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Skiing

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ski the Alps

I had lunch yesterday with 12 ski resorts from the Swiss, French, Italian, German, and Austrian Alps. Travel to the Alps from America was up a whopping 50 percent this past summer and 30 percent last winter. Americans, especially from the East Coast, are finally realizing that you don’t have to be a Rockefeller to ski the region. On average, lift tickets are $50-$60 per day, far less than Stowe or Vail. Yes, you can splurge on some grand hotel at St. Moritz, but there are also many affordable pensions around town. And not all the ski areas are as challenging as Chamonix. Remember, you’re not skiing down the Matterhorn. You’re looking up at the Matterhorn as you ski the base area in Zermatt, a far less threatening proposition with a vast amount of intermediate and novice terrain. The trails are long, relaxed, and thankfully in the past decade, groomed with snowmaking capabilities. Best of all, you’re in Europe, dining on exceptional food and savoring the culture. One day you can be in Kitzbühel, downing large mugs of beer, the next day enjoying a glass of Bordeaux and exceptional French food in Megève. Cortina, in the Italian Dolomites, is only a two-hour drive from Venice, so you can combine Carnevale in February with several nights of skiing. Overseas flights are also much more reasonable in the winter months. So grab those skies and fondue forks and hit the Alps this winter.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/24/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, March 12, 2010

US Open Snowboarding Championships at Stratton, Vermont Next Week

Don’t worry if you couldn’t snag those coveted halfpipe and snowboard cross tickets at Whistler. 2010 Olympic medalists Shaun White and Hannah Teter (the only athlete to have a flavor, Maple Blonde, named in her honor by Ben & Jerry’s) are headed back east for the 28th U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships March 15-22. The competition is held once again at Stratton Mountain Resort, the place that put snowboarding on the map. This is where Jake Burton first tried the sport and where a young Lindsey Jacobellis took up boarding after her family’s vacation house caught fire, burning all of the ski equipment.

Cheer them on dude, but don’t just be a spectator. There’s a reason why Ski Magazine has voted Stratton the best terrain parks in the east for the past decade. Little rippers can test their freestyle skills on Burton’s Parkway, a kid-friendly area built with the novice in mind. One step larger than Parkway is Tyrolienne, featuring neophyte table-tops to catch air, and wider, lower rails to start grinding. Once you’ve mastered Tyrolienne, it’s on to Old Smoothie for some phat table tops and rails, much higher off the ground. Easy style it (check out the jumps first) or you’ll be doing some serious face plants.

Shaun White will be performing his signature 1080s (three full rotations) on the new Olympic-sized (22-foot walls) superpipe and advanced terrain park, moved this year to the Sunriser Supertrail on Sun Bowl. You better have confidence bubbling over to try the many humps on that gnarly rollercoaster rail and the mojo to land flips onto the diving board box. Or follow Jacobellis’ cue and sweep along the banked turns and rollers on Lower East Meadow’s boarder cross course. Sick!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/12/10 at 02:00 PM
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Friday, March 05, 2010

The Perfect Weekend to Hit the Slopes and Trails

March is my favorite time to ski. The days are longer and brighter, the snow softer, and with spring just around the corner, it’s time to get my last runs in before the season quickly comes to end. With a deluge of snowfall across America this past week, from two feet in Vermont to three feet in the Tahoe area, we have even more reason to hit the slopes. Hardcore athletes looking to work up a definite sweat this weekend should head to Pittsfield, Vermont, on Saturday. Called the Winter Brutality Weekend, the town will feature a marathon, half-marathon, and 6.5-miler race, all on snowshoes. For the truly insane, there’s a 100-mile Snowshoe Marathon! One of the leaders of this endurance test is Noel Hanna, who in December achieved his goal of climbing to the summit of the highest mountain on each of the seven continents and then running down. The last was Mt. Vinson in Antarctica. So whether you’re a bunny slope skier or serious athlete, you have no excuse not to get out there this weekend and go play.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/05/10 at 02:00 PM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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