World

Europe vs North America Snow Showdown

Europe vs North America Snow Showdown

Over four rounds these winter heavyweights battle it out in the snow. First up, they face-off over their finest pistes. Round two sees ski-free escapades thrown into the ring, followed by a skirmish over cuisine. Finally, the continents clash over the coolest in accommodation.

ROUND 1 - TERRAIN

Utah’s mighty mix
Park City, Canyons and Deer Valley, USA

Three distinct ski resorts in one day, without even taking off your skis? Praise Chione (the Greek goddess of winter and snow), for Utah has delivered the goods. Thanks to a new gondola – unveiled in December 2015 – Park City is now linked with Canyons Resort, creating the largest ski area in the USA. And that’s without even taking into account neighbouring Deer Valley, separated from PC only by a fence.

Boarders can get jibby with it at one of Park City’s eight terrain parks, with more pipes, half-pipes and jumps than you can shake a stick at, just 35 minutes from Salt Lake City. Deer Valley, however, is ski-only terrain. With an annual average of 900 centimetres of the white stuff, the 314 marked trails in the Park City and Canyons resorts are sure to keep both basic blue-riders and diehard black-fighters equally engrossed.

A seven-day pass at Park City (including Canyons) costs US$600. A day pass at Deer Valley starts at US$117.
parkcitymountain.com
deervalley.com

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Euro loop de loop
Arlberg, Austria

Snow enthusiasts have been gliding down slopes in Austria’s Arlberg region for more than a century. And while ski pioneers had to slog uphill to ride among some of Europe’s most dramatic peaks, these days, 87 lifts and cable cars link more than 500 kilometres of runs, so exploring Austria’s largest ski circuit is easy – even for those still finding their ski legs.

Little huts pepper the slopes, serving soup, stews and hearty sausages to hungry powder hounds. And five Tyrolean villages tucked between the hills offer a range of ski-in ski-out sleeping options. For plush resorts and world-renowned après, cruise to the famous town of St Anton. Or for something more laid-back make for a guesthouse in the hamlet of Stuben, home to just a hundred inhabitants during summer.

Seven-day passes offer access to all the region’s cable cars and lifts for US$317.
skiarlberg.at

Backcountry Shuffle
Hossa National Park, Finland

Home to Santa Claus, an abundance of reindeer and two million saunas (steaming a population of 5.5 million), Finland is just the place to embark on a back-country adventure.

On a week-long snowshoeing tour with Upitrek you’ll shuffle through Hossa, a forest of birch, pine and spruce slathered in deep, marshmallow-like snow, which was designated a national park in June. Wander past frozen lakes and through gorges, stopping for fireside lunches and hopefully spotting the local residents – elks, wolves and lynxes – along the way.

One afternoon expedition takes you to observe shamanistic art painted on a rock face with blood and yellow ochre 4000 years ago. Come evening you’ll huddle in cute little cabins. Simple they may be, but you won’t miss out on a sauna. Nor the chance to witness the northern lights.

The six-night Off the Trails Snowshoeing trip costs US$918.
upitrek.com

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Outback Alaska
Chugach, USA

With only 140 kilometres of road amid an area of Alaska almost 60 times the size of Barbados, the lines you pick while skiing backcountry Chugach will almost certainly be untouched. The second-largest national forest in the country, Chugach boasts glacier-fed fjords, rivers, mountains and rugged islands.

Aside from the seven other travellers and two guides on this Alaska Alpine Adventures trip, it’s unlikely you’ll see any other humans while diving through couloirs and snaking across powder bowls. And the only thing you’ll hear is the gentle crunch of your skis slicing through pristine corn snow. Best of all, ski junkies cut through the slopes for up to eight hours a day, returning to the comfort of their 65-foot yacht every night before anchoring near a fresh slice of shoreline the following morning.

The seven-day Ski to Sea package costs US$3522.
alaskaalpineadventures.com

Up-and-coming Bansko
Bansko, Bulgaria

Though popular among Brits (it’s the cheapest place in Europe to buy a six-day ski pass, and a beer is less than AU$2.50), Bulgaria’s runs are yet to draw crowds of Aussies. Situated 160 kilometres south-west of capital Sofia, Bansko offers 70 kilometres of marked pistes, some rising to an altitude of 2500 metres. Coniferous forest carpets the slopes, which are part of the UNESCO-listed Pirin National Park. It’s prime beginner territory, but there’s good off-piste for the advanced, and snowboarders can frequent the extreme fun park.

