By LL Editorial StaffThere are two kinds of people in this world – snowbirds, who flock for the winter to places drenched in warm sunshine, and ski bums and bunnies, who relish in feet of fresh fallen snow. Those that find themselves in the latter category are an active breed of travelers who enjoy fresh alpine air and mogul-laden mountains. And, while skiing certainly is the premier winter sport, there are many other arctic ventures worthy of a try. After a day spent in water repellent togs, return to your luxury lodge, recline near the crackling fire, and enjoy a frothy cup of cocoa.
The alpine air of Austria is invigorating, especially in Salzburg where Bavarian architecture adds to the enchanting ambiance. At Hoteldorf Gruner Baum, a cluster of five houses concealing a collection of rooms near the mountains of Gastein, guests can do the usual, ski and snowboard, or try something completely different. A labyrinth of winter hiking trails lead to new discoveries and for those who enjoy curling, a sport in which participants slide weighty granite stones down a sheet of ice towards a bullseye, there is a rink nearby dedicated custom made for this sport.
In lovely Stowe, Vermont, guests of Stowe Mountain Resort can really unleash the adventurist within with dog sledding tours, snowshoeing and snowmobile expeditions, ice fishing or cross-country skiing. Die-hard skiers will enjoy the addition of a new inter-mountain gondola that connects Mt. Mansfield with Spruce Peak. The Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden is home to the Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Center. Housed in a renovated stable, the center delivers some of the best cross skiing and snowshoeing adventures around and also has skating lanes for gliders.
With seven back bowls and four terrain parks, Vail, Colorado, is the nation’s largest ski resort. But when you consider all the other winter fun, such as ice skating, tubing, sledding, and snowmobiling, there are a lot more ways to descend from the mountain than on a pair of skis. In between activities, guests of Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, one of the community’s plush destinations, can enjoy some spectator opportunities such as watching international ski and snowboarding competitions.