travel

The ultimate guide to your next skiing destination.

It’s adventure time for winter sports enthusiasts and many of you are deciding where to go for your next skiing or snowboarding trip. The options are plenty and the choice can be tough. We give you an overview of countries and regions in the world, where you can indulge in a fluffy white powder activity with your travel buddies. This is not a resort review, as there are thousands of them, but rather a guide on what to expect in each destination and how your ski experience can be different. Depending on where will you go and what you are after during your skiing or snowboarding trip.

 “A pair of skis are the ultimate transportation to freedom.” – Warren Miller

There are two winter seasons on Earth

Where to go skiing or snowboarding depends largely on when. As the seasons vary between Hemispheres, you may want to take the advantage of winter in Northern Hemisphere or combine sun and surf with skiing in New Zealand and Australia later in the year, as the seasons are reversed there.

In Europe, USA and Canada, the ski season typically lasts since November until early May, whereas in New Zealand and Australia ski season runs between June and October. You can also ski in Japan and the season there typically runs from mid-December until early April, achieving peak in January and February.

Whilst your safest bet for a winter ski trip is between January and February, it is also the most expensive time to go skiing. But, choose wisely and you will enjoy a good quality snow in March and April, for a much lower damage to your credit card. If you want to take advantage of less crowded slopes in March and April (or even early May), choose a ski resort above 1500 meters with plenty of north-facing terrain above 2500 meters.

Right now, depending where are you based, you can go skiing in Europe, USA, Canada and Japan. That gives you plenty of opportunities where, depending on vacation time, budget and desire for the time on a plane.

Europe

Europe is heaven for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, with many skiing opportunities within two-hour flight, or if you live in one of the countries, a few hours’ drive. From the well-established Alpine resorts in France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Germany, to the less crowded slopes in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic and Andorra and finally Nordic countries, Finland, Norway and Sweden, where snow runs in people’s bodies instead of blood. Well, it doesn’t but it’s an integrated part of life.

What to expect in the Alps?

Alpine ski resorts are likely to be your European benchmark, once you have taken a trip there. You will end up comparing your Alps experience with that in Eastern or Northern Europe. Alps and ski resorts in Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy and Germany offer world class ski opportunities with vast ski areas, modern lift systems, diversity of resorts and accommodation, fabulous views, picturesque towns, high-altitude slopes for your spring-time skiing, gourmet food and of plenty of ‘après-ski’ options. They can also set you back quite a few Euros, depending on the luxury level of your trip.

Andorra and Eastern Europe

Andorra, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland will offer slightly different experience. Whilst you are most likely to get more for your money there, you will also have less diversity and glamour than Alps. But that’s not to say that you won’t have a great trip. Each of these regions is unique on its own. One thing is almost sure, you certainly have less crowds there.

Virtually tax-free Andorra is a tempting option to explore for your next skiing or snowboarding trip, combined with some shopping opportunities. With plenty of high-altitude resorts, English-speaking ski and snowboarding schools for those making their first attempt at skiing, great après-ski venues; it’s a perfect skiing and snowboarding destination for beginner and intermediate ski enthusiasts.

Eastern Europe may not offer the same experience as skiing in high Alps, but you will save a lot of money on ski rental equipment, accommodation, lift passes and food. Virtually everything. Skiing is not a new sport in these countries and there are well established ski resorts, with good amenities, transport link, pistes, post-ski saunas, baths and relaxation possibilities. If this is your first ski trip, you may want to start there, as majority of the slopes are beginner and intermediate friendly.

Scandinavia

You may go there to see Santa Claus, you may go there for the opportunity to ski during the 24 hour daylight. Imagine going to the least populous European countries, where two things are guaranteed: snow and quiet slopes. Less party more gourmet food, sunshine, silence, post-ski sauna and unspoiled views will all be experienced in Sweden, Finland or Norway. And without a sunscreen, a sunburn will most likely be experienced too. If you are after fireplaces, rugged, unspoiled landscapes, empty pistes, husky rides, you know where to look now.

USA

Hello and welcome to ski heaven. USA offers one of the best skis and snowboard opportunities in the world.

The most popular USA ski resorts are Aspen, Beaver Creek and Vail in Colorado, Lake Tahoe or Mammoth Lakes in California (read our blog about Northern California, to find out more about Lake Tahoe), Park City and Salt Lake City in Utah, Breckenridge and Telluride in Rocky Mountains, Vermont, Stove and Killington in New England on the East Coast, Sun Valley in Idaho. You can also ski in Alaska.