There’s plenty to entertain in Bansko’s medieval town too; nose around cobblestone streets, through market stalls and past nineteenth-century mansions. Later, visit one of the 200 traditional taverns, known as mehane. Sit by a roaring fire and tuck into local merlot and hearty, home-cooked dishes, such as chomlek – a rich claypot stew of beef knuckle, chilli and potato.

A six-day pass costs US$145.
banskoski.com

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Unknown Isle of Adrenalin
Marble Mountain, Canada

You’ve never heard of it, but neither has anyone else, making Newfoundland’s Marble Mountain just the ticket for a crowd-free ski retreat. Situated in the foothills of the Appalachians, a 2400-kilometre long chain of mountains, the resort is one of the best-kept secrets in alpine skiing.

A whopping five metres of snow dumps on Marble Mountain’s pristine landscape each year, ensuring the resort’s 39 runs – catering to the entire skill-level spectrum – offer top-notch skiing. Best of all though, is the 518-metre vertical drop, which is the highest of any ski area in Canada’s Atlantic region. Throw in the high-speed Lightning Express lift (so named because its predecessor was destroyed during an electrical storm) and you’ll be powering through the mountain’s foothills from dawn ’til dusk with local snow enthusiasts to keep you company.

A seven-day pass costs US$352.
skimarble.com

Ride the Moonshine
Maribor Pohorje, Slovenia

Winter equals short days, but the fun doesn’t have to end just because the sun sets. At Maribor Pohorje – a resort tucked within the forested Pohorje Mountains – 10 kilometres of runs are illuminated at night on Thursday through Saturday, making it the largest night-skiing site in all of Europe. The resort’s cable car is less than 15 minutes by bus from Maribor, Slovenia’s second-largest city, so you can wander the banks of the Drava River and streets lined with baroque facades and terracotta-topped buildings during daylight hours before fanging down the slopes until 9pm.

Night passes cost US$17.
maribor-pohorje.si

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Midnight Madness
Crotched Mountain, USA

If your idea of a holiday well spent involves skiing 18 hours straight, then you’ve come to the right place. Open from 9am until 3am every Friday and Saturday during the ski season, the 25 trails and four freestyle parks at Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire are night-skiing paradise.

Carve up fresh powder; bask in the bonfire parties hosted by DJs; enjoy concerts and microbrews at the Onset Pub; and behold the resort’s famous block parties, where skiers and snowboarders bust out their best tricks for cash prizes. Inns and B&Bs are located nearby, but for the ultimate adventure, drive up from Boston (1.5 hours away) and get involved in the group lockup: ride late into the night before ‘camping’ in the main lodge (BYO sleeping bag), and in the morning indulge in a buffet breakfast.

Lift passes with access from 9pm to 3am cost US$40.
crotchedmtn.com

ROUND 2 - EXPLOITS

Vertigo Adventure
Steamboat Springs, USA

Beaten only by rain pummelling a tin roof, listening to the rush of a waterfall is an excellent way to unwind. But come winter, Fish Creek Falls near the ski resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, offers an altogether different waterfall experience.

From December to March, ice climbers test their mettle by scaling the 60-metre-high falls, where the thwack of a carefully aimed pick or a crampon piercing the wall of ice replaces the burble of water. Pull an a harness and discover just how well you deal with heights.

Half-day tours cost US$169.
rmclimbing.com

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High in the Sky
Arcalis, Andorra

A small fabric wing and a pair of skis are all you’ll need for one of the zaniest sports to hit the slopes. A cross between freestyle skiing and paragliding, speed riding promises a heady mix of both flying and skiing virgin runs.

Practise at the speed ride school in Andorra – the first of its kind in the Pyrenees. You’ll take off from the highest summits of Grandvalira’s steep, craggy slopes and sail over forest-freckled valleys. Only those with a good level of skiing (and courage) should dabble – speed riding comes with a not-to-be-sniffed-at risk of injury or death.

