Skiing in Utah Utah is a great place to take a skiing vacation, regardless of your skiing abilities or experience. With a number of world class ski resorts, Utah boasts some of North America's best skiing, and prides itself on having 'the best snow on earth'. But don't take my word for it -- get out there and experience the magic of skiing in Utah for yourself! With such high quality resorts, and truly amazing snow coverage and texture, Utah is an excellent location for your skiing vacation. If you're looking for a choice of resorts, but you don't want to venture too far from home, Utah is definitely the place for you. Its fine, powdery snow can be experienced through most of the year, and you'd be simply mad not to visit Utah at some point if you're a skiing enthusiast like me. One of the premier resorts in Utah is the Deer Valley Resort. In 2005, Ski Magazine voted Deer Valley as the best resort in the whole of North America, and it is easy to see why. The sheer quality of skiing to be had, combined with the breathtaking surrounding and facilities that are second to none, makes Deer Valley a connoisseurs choice. And what's better, it feels a million miles away, yet it is only a short difference from the bustle of Salt Lake City. The resort itself has over 20 ski lifts to ensure queues are kept to an absolute minimum, and it is more than reasonably priced for the quality of the skiing. Another of Utah's most cherished resorts is Powder Mountain. The haunt of the local skiers, Powder Mountain is relatively undiscovered in comparison to the other resorts, although it is just as good in terms of facilities. In fact, it is thought to be one of the best resorts if you are looking for value for money, and with an ideal climate, it really is the perfect place to host your skiing vacation. With only 7 ski lifts, Powder Mountain is a much smaller ski resort, but that doesn't mean it's not as good! If anything, you are likely to benefit from fewer skiers, meaning you have more slope to yourself! Powder Mountain is famous for its atmosphere, which just smacks of traditional Utah spirit and friendliness. And that's not to mention its impressive dedicated skiing school, which provides lessons from some of the state's most experienced skiing experts, all at very reasonable prices. With nightly grooming, and slopes available to meet all ability standards, Powder Mountain has certainly earned its reputation as a world class ski resort without the crowds, and is truly one of Utah's best kept secrets. So if you are looking for a great skiing vacation to go with you family, or if you are looking for somewhere to hone your skills, you really couldn't do better than Utah. Combining both world class accommodation and restaurants, with perfect natural skiing conditions, Utah is perceived as one of America's best skiing states, and it is easy to see why with it's beautiful, thick, powder snow. With its depth and quality of resorts, there's something for everyone, and you will be sure to enjoy your vacation, like the millions of enthusiasts before you, that have chosen Utah for their skiing break. USA -- Copper Mountain Copper Mountain was referred to as the best ski slope in "North America" by the US Forestry Service, for its amazing resources and ability to cater for beginner, intermediate and expert skiers. Based only 120 KM from Denver airport and with 160 metres of pure skiing fun, Copper Mountain is the only place to go skiing in America. With a 3 Kilometre base and a summit of nearly 4 kilometres it is no wonder the slope is big enough to handle over 30,000 visitors on a monthly basis. With twenty two lifts the Copper Mountain is renowned for its 6 man high speed lift, 5 doubles, 5 triples, surface chairs, quad lifts, tubing zone and even quad lifts that can travel in excess of 40 kilometres per hour. The upper lifts close at 1500 every evening, meaning you get 30 minutes to complete your last run before your days skiing is over. Opening at 9am in the morning Monday to Friday there is no excuse for not getting an early start. At the weekends the lifts open around a half an hour earlier, making it much easier to fit more skiing into your day. In total Copper Mountain covers two and a half thousand acres, and stands nearly 800 metres tall. With 125 trails in total, 18% cater for expert skiers, 36% for advanced skiers, 21% for beginners and 25% for intermediates. The snowfall in Cooper Mountain is also something to be reckoned with; the total snowfall in November to April of 2005/2006 was 283.58, with March appearing to be the best month for snow. Although April to November provides the best snow, Copper Mountain also has an avalanche machine keeping the slop active for around 12 months in the year. This machine works by releasing a gas that turns water into snow. The machine provides genuine powdery snow that can even be altered to be icier, or softer to meet the needs of the skiers. The Copper Mountain is set to be active for 12 months of the year, as of some point in the next two years, whilst plans are also unveiled for an indoor facility. The massive success of Copper Mountain is said to be partially attributable to hosting world snowboarding events, and also offering other activities such as snow tubing which is becoming increasingly popular, as well as snowshoeing, hiking, biking and snowmobile vehicles. When I last visited Copper Mountain major regeneration work had just begun. They had started re-building the lift, their were hotel and lodging developments, and they have even started investing in real estate. From what I understand you will be able to buy a property overlooking the amazing slopes in a small amount of time. They had also seen the importance and the market that exists for training skiing. When a facility has the best training facility, new skiers are more likely to come along, learn how to ski at Copper Mountain and then come back year after year. They have built a complex that will house and support their training team, and they intend to offer lessons for a great price to encourage people to learn how to ski at Copper Mountain. Copper Mountain is also home to freestyle snowboarding facilities which are becoming increasingly with teenagers looking to get started in winter sports. The snowboarding facilities include ramps, half-pipes, jumps and runs, whilst also being flood light, allowing the facility to operate much later than when the lifts stop functioning. If you have never been to Copper Mountain then you will soon realise why it is rated as the best Skiing facility in America. Did you know that many film scenes have been completed on this mountain? It may also surprise you to know that this is usually completed when there is no snow on the mountains, and an avalanche machine generates snow in the absence of a any skiers or tourists. Tremblant In Canada Tremblant is based in Canada and has over 90 runs servicing millions of skiers each year. With 13 state-of-the-art ski lifts and a selection of choices for both snowboarders and skiers Tremblant attained its reputation through daring, varied runs catering for a selection of abilities and preferences. With its longest run being 6km long, you cannot help but picture Tremblant as the skiing capital of Canada. Tremblant has also recently had 18 acres of quality, freestyle snowboarding playground custom built. With jumps, rails, ramps and half-pipes those who are familiar with this should be sure to check it out should the visit. With 94 slaloms, the Tremblant management team have been sure to cater for all levels with 31 intermediate slopes, 17 slopes for novices and mountains worth of expert, countered terrain. Standing 870 metres tall, and with snowboarding and skiing facilities on all four faces, it is no wonder the 628 acre facility is considered the home to Skiing in the area. The facility allows for natural snow between November and April however this does not set anyone back for the other months of the year. The revolutionary Avalanche system actually turns water into snow in an instant. So how does the system work? In Trembla nt there are 885 guns, that spray a cooling gassy chemical onto the snow and the coverage is able to not only turn water into snow in minutes, but also maintain organic snow forever. The amazing system ensures that the temperature is just right: not turning the snow to ice. The revolutionary system is also used to alter the temperature of snow for big events, however its main advantage is 365 day snow, for the people of Tremblant. The Tremblant Lift system can carry over 27,000 snowboarders and skiers per hour, whilst the Gondola and quads also aid the in the massive effort of lifting millions of people up the mountain each day. For those of you who get hungry there are also great accessible eateries available at the top of the 870 metre mountain. Whilst most holiday makers will experience the Tremblant as experienced skiers, there are also many options available to the beginners and intermediates choosing to visit Tremblant. With over 40 beginner slopes and over 50 multi-lingual skiing instructors you really have to visit Tremblant to understand its sheer scale. Learning to ski in Tremblant is not only a great idea because of the experience of the instructors, but also because your choices are not restricted at all. During my first visit to Tremblant I was a keen skier but I had never had the opportunity to snowboard before. During my time in Tremblant I was taught how to snowboard in one day, and by the end of the vacation I was able to attempt challenging runs on the intermediate circuits. Although my experience in skiing was helpful, I felt a lot of this came down to the dexterity of the instructors. The accommodation in Tremblant is amazing, with 6 hotels all with excellent service and offering amazing luxury to their guests. In a hotel, where you see amazing views onto the massive mountain, you also see firework displays that they put on for the tourists each evening. In case that puts you off, I was assured the fireworks do not make any noise, apart from at the weekends. The amazing Tremblant skiing resort has never hosted a large event, and is firmly known for its ability to cater for tourists, however that has not stopped it, in its quest to host the 2009 open. Having placed a bid, we can all wait and see if Tremblant is successful. Ski Press Weekly voted Tremlant the best skiing facility for tourists in North America and this is hardly a surprise. With accessible pricing, a massive selection of runs and a lift that can carry over 25,000 people an hour it is hardly surprising. Skiing at the Big White Resort The world famous Big White resort in Canada is home to some of the nation's greatest skiing. Renowned for its high quality snow, and simply breathtaking scenery, Big White is an ideal resort for skiers of any age or ability. In the shadow of the Monashee Mountains, the Big White is a world class ski resort, with a reputation to back it up. With over 20 feet of fresh snowfall every year, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Big White was unpleasant climate wise -- more often than not, the sun is shining, the ski is fresh, and everyone can have a great time. And what's more, staying at the Big White resort couldn't be more comfortable. With so many different types of accommodation, you can find a place that's ideal, right on the doorstep of the fantastic slopes. British Columbia is recognized as one of the world's greatest skiing regions, and if Big White is anything to go by, that really isn't a surprise. With 16 ski lifts, and a total capacity of over 28,000 skiers every single hour, Big White has the feeling of a small resort whilst still catering for a diverse range of visitors. This means you're sure to meet new friends on your stay, but you can also find some privacy if that's what you'd prefer. The Big White has it all when it comes to keeping you happy, and that is why its visitors just keep coming back for more, year on year. The Big White resort guarantees quality skiing for all visitors. With its innovative ski lifts, and its simple dedication towards standards, you'll feel like Royalty on their pristine slopes. The fine, powdery snow is amazing for anyone to try out, and it can be a real novelty for those inexperienced skiers and experts alike. But if there is one thing overall that you'll take away from your visit, it is the simple attraction of the place. A winter scene that could so easily be the product of fiction, the Big White resort is a stunning location for any vacation, and a resort that consistently earns its place within the top 100 resorts in the world. And if you have a family, relax! Big White is fully equipped to handle the needs of family skiing vacations, and the friendly staff make for a completely relaxed atmosphere. At Big White, you'll feel right at home in any of their comfortable gourmet restaurants, or indeed any of their high quality family themed diners. Big White also offers expert tuition for those who are just beginning to ski, or indeed for the cubs! Not only is this a great way to get the kids out of your hair for a few hours, but you can also help them maximise their enjoyment of the vacation, by improving their abilities on the slope. Whatever you choose to do at Big White, and wherever you choose to stay, you can rest assured that you will love every single minute, and you'll surely recommend it to your friends and family. So why not consider the Big White for your next skiing vacation, and visit one of the world's most acclaimed ski resorts? With such top notch facilities, and a growing reputation, the Big White can only go from strength to strength, and is something definitely not to be missed. Skiing Vacations at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, in Whistler, British Columbia, is a gorgeous alpine resort in the shadow of Blackcomb Mountain. Rated as the number one ski resort in both Canada and North America in recent years, the Whistler Blackcomb resort is one truly not to be missed. British Columbia is home to many of the world's best ski resorts, and Whistler Blackcomb certainly reaffirms this. The impeccable reputation of the resort is only further bolstered by the eight thousand acres of pristine skiing, and over thirty-five feet of powder white snow which falls every single year, making Whistler Blackcomb the destination of choice for savvy ski enthusiasts the world over. When it comes to skiing facilities, you'd naturally expect the Whistler Blackcomb resort to have it all. Catering for a broad cross-section of skiing abilities and tastes, there are over one hundred different runs to keep you occupied on your stay. The natural beauty of these resorts is obvious, and the facilities just add to the overall experience. In the lap of luxury, you can experience world class skiing, indulging in connoisseur black diamond runs, and lightening fast ski lifts. With an astonishing 57,000 skier per hour capacity, the Whistler Blackcomb resort is not only high quality, but also in high demand by those in the know across the world. And after you're active day, relax in the warmth and comfort of the resorts bars and restaurants, where you can share a joke or two over an open fire when it's cold outside. For most people, it really doesn't get much better than that, and that's why the resort has attracted such acclaim, on top of its excellent skiing and snowboarding facilities. But don't worry if you don't know how to ski -- the resort also boasts activities like golf, a health spa, gourmet restaurants, attractive walks and hiking. There really is something for everyone at the resort. Additionally, if you'd like to learn to ski, there really is nowhere better. The Whistler Blackcomb resort also employs a one thousand-strong teaching staff, making it one of the biggest skiing and snowboarding schools in North America, and indeed in the world. Whistler Blackcomb boasts an unparalleled number of world class instructors, which serve to ensure a high standard of training for all the school's participants. Additionally, with a range of training and tuition programmes available, the Whistler Blackcomb resort truly is one of the best locations in the world to improve your skiing skills. The Fairmount Chateau Whistler is a truly unique skiing experience, making use of its beautiful natural resources, and a flair for quality and service. Any vacation at the Chateau Whistler will be an experience not to be forgotten, and with a wrought-iron reputation, you'll find many skiers choose to go back year on year for their annual vacation. If you're looking for a good tip for vacations to the Chateau Whistler, you could do worse than to book direct through their website. By cutting out the middle man you are paying only the hotel price and no commission, which means you can benefit from a much cheaper stay. Additionally, on the Fairmount website, you will find last minute bargains and offers which are simply unbeatable anywhere else, so you might just find that your once in a lifetime skiing experience costs a lot less than you had anticipated. My Skiing Vacation To Europe Around a year ago, I went on a skiing vacation to France and had a great time by all accounts. The best part was that I went with all my friends, all of which had varied abilities, but were all eager to give it a go. Some of my friends compete in competitions and the like, whilst others have only been on the slopes a few times in their life. The fact is that we were all really looking forward to it, and we were all sure to enjoy ourselves whilst we were away. Unfortunately, we don't spend much time together, as we all go to different colleges, whilst others are trying to make it through the rat race. When we decided to book the holiday I was delighted to hear that everybody was able to make it, and that everyone had promised to save up enough money to really enjoy themselves while we were away. The cost of booking the holiday worked out at around $300 for accommodation for the week as we were going to be staying at a backpacker's location, and it was only going to cost $150 for return flights. We really felt like we had struck a bargain, and we were even more delighted when we heard that the cost of living would be really cheap when we got there. We had decided to save up $1000 each, which meant that we would have more than enough spending money for when we arrived. I have to say, I never quite expected Europe to be such an excellent skiing destination for people like us with mixed abilities. Sure, there are the Alps, but I thought these were only the playground of the expert skiers. How wrong I was! There are simply loads of different places in Europe you can go, regardless of your skiing ability, and you're almost guaranteed to have a great time. Also, the facilities right on the resorts are out of this world. It really is a great place to go skiing. We arrived in France, and we were firstly shocked at how laid-back it all seemed. It was some surrealist painting, except in motion, with strange, stereotypically French characters passing by. Regardless of this initial culture shock, we soon got our skis on and experienced the awesome slopes for ourselves. Trust me -- France is a great place to go skiing with your friends, and a great place to go on a vacation if you're looking to have a good time. We chose France for our vacation, but there are loads of great European ski resorts, and in fact, some people even say that Europe is the home of the sport, and it is easy to see why. If you're looking for a great time, go for Europe, to experience a wholly different way of life, and skiing that is simply second to none. Check out your travel agent for good deals, and remember that the more flexible you are, the cheaper your holiday. By booking up the flights at the last minute, you can end up saving loads with some of the budget airlines, and by being totally flexible, you can avoid peak times, which means you can avoid peak prices. Your vacation in Europe doesn't have to cost the earth, but it can be a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget. Great European Skiing Destinations When it comes to skiing and winter sports, Europe has more than its fair share of amazing resorts. From the greatly priced, to the more than reasonable, Europe has it all, and has so much to offer any skier. If you've never been to Europe on a skiing holiday, or if you're looking to expand your experience, you'll find something that catches your eye without too much research, and you might just end up joining the legions of skiing fans that wouldn't go anywhere else in the world for their vacation. On mainland Europe, you have such a varied selection. From the world famous French skiing resorts to Austria, Switzerland and the tiny principality of Andorra, you've got such a wide range of skiing to choose from. France is known the world over as the true home of skiing, and the French really know how to do a quality vacation. With naturally amazing resources, and scenery that can take your breath away, France is an ideal location for a skiing trip. Why not try the Courchevel resort, which has four different ski resorts within one, providing the perfect blend of quality and affordability in a skiing trip. From the grossly overpriced 1850 resort, the playground of Europe's film stars and playboys, to the seemingly remote 1350 at the bottom of the hill, you have so much to choose from in Europe's finest skiing country. With the kids or with your friends, France is truly a destination that will make for a memorable skiing vacation. Or how about some of the Italian resorts? Italy, famous for being the cheaper way to ski, also benefits from a diverse range of resorts, like the tiny Alba resort, as well as some larger, more sizeable areas to ski. Famous for passion and a depth of culture, Italy is the ideal place to take a skiing break in Europe, and the weather's good too! Or how about Italy's neighbor, Croatia? A rising European nation, you'll find a Croatian holiday outrageously good value for money, not