While some people dread having to deal with the cold and snow, for others winter brings an exciting opportunity to get out and play. If you’d like to plan a vacation that allows you do enjoy a variety of winter sports, these three destinations are sure to fit the bill.
Aspen is world renowned as one of the top wintertime playgrounds for snow enthusiasts, including lots of celebrities and socialites. This picturesque town offers four mountains to choose from, Buttermilk, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain, providing something for just about everyone. While there are a variety of activities available, the area is especially well-known for skiing, home to some of the most luxurious ski-in, ski-out hotels, including five-star property The Little Nell with direct access to Aspen Mountain.
Although Aspen is synonymous with the jet-set crowd donning the latest ski fashions, it’s still a great destination for skiers of all abilities from beginners to the most advanced. The downside is that it’s also one of the priciest destinations for skiing in the U.S., but if you’ve got the cash, it should be on the top of your must-visit list. Just bring your designer cold-weather fashions and you might find yourself rubbing elbows with the rich and famous.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Just outside the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Grouse Mountain offers the chance to glide upon the ice across an outdoor skating rink taking in spectacular views of the city lights and the jagged, snow-covered peaks of the Coast Mountain Range. This is a breathtaking winter wonderland that also offers the chance for skiing and snowboarding on 26 runs for varying levels of experience, as well as the chance to take old fashioned sleigh rides through snow-covered forests.
The downside is that with the mountain so easily accessible for Vancouver area residents, it can get crowded and gondolas are frequently packed to capacity. If you can, try to go at mid-week and avoid going on a holiday for a better experience.
While you’re here, you’ll also want to take advantage of this city where the ocean meets magnificent mountains, as it’s filled with beautiful parks, museums, world-class eateries and a host of shopping opportunities.
Grand Lake, Colorado
Grand Lake is considered to be the snowmobile capital of the state, with more than 300 miles of snowmobile terrain and trails available for everyone from the beginner to the expert. You can even ride your snowmobile through town, right up to the historic boardwalk lined with over 60 shops, eateries, bars and art galleries. For motorcycle enthusiasts who have always wanted to try winter riding, this is an especially ideal destination with the town catering to those who want to take their motorized rides through the streets.
The important thing to remember for a safe and comfortable experience is to bring the proper gear, keeping in mind that layering is essential for warmth. If you don’t have everything you need for cold weather, a multitude of riding gear and accessories is available online. A helmet is obviously a must, but the good news is that if you want to try snowmobiling and riding your motorcycle out on the snow, you can use the same one for both sports, provided it’s DOT or Snell approved for safety reasons. Motorcycle helmets have lighter thermal insulation, so to keep warm, you’ll want to wear a balaclava underneath.