Expect to pay a small fortune for a weekly lift pass, in exchange for the world’s best ski areas with well-groomed slopes, magnificent mountains, endless pistes, super-fast ski lifts and opportunities for skiing in both East and West Coast. USA ski and snowboard packages are more flexible than European, so you can combine your Vermont ski trip with a Boston city break for example. One thing worth mentioning, is that in the USA, the ski resorts are quite spread out, unlike Europe, so car rental might be a necessity to move between them and take advantage of your multi-resort ski pass.

Canada

Expect to combine your skiing trip with hiking trails, shopping, dining in fine restaurants, diversity, spas, friendly people and picturesque ski resorts (just Google-image Banff to get the idea). You can actually ski in most parts of Canada, but the most popular provinces and ski destinations are in British Columbia, neighbouring Alberta, and Quebec in the east. Similarly, to the USA and Alpine resorts of Western Europe, you will have a world class ski experience in Canada.

For many people, Canada offers the most beautiful views in the world to enjoy during their skiing and snowboarding trip. And like in Europe, you will have an opportunity to visit several resorts within one day. Something, which may not be easy to do in the USA.

Lake Louise is one of Canada’s top resorts and part of the three world-class ski resorts- SkiBig3, comprising Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay all located in Banff National Park.

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains have been rated top North America’s ski resorts and are a skiers’ dream destination. The resort is located between two massive mountains linked by gondola, which is an attraction on its own.

Another world class ski resort is Big White, located on the west side of Canada’s Rocky Mountains. The local climate in the area provides endless supply of dry, light, fluffy champagne powder with excellent skiing conditions.

 

Japan

Not just sushi, tea and cherry blossoms, but also amazing skiing and snowboarding opportunities and heavy snowfalls courtesy to the cold Siberian air.

There are over 500 ski resorts in Japan, with the best ones being in the northern parts, Hokkaido and Tohoku and in the mountains along the Sea of Japan Coast (Niigata and Nagano). If you decide to travel thousand miles to Japan for your skiing or snowboarding trip, you won’t be disappointed, as great quality white powder is guaranteed here. A trip to Japan, won’t be just a winter sports adventure, but a full cultural experience, with amazing hospitality, great food and a dip in Japanese history and culture. Something you may not easily find elsewhere in the world, but it’s definitely possible in Japan, is night skiing, with most Japanese ski resorts keeping the slopes open for some midnight snow adventures. For your ramen to go with your skis and a full cultural immersion, Japan is a great winter sports destination, for those on shoestring and those seeking high-end luxury during their adventure time.

 

New Zealand

People go to New Zealand for spectacular views and best in the world trekking and hiking opportunities. But that can easily be combined with something else. A ski or snowboard trip in the middle of European Summer. Chasing the snow? Why not! And even more worthy, if you are to experience the same skiing conditions to that of Western Europe, but in an unspoiled environment. It is the Land at The End of The World after all.

The four ski regions of New Zealand are alpine resorts of Queenstown, Christchurch and Canterbury Plains in the Southern Alps, small town of Wanaka nestled on the edge of Lake Wanaka and the Mackenzie region with Lake Tekapo at its heart.

A ski trip to New Zealand means you will be inhaling the cleanest and purest air on earth, whilst experiencing awe inspiring views combined of picturesque towns, alpine peaks and azure lakes. You will also be likely to combine your ski adventure with trekking, wine tasting, exploring waterfalls at a great value for money prices. And those seeking pure adrenaline and freedom, you will have the opportunity for the ultimate Heli-skiing experience, with plenty of local operators offering Heli-trips. Regardless if you will be going off piste or with the crowd, remember to take plenty of sunscreen. In New Zealand you can be burned even during cloudy weather, as the country has the highest UV ratings in the world, due to its pure and clean air.

 

Australia

At Tribd, we regularly check which destinations are popular for different activity types, so we can provide insights to our adventure community. When Australia came on the list of countries for ski trips, I thought that it was on error. Skiing in Australia? But it’s surfer’s paradise…!

Well, it turns out not just, there is snow in Australia and there are skiing and snowboarding opportunities too. Skiing conditions in Australia can be found mainly in the two states of New South Wales and Victoria, and Tasmania.The two top ski resorts in Australia are Perisher and Thredbo, around six hours drive from Sydney, or seven hours from Melbourne. Perisher is the largest, Thredbo is the highest resort. Both offer great equipment, slopes for all levels and an après-ski nightlife. Perisher has the most expansive ski terrain in Australia and is also the largest resort in the Southern Hemisphere. Whilst your skiing experience won’t be the same to that of Europe, North America or Japan, it’s worth knowing that you have an option to put the ski boots on, when visiting Australia, or if you fancy skiing in the Summer, just hop on a plane and head a few thousand miles South.

If you would like to meet other people going skiing or snowboarding and take a trip together, download Tribd on iOS. Tribd helps you to find travel buddies and connect with other solo travellers with similar travel plans. 

