Road Trip USA: Skier Abroad, skierabroad, ski abroad
By: - (justin) 2012.01.09
Mammoth Lakes, California
When I first visited the Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada's, I was 15 years old. It was my second time attempting to ski. And Mammoth seemed like a drawing of white powder and isolated beauty from the slush and crowds I had tried to learn on.
Although there are many fine resorts for Southern Californians to ski, Mammoth Lakes is still the place to go when given the chance. The reason? Well there are two. Most people have heard about Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort but few know about June Mountain. While Mammoth claims fame to its free fall drops (Cornice and Drop Out 1,2,3), large numbers of lifts and endless trails, June Mountain offers fewer lifts, but almost empty trails.
Mammoth Lakes is also a fun place year round. Mountain biking, fishing, hiking and rafting are just a few outdoor adventures available.
The night life in Mammoth Lakes is expensive, but there are some fun places to hang out for cheap. Burger's is a popular, compact restaurant along a main road. A little further down the road is Whiskey's, a busy restaurant and bar. A variety of fun sports bars also exist near downtown.
The Villa, Switzerland
Tucked away in the Swiss German part of Switzerland is a great ski resort called The Villa. What makes the resort so great, and so different from any ski resort in the United States, is its openness. The Villa is actually a number of mountains that all have lifts on them. But while there were runs stretching for miles around these mountains, timing and navigation was key.
There are a number of lifts dotting all these mountains, but later in the day it was key for my companions and I to remember the lifts we took over which mountains to get back to the parking lot. It was actually stressful because the sun was quickly dropping and we were in a huge line to catch a lift to ski down to another lift to make one last lift before it closed down for the day. I know that the mountain staff would not leave any skier lost in the mountain, but at the same time I didn't see many rescue teams or snowmobiles eager to find the lost souls. In that same regard here was no out-of-bounds on the mountain. It was up to each skier whether to ski in between trees or off a cliff (if that was their thing).
Even though skiing in Switzerland carries the stigma for those with a Rolex and hired hands to carry their skis, it wasn't too bad. Lift tickets range from $40-60 and food was about $7 for a big lunch. It was definitely worth the trip.
Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado
Even during the winter, Breckenridge is on fire. While other ski resorts boast of numbers of lifts and celebrity appearances, Breckenridge offers great skiing and an equally entertaining night life.
Breckenridge, located fifty miles west of Colorado Springs, is owned by the same company that operates Keystone Resort and Arapahoe Basin. So, any purchased ticket can be used at any of the three resorts.
However, those visiting Breckenridge will be amazed by its crowded downtown area. It is said to be the number one ski resort in Colorado for college students to visit. For details go to www.rsn.com