cup,  Verbier High Five, or the Xtreme Verbier. Verbier, given its altitude, has abundant snowfall early and late in the season. So do not be afraid to book for one these of months.

There are a few options to get to Verbier, but most travelers, especially Americans, will arrive by plane, and then train. After arriving at the Geneva airport, you will want to train to the Verbier area, and then take a beautiful ten-minute Gondola ride up the mountain. All in all, the transportation will take just a little more than two hours from Geneva.

The options for fine dining and great nightlife also helps separate Verbier from many run of the mill skiing destinations. Be sure to check out restaurants such as Cordée des Alpes, La Grange, Fer á Cheval, and Los Chottes. If you are looking for a night on the town, you can visit the Ice Cube Bar, Le Rouge, or Hotel Fairnet, all different but great in their own right.