Enjoy Epic Snow and Terrain with Less Cost and Chaos
Plus: A Guide to Flying with Skis and Snowboards
TORONTO, Feb. 7, 2017 /CNW/ -- It's that time of year when snow conditions are hitting the peak of perfection. But the crowds (and prices) are hitting their peak too. Your best bet, say the travel experts at Cheapflights.ca, the champions of simple travel search, is to carve your own trail. Instead of joining the crush of people at Aspen and Whistler, beat the crowds, cost and chaos with our picks for the Top 10 alternative ski resorts across North America. From spectacular terrain to lively après ski, these resorts offer as much fun in the snow as the big names but are easier on your patience and your wallet.
For those jetting to their destination, Cheapflights has also put together a guide called Tips for flying with skis and snowboards. Some airlines are more generous than others when it comes to ski-related baggage allowance rules, so it pays to know the rules and plan ahead. Cheapflights.ca's guide breaks down airline policies and offers tip on efficient packing, work arounds for checking your gear and others tips to avoid budget-busting extra charges.
To get your ski trip planning started, here are five of our top picks for alternative resorts across North America:
- Mont Blanc, St-Faustin-Lac-Carré, Quebec - You've likely heard of Mont Tremblant, Mont-Sainte-Anne or Le Massif. But if you're looking for something smaller or a little more laid-back, think about booking your ski holiday at Mont Blanc. Located in Quebec's Mont Tremblant ski region, Mont Blanc is no slouch when it comes to what it offers skiers and snowboarders. The resort has 42 trails and one of the highest verticals in eastern Canada. All skill levels are accommodated here, and Mont Blanc has one of Quebec's largest ski schools with over 125 certified ski and snowboard instructors. There's also plenty of opportunity for snowshoeing and kids will love the large indoor playground Jungle Magique.
Don't miss: Relaxing with a local craft beer by the fire after a day of skiing at Igloo Bar.
- Calabogie Peaks, Calabogie, Ontario - Combine a trip to Canada's capital with a few days of skiing at Calabogie Peaks. This ski resort has 80 acres of skiable terrain consisting of 24 trails and three terrain parks. If you need a break from skiing or snowboarding, you can do some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing or ice skating. And if you'll be staying on-site at Calabogie Peaks Resort, you can enjoy the indoor pool and outdoor hot tub.
Don't miss: Love live music? From December to March, Calabogie hosts a series of après-ski live shows.
- Grand Targhee Resort, Alta, Wyoming - Skip the crowds at nearby Jackson Hole for a calmer skiing experience at Grand Targhee Resort. You'll still be in the Tetons, but without long lift lines, and you might even find you have some trails all to yourself. There are 95 trails here on well over 2,000 skiable acres, with runs for every skill level. If you're new to the resort, take a free daily mountain tour to get a lay of the land before you hit the slopes. You'll also find a snow tubing park at Grand Targhee, as well as the chance to snowshoe, cross-country ski, do some winter fat biking, or take a backcountry snowmobile tour.
Don't miss: Try a Swedish or hot stone massage followed by a soak in the outdoor hot tub. Or, if you're visiting as a family, unwind in the on-site arcade, which serves homemade pizza on weekends and holidays.
- Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, Bend, Oregon - Head to Bend, Oregon, for a chance to ski at one of the six biggest ski areas in the United States. Despite its size, Mt. Bachelor doesn't get the crowds of some of the other big resorts, making it an ideal ski spot for a more laid-back holiday. Choose from 101 trails on over 4,300 acres. The longest run here is over six kilometres of scenic downhill action. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can take free 90-minute snowshoe tours (snowshoes are provided) or enjoy some snow tubing.
Don't miss: If you're a beer fan, Bend is known as "Beer Town USA" for the number of breweries here. Sample some of the best beer in Bend with the Bend Ale Trail, which is walkable, or book a tour.
- Steamboat Springs Resort, Steamboat Springs, Colorado - Colorado is home to many well-known ski spots like Aspen and Vail, but if you're looking for an alternative, give Steamboat Springs, home to Steamboat Resort, a try. Steamboat is part of a large mountain chain that includes Mount Werner, Sunshine Peak, Storm Peak, Thunderhead Peak, Pioneer Ridge and Christie Peak. This means skiers and snowboarders have access to 2,965 acres and 165 trails of varying skill levels. The longest run – dubbed Why Not – is nearly five kilometres in length. There are also four terrain parks and the chance to enjoy other winter activities. Take advantage of the free ski clinic with Olympic Silver Medalist and World Champion Billy Kidd, or take a free mogul clinic with Olympic Medalist and World Champion Nelson Carmichael.
Don't miss: Take a long soak in the natural hot springs at nearby Strawberry Park to soothe tired muscles.
Every region of the country has a plethora of resorts to cater to every type of skier. For every Aspen there is a Steamboat; for every Tremblant, a Mont Blanc. Joining the list of alternatives above are: Fernie Mountain Resort, Fernie, BC; Alyeska Resort, Gildwood, Alaska; Castle Mountain Resort, Pincher Creek, Alberta; Mount Snow, West Dover, Vermont, U.S.; and Boyne Highlands, Harbor Springs, Michigan, U.S. To get all the details on these spots, check out Cheapflights.ca's complete list of Top 10 alternative ski resorts across North America at www.cheapflights.ca/news/alternative-ski-resorts-north-america.
About Cheapflights.ca, part of the Momondo Group
Momondo Group is an online travel media and technology company that is driven by the belief that an open world is a better world. The group now serves travel search and inspiration to over 17.5 million visitors a month – plus 8 million travel newsletter subscribers – via its Cheapflights (www.cheapflights.ca) and momondo (www.momondo.com) brands. Skygate began the sourcing of complex air-travel data in 1992, while Cheapflights pioneered the online comparison of flight deals for users in 1996 and momondo launched meta-search in the Nordic countries in 2006. The Group has offices in London, Copenhagen and Boston with a consumer base across more than 30 core international markets but users all over the world.
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