Hit The Slopes This Winter

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A quick trip to go skiing is only about an hour away for those of us in the Rim Country, we just have to go north to Snow Bowl or east to Sunrise. If a longer ski weekend is on your wish list, there are lots of great spots in neighboring states that can be reached in a relatively short time.

It’s that time again to pack up the skis, heavy winter clothing and take to the hills and mountains in America’s West. There are many great winter skiing runs, lifts and lodges sprinkled throughout the area with new resorts and improved facilities.

If you want to stay close to home get in touch with Snow Bowl in Flagstaff and Sunrise in the White Mountains.

Those interested in getting away for a little longer, check some of these destinations:

Colorado is one of the most noted states for skiing and features some of the most famous resorts in the United States. The Snowmass/Aspen area is rated by Skiing magazine as the finest ski resort in America. Snowmass has 3,128 acres of every kind of terrain, with 23 lifts. In Aspen lift tickets are good for four mountains, totaling 5,246 acres with 45 lifts serving more than 340 trails. Here you can try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, dog sledding, sleigh riding and can climb aboard snowmobile tours if that interests you. Here, you are in the spectacular Colorado Rocky Mountains with so many fine lodges and resorts to choose from. Many say the Snowmass/Aspen area is the best destination resort in America and offers the best all-around experiences. You might look into the Silvertree Hotel, Wildwood Lodge, Snowmass Village at Aspen and the Village Condominium & Home Rentals to name a few in this area. You can fly into Denver and the drive is 3-1/2 hours to Aspen/Snowmass. Visit www.colorado.com for more information.

Nevada is gaining popularity for winter sports particularly in the Lake Tahoe region. They boast 15 alpine ski resorts with some receiving more than 33 feet of snow every year. You’ll find runs from 7,500 feet to more than 10,000 feet. In some areas you will be able to look down on the turquoise blue of one of the world’s deepest and most beautiful alpine lakes. The surrounding resort villages offer fine dining and lodging. You can fly into the Reno airport and take the South Tahoe Express shuttle that runs between the north and south shore hotels and ski resorts. Reno-Tahoe stay-and-ski packages start at just $59 per person. Go to SkiTravelNevada.com for this and other winter packages.

Try Santa Fe in the Land of Enchantment. Here is probably the most cultural of the nearby ski areas, offering galleries, museums, opera, gift shops and southwest dining at its finest. Just 16 miles away is the Sangre de Cristos ski area with 1,725 vertical feet of skiing and snowboarding. There are seven lifts including the new Millennium Triple Chairlift offering 69 trails on 600 acres. Visit www.skisantafe.com.

Montana is the home of Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks and is known as Big Sky Country. In places like Red Lodge and Bozeman you can enjoy a feeling of the Old West, perhaps see herds of bison, elk, deer and feel more laid back than in some of the other more sophisticated ski areas. The Big Sky/Moonlight Basin interconnect joins two world-class areas on the slopes of Lone Peak to give skiers and snowboarders the biggest skiing experience in America. Here are more than 5,000 acres that include almost all you could expect in winter sports. There is the Liberty Bowl and Andesite Mountain. Whitefish Mountain resort provides spacious terrain and you’ll never feel crowded.

One of my favorites is the Jackson Hole area. Not only is the backdrop of the Grand Teton Mountains spectacular, but the area claims unparalleled skiing. “The Big One” provides incredible terrain for all levels of skiers and amazing on-mountain dining, plus a full service resort at the base. And, opened just last year, is the new aerial tram giving more hi-tech lift to carry 100 passengers. There are new cabins and an exciting base terminal. You can zoom up Rendezvous Mountain in just nine minutes. Skiers can choose their pick of lines with vertical trails sprawling below them. Enjoy 360-degree views of the Grand Teton National Park. Jackson has a reputation for challenging runs. If you don’t already ski, you can join the Mountain Sports School for lessons. Visit www.jacksonhole.com.

Of course there are other very fine ski areas in California, Oregon and Washington State.

When you go, be safe and take your camera.

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