A four-hour course costs US$107.
speedride.cat

Roman Relaxation
Bormio, Italy

When it comes to hedonism, few have lived up to the “treat yourself” mantra as well as citizens of the Roman Empire. Luckily for you, a relic of their indulgence remains etched in the Italian Dolomites.

Steep your sore, ski-weary body in baths first built 2000 years ago and restored as part of the QC Terme Bagni Vecchi wellness centre. Find respite simmering in a natural hot spring hidden in a cave, where water temperatures sit at a delicious 40°C and soak in the outdoor pool that offers panoramic views of the ski runs snaking Bormio’s alpine landscape.

A day at the spa starts at US$48.
qcterme.com

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Hot Springs Soak
Jackson Hole, USA

Finding a steaming hot bath in the middle of a snow-covered forest is akin to wandering through a desert and happening upon fresh water – pure fantasy. Unless you’ve chosen to explore Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest, home to Granite Hot Springs, that is.

Streak through pines on the back of a snowmobile, then leave your clothes (and your inhibitions) behind in the change rooms and tiptoe in staccato along the frosty boardwalk. Your reward will be sinking into hot and steamy bliss.

Snowmobile trips with entry to the springs cost US$207.
togwoteelodge.com

Four wheel drive
Val Thorens, France

If carving up black runs is too daunting but blues don't satisfy your desire for adrenaline, unhitch your skis and plant your feet in a rally car instead. At the Ice Driving Academy at Val Thorens ski resort, skilled instructors are on hand to teach you how to control a vehicle while zooming over snow.

Set 2200 metres above sea level, the 760-metre circuit is Europe’s highest racetrack, and the first stage of the annual Andros Trophy, so you’re really riding with the pros. After a few loops you might even have the nerve to tackle the legendary Combe de Caron ­­— the resort’s toughest black run — when you return to skis.

Fifteen minutes costs US$103.
icedrivingvalthorens.com

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Four Legged Ride
Steamboat Springs, USA

Hold onto your sled; you’re about to glide through backcountry Colorado with a team of Alaskan huskies at your beck and call. Family-owned Grizzle-T Sledding has been leading tours for some 15 years, allowing guests to drive their very own team of dogs across two private tracks.

The 20-kilometre-long West Trail is arguably the most eventful, skating through the rugged belly of Colorado’s mountainous ranch country. Speed between canyons and open meadows blanketed in bridal white, hurtle across a ravine and surf over undulating hills, all while taking in the surrounding peaks of the Flat Tops and Elk Mountain. You might even spot a coyote or two.

The two-hour trips cost AU$175.
steamboatdogsledding.com

Pedal Power
Mont-Tremblant, Canada

Fat biking, the latest trend in ski-free winter activities, has made its mark on North America’s mountains. The bikes are fitted with extra-wide tyres and your route is over snow not soil, but other than that it’s just like mountain biking.

At Quebec’s Mont-Tremblant, 60 kilometres of track winds through the maple and birch trees, with about a third reserved exclusively for bikes – and the occasional moose. A few steep climbs will have you shedding layers, but you’ll be rewarded with exhilarating descents and awesome views. And with a blanket of white offering some padding should you fall, you can really pick up speed.

Two-hour trips with D-Tour cost AU$70, including gear and a guide.
dtourtremblant.com

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On Your Feet
Vallee de Joux, Switzerland

When life gives you frozen water, skate on it. At least that’s what the Swiss do. And Switzerland’s Jura Massif offers prime sliding material. Come January, the 9.5 square kilometres of Lac de Joux transforms into Europe’s largest open-air skating rink.

Enterprising locals set up shop by the shore, selling refreshments and renting out all the equipment you’ll need for an afternoon spent practising your pirouettes. And when it’s time for a break you won’t even need to leave the ice to slurp down soup or a steaming cup of glühwein (mulled wine).

Hire skates at the lake for AU$10.
myswitzerland.com

Run With the Pack
Polar Park Arctic Wildlife Centre, Norway

Find your wolfpack in the wilds of Norway. Narvik, up in the country’s north, offers an impressive winter lineup – fjord-side skiing, shimmering auroras and the chance to learn about how the Sami people survive in all that snow.