to mention top quality. From the international standard ski resorts to their world class restaurants, Croatia is certainly a country on the up, and its skiing facilities can only improve as more and more tourists flock to their slopes each year. Additionally, Bulgaria is an excellent skiing destination to take the kids. With open arms, you will be welcomed by the Bulgarian people, who are more than eager to tell you about their rich and deep past, and welcome you as part of their future. In these expanding and developing European nations, you will come to appreciate the value of tourism, and the quality of treatment and service they are prepared to offer for your investment. How about Austria for your skiing trip? When we think of skiing, we often imagine the Alpine ideal, with breathtaking scenery and fresh, clean air. Well, it simply doesn't come much better than Austria, and if you're looking for a skiing destination that has it all, why not try Austria for that touch of class with your skiing. Or why not pop over to Switzerland for their Alps experience? Skiing the alps in the home of chocolate and cuckoo clocks, you will be amazed at how picturesque this modern nation has managed to be, whilst still becoming a world leader in financial industry. Skiing in Europe is the ideal way to spend your vacation. If you love skiing, you are guaranteed to find a great resort somewhere, within your budget that meets your needs, and caters for your ability. With most resorts also boasting strong training academies, you can also work to improve your skills while you are there, ensuring that your skiing trip is both useful and memorable. Whatever you are looking for, choose Europe as your number one skiing destination, for that perfect blend of quality, tradition and culture, and for a holiday that is truly breathtaking. Skiing In Aviemore Aviemore is based in the highlands of Scotland, with impressive mountain views, and surrounded by country-side it stands 26,000 feet above rural farmland. The area is renowned for skiing, having recently had 2 European Level Competitions on its snowy peaks in the last two months. The ski resorts success, with professi onal skiing has also lead to success with tourists, having 12,000 people hitting the slopes each month. These massive numbers are also attributed to snowboarding, with boarding specific slaloms on one side of the mountains. Aviemore recently commissioned a $4 Million state of the art ski lift that can travel up to 25 miles per hour, withstand winds in excess of 110 miles per hour, and has a total weight of 450 tonnes. The amazing structure travels over 15 miles and is certainly an amazing sight for any avid skier. Aviemore's tourist based facilities are also highly impressive with 900 square feet, and a verging patio area that looks down the 26,000 feet mountain face. Aviemore is an unfortunate to only have snow for 7 months in the year, ruling it out of hosting some of the worlds greatest competitions, and really placing Scotland up their with France, Switzerland and now Bulgaria as one the top skiing destinations around the world. The skiing destination has recently hosted the snowboarding world freestyle championships, where the facility had to compete with many countries where the sport has far greater uptake than in Scotland. Scotland's success would have came as a result of many factors, however it was said that the accommodation facilities were said to be significantly more robust than other countries that had placed similar bids. With a thriving economy that survives largely of the tourism industry, Aviemore had the facilities to bed over 10,000 people a night, significantly higher than any other bid. The reasons for this was largely down to its proximity to a local town that was also able to provide bed and breakfast accommodation, which ensured that more tickets could be sold, and exposure maximised. Despite this, only 21% of ticket buyers were Scottish, leaving the rest of the 79% to fly in from around the world. The success of the tournament has lead to speculation of Aviemore building on its initial success to host more tournaments in the coming years, and with this the value of property has risen and the hotel industry is also becoming savvy to the prospect of high demand in the area. The Aviemore mountains have an average gradient that well exceeds most skiing locations in the west of Europe making Aviemore the place to visit for a European Skiing trip, providing the time of year is correct. With only 7 months snow, Aviemore is considering a contained facility, where it will continue to provide skiing and snowboarding indoors. The thought of this, also would raise ideas and suggestions as to how they intend to go about this, and on what scale? Would they be looking to compete with the indoor facilities in Berlin, or would they be looking for something basic? The fact is, speculation as to a large scale indoor facility is mounting, and this is certainly something that would benefit the hotel industry in the area that is growing rapidly, however experiences a less-busy spell for 5 months in the year where Aviemore is in no condition to allow snowboarders or skiers to hit the slopes. Despite this freestyle snowboarding still continues, where the snow is artificially maintained in a half-pipe with which the snowboarders can practice and perfect tricks in a similar way to skateboarders. If you have never been to Aviemore then I recommend you visit, whether or not you are a skier. The fact is, the views are amazing, the fresh clear air is refreshing and the people are fantastic. If you have never skied before, then what better place to learn than Aviemore. Skiing in Austria The world famous home of skiing, Austria, is an ideal resort for anyone who enjoys skiing. The fresh alpine slopes, combined with picture-postcard scenery, and a grand culture of centuries old make Austria an ideal holiday destination, whether or not you simply adore skiing like me! Austria is home to a wide variety of ski resorts, catering for all abilities and tastes. From the lavishly expensive to the bargain basement (yet still of a consistently high quality), Austria has it all, from the highest peaks, to the snowiest landscapes, and with a bit of research you can find some really great deals. When in Austria, you'd be mad not to ski the alps. The dream of many skiers, the alps span several European countries, and is a must-ski for an enthusiast. Spend a good few days in Austria, and dedicate at least one of them to skiing the alps. You won't regret it, I can promise you that! If you put in the research work before you leave, you will generally be able to find some top quality accommodation at low prices. Whether you are booking within a ski resort, or nearby, you should consult the internet to find last minute deals which might help you save money. A good tip to bear in mind is that the star rating given to accommodation does not indicate quality. You might be better off in a one star than a three star for example, given that the star only represents the level of facilities. Additionally, lower star ratings are usually cheaper, so you can benefit from quality, reduced price accommodation if you know where to look. Whatever type of accommodation you opt for, if you are flexible enough to leave for your vacation instantly you will benefit from good deals. Hotels often cut their prices at the last minute, on the basis that some money for a room is better than no money, and so if you're prepared to get away as soon as possible, you will find it can be really cheap, and you can still have a great time all the same. On top of that, the internet is home to a variety of low cost airlines which run 'no frills', no ticket services. In my personal experience, I have found these airlines to be as good as their more expensive competitors, and just as efficient and comfortable. One word of caution about any airline: make sure they are equipped to handle skiing equipment. Some companies will charge a surplus for your skis, so it is important to ask before you book as to arrangements for bulky or large and fragile goods. Another highly recommended purchase is insurance for both your equipment and yourself. Things do go wrong, on holiday as well as at home. It is important, therefore to make sure you are covered. Particularly when you are placing your equipment in an airplane hold, or when you are indulging in a dangerous sport like skiing, insurance is important for ensuring you don't end up high and dry. You can find good deals if you shop around, and it really is worth the few bucks to get that piece of mind, and actual backup in case things go wrong. In a word, it is essential. Don't leave home without it! Skiing in Andorra The Pyrenees Mountains are located across the border between France and Spain. Also on this border is the tiny principality of Andorra, as small country that's skiing crazy! With two prominent world class ski resorts, Andorra is an excellent place to escape it all; a relaxing, picturesque, quaint place, with mountain views to take your breath away. And because it is so near France, you can always make a stop off in Andorra for a day or two on another European ski break. Andorra is situated itself across the Pyrenees, and has a long and protracted dalliance with snow sports. Since the installation of their first ski lift in 1956, Andorra has been a great ski resort, and a great vacation for the hundreds of thousands of ski tourists who have wisely chosen to visit. For minimal fee, you can experience the wonder of skiing in Andorra, and enjoy the surprising depth of culture Andorra holds so dear. The Grandvalira resort is situated high in the Pyrenees mountain range, and benefits from astonishing snow coverage. It is the product of a commercial merger between two of Andorra's premium ski resorts, and is now of a size and scale to compete with the big resorts north of the border in France. Grandvalira boasts an impressive 193 ski runs, with 66 mechanised ski lifts, making it a resort to be reckoned with on a truly European scale. Additionally, it boasts an impressive training school, over seven separate centres with 450 of Europe's top skiing and snow boarding instructors. With a wealth of experi ence, the Grandvalira skiing school has an international reputation, and has achieved a high degree of success on an international level. Additionally, Grandvalira benefits from an adventure activity centre, and a variety of world class restaurant and bar areas, making it a truly amazing resort, and a great place to spend a vacation with your family or with your friends. With such a friendly atmosphere, you will feel right at home in the heart of Andorra and the Pyrenees, yet still feel out of the way of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Another of Andorra's most famous resorts is the Vallnord resort. Ideally catering for all ages and abilities, the Vallnord resort offers a challenge for expert skiers, whilst still enabling beginners to have a great