As September grinds on, it’s undeniable: winter is on its way. The light is diminishing at an accelerating rate each and every day, the first major cool spell of the upcoming fall is starting to sweep its way across North America, making people reach for their hoodies and sweaters and in the higher places in the Northern Hemisphere, snow is beginning to fall.
People complain about this every year like clockwork, but that doesn’t mean you have to be among them. Embrace the change, man! As hard as it is for some people to accept, there are good things about the winter that makes the season easier to deal with, and for some, it even becomes desirable when you take advantage of the unique recreation opportunities that cold weather makes possible.
The most exciting of these is skiing and snowboarding, where you take off down alpine slopes at breakneck speeds in the pursuit of adrenaline. The following ski resorts to check out this winter provide a break from the usual suspects, where the quality of trails are comparable, but the crowds are much more manageable … let’s take a look at each in detail.
1) Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho, USA
The unquestionable leaders of the American ski industry are the states of Colorado and Utah, but there are many more states with a frontage on the mountains of the American West. One of these is the often passed over state of Idaho, whose panhandle passes through the Rockies on the wetter west side of the famous mountain range. The glade skiing here is outstanding, the powder abundant, and the resort village has a European theme, making this a great place to take the family on a snow vacation.
2) Red Mountain, British Columbia, Canada
North of the 49th parallel, British Columbia is a snowsport enthusiast’s paradise, with more top-shelf major ski resorts than you can count on your two hands. One of the lesser known of these hills is Red Mountain, a laid back ski resort populated with people that aren’t here to be part of a scene, but to actually enjoy the outstanding powder that this well-hidden place enjoys. With 1,700 acres to explore, you’ll be coming up with new lines throughout the duration of your stay.
3) Cairngorm, Scotland
In Europe, most people look to the Alps of France, Germany and Austria, or even the ocean-facing mountains of Norway. What about Scotland? Few people consider a ski holiday in the Scottish Highlands, as the rain-heavy weather of the lower lands of England in the south makes one think that the same persists throughout the entirety of the British Isles.
Happily, this is an inaccurate assumption, as Cairngorm is home to a variety of runs perfect for those who are just learning how to ski or snowboard. While this is not the best place for experts, the timeless views that one gets while tearing up this mountain more than make up for the lack of difficulty here.