Year-Round Snow Slopes

Well, sadly enough, it’s summer. The humidity is in the air. The sweat beads on my forehead are constant. The heat is, more or less, spectacularly suffocating; and worst of all, there is no snow. No white powder to part with my skis. No brisk wind to run through my hair as I fly down the mountain, or is there?

Despite my bemoaning winter’s end, the fact is…winter is still here—if you want it to be anyway. An increasingly noticeable trend of indoor ski slopes are popping up around the world, and they. look. awesome. Year-round fresh powder blankets these man-made rolling hills. Full-size ski lifts give riders a trip to the top of the synthetic mountain and emulate what seems to be a near perfect snow ski experience. These winter arenas are a testament to the potential of man to overcome anything and everything, weather included.

Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai, as you can probably guess, is located in Dubai. The Middle East’s very first indoor ski slope, it is technically a part of the Mall of Emirates. First opened in 2005, this winter wonderland now boasts some five different terrains and slopes, not to mention a general snow area for those less adrenaline-inclined. Also, it should further be noted that you don’t even need your own gear! In fact, all necessary clothes, skis, and poles are included in the price of admission.


In Bottrop, Germany, one of the most impressive indoor ski slopes in the world reaches the sky with a regal distinction. Boasting a state-of-the-art conveyor belt, the facility is able to transport skiers a full 400 meters from the bottom of the mountain to the top in only five minutes. Just as well, the facility is characterized by lush vegetation that makes one feel as though they never left the slopes to begin with.

SNORAS Snow Arena

Completed relatively recently (in 2011), this is one of the biggest indoor skiing facilities on the planet. Featuring an immense 640-meter outdoor route that actually incorporates the indoor routes as well, skiers are able to travel between the exterior and interior of the arena without ever interrupting their momentum. Yet, this is not even to mention the fabled ‘Air Bag’, a gigantic inflatable pad that enables skiers to test new tricks and have a little bit of fun without risking injury.

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean we have to give up on our love for skiing. Luckily, there are those who have already figured it out for the rest of us, and I, for one, could not be more grateful.

Snowcapped Nirvana

The invigoration of crisp cold air beats against my face and whips through my clothes. My skis slice through fresh powder leaving my temporary imprint in the mountainside. I pick up speed and carve my way down the face of the mountain as I remember my passion for these off-beaten trails, these diamonds in the rough that escape the public eye. While of course we all know about Breckenridge, about Vail, about Aspen, there are so many hidden gems that reside just under our nose, submerged in pristine powder and boasting of spectacular views. I often dream of these places, of these snowcapped paradises that lie in wait:

Girdwood, Alaska

This marvelous and quintessential ski town is a former gold-mine village fashioned from the edge of a dense forest. Retaining a palpable atmosphere of frontier mentality, the luxury hotel at the base of the mountain notwithstanding, the town and its inhabitants embrace beginners and experts alike with open arms to facilitate escape from daily life. Take the path less traveled and find your own way to discover some of the most beautiful sights you can imagine.

Take a break to fill your stomach with a hearty meal at The Double Musky Inn. Cajun cuisine never tasted so good as delicious smells fill your nose and spices broaden your taste buds’ horizon. Slice into a piece of heaven with a piece of premium meat cooked to perfection.

Fernie, British Columbia, Canada

Powerful peaks penetrate expansive skies while lush snow blankets the ground. Few moments match when you part the snow with your skies as golden sunlight bathes your face in fleeting warmth. Climb to the top of the terrain to transcend the top of the world. Historic, this intimate town of only 4,217 people provides a close-knit community experienced skiers will find more refreshing than the clean air that fills the area.

After a tiring day on the slopes, pay a visit to the Griz Bar. Sip on a cool beer while acoustic bands fill the air with warm sounds. Order the nachos for a cheesy delight that perfectly complements the evening. Oh yeah, don’t forget to ask about the naked table sliding…

Zermatt, Switzerland

A taste of the past’s presence today, Zermatt has retained its old world charm throughout history and continues to exemplify its unique tradition in everything from its architecture to its residents. Just as Switzerland is known to the skier world as a winter paradise, so is Zermatt known to the Swiss as skiing nirvana. Encapsulated by jagged peaks and radical runs, Zermatt beckons the young and the restless for an adrenaline-filled trip of beautiful, beautiful speed. Glide down the face of the mountain and maneuver back-breaking turns and radical drops. Face the unknown with two poles, two skis, and one unbreakable spirit of euphoria.