time. Additionally, the Vallnord is more than well equipped for a family holiday, with something to keep everyone entertained and happy. A slightly smaller resort, it benefits from 30 mechanised ski lifts handling around seventeen thousand skiers every hour, and over 50 different slopes. It also offers a diverse range of complimentary activities, including other snow sports and even helicopter rides! Along side this, you've got two training schools with over two hundred staff working hard to help hone your skills. With this much talent and effort, you're sure to really benefit, and guaranteed to have a great vacation. An excellent way to save money on a trip to Andorra is to consider a coach trip. Coach trips through Europe are excellent ways to see a different continent, and to experience first hand the amazing scenery these countries are blessed with, as well as saving a great deal of money whilst you're at it. In addition to that, you can find some great package deals that stop off at various skiing locations around central Europe, giving you a chance to experience a variety and depth of skiing conditions on your break. Whatever coach tour you choose, it is worth remembering that you're going to have to travel for a good number of hours, although once you get there, everything is fairly proximate, allowing you to experience different cultures and peoples without too much hassle. Whatever your needs for a skiing vacation, Andorra is certainly a great location to choose. With such variety crammed into such a small geographic area, you can really experience world class skiing without having to pay through the nose. Skiing In Bulgaria Ok, so I know Bulgaria isn't likely to be the first place that springs to mind when you think about a skiing vacation. However, you'd be surprised to learn that Bulgaria is becoming an increasingly popular destination of choice for holiday makers across Europe, and the world. A new breed of European country, Bulgaria is beginning to build towards becoming an industrialised, metropolitan nation. The eastern European nation has a surprising depth of history and culture, and is truly an excellent place to discover. With this national growth comes the development of its inherent passion for skiing, and this is evident across the country, with various ski resorts springing up all over the place. Bulgaria's most recognised ski resort is Bansko. As a result of massive investment in Bulgaria, particularly in the development of the tourism industries, Bansko is undergoing extensive refurbishment and modernisation, to create a facility that can compete on a world scale. As well as time and money spent on developing hotels, luxurious apartments, ski lifts and other facilities, there is also a great deal being ploughed into refining the actual slopes themselves, to ensure a high quality, internationally acceptable skiing conditions. With impressive snow coverage from late November through to spring, Bansko is an ideal location for a ski resort, and this is reflected by its increasing popularity. The beautiful village itself is rich in history and tradition, and you'll find the people very warm and welcoming; eager to please, and ensure you have a good time. Another of Bulgaria's major ski resorts is Pamporovo, situated on the Rhodopi Mountain. A thoroughly modernised resort, Pamporovo boasts an extensive training academy and well maintained ski runs for all abilities. The most southern resort in Europe, Pamporovo benefits from a particularly sunny climate, with around four months of sunshine, and plenty of snow. That means you'll never be skiing in too unpleasant conditions! Pamporovo is also more than adequately equipped to deal with holiday makers in terms of auxiliary services, and has recently unveiled plans for a state of the art ski lift. With so much time and investment being spent on these slopes, it really is an ideal time to visit Bulgaria. Of course the beauty of Bulgaria as a great skiing location is that it is relatively untouched and undiscovered. This means that you can benefit from the excellent facilities without having to contend with too many tourists. Thus, Bulgaria provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy skiing in eace and quiet, in idyllic settings. Additionally, for a trip in Bulgaria, you're going to be paying significantly less than other European countries for the same amazing weather and fantastic skiing. Bulgaria really is a win/win location for any skiing holiday. With such extensive investment in the nation, Bulgaria is an up and coming holiday destination as it pushes towards European integration. By nursing an ever strengthening tourism industry, the nation is growing continually, and this is great news for skiing enthusiasts who can benefit from its excellent natural resources and ski resort facilities. Additionally, with such a quality- orientated approach, Bulgaria is challenging the more industrialised European nations in terms of service and produce. For a low cost, high quality skiing vacation, Bulgaria has to be a consideration, so why not book your vacation, and discover Europe's best kept skiing secret for yourself? LAAX in Switzerland LAAX in Switzerland stands over 30 000 feet high, with skiing and snowboarding facilities that suit everyone's needs -- from beginners to world champions. LAAX has hosted all the big events in snowboarding and skiing, welcoming thousands of tourists from around the globe each week. LAAX was one of the first major skiing locations to get on the map, when in the 70s skiing holidays started to rise in popularity for western travelers -- LAAX was right their, waiting to ride the wave. Millions of visitors later, LAAX are renowned for their 3rd slalom known only as "Death Mountain" by some. With glaring views down the steep, tangling mountain-side it is no wonder "Death Mountain" scares even the most resilient of skier. With excellent facilities for everyone LAAX recently hosted the snowboarding world open, in which over 10,000 people took part from 60 countries around the world. An interesting element of this was that over 100 entries came from south Asia and Africa showing the rise of the sport, and the exposure of the location on a global scale. LAAX was voted number 1 skiing location around the world, by "Ski Press Magazine" that also notes LAAX as having the third best Snowboarding facilities and, as being the best new comer to Freestyle snowboarding. The popularity of LAAX, has also lead to continued investment from the company operating the slope, building an amazing ski lift that can handle weights of over 80 tonnes as it climbs 30 000 feet up the mountain face. The ski lift's unique attribute is its balancing technology that allows the ski lift to carry massive amounts of weight disproportionately whilst keeping a balanced angle and speed. The popularity of LAAX is not just shared by avid skiers and snowboarders. Top music names and DJs also come to LAAX to experience the amazing events first hand. With the rise of snowboarding many of these musicians feel they can appeal to a certain audience out on the slopes, especially under the cover of darkness, with only flood lights keeping the mountains alive. The DJs provide entertainment as the crowd snowboard and ski into the morning sunlight. The views and the experience are utterly amazing, and are a sure way to ensure top class entertainment for the young travelers who visit LAAX. However it is not only the night-time DJ sets and fireworks that sparkle for the young skiers; there are also plenty of locations tailored to their needs off the slopes as well. With local pubs, clubs and even swimming pools the young ones are sure to enjoy themselves off the snowy mountains of LAAX. Despite being an amazing location for younger skiers the location also appeals to those who have never been skiing before. They have multi-lingual training facilities and indoor centres where they train first-time skiers up before taking them to the slopes. They also have amazing training facilities for advanced skiers, facilities that would undoubtedly be used by the world's top skiers and snowboarders at the world events that are held at the slope almost every year. The local hotels and accommodation are amazing because unlike most skiing locations, they don't limit the skiers and snowboarders to a single choice. There are youth hostels that are perfect for those looking to ski on the cheap; there are 5 star hotels for those looking to live the lap-of-luxury and there are many options in between. LAAX is home to more than just pubs, clubs and swimming pools, with banks and supermarkets also at realistic walking distance. LAAX is said to be at its peak during August, however this is said to be true for most of Europe's top, skiing locations. That is why it is advisable to find a quieter time to visit, preferably a short time following the busy spell. The great thing about coming after the peak is that you are able to come for around half the price of another time of the year.
Kopaonik in Serbia Skiing in Kopaonik, Serbia is becoming a growing trend for skiers looking to move away from the commercial skiing facilities of Central and Northern Europe in search of more naturally occurring skiing trails. With a snow range of 1770-2017 metres and a village positioned 5,000 feet above sea level Kopeonik in Serbia is seen as the answer to many skiers' dreams. With a three hour journey from the nearest airport Kopaonik is surely worth the effort, having cross-country skiing, night skiing, skydiving, sleigh rides, ice-skating, indoor tennis and many other activities for the winter sports enthusiast to enjoy. The mountain climbs 35,000 feet into the cold Serbian sky, whilst ski lifts only climb to 6,617 feet. The skiing facility is yet to host a major skiing event; despite being home to several international snowboarding competitions and cross-country skiing as well. The living quarters are apt for pricing that would delight the weariest of tourists. Skiers can experience national cuisine such as Burek (pastry, cheese, spinach) and Pljeskavica (grilled mince) for well under $10 a meal. The old favorites such as burger, chips and pizza are still on the menu, and the price of $1.50 a beer might delight some holiday makers looking to do slightly more than just ski! The living area can handle over 5,000 tourists at the same time, whilst the bars and clubs around the area make the holiday destination more suited to the younger holiday-maker. Another issue that is quite prominent is the mistake that many make in travelling to Kopaonik to celebrate Christmas -- the celebrations are of slight comparison to western culture, despite its labelling as a winter heaven. With different piste types Kopaonik caters for beginners, intermediates and experts with the following ratio. - 15 beginner - 8 intermediate - 6 expert Having 21 lifts and an uphill capacity of 15,000 (an hour) Kopaonik is more than capable of catering for its millions of visitors each year. With slopes facing N, N/E and N/W you can be