The cherry on top is Polar Park, an hour’s drive away. In this 110-hectare zoo, bears, lynxes, arctic foxes, reindeer and musk oxen roam free, and guests can experience one-on-one interaction with critically endangered wolves. Those with an extra soft spot for these four-legged beasts should spend the night at WolfLodge, a comfy house set in the middle of one of the enclosures. Come morning, you might even score a cuddle with your furry friends. Although these wolves are socialised, park guides keep a close eye on each encounter. Don’t try this in the wild, folks!

Entry to Polar Park costs AU$42.
A visit to the wolf enclosure is AU$240.
polarpark.no

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Bison Bonanza
Yellowstone National Park, USA

Eons ago, 30 million bison roamed the North American continent. Loss of habitat and poaching whittled that number down to half a million, while in Europe hunters brought the wild beasts to near extinction. But in USA’s Yellowstone National Park, 5500 bison – the country’s national mammal – remain, and as they forage for up to 11 hours a day they’re easy to spot in the landscape.

Take a break from skiing at nearby Jackson Hole to join a Scenic Safaris tour to the Old Faithful geyser, where you’ll spy all kinds of creatures drawn to the warmth of the park’s bubbling mud pots and hissing fumaroles. Observe elk and rare grey wolves, and watch bison swinging their heads from side to side as they plough through snow on the hunt for grasses, just as they’ve done in this region since prehistoric times.

The 12-hour Old Faithful Snow Coach trip starts at AU$360 per person.
scenic-safaris.com

Chopper challenge
Troll Peninsula, Iceland

When it comes to extremes, Iceland’s full of them – vast glaciers, seething geysers and volcanoes that spit tantrums beside the broiling sea. It also boasts the lowest population density in Europe. At three inhabitants per square kilometre it’s just the spot to test your own limits, free from any observers sniggering when you eat snow.

Join a heli-skiing adventure with Eleven Experience, which whisks guests to the remote northern Troll Peninsula, up near the Arctic Circle. Here you’ll coast through fjords and valleys, and race from summit to sea on sheets of untouched snow. Go in spring when the days are long, the North Atlantic Ocean glimmers below and the sunset lingers on the horizon.

Four-day trips start at AU$15,100.
elevenexperience.com

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Aerial explorer
Whistler Blackcomb, Canada

Canada’s 4019-metre-high Coast Mountains may look impressive from the foothills, but fly over their jagged peaks and you’ll realise you’ve underestimated the true power of Mother Nature. Nowhere more so than Pemberton Icecap — an icefield about the size of Malta in the southernmost portion of the mountains.

Modern-day explorers can wander through a labyrinth of blue caves of cathedral-like proportions and run their fingers across their glassy ice walls. Head-Line Mountain Holidays scoops up passengers from the famous Whistler resort and choppers them away from the crowds. From your airborne chariot you’ll take in sky-high views of the icefield before touchdown in a landscape that looks as though a higher being upended a giant jar of Miracle Whip.

The 4.5-hour trip costs AU$1380 per passenger.
headlinemountainholidays.com

Nordic Line
Myrdal, Norway

If you need a break from exploring Norway’s frosted landscape under your own steam, let a train do all the work. Considered one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world, the Flåm Railway weaves from Myrdal in Aurland — passing through Vatnahalsen, where there’s outstanding cross-country terrain — to the town of Flåm, right by a fjord.

The train’s plush red seats and rustic atmosphere offer gold-class comfort, but you’ll probably be too busy with your nose pressed up against the glass to notice as you chug past the blue-tinged landscape of frosted trees, marzipan peaks and flash-frozen waterfalls on the hour-long journey. While in Flåm be sure to stop by Ægir, a brewery set in a Norse Viking-style church.

A return fare costs about US$51.
visitflam.com

Or book RailPlus’s Norway in a Nutshell package, which takes you to some of the country’s best sites from US$117.
railplus.com.au

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Slow Road
Anchorage, USA

Don’t be surprised if you come to a halt while riding the Aurora Winter Train; someone’s no doubt spotted a moose. Wending through 572 kilometres of Alaskan countryside, this route is all about the journey (though the destination is terrific, too).