Follow @tribdapp on social media for travel stories and travel inspiration and join our group of solo travellers on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/Tribdapp/ 

#findyourtribe

Snowboarding photo by  Yann Allegre  via Unsplash

Snowboarding photo by Yann Allegre via Unsplash

Are you a tourist or a traveller?

“A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu

Let us introduce to Mirka, who quit her corporate job years ago and went backpacking to South East Asia. Little did she know that the months will turn into years and backpacking will turn into something else - trying to find a place in the remote parts of Indonesia she could call home. Today, Mirka will share her perspective on solo travel, having travelled all around South East Asia for years, and how that has changed from her first backpacking trip all those years ago.

Are you a tourist or a traveller?

By Mirka

Nowadays travelling is easy, affordable and lately also fashionable, ever since the social media wheel started to turn.

So much so, that we came to the point that hosting countries started to shut down places to prevent complete nature destruction. For example, Thailand’s most famous beach where The Beach movie was filmed has recently been closed for tourism activities. Similarly due to the environmental destruction caused by mass tourism, a well-known Boracay Island in Philippines was also shut down for a number of months. It is quite possible more places will follow soon.

It becomes more difficult to find unspoiled places and if you find one, better keep it to yourself.

Most people who take upon travelling, stick to the places discovered long time ago and only few move on to find new destinations for themselves. This is precisely what travelling should be called. If you consider yourself passionate about adventure and travelling, here are a few tips to consider. Especially if you are thinking of taking time travelling, going backpacking or spending your gap year seeing the world.

Firstly, there is no need to pre-book your travels including flight tickets back home, hotels or any other things. Who knows, maybe you will come back on camel… (This sounds more like a traveller’s spirit!)

When taking up travelling and backpacking, booking return tickets will not make you more adventurous and quite often lead you to more expenses. You may end up changing the date on your flight or departure point. With the return ticket in your hand, we tend to plan carefully our moves. The return date in your head limits us from going too far from the point of pre-set departure or venturing to off beaten paths or non-existent paths. It also happens that our mind cannot relax completely, often thinking and worrying about how is it going to be when we will come back home.

Pre-booking hotels or guesthouses limits that travelling spirit inside you. Best practice is not to book any room, only if you arrive late at night. Finding accommodation on the spot is usually much cheaper. This way you can choose better-located place, support local people by choosing to stay in locally own place and identify the place where you can meet and socialize with fellow travellers.

To be a traveller, who people ask for advice is not as easy as it seems. Almost every passionate traveller will agree that their priority is experience. Therefore, it means that they are prepared to see good and bad things eventually balancing these two, by patience and understanding. To gain that experience they travel to unknown places where comfort is less, but authenticity is more, that’d be a nature, culture or any other thing what a traveller is looking for.

But please, do take your travels gradually. Especially if you have never been to the remote places. Start with popular places, familiarize yourself with customs of country you will be dealing with, learn a bit of local language. If you are girl travelling solo - find a travel partner. To avoid disappointment, choose places where you will want to be - wisely, do not rely on guidebooks or well-advertised websites. They are often misleading and full of biased opinions with hidden selling tricks and well edited pictures.

In general, to avoid disappointments do not rely on anything.

Go – See – Experience – Form Own Opinion.  People are different and tend to enjoy different things, so their opinions will only create images in your head, often leading to disappointment, because it can turn not as good as you have imagined. What actually gives that traveller’s feeling is coming to the place without prior detailed research and embracing things as they stand.

Apart from detailed preparation, the crucial thing that distinguishes traveller and a person on holiday, is that a traveller decides to be on the road not only for self-indulging reason. He does not want to limit his journey to see beauty in it, but on the contrary puts himself into uncomfortable situations to discover new ways and himself. No matter how exiting this may sound, travelling with purpose or without purpose at some point becomes a routine. It manifests in the way that things are no longer perceived with excitement. If you come to this point – your traveller spirit has been tested. So what to do? Go to Katmandu?

Relax…. but the last thing one should do, go back to the old lifestyle back home. Believe me, you will not be satisfied and will become even more miserable. The traveller spirit that you have been developing for many years will not leave you alone. There is no perfect answer for this question, because all of us need to figure it out on our own. No matter what you do, keep smiling, you have been privileged to see the word this way.

The future of travelling lies behind adventure with an open mind. Hopefully travellers will exist long after the fashion is gone.

Blessings to all the people with travelling spirit. Hope to see you on the road!


Travelling the world solo can be overwhelming and lonely at times. But you can always download Tribd on iOS. Tribd helps you to find travel buddies and connect with other solo travellers with similar travel plans. 

Follow @tribdapp on social media for travel stories and travel inspiration and join our group of solo travellers on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/Tribdapp/ 

#findyourtribe