sure to experience the densely populated villages that surround the region. Thriving from the tourism the mountain provides, Kopaonik has recently became home to a 4 star luxury hotel providing entertainment and accommodation to skiers and executives alike. With the longest run covering 3.5 KM and expert tuition on hand, Kopaonik has recently benefited from its appointment of English speaking instructors across skiing and snowboarding disciplines. The advanced runs down the Kopaonik mountain-face are a primary incentive for many skiers to choose Kopaonik as their skiing holiday destination. The 6 runs that fit into this category must be epitomised by the Konaci -- which a local holiday village was recently named after. The Konaci has an angle of 79 degrees at a certain point, which it is said that -- if you go too slow, and fail to position yourself correctly, it would be perfectly feasible to fall forwards merely travelling in a straight line. The Konaci sees skiers travelling at speeds of over 50 MPH and jumps that allow airtime of over 8 seconds. The Konaci is praised and feared by the top skiers from Europe and further a field. Despite this, the run featured in the 2005 snowboarding event that took place in the Kopaonik mountains. With snow falling on the slopes between August/September all the way through to early March, skiers should plan their trip with that in mind. The slopes of Serbia and the warm generous nation make Kopaonik an ideal holiday destination for any traveler looking to have a good time on a set of skis. The package deals start from around $400 a week, whilst amazing savings can be made through booking online. The destination expects 10, 000 visitors a week by 2009, and with its intention to develop further runs across every piste you can be sure that Kopaonik, Serbia will be a skiing location that will stay firmly on the map. Geilo in Norway Geilo in Norway stands 800 metres high, and has one of the highest ski lifts in the world, stretching 3,887 feet. Geilo is positioned three and a half hours from the capital city, whilst having good road and rail links to the village. Set amidst amazing scenery just off the banks of Fjord, Geilo is at the heart of Norway's "Winter Wonderland". Maintaining its reputation as an excellent family resort, Geilo has seen visitors from Europe and beyond since early 1900s. Geilo remains unspoilt, with true Norwegian character firmly intact. With more than just skiing facilities Geilo is home to the 4 star Highland Hotel, as well as numerous lodging houses, and the famous Holms Ski Bar. Although primarily a ski resort Geilo also offers sleigh rides, wildlife adventure tours, ski orienteering, tobogganing, snow shoe walking, dog-sledging, kite-skiing, night-skiing, snowboarding, freestyle snowboarding and much more. Geilo's reputation as one the worlds top skiing resorts lies mainly in its ability to cater for family vacations. With over 10,000 families visiting the slopes each year, Geilo also offers excellent tuition in packages it refers to as the "Family Starter Pack". This involves tuition for your entire family for the equivalent of $200 a day. This means, that not only can your whole family learn together, but is also means that families with no skiing experience, can go along and after the first day, they will be able to ski on their own. Geilo has also increased its reputation amongst Snowboarders in recent years beating off Lillehammer, Voss and Hemsedal in its bid to host the Norwegian Snowboarding Championship. With four sides of mountain each dedicated to snowboarding and skiing, Geilo is now able to call itself Norway's first skiing location to offer 5 runs dedicated to snowboarding. With 110 runs in total, Geilo has 14% expert allowing experienced skiers to enjoy themselves on the slopes, whilst maintaining the rest of its facilities for intermediates and beginners that account for a larger number of their yearly visitors. Geilo also offers exceptional value for money with weekly family packages starting from $1000 including accommodation, bed and breakfast. The element that stands out the most about Geilo is the way it caters for families, with creches, family diners, and especially their Christmas bonanza which includes Santa visiting the slopes with his reindeer on Christmas day, and the time leading up to christmas. Geilo never fails to be fully booked for Christmas, with so many families choosing to bring their children along to experience Christmas within this winter wonderland. Although Geilo offers amazing family packages, it would be unfair to say that Geilo is limited to family vacations. Geilo has hosted very serious world sporting events, as well as being the training ground of the national snowboarding and skiing teams. Geilo is available from August/September all the way through to late March and is also considering investing in "Avalanche Technology" which generates snow from water to provide 24/365 skiing. If you have never been to Geilo then I would recommend that you give it a go, although the family image may put certain people off visiting the slope I would suggest that checking it out is the best thing to do. From their website it is clear to see that consistent snowfall, and a good variation in the difficulty of runs, Geilo is a facility that can genuinely cater for everyone; from beginner to professional. It has many great options for accommodation, and with good travel links as well their really is no excuse for not hoping on a plane and going to Geilo today. With thousands of people on the slopes, from different countries and different backgrounds Geilo is suitable for families and teenagers alike. With individual price plans starting from $350 a week, and well-known DJs playing at local club venues Geilo is also becoming very popular amongst those teenagers who would have previously seen Ibiza as the only place to be seen on holiday. Skiing In France If you enjoy skiing, there is nothing more exhilarating than the prospect of skiing through France. Whether taking advantage of some of the world's best downhill runs, or heading cross country, France is a skiers paradise, and somewhere definitely not to be missed for any winter sports enthusiast. Amidst some of the world's most breathtaking scenery, the fresh alpine air and magically contoured runs are truly a once in a lifetime experience. It really is no wonder that France is highly regarded as one of the best skiing nations in the world. When skiing in France, you'd be mad not to go to the alps. Famous the world over for their excellent ski slopes, the alps also border on Switzerland, so you might also like to pop over and visit while you're in town. And don't worry if you don't have your equipment -- there are simply thousands of dedicated ski shops to serve the tourists, and some stock some pretty good bargains! France is also home to the world famous Val d'Isere resort. A huge scenic expanse, the resort was made famous by top French skier Jean Claude Killy, and is a magnet for tourists all year round, with a near guarantee of absolutely perfect conditions. Additionally, the resort caters for all levels of experience and ability, and so you're sure to find a challenge somewhere! To top it all, the resort boasts amazing facilities, from its ski lifts to its hotels and refreshment areas. The Val d'Isere really is a skier's heaven. France is fortunate enough to benefit from great wine, great food, great culture: as well as great skiing! If you decide to opt for France for your next skiing trip, don't spend all your time on the slopes -- get out there and experience a different style of living. Sample the delicacies, and experience the delights of this highly metropolitan European nation. Why not look online for great French skiing deals? Thanks to the internet, holiday prices have really come down over the last few years, and you can find some real bargains with a bit of research. Additionally, there is no need to consider booking each individual element separately, given the sheer number of top quality package deals, which will come included with your skiing, accommodation, flights and lift pass. You might even be lucky enough to find a deal that includes some exotic French food to fill you up after a hard day on the slopes! Alternatively, you could just pop in to your local travel agents to see what they have on offer. Although the travel agent will usually inflate the price to cover their commission, you can still find some real bargains that aren't available elsewhere. And what's more, the travel agent can recommend where to go and what to see, and there is nothing quite like that personal recommendation. Additionally, he can help allay any fears or worries you may have about your holiday, and can answer any questions you might have. Again, it is important to shop around for the best deal, and this will also help you get a better idea of what your chosen resort is like as a whole. Before leaving for France it is important to make sure you have a valid passport, with over six months before expiry. This will be absolutely critical for passing through French customs. If you need a new passport, you should allow around eight to ten weeks before leaving, given the lengthy application process. Make sure you plan well in advance -- the passport is vital if you're to set foot out of the country. Without it, you won't get to experience the magic of French skiing, and additionally, you will lose the money you paid for your holiday, so this really is a vital consideration. So why not consider France for your next skiing trip? The real home of skiing, France is waiting, and it doesn't have to be as expensive as you might think! Skiing in the French Alps Ok folks so we have all been on some vacation to somewhere hot, but going on holiday in search of snow is something that only a certain type of person does. That person is probably into skiing. A skiing vacation does not have to be something that a professional and seasoned skier does, and in fact I learned to ski when I was on the mountains of France. If you are considering going on a skiing holiday, then I suppose it is better to learn how to Ski before you go away, and that way you can really benefit from enjoying the more challenging slopes. My first skiing holiday, happened because my wife said that she was bored of going on holiday in search of sun and I could hardly blame her! Year, after year we ago away to some place hot and sit on the beach all day, I don't know about you but it is not our idea of fun. The year before we had went on a safari holiday, and this was something that we found a lot more entertaining, it gave us a chance to actually do something different: that we couldn't do back home. Going on a skiing holiday, was also ideal because we had family out in France. It meant that we could go and see them when we first arrived and then hit the slopes for the rest of our stay. When we first arrived at our skiing destination the first thing that struck me was how warm the place is. Being surrounded by