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Top 3 Places For Winter Sports

December 5, 2013

The winter sports season is now open, and every time you turn on your TV you can see some of the world’s best athletes competing. Don’t feel you can slalom, triple lutz, or ski jump with them? You can still get your winter sports fix at some of the world’s best winter sports destinations. And who knows, maybe with a little practice you will be ready for the 2018 Olympics.

Utah, USA

There’s a reason Utah’s license plates boast “The Greatest Snow on Earth”. Each year thousands of people hit the slopes for some top-notch skiing and snowboarding. Within just an hour drive of Salt Lake, you can go to some of the country’s top resorts.

A popular choice among ski experts and locals is Alta, one of the oldest ski resorts in the world. Snowboarders, take note—only skis are allowed on the powder here. And although Alta has been gaining popularity in recent years, it’s still rare to find a crowded run. Alta has a wide variety of terrain, but leans towards tree-filled, steep runs for an extra challenge. Stay in a nearby rustic cabin for added exposure to the great powder.

Head to posh Park City for some great skiing at Canyons, Deer Valley, or Park City Mountain Resort. PCMR is known for its great lifts and infrastructure and was featured as a host venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Its 114 trails across eight peaks and nine bowls provide lots of variety and adventure. As an added bonus to skiing Park City, you might run into some celebrities on the slopes when a who’s-who list of A-listers rolls into town for the Sundance Film Festival in January.

British Columbia, Canada

No winter sports list would be complete without mentioning Whistler Blackcomb, the mammoth resort city north of Vancouver, Canada. Whistler is by far the largest ski resort in North America and offers more transportation than just skiing—take the Peak 2 Peak Gondola from the top of Whistler Mountain to the neighboring Blackcomb for some amazing views. Whistler is the most visited ski resort in the world, so plan on crowds. But there is a reason millions of people visit each year—the more than 200 runs are pretty amazing.

If you want to stay closer to urban Vancouver, head to Grouse Mountain, a family-friendly resort with lots of activities less than 30 minutes from downtown. Grouse Mountain is a lot smaller than its counterpart to the north, but it has a great snowmaking system, so the powder is always fresh. Head up the slopes after dark for some fantastic night skiing. Grouse Mountain also features more than 10 kilometers of snowshoe trails if you want to mix up your activities a bit.

St. Moritz, Switzerland

If you crave a wintertime adrenaline rush, St. Moritz is for you. The tallest peak in the Alps is within spitting distance, and the fun and adventure always run free at St. Moritz. The famous Cresta Run lets you take a toboggan ride down the hill and hit speeds of up to 140 kph, but you’ll have to work your way in with the locals to make in on the exclusive list. Or take your turn on the world’s last remaining natural ice run, the Bob run, that takes more than 14 nail-biting curves over more than 1,700 meters. Even if taking a ride isn’t at your level, watching people fly by on the track is always a thrill.

If downhill speed isn’t quite your thing, try your hand at cross-country skiing—the foothills around St. Moritz have hosted the Olympic Nordic skiing events multiple times. And to make it even sweeter, St. Moritz boasts 300 days of sunshine a year, so don’t forget your sunscreen. It’s one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, but the views are unbelievable and you never know who you’ll run into on the slopes.

So bundle up and get going for a fantastic winter sport vacation—the next Olympics are just four years away.

Plan your winter wonderland trip right here on Trekeffect!

-Michelle Kaiser

Michelle Kaiser