Luke Armstrong | Dec 8, 2016
Hey bra, how many telemark skiers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
TWO. ONE TO TURN THE BULB WHILE THE OTHER SAYS “NICE TURNS BRA!”
Three snowboarders are riding in the back of a car. Who is driving? THE POLICE!
As a big chunk of the U.S. found out last week when a mild autumn turned into foot deep drifts, ski season is here. No need need to ask your coworkers if they're into winter sports — the ones who are are walking around with big winter smiles, looking out the window going “yes! yes!” at every round of new fresh flakes.
The parking crew at PowderHorn Ski Resort in Colorado has a saying that has been handed down from crew season after season. Their mission statement is, "Parking cars and shredding gnar!”
So where should you go for your ski getaway this season? I asked everyone I knew with Ski goggles, and this is what we came up with.
Before we shred through this, allow me to get square and paternal for a few sentences: Skiing and snowboarding are community oriented activities that are so much fun, many bras and bunnies consider it worth the risk of busting knees, arms, and ankles. Don't get on the chairlift bro-beans without insurance that will cover your busts. Medical costs are redic. But one month of travel health insurance with an extreme sports waiver costs less than the price of renting gear for one day.
Slope Vernacular for nubes: Blue bird day = Sun is shining like hell yeah bra!
Colorado based writer/gnar slayer Jenna Blumenfeld spends her slope time at the Beaver Creek Ski Resort. BC has a diversity of terrain and at the end of the day — and just stop reading now if you're cooped up and hungry at work — they bake and distribute free cookies!
"[Beaver Creek] is about 30 minutes beyond Vail," Jenna says, "Just far enough to discourage 'Front Rangers' from venturing out for day trips.
I asked Jenna if she was talking about real cookies and not speaking in some skier lingo, and she assured me, "Yes cookies. COOKIES!!!! Usually warm chocolate chip from ladies in chef outfits."
Ski Lingo Lesson: Death cookies is a slang term for the cookie-sized chunks of ice formed by grooming and snowmaking; a plague at resorts when it is really cold. These are not the type of cookies one will encounter at Beaver Creek!
Attorney Lee Peterson used to throw outlandish apartment parties a block from me in college. He crafted crowds, but also liked his solitude. That's why he used to call his bedroom "The VIP Lounge" and only let some people at the party in.
That's why to this day Lee likes Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint, Idaho.
He likes that it has all the perks of a big resort, but is still a relatively unknown. That means no dealing with "tourists" or long lines.
"You can have the mountain to yourself," Lee says, "And you don't need to drive to Idaho! It's easy to fly into from Spokane, and it's a quick jump to beautiful Coeur d'Alene."
Checking in with my ski pals across the pond, Grindelwald Ski Resort in Switzerland is the place to go for an ultimate alpine experience. Grindelwald’s setting is enough to make a hobbit sigh — a rugged view of geology donning beauty dominates each day here. Grindelwald village is as fairytale picturesque as Peter Pan riding a unicorn.
Samuel Fischer, a Swiss teacher and ski enthusiast puts it this way, "The beauty and the majesty of the mountains overwhelms me every time I'm on the slopes, even though I grew up here. The panorama is simply breathtaking. Grindelwald and its three ski mountains are a top-notch ski resort with the newest technologies and the most diverse options: You can ride perfectly prepared slopes in every category, nicely shaped fun parks, or go back-country all on one day."
A few hours from where I was born, is the legendary Big Sky Montana. I did my first face plants here on the bunny hill!
But I'm not the only one who will tell you Big Sky's fly. John Ward, a disenfranchised banjo player currently working as an attorney thinks, "Big Sky is pretty gnarls Barkley."
John likes Big Sky because there are less crowds than the slopes he's been to in Colorado. But clearly he's torn on the issue.
"I've done a lot of skiing in Colorado," he says, "it's lines, lines, lines ... Park City is similar in respect to the crowds. I can get in more dank terrain at Big Sky in one day, with the exception of week 52, when I can practically go anywhere else in three days."
John looked beyond his cup of coffee and the legal depositions on his desk, he sighed and stroked his beard (despite being forced to work as an attorney, his beard is still good). He looked out his window at the puffy flakes descending, “But I do love the back bowls at Vail, which is kind of like the Starbucks of ski resorts."
When I was an exchange student studying in Chile, I thought about taking an epic ski holiday. Then I had a meeting with my budget planning commission, and we decided it would be better to spend $50 a week on alcohol over six months than it would be to spend $1k at once on an incredible sky holiday.
When researching South American Ski Destinations, all ski poles point to Catedral Alta Patagonia resort in Argentina’s Lake District. Catedral is famous for its deep powder and incredible tree skiing. It is South America’s most developed ski resort and the only one with a full-service base village.
More than 40 lifts: Check
Access to 1,480 skiable acres: You know it bra!
Location is key and there aren't a lot of major airports servicing many mountains. The Alta Utah Ski Area is a quick jump from Salt Lake City, one of the easiest/most economical airports to get to.
Utah native Austin Anderson prefers going to Alta than elsewhere. Alta is famous for its expert slopes but has plenty of offerings for intermediate and beginners. With spectacular scenery and famous powder, it's not on many bra's radars but it should be on anyone's gnar-dar.
Despite popular culture's portrayal of Mexico as beaches and Coronas, it is also fresh powder and Coronas.
Ninety minutes from Monterrey is Monterreal, a quaint resort with great views of the eastern Sierra Madre.
For the budget bro, I don't even want to tell you what $300 gets you. But because I'm nice, I will. 300 bones will score you three days in a cabin, a basket of fruit, a bottle of vino tinto (that's Spanish for a good time), a lift ticket, and breakfast for two. Instead of building a wall, we should all come together and build a gondola to Monterreal, Mexico!
Luke Maguire Armstrong is the author of "The Nomad's Nomad." He has spent the last decade traveling, writing and designing, and funding philanthropic programs around the world.Read more of Luke’s blogs Visit Luke's website travelwritesing.com
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