After departing Anchorage, the locomotive cruises past birch forests, great lakes and beaver dams, with branch nests visible from your carriage. Animals aren’t the only cause for pause either – the train freezes in the middle of Hurricane Gulch Bridge, allowing you to peer 90 metres to the creek below; stops for views of Denali, the highest summit in North America; and halts to pick up locals who hail a ride from the side of the tracks.

Twelve hours later you’ll roll into Fairbanks, the most reliable place to see the northern lights in Alaska and a half-hour’s drive from Ski Land, boasting the northernmost chairlift on the continent.

One-way trips from AU$179. Email gtj@railplus.com.au to book your ride.
railplus.com.au

ROUND 3 – SUSTENANCE

Architectural Eats
Ramundberget, Sweden

Installed amid unspoilt Sami ancestral land and accessible only on skis, this rural Swedish restaurant throws shade on almost every other destination dining spot on earth.

Everything about Tusen, meaning ‘thousand’, pays homage to nature’s bounty – from the slender local birch trees that skirt the circular edifice, to the reindeer and trout served on local stone plates. In fact, judges at the World Architectural Festival in 2009 were so floored by Tusen’s design and concept that they awarded the restaurant first prize in the event’s holiday category. Located in the small ski resort of Ramundberget, some 600 kilometres north-west of Stockholm, and close to the Norwegian border, this is one of the most snow-secure ski areas in all of Sweden.

ramundberget.se

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Brekky by Snowmobile
Whistler, Canada

Hurtling through the Canadian wilderness on a snowmobile is one sure-fire way to work up an appetite. The Yukon Breakfast experience takes you on an adrenaline-pumping snowmobile trip, from Whistler to Mount Sproatt, through the rugged, pine-filled backcountry of British Columbia.

A rustic mountaintop log cabin awaits your arrival, and breakfast is prepared on a wood-fired stove while you enjoy views of frosted peaks. The feast is everything a hearty Canadian breakfast should be: Yukon gold potatoes, Canadian black bacon, scrambled eggs, local veggies, cheddar cheese and, best of all, pancakes with lashings of real maple syrup. It'll stand you in good stead for a day on Whistler's famous trails.

This four-hour trip costs US$145.
canadianwilderness.com

Dairy Queen
Crans-Montana, Switzerland

Nothing hits that hungry spot better than molten, golden cheese scraped from a six-kilogram wheel onto baked potatoes and pickles. Made with milk from cows fed on alpine pastures, Switzerland’s national dish of raclette is a mainstay at European ski resorts.

No one does it better than the little hut of Cabane des Taules, perched at 2000 metres above sea level in Switzerland’s Valais region. Here raclette is prepared outdoors for the crowds that settle into plastic chairs on the slope and wash down their meal with bubbly apfelschorle (apple juice and sparkling water) and local wine as they look out over the Alps.

crans-montana.ch

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Passion for Pastry
Mont-Tremblant, Canada

When Canadians say, “How aboot you try a beaver tail?” they’re not suggesting you munch on a furry creature’s appendage. Rather, these quintessential Canadian snacks are paddles of hand-stretched, deep-fried dough, typically frosted with cinnamon and sugar.

The pastry is thought to have derived from bannock (bread) cooked by settlers, who were inspired by indigenous Canadians roasting real beaver tails over open fires. These days BeaverTails pastries are a much-loved post-ski snack, often consumed while roaming the pedestrian village at the foothills of Mont Tremblant in Quebec.

beavertails.com

Boozy Bombardino
Italy

Nothing will blast the cold from your insides like a hot and heavenly glass of Bombardino. According to local legend, the booze-heavy brew was first conceived in Lombardy, in the country’s north, when a group of friends stumbled into a ski resort as a blizzard raged outside. To stave off the cold, the owner simmered up a heady concoction of brandy and advocaat and topped it off with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.

These days it’s served at establishments all over Italy’s slopes, often with an extra kick courtesy of a shot of fresh espresso.

