Ski the run less travelled
There are ski resorts all over the world that are must-sees. The places in the magazines that all your ski buddies have on their bucket list. Emma Lovell finds the resorts near to those with famous names, slightly off the tourist track, who offer some truly unique skiing experiences.
USA: Homewood, Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe has a natural beauty that cannot be missed. Located on the border of California and Nevada, Tahoe offers exceptional panoramic views wherever you go.
For years I’d heard friends rave about Perisher’s sister resort in the USA named Heavenly, offering exquisite views of the vast lake. I soon discovered that Lake Tahoe has no fewer than 13 amazing ski fields, all spread around the lake and mountainous ranges of this region.
For the best view, and the best skiing, head over to the western shore of Lake Tahoe where you’ll find Homewood. It’s the best value ski field with lift passes sometimes 70 per cent less than others in the region. It also offered some of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever experienced on a ski run.
Homewood feels like a family operated resort and locals say it has the feeling of “Old Tahoe”. You can have the whole piste to yourself and on some runs it feels as if you will ski directly into the pristine waters of Emerald Bay below. This is one resort that I simply cannot get out of my mind.
Australia: Falls Creek, Victoria
There aren’t many mountains to choose from in Australia, but everyone has a favourite. I’ve been to all the major resorts, but for me Falls Creek has some of the most challenging and interesting runs on offer and the most welcoming community vibe.
For some diversity in your day and the ultimate ski perk, take a helicopter over to Falls Creek’s sister resort Hotham and make the most of your lift pass. Within minutes you’ll be skiing a whole new resort and enjoying a different style of mountain.
At night, this mountain comes to life with countless bars to choose from, including the never-ending party at The Frying Pan. For a quieter chalet aprs experience, make sure to visit Astra. Indulge with a few aperitifs by the fire place while chatting to your friends about the incredible runs of the day.
Austria: Kuhtai, Austrian Tyrol
The Austrian alps are famed for their brilliant skiers, cross country enthusiasts and of course the aprs scene. One of the world’s most famous ski resorts is St Anton in the Arlberg region, known for its challenging slopes and active nightlife.
However, a little skiing town tucked away in the Austrian Tyrol has captured my heart. Khtai is Austria’s highest ski resort located just 45 minutes from the charming city of Innsbruck.
Looking for the quintessential ski chalet snow holiday? Why not stay at the AlpinLodges Khtai, an imposing wooden faade that greets you as you drive through the village. Enjoy stepping out into the powder on your balcony and admiring the crisp peaks that surround you. Then challenge yourself with days of incredible skiing in the quiet, natural beauty of this charming Austrian ski town.
Typical Tyrolean delicacies are available at a number of local restaurants. Some are high up on the piste, providing great lunch views. Spend your nights sampling the quintessential Austrian schnapps and meeting the locals.
Canada: Big White, British Columbia
One of the most well-known resorts in North America, and possibly the world, is Whistler. Endless runs, the party town atmosphere and accessibility make it a big draw card for visitors. In Canada, it’s known as little Australia for the number of Australian residents who’ve made it their skiing playground.
However, the charming resort of Big White nestled in the mountains of Kelowna, British Columbia, is wooing Aussies over from its more famous counterpart. The village-like atmosphere of this quaint ski resort builds a sense of community that is instantly inviting to travellers. Offering more than 116 runs, this is no small fry when it comes to resort skiing.
Big White’s town centre, lit up with fairy lights, dotted with pointed roof cabins and surrounded by snow dusted pine trees is like a Christmas card. This winter wonderland will charm its way into your heart.
With aprs ski areas named things like Happy Valley, you’re assured of a good time. Remember to stop along your run and enjoy some famous Canadian fare such as poutine. Don’t miss the fireworks on Saturday nights, lighting up the whole mountain and adding to the magic.