For when night falls over Zermatt’s abundant awe-inducing spectacles, I recommend heading to Hotel Post Zermatt. With five bars, delectable cocktails, and exquisite cuisine, few things will cap a day better than Hotel Post Zermatt. Mingle with residents and tourists alike, and be glad you did.

Now at the end of my run at the bottom of the mountain, enjoying a nice local brew and watching the sun go down, I realize one simple thing: life is good.

4 Tips to Know Before Skiing in Japan


Slopes in Japan

Let’s face it – there are numerous places all over the planet that offer world class skiing. One of my favorite places is to ski is at Vail, yet there are so many other places around the world I am itching to explore. One of those places is Japan. With a rich culture, a completely different cultural experience, delicious food and breathtaking slopes, it’s not a surprise that so many people travel to the Far East to indulge in their favorite sport. I have listed 4 things you must know before landing to tackle the snowy parts of Japan.

Make sure to ski in these two regions
While there are over 500 ski resorts around the island of Japan, there are two specific regions you want to head to – Hokkaido and Nagano. Hokkaido’s capital, Sapporo, is located 2 ½ hours north of Tokyo and is home to the popular resort in the small country. As the region is in alignment with the storms from Siberia, the region receives over 45 feet in a single season. With numerous options for ski resorts, you’ll have plenty to choose from. If you find the Hokkaido region to be too crowded, try the Nagano region instead. 90 minutes west of Tokyo, there are six different resorts to visit. With beautiful powder and rich in culture, the Nagano region has steeper mountains then Hokkaido.

Everything is on time!
The one thing people often forget is how punctual the Japanese culture is. If a train, activity or hours is set for a specific time, then those will be the times that they adhere to. Unlike America, where train delays are common, it’s important to be early and ready for when your train pulls up.

It’s not as pricy as you would imagine
One fear people have is that Japan is too expensive. Of course you can make your trip as expensive if you eat at the higher priced places every night or get a five star hotel. However, it is possible to stay within the budget you have set for yourself. It’s a matter of researching and looking up restaurants or hotels before you go. AirBnB is a great way to stay on lodging while immersing yourself into the full experience of Japanese culture.

Brush up on those Japanese words & manners
The number one thing you should adhere too when traveling is learning the culture and basic language of the country you are traveling too. Not only does it show your appreciation for the country, it helps because English is not the first language. While ski resort employees may speak better English than the locals due to the nature of the business, don’t assume. Learn the basic words for skiing and phrases you’ll be using the most. Besides the language, learning the basics of Japanese culture will ensure you are not accidentally offending a host or employer. Here is a great resource to navigate the differences in etiquette.

For more tips, check out this great article on 10 things you need to know before Skiing in Japan!

Safety on the Slopes

Take care out there.

Take care out there.

Following the 15th anniversary of Blue Sky Basin, Vail has named January “Safety Awareness Month”, with safety theme events beginning January 10, 2015, and lasting through the 25th. Scheduled activities will focus on kids safety, helmet safety, and avalanche safety.

Although not too riveting, safety is a crucial consideration for skiers. According to National Ski Areas Association data, 41.5 people die and roughly 50 are critically injured each year in skiing accidents. Sure, this figure is easily dwarfed by the number of annual deaths by car accident, drowning and falls. All the same, the risk is very real and not to be taken lightly. Below are a few suggestions that can keep you safe on the slopes!

Watch out for others. 7.7% of all ski accidents are the consequence of skiers running into each other. Pay attention to the people around you as well as your surroundings.

Don’t think you’re exempt. Experience doesn’t remove you from the risk of serious injury. If anything, being more experienced leads to riskier skiing. 85% of ski accident victims are male and 70% are between their teens and 30s, the same high-risk demographic that is most likely to cause fatal car accidents.

Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t ski a slope you aren’t ready to undertake.

Always wear a helmet. Skiing is a face-paced activity and an accident at high speeds could result in permanent and serious brain injury. Skiing without a helmet is just plain stupid.

Practice common courtesy on the slopes. Skiers follow a common code of etiquette. It is of paramount importance to abide by the rules and cooperate with the skiers around you.

Coming soon…

Return often for skiing updates at Vail and elsewhere in the world of skiing!