VS

Rummy Good Time
USA

Two parts rum, a quarter part butter and infinite parts delicious, hot buttered rum (or HBR to the veterans out there) is a piste-side staple that dates back to the USA’s colonial days.

Stir your cinnamon stick and soak up the sweet, rich cloud of warmth. There can be no better spot to sample this spiced, warming libation than perched upon a bar stool at the sleek and stately Duchin Lounge – an Idaho institution. Part of Sun Valley – the continent’s oldest resort, established in 1936 – this lodge has seen American icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway, among others, stroll its corridors.

sunvalley.com

Apres-ski Party
Meribel, France

Ski-in ski-out sun terrace, toffee-infused vodka and all-day entertainment every day of the week? Welcome to Le Rond Point, where you’ll find some of France’s finest après-ski. Fondly known as the Ronnie, this venue at the Méribel ski resort may be the largest ski bar in the country, but it’s far from a sell-out.

Punctuate your day navigating the resort’s 328 pistes with Ronnie’s steaming mugs of vin chaud (mulled wine), and kick back with a burger or pork hot off the spit while taking in panoramic views with a side of sunshine. As with every good European après establishment, the party kicks off in the afternoon with live music and dancing in your snow boots.

alpine-bars.com

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The Beach Bash
Arapahoe Basin, USA

Forget the snow – for skiers in Colorado’s A-basin it’s all about the Beach. To learn the nuts and bolts of this destination party spot is to realise that its moniker is wildly incongruous, for the Beach is an impromptu rave in a car park at the bottom of a ski slope that begins ludicrously early.

Revellers arrive armed with barbecues, beer kegs and deck chairs from 7am, popping their car boots to get the party started. And whenever Beach-goers need a breather there’s an easy escape route, with lifts to some of the steepest and highest skiable terrain in North America right at your feet.

From US$45 per parking spot, which has room for two vehicles.
arapahoebasin.com

ROUND 4 – LODGING

Slope-side Glamping
Paradise, USA

Modern incarnations of the traditional yurt and teepee have sprouted up in Utah’s Wasatch Mountain Range. But instead of simple conical shelters made from buffalo hide, the 10 rotund yurts at Whisper Ridge Resort are kitted out with queen-size beds, solar-powered lights, dressers and armchairs.

Snowcats and helicopters transport guests out to some of North America’s best (and biggest) backcountry, where annual snowfall of over a metre creates a pristine canvas on the 25,000-hectare terrain. After painting your own trails on 3600-metre vertical runs, return to the glamping set-up for a buffet and the warmth of the wood-fired hot tub.

A day of skiing and a night's stay costs US$870 per person.
whisperridgeutah.com

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DYI Igloo
Engelberg, Switzerland

Sub-zero conditions and physical labour – what could be more romantic? For an unconventional stay in the Swiss Alps why not build your own love nest out of snow together with your plus one? Under the watchful eye of an Iglu-Dorf igloo expert you’ll craft a cosy, frozen home block-by-block on the slopes.

But it’s not all hard graft. Welcome drinks and pastries are supplied upon arrival; prosecco and antipasto platters are served come sundown; morning tea is delivered right to your sleeping bag and there’s even a hot tub begging to warm cold limbs. But best of all, it’s just you and your better half sleeping under the stars, with a slice of hushed Alpine landscape all to yourselves.

Build your own igloo from US$515 per person.
iglu-dorf.com

Hamlet in the hills
Le Lavancher, France

Even a tale by the Brothers Grimm would fall short of the whimsy found at Les Chalets de Philippe. Facing Mont Blanc, these kitsch wooden hideaways – some accessible via stairs so steep they resemble ladders – brim with antique furniture and are warmed by wood-stoked fires.

Most of the treehouse-esque suites boast private hot tubs, perfect for unknotting muscles, plus there’s a hammam in the garden and a private cinema to help you reach peak relaxation. The hotel oozes history, especially in the seventeenth-century dining hall where French cuisine is served at a shared table by candlelight.

Small chalets from US$300.
en.chaletsphilippe.com

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Rustic Retreat
Lake Louise, Canada

Strap on your skis, because the only way to reach Skoki Lodge is by tackling an 11-kilometre trail deep in the Canadian Rockies.

