Katie Mcelveen 2016-09-03 01:38:21
No ski lift is required to take your vacation to new heights. Stunning peaks packed with fresh powder call to many winter athletes looking to partake in the classic sport of skiing, but for those who wish to explore majestic snowy locales in other ways, a plethora of lesser-known activities await at the world’s finest mountain resorts. From adrenaline-fueled pursuits like zooming around an ice track in a BMW or go-kart to more relaxed escapades like ice fishing or wildlife sightseeing, nonski winter recreation activities are keeping adventure-seekers happily occupied while skiers wonder if they should take a day off the slopes. But whether winter visitors decide to schuss down a mountain or explore the frozen countryside in a snowmobile, the apres-ski scenes in luxury destinations around the world offer ideal places to come together and share tales from the day. With so many enticing choices for alpine entertainment, the most daunting part of this winter season might be deciding which new activity to try—and where to sip a cocktail afterward. NEED FOR SPEED Thrill-seekers who find pleasure in dizzying speeds and wild rides may normally call the black diamond ski runs their home when on winter trips, but with a wealth of exhilarating options for snow recreation available, adventure- lovers in the mood for a new hobby are sure to find another favorite activity this season. At Val d’Isère located in the French Alps, ice driving—literally, driving a car on an ice track— is a popular activity. After donning a helmet and strapping into a seat, drivers spend a half-hour or so maneuvering a car over a slick track—skidding, slipping and spinning along the way. The track is one of just a handful composed of natural ice, which makes the escapade even more challenging for novice ice drivers trying to avoid plowing into the snowbanks. In Park City, Utah, speed-lovers can experience an activity normally reserved for winter Olympians. Built to host the 2002 bobsled, skeleton, luge, Nordic ski jumping and Nordic combined Olympic events, Utah Olympic Park in Park City continues to be an official U.S. Olympic training site. Adventurous visitors have the opportunity to join a seasoned bobsledder on the track for a curve-riddled ride that reaches speeds of more than 60 mph. Guests of Montage Deer Valley can organize trips to the famed park, where they can book a bobsled ride or watch elite athletes, and possible future Olympians, in the midst of training. TAKING IN THE SCENERY For those who tend toward moderate trails and easy paces when hitting the ski slopes, less adrenaline- pumping winter activities might be equally alluring. At Spanish Peaks Mountain Club in Big Sky, Mont., awe-inspiring nature scenes can be viewed while partaking in a variety of enjoyable pastimes. Located just 15 miles from the northern border of Yellowstone National Park, unparalleled winter sightseeing can be had on a day away from the ski lifts. Concierges at Spanish Peaks can set up outstanding tours with local providers who take visitors into Yellowstone during the winter season using customized, climate-controlled, bus-like driving machines called snow coaches, which can reach famous sites in any snow conditions. From the comfort of a snow coach, riders can view Old Faithful, geyser basins and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in their winter state. Expeditions into the park can also be had via a snowmobile or by renting snowshoes or cross-country skis. While trekking along uncrowded trails, visitors can easily revel in the picturesque winter landscape, where it might even be possible to spot a variety of native animals including bison, bighorn sheep and moose. Back at Deer Valley, the fun continues with ample opportunities for vibrant activities. Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and sleigh rides through wintry landscapes are all options for visitors who wish to see more than ski trails. APRES ADVENTURE Whether winter travelers spend all day sliding down slopes or cruising in the seat of a snowmobile, a lavish night enjoying a chic apres-ski scene is always an excellent decision. European locales like Klosters in Switzerland and Courchevel in the French Alps feature an array of popular bars and restaurants with fine fare and superior service. Klosters is a bit calmer than Courchevel, touted for a buzzing nightlife, but both are beloved by noteworthy European guests like Prince Charles and the Beckhams. Back in the U.S., Moonlight Tavern in Big Sky, Mont., offers apres-ski dining: cocktails, hot drinks, craft brews and appetizers. The tavern’s dinner service features special events including Sunday night prime rib, complimentary s’mores every Friday and Saturday and live music every day of the week during the winter season. Meanwhile, in Deer Valley, the Apres Lounge at Montage offers sophisticated sips just steps away from the world-class slopes. Open to the public from noon to 4 p.m., the luxurious mountain lounge features fireplaces, plush seating and an assortment of Veuve Clicquot Champagnes, including Yellow Label, Rose and vintage varieties. After trying exciting new activities and experiences, a glass of Champagne is the perfect way to celebrate a successful, adventurous winter season.
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