snow, you expect to experience cold weather, but in actual fact the weather was rather pleasant. The fact is that snow is deep and compressed, and that leads to ideal conditions for hitting the slopes. My wife and I started out by booking some lessons. My wife had skied before, but she explained that because she hadn't skied for a while, she felt like she would rather do the lessons as well. The instructor was great, and really helped to give me an understanding of what was involved. I felt like I knew how to start, and stop and I felt like that gave me the necessary confidence to get started. The instructor seemed to really understand how to teach us, and I suppose that would come with his experience. He explained to us the importance of safety on the slopes, and how you have to be aware of what the people are doing around you. During our holiday, we had a really great time. We woke up early and hit the slopes everyday. My wife and I both had really sore legs on the first few days, but that is because we both sit behind a desk five days a week. At night time, we were able to go out for dinner, and we soon became temporary locals at a nice restaurant that overlooked the slopes. It really was great, especially the food. Their were also lots of nice pubs and clubs, however we very rarely went out after our dinner: being on the slopes all day takes all the energy out of you. If you are planning a skiing vacation then I do have a few words of warning before you decide to actually go away. Firstly, you should make sure that you are going to be in the correct physical condition to hit the slopes when you are over there. My uncle and auntie are well into their fifties and they decided to go on a skiing vacation. I never had the heart to say to them before they went, but as you can imagine it hardly the best idea, especially when my auntie suffers from heart problems. They went away and came back telling the relatives: "There is nothing to do if you don't want to ski". I found this hilarious, however they seemed to think it was perfectly reasonable. Tignes Tignes in France is a skiing location that is much different from the boarder adjacent Alps, and other skiing facilities that have put France firmly on the skiing map. The rise of Tignes, initially came with the rise of tourism in the area. During the last 10 years the facilities have been improved immensely with a new state-of-the-art training facility, and freestyle snowboarding facilities being built in the area. Over the past 10 years, the area has welcomed over 1 million skiers from around the world and has hosted events such as the European freestyle snowboarding championship and the French Skiing open. The facility has two parallel mountains that are near local townships, making the area an ideal place for holiday makers and serious skiers alike. With a 25 000 feet slope, and on-site mountain safety rescue, the area really has pulled out all the stops to place itself up there as one of the top skiing destinations around the world. The world renowned training facility has multi-lingual instructors and even has 4 classrooms, where skiers are taken to watch footage, and get shown the ropes from a less practical perspective. The slope's 1 million visitors in the past 10 years have came from all around the world, many of which learned how to ski on their first visit to the slopes. With many great deals for holiday makers, and with accessible road routes all over mainland Europe it is no wonder Tignes is generally considered the first choice for holiday makers looking to Ski in the region. Tignes has also went to some effort to promote itself even further by a 5 million dollar regeneration project that went on in the region. A new ski slope was built, along with the infrastructure to allow the development of hotels and even a shopping precinct. The area has also underwent major changes in order to make it more accessible, for more of the year, with an indoor facility being built and flood lights making it possible to ski and snowboard late into the evening. Snowboarding is also seen as a major plus point of Tignes, with other skiing facilities in the area being far less welcoming to the snowboarding masses. Tignes is home to expert freestyle snowboarding facilities, and is also home to the undisputed number one snowboarding training camp. With snowboarders from around the world visiting Tignes the area now sees more than just skiers amongst its busy hotels and pubs. On the down side many skiers criticise Tignes for the lack of difficulty on its slaloms, however this is simply not the case. Tignes is home to around 8 slaloms, all of which have different difficult ratings. I can assure anyone who feels unsure of the difficulty level on the last two slopes, should give them a go before they say anymore. However, they do raise an interesting point. Tignes has under went major regeneration in an attempt to make their facilities safer, and has also altered many runs to accommodate beginners, which may have took the sting out of certain slaloms. Despite this, the facilities are amazing, and the training is out of this world. I was strapped to a machine in order to measure my heart rate, and also asked to run on a tread mill so they could record my recovery times. The restaurants let you sample original French cuisine and also provide many opportunities for a lovely night out. For those looking for a more adventurous night-life the Della 1 pub and club will provide all the fun you will need. Della 1 is only a 10 minute walk from the hotels -- and a further 15 minute walk for those staying in the log cabin village overlooking the mountains. Whether you stay, or whether you are a skier or a snowboarder you should surely go to Tignes and sample the runs. The facility is also perfect for learning, and those that have never skied before. Courchevel 1850 Resort The Courchevel 1850 resort in France is one of the best ski resorts in the world if you happen to be a beginner. Yes, we were all beginners once, and no one knows better than the Courchevel 1850 resort, that if you get the beginners right, the intermediates and advanced will follow. With over 50% of all runs dedicated specifically to beginners, it is a haven for those learning to ski, or looking to refine their skills and expertise whilst on vacation. Rumoured to be the most expensive resort on the French Alps, this isn't strictly the truth. You can find really good deals if you know where to look, and there are really good discounts for group bookings, although you get what you pay for, so don't expect a cheap vacation. Courchevel is part of the Three Valleys resorts, and itself is divided into four distinct areas from the bottom to the top: 1300, 1550, 1650, and 1850. In general, the further up you go, the more expensive your trip is likely to be, so it is wise to consider going slightly further down, where you can still find some amazing skiing, both off piste and cross country, as well as some great downhill runs. With an astonishing 65 ski lifts across the resort, the Courchevel is an enormous skiing resort, and attracts a wide variety of tourists from across Europe, and indeed the world. The Courchevel 1300 is located right at the very bottom of the resort, and is truly beautiful in an unspoilt, picturesque sense. It is a fantastic challenge for beginners, and is ideal for those looking for some relaxation out of their skiing vacation. Alternatively, moving up, there is the 1550, which is seen as the playground of the locals. Here you can benefit from some amazing self catering deals, whilst still managing to find great skiing, so this is perhaps a good consideration for those with families. Again, moving up there is the 1650, home of the famous ski school, and a number of top quality restaurants. With largely chalet accommodation, this is also a great resort to choose for your French skiing vacation. Finally we have the 1850. The 1850 is home to the rich and the famous, and you're looking at an arm and a leg if you want to ski there. Although the skiing isn't that much better (unless you're looking for off-piste), there are heftier queues, and the resort isn't overly child friendly or family orientated. Of the four resorts on the Courchevel, you are guaranteed to have a great skiing vacation whichever you choose. Each has the benefit of world class skiing, although the facilities may differ between each. It is important to decide what it is you are looking for, and then to base your choice around this, so you can make the most of your skiing vacation. Why not consider taking a few lessons in the world famous Courchevel ski school? Or how about sampling some of the extensive night life these resorts have to offer? Whether you are a dedicated skier, or have never been on a pair of skis in your life, you are sure to find exactly what you are looking for on the Courchevel, and you are guaranteed a vacation to remember. Skiing In Croatia Croatia, one of the new emerging European nations, has seen an amazing turnaround in fortunes over the last decade. Since it has become more involved with the European Union, and European integration, it has become distinctly more tourist friendly, and is a great place to vacation with your family on a budget. With a number of well positioned mountain resorts, Croatia is ideally suited for skiers of all abilities and ages, making it a great all-round holiday destination. If you're looking for a skiing holiday which combines excellent snow with a warm, friendly climate, Croatia is si mply ideal for you. With numerous strategically located ski resorts, Croatia is a nation of ski lovers, and this is reflected in their amazing facilities. When in Croatia, you'd be mad to miss the Bjelolasica. The Bjelolasica is the training centre for the Olympic skiing team, located in the Zagreb region. It boasts amazing facilities, and is simply a great place to go skiing. As you might expect, the standard of training there is simply world class, and this accounts for why the Croatian national team are so prolific. On top of this, the hotel facilities are exceptional value for money, and you'll find that with any Croatian holiday, you will be spending less than you may imagine. As a growing nation, Croatia is becoming an increasingly popular skiing destination, for enthusiasts of all age and ability. Another very popular Croatian skiing resort is Platak, located nearer the Adriatic. A little more expensive, and somewhat more remote than Bjelolasica, Platak is still a very popular resort, and is frequently rated the best place to ski in Croatia. The whole resort built around the naturally ideal ski centre is of a top quality, and it is easy to see why tourists come back year on year for their skiing vacations. A resort very much on the grow, there are plans to introduce several new ski lifts, and a dozen additional snow cannons by 2010. Platak looks to be a promising resort for the future, and is certainly great for a skiing vacation with a family. Additionally, Platak's skiing and snowboarding