Departing from Lake Louise, the route takes you up over Deception Pass and seemingly back to the 1930s – when Skoki welcomed its first guests. Retired snowshoes and wooden skis line the walls, stoves still heat the nine rooms and cabins, baths are by sponge and steaming bowls of water, and candles promise enough light for a game of late-night Scrabble. That’s if you escape the food coma brought on by the spread of exceptional homemade food.

Rooms from US$134 per person.
skoki.com

Boutique abode
Achau, Germany

It may have started out as a seventeenth-century bakery, but Berge guesthouse at the foot of the Bavarian Alps is as modern as they come. Revamped by renowned designer Nils Holger Moormann in his signature minimalist style, the 16 self-catering apartments were created with solitude and relaxation in mind.

Wood, stone and brick all feature prominently and there’s no room service, television or telephones in the individually designed spaces. A cable car ships skiers to the Kampenwand pistes directly behind the retreat, while a labyrinth of cross-country tracks wind through the woods with another eight ski fields promising powder just a short drive away.

Apartments from US$151.
moormann-berge.de

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Remodelled Motel
South Lake Tahoe, USA

When your knees are sore, your cheeks cold and your feet longing for freedom from rigid boots, the Coachman Hotel is your friend. Just five minutes’ walk from the ski gondola to Heavenly Mountain ski resort (Cali’s largest), this former 60s motel has undergone a multimillion-dollar overhaul that has left competitors reeling in its wake.

Curl up under a blanket and toast complimentary s’mores over the firepit, melt away the day in a bubbly hot tub or simply burrow down in your luxury Frette linens and watch a movie on the 43-inch HDTV. And when you’re ready to hit the slopes again the next day, load up on double shot lattes from Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters at the hotel bar.

Rooms from US$138.
coachmantahoe.com

Classic Slumber
Lech, Austria

This year marks the eightieth anniversary for family-owned, five-star Gasthof Post. The hotel – situated a short stroll from Lech's slopes – is just the type of lodge you picture when you think of the Alps.

Each room is decorated with local antiques, paintings of hunts and an abundance of wood. Quaint it may be, but don’t judge a book by its cover – a new spa offers a range of beauty and relaxation treatments, and guests who fancy a swim can plunge into the 30ºC outdoor swimming pool with panoramic views of the peak of Omeshorn. Best of all is the restaurant, which dishes up local produce of such quality you’ll forget you ever imagined Austrian cuisine was solely stews and strudel.

Doubles from US$393.
postlech.com

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Deluxe Lodge
Adirondacks, USA

When snow falls softly outside, nothing beats sinking into an armchair by a crackling fire. And at Lake Placid Lodge in upstate New York the stone fireplaces outnumber guest rooms almost two-to-one, so there’s always somewhere to sit and warm your toes after tackling Whiteface Mountain – the longest vertical drop of any ski mountain on America’s eastern seaboard.

First established in 1882 among the immense woodlands of Adirondack Park, the reconstructed lodge harks back to the grand summer camps built in the region by the nineteenth-century elite. Each of the 13 suites and 17 cabins is individually designed with far more flair than most people are accustomed to at home. And the handcrafted beds created with a twist of branches are truly astonishing.

Private cabins from US$428.
lakeplacidlodge.com

August 2019 from issue 53

Tags: Achau Germany, Ache Germany, Adirondacks USA, Anchorage USA, Arapahoe Basin USA, Arcadis Andorra, austria, Bansko, Bormio Italy, bulgaria, canada, Canyons and Deer Valley UTAH USA, Chugach USA, Crotched Mountain USA, finland, Hossa National Park, Igloo Engelberg Switzerland, Jackson Hole USA, Lake Louise canada, Le Lavancher France, Lech Austria, Marble Mountain, Maribor Pohorje Slovenia, Meribel France, Myrdal Norway, Outback Alaska, Park City, Polar Park Arctic Wildlife Centre Norway, Ramundberget Sweden, skiing Arlberg, Slope-side Clamping Utah, South Lake Tahoe USA, Steamboat Springs USA, Troll Peninsula Iceland, Vallee de Joux Switzerland, Whistler Blackcomb Canada, Yellowstone National Park USA

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