instruction centre is well practiced at giving exceptional quality training, across multiple languages, making for substantial improvement to your skills, regardless of your nationality. Additionally, with its high tech features, Platak could easily fit in with any European resort, and for such a low price, it is great value for money. When in Croatia, does as the Croatians' do, and visit Zagreb. The bustling city of Zagreb has so much to offer by way of Croatian culture and history, and is an excellent chance to break away from the slopes for a few days. It is truly a cultural hotbed, and the hustle and bustle will betray the long and arduous past. Looming above Zagreb is Mount Medvednica, and the Sljeme resort. With both daytime skiing, and the option of hitting the flood-lit slopes at night. Along side highly technical snow cannons, Zagreb benefits from excellent snow coverage at this altitude, and is a fantastic city for a ski resort. Additionally, there is so much by way of additional, complimentary facilities which make skiing at Sljeme an ideal prospect. Many people are surprised to think that Croatia actually borders Italy. However, the culture is so different from the Italian culture. With an entirely different history and culture, the Croatians certainly place heavy emphasis on their food, and this is reflected in the top quality gourmet restaurants available. Additionally, you'll note exactly how cheap the entire country is, with your average pint of ale coming in at less than a dollar. In Croatia, your spending money will go a lot further, and so will your holiday, which is why so many families choose it as an ideal destination for their skiing break. So why not choose Croatia, and benefit from world class skiing, at a fraction of the price. St Anton in Austria St Anton in Austria is a world renowned skiing facility, positioned in the belt that is known as Austria's skiing capital. Only 100 miles from Solden, and with Innsbruck and Otztal close by, visiting Austria on a skiing vacation could not get any easier, or more action-packed. The terrain is varied, and offers excellent opportunities for new skiers, experienced skiers and even snowboarding -- that is on-the-up in this region. With 2 mountains, and a top of the range ski lift, skiers have no problems getting from A to B on the 30 000 feet slope. With views looking over the snowy hills and farmland, it is no wonder the area is a thriving hub for tourists, from around the world. The terrain is varied, as well as the gradients that offer great opportunities for high speed, high octane acceleration, and lesser gradients that assist the new skiers in homing in their skills, 30 000 feet high in the St Anton mountains. St Anton does not have the tradition or acclaim that its neighbour Solden has managed to gain, however many from around the world still choose St Anton as their preference for an international skiing vacation. The reasons for this are simple -- its appeals to a different skiing niche. Whilst Solden has hosted many world renowned skiing occasions, it has became too commercialised for some skiers who claim the facility has became to simple, and almost too forgiving on certain slopes. With 8 runs and rising, St Anton has failed to give into pressure from around the world, for man-made slaloms, and safety alterations on runs. When you are skiing on certain sloped in St Anton, you have to have your wits about you, or something dangerous could easily happen. The facility has also gained much acclaim from adrenaline junkies in the snowboarding field, who rank St Anton as being one of the best facilities in the world. St Anton's rise in snowboarding also came as it followed the new trend of offering night-time, freestyle snowboarding under flood lights and fireworks. This is becoming the new trend in snowboarding, and what better place to do it, than at St Anton. During my trip to St Anton to check-it-out I found that the hotels around the area were brilliant, making it no problem for English speaking holiday makers to enjoy themselves. I stayed at a luxury 5 star hotel that had an indoor heated swimming pool. The swimming pool peaked out onto the top of a snowy mountain as you bathed in 40 degrees water. I would have to say that the general feeling around the area is amazing, as you sense the genuine desire for skiing shared by everyone who goes along and takes part. Before I went I had never been skiing before, and I found the tuition excellent. They had multi-lingual skiing instructors on hand to try and aid any new skiers visiting the slopes. I was also taken to a specific slope that was built for new-starts, which also has an easy access point to a lift -- perfect for picking that up as well. The area is amazing to look at, and also offers great entertainment for the non-skier, or skier on a night-off! With clubs, pubs and shops all their to service the slopes, it is no wonder that the skiing facility has three 5 star hotels positioned next to the slopes. With all night entertainment within the hotels, and all-night snowboarding it really is impossible to get a minutes rest in St Anton. Should you visit it is said that the conditions are best around August, however that's in the peak of the skiing season, making it impossible to get moving around the slopes. In order to benefit from the best conditions, whilst the slopes are quieter I would say November is the best time. You are also more likely to get discounts from your travel agent at this time. Solden In Austria Solden is a world-renowned skiing facility that is often referred to as the home of skiing in Austria. With views that are simply breath-taking, the countered rocky mountains are also home to tourists from around the world that visit each week to experience the slopes that are not only challenging, yet also custom-built in the case of certain slaloms. Solden is also a great place to learn skiing with expert teaching facilities, and a team of 20+ on hand to help new skiers learn, and experienced skiers improve. The resort is located around 50 miles out with Innsbruck and 20 miles west of Otztal. As you can imagine the area is dedicated to Skiing, with hotels and guest houses attempting to leverage skiing upon their brand, to attract a loyal customer-base from the slopes. This is something that has worked, and with 6,500 snowboarders also choosing to hit the Solden slopes each week Austria's skiing capital is showing no signs of regression. With the increased popularity of skiing activities in Solden, the company operating the slopes has more than 20 instructors wo rking at one time, putting wind behind their suggestion that over 1000 new skiers start on their slopes each week. With the rise of snowboarding attracting a teenage audience, Solden has attempted to accommodate, through offering drinking facilities and clubs near by, where the teenagers on vacation can chill at night, after a hard day on the slopes. The fun and entertainment does not stop at clubs, or 5 star hotels for that matter, Solden is also home to the Solden Firework Display, providing 2 hours of fireworks every second evening. The look of the fireworks, as the light flashes off the snow is simply amazing and this is one of many reasons why Solden is famed for character and personality, over and above its Austrian counterparts. So what other features set Solden apart from the rest? Offering night time activities under the fireworks, it is possible to ski and snowboard under floodlights. This is something that has not only attracted skiers from around the world, but also internationally renowned DJs and musicians that feel the cool and hip Solden slopes is a perfect place to hang out. Skiing at night may appear to be a very dangerous activity, however I have been assured that only basic slaloms are allowed and that the night is primarily aimed at snowboarders, that don't cover as much distance on a board. Austria's Solden slope has hosted many events to a global and European audience, and just as would be expected, the crowd and the competitors both enjoyed the event, with the winner being a native Austrian himself at the last Stella Artios Cup, that seen over 500 competitors from nearly 40 countries taking part. With the rise of snowboarding, great skiing locations such as Solden are doing everyone proud in maintaining skiing as well. Through welcoming the snow boarding community with open arms, we are able to see a unity between the sports at the Solden peeks, and we are also seeing younger children being exposed to Skiing, through choosing to go snowboarding and seeing it their. Whether you are a young child, or an adult, whether you have skied or snowboarded before, Solden is the best location in Europe and throughout the world for skiing activities on a recreational and competitive level. With deep snow, and a firm texture I would recommend Solden to absolutely anyone. The ski lift is newly fitted making it a very smooth and comfortable ride. The lift covers over 20 miles and was voted the third-best ski lift in the entire world. With excellent accommodation and among the best snowboarding and skiing facilities in the world, I would recommend Solden to anyone looking to experience skiing for the first time, or someone looking to take their skiing to the next level through riding a challenging slalom. Skiing off Piste in La Grave Clear blue sky, crispy crystal snow, fresh air and lots of fun, all these make skiing a highly enjoyable and appreciated sport, that attracts thousands of tourists on the mountain slopes every year. Yet, some of them are looking not just for fun, but for adventure. These are the people who choose off-piste skiing, who challenge the mountain in a race full of adrenaline, running the risk of provoking an avalanche for the sake of enjoying a descent on an untouched slope. These are the risk takers that throw caution to the wind in favour of a good time, and many of them choose the infamous La Grave skiing area, situated in the Alps. If you want to go skiing in La Grave, you'd better think twice for the sake of your own safety and wellbeing. You could be there all alone, with nothing but your skies and backpack, in the middle of a white ocean, and your life depends on all your skiing knowledge and experience, which in some cases, can be less than you think. The highest risk to produce an avalanche is when there are several layers of snow, some older than the others, with different levels of density. In such a case, if you change direction suddenly, you may cut the most recent layer of snow with your skis, and thus dislocate it. Consequently, never cross a slope from one side to the other, because you may dislocate disaster. Or when skiing at high speed on slopes with fresh snow, you can raise a powder snow avalanche that makes air unbreathable because of the fine snow crystals that fill the atmosphere. Sometimes a few simple precautions like these can save your life. In order to feel safer on your off-piste skiing expedition, there are a few things that you need to know. Always check on the snow conditions beforehand. Go online, and make sure you look at a report for La Grave, which should be easy enough to find. Has it recently snowed? What is the risk of avalanche in the area? What was the local weather like in the last days? Get information on how warm the weather can get at noon for instance. Make sure there haven't been strong winds that might have affected the snow stability on the slope where you want to go skiing. Open your eyes for cornices and cracks and listen to possible sounds of the snow mass whilst your out there. If you remain alert, you'll stand a better chance of avoiding disaster. Avoid noise in areas with high avalanche risk. When trying to communicate with other members of your group, never shout if you're far from them, because sound vibrations can cause inner breaks in the snow mass if already unstable. Make sure your transceivers are fully charged so that you may ask for help if in need. And last, but not least, wear colourful skiing clothes, avoid white, silver or gray equipment, that make you almost invisible by lack of contrast. Reds, or Oranges are probably the best colours to opt for, to give that contrast that could be life saving. Thus you'll be more easily detectable on the slope, and in case you're in an emergency situation, rescue teams can find you more quickly. You'll be a speck of colour in the silver vastness of snow, identifiable from miles away to aid your rescue, and potentially save your life. Skiing In Scotland Scotland may be the home of golf, but it's also a great place for skiing enthusiasts. With numerous world class resorts, and such a depth of history and culture, Scotland is a great place to visit on your vacation, regardless of your interests and hobbies. When you think of Scotland, you might think of kilts, and rural mountaintops and sheep, but if you actually get to know the place, you'll find it is both beautiful, with its bustling, classy cities, ensuring you're going to have an enjoyable vacation wherever you go in the country. One of the most famous Scottish ski resorts is Aviemore. A classy, traditional ski resort, Aviemore is located within the Scottish Highlands, and is the ski resort of choice for many across the world. Loved for its friendly atmosphere and great skiing, Aviemore is more than well equipped to give you a great time. It's bars and restaurants are simply first class, offering wholesome food and drink to keep you well refreshed. Additionally, it's holiday village feeling enhances its friendly, relaxed ambience, and makes you feel a million miles from home whilst still comfortable. Alternatively, there are some more ski resorts in the Scottish Highlands which are particularly good value for money. It is important to watch out, though, given that some resorts cater for the top end of the market, and you could end up paying a lot more than you bargained for. As long as you do your homework before you leave, you should fin the resort that is perfect to cater for your needs, and your wallet. One thing to watch out for before you arrive in Scotland is to change your currency into Sterling Pounds. Your best option is to go to your local travel agents, or your local currency conversion centre before setting off. That way, you will be sure of exactly what you are getting for your money. It is a good idea to be wary of the commission, and the exchange rate you are being offered, and it can sometimes be quite tricky to get your head around the numbers. Make sure you work everything out before hand, and shop around so that you don't get wripped off. For excellent deals on Scotland, why not go online? Additionally, there you will find a great deal of information on what to do in Scotland, and information on the depth and variety of Ski Resorts. If you choose not to go to a ski resort, but rather a city, and you want to cram in some top quality, affordable skiing during your trip, you are also in luck. There are loads of dry ski slopes in and around the cities, like at Polmont for example, which is located midway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, which is ideal for some quick and cheap skiing. Additionally, there are several indoor artificial snow ski slopes which you can visit. These innovative inventions are used to help train national level skiers, and are also open to the public at certain times, so why not pop along during your visit? Why not consider Scotland? With so many excellent deals on skiing package tours at the moment, you'll definitely be glad you did, and you are guaranteed to have an enjoyable, fun holiday in this picturesque, ski-enthusiast's heaven. Skiing In Italy Italy has always been a consideration for those interested in experiencing the Alps for less. Having said that, it is still considered one of the top European skiing countries today, and is a magnificent place to take a skiing vacation. There is a certain romance about Italy that makes it the number one choice for so many skiers each year, and it is easy to see the attraction with the place. From its northern snow-tipped peaks, you can also venture towards the cultural hotbeds of Rome and Turin, and experience Italy as it is intended, as well as its amazing ski slopes. One of Italy's smallest resorts, tucked up high, near Canazei in the North, is Alba. Based on a tiny village, the Alba resort is the truest form of skiing escapism, with amazing off piste skiing to be had. For the keen skier, this would make for an excellent day trip, or an excellent weekend away whilst staying at a bigger resort, and although it has only 5 lifts, it is a real Italian treasure, and something not to be missed if you like peaceful surroundings whilst you ski. On top of that, if you enjoy cross country skiing, Alba also offers a number of extensive trails for you to pursue, ensuring that you are likely to have a great time, whatever you skiing preferences and ability. If you're looking for something bigger, why not consider Italy's highest resort, Passo Tonale. An ideal family resort, Passo Tonale is focussed more around beginners and intermediates, and provides a friendly atmosphere that is just simply lacking from some of the bigger resorts. Passo Tonale is also home to a top class ski school, employing some of the region's most talented skiing instructors. In addition to that, the staff pride themselves on the conditions of their slopes, which are groomed frequently. From the peak of Passo Tonale, you are faced with a wonderful panoramic view of the whole region, which is truly breathtaking, and it has been known for skiers to spend hours simply analysing the view. Passo Tonale is a great resort if you are looking for a busier, more down to earth ski resort for you and your family. Selva Gardena is one of Italy's largest resorts, and if you are looking for some great scenery and excellent, consistent snow coverage, you could do a great deal worse than here. A great value for money resort, Selva Gardena is also child friendly, making it another fantastic resort to take the family. Italy has a diverse range of ski resorts to cater for all different tastes and abilities. In general you will find all the resorts welcoming and friendly, not to mention the amazing hospitality you will experience in some of their restaurants and bars. If you are looking for a good value for money trip, and you enjoy skiing, the North of Italy is ideal for you, and can provide any skier with an adequate challenge of their abilities. Additionally, with some of the best skiing instructors in the world, Italy is one of the best places in Europe to enjoy skiing without paying an absolute fortune. Italy truly is a great skiing location for anyone looking to experience the Alps in all their glory, amidst the wealth and depth of culture and history right around the corner. Skiing In Chile If you are looking for a more exotic skiing trip, why not consider Chile? One of the world's finest skiing regions, Chile is a great place for skiing enthusiasts of any age any skill level. Why not consider Chile as an alternative skiing destination with international appeal, and pick up some of the Andean culture along the way! One of the best resorts in my experience is the La Parva resort, located near Santiago. The La Parva resort is often underrated, billed as second to its higher brother, Valle Nevado. However, if you are more into skiing across uninterrupted, unspoilt terrain, with more variety and depth of ski, I would most certainly recommend La Parva as the resort for you. With a total of 14 lifts, the resort is of a medium size, and is comparatively popular, although still free from the depth of tourists covering the more popular, more accessible slopes. One factor to consider is that the snow coverage is not always as consistent as with other resorts, and this may pose a problem for some skiers, although if you take the time to research the conditions before you go, you should be able to experience La Parva in all its glory. La Parva also prides itself in a well-equipped training academy, which attracts some of Chile's best skiing talent. As well as Olympic training, they also offer public lessons, and have an excellent track record when it comes to improving performance. The friendly and helpful training staff pride themselves on their heritage, and take great pride in the condition of their slopes the quality of their training, which really shows in their instruction. An important word of advice -- it is important before setting off for Chile on your skiing trip that you ensure you have your passport in place. If you don't have a passport, or if your last passport has expired, it might be a good idea to apply early so you don't avoid disappointment. The application and issuing processes can take up to 14 weeks, so it is vital that you budget for this time allotment when booking your skiing vacation. Similarly, South America can be a dangerous place to visit, and there have been several high profile instances of kidnap by rebel and terrorist organisations in the area. On this note, it is perhaps best to consult the internet for any government warnings which may be issued, and to keep track of current affairs, although thankfully these instances are becoming rarer in these modern times. Why not consider Chile as an ideal candidate for your next skiing vacation? Ok, so it may be slightly more adventurous than the other locations you thought about, but you really have to wonder why so many people swear by Chile and the La Parva and Valle Nevado resorts, and why the area has become such a hotbed for skiing over the last few decades. One visit to this amazing country will surely change anyone's mind, as you begin to understand exactly why Chile is seen as one of South America's best skiing locations for experts and beginners alike. With the extended appeal to the culture-vultures among us, Chile is also the ideal place to vacation with your family, and you don't have to spend all your time skiing to enjoy your vacation.
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