“Winter vacay” may automatically mean “warm destination” to a lot of people, but those who love snowy sports often forgo tropical locales in favor of those with the best fresh powder. Booking time at a ski resort is not only fun and relaxing — snowy activities like skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing are a great way to get your heart pumping. You might not be blissing out on a beach, but getting your sweat on is one of the best ways to de-stress, so you’ll definitely come home feeling refreshed. And even if you don’t spend a ton of time out there shredding, aprés ski (or “instead-of ski”) activities are fun for all levels of snow athletes.
So where should you head for your frosty fix? We talked to Torah Bright, two-time Olympic medalist in snowboarding and spokeswoman for Roxy, about her fave spots to hit the slopes around the world.
1. Snowbird, Utah: “I spent 15 years living in Salt Lake City and traveling to Snowbird from there,” explains Torah. It’s just a 45-minute drive, so her digs were pretty convenient. “I loved being able to choose if I wanted to escape the city and head to the mountains. When the snow was good, nothing beat a day of tram rides at Snowbird.” If you travel to this famed mountain, you’ll have the option of hanging in SLC if you feel like taking a day off from the snow. As for where to stay, she says your best bet is to check out one of the lodges on the mountain. “Staying up at Snowbird is pretty amazing. If you time it right with a snow storm and the roads close due to snow, you get the resort all to yourself!” Torah also recommends renting a car so you can hit up other resorts in the area. “Brighton, Sundance and Powder Mountain are a few more of my favorites!”
2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Known as one of the best winter sports destinations in the US because of its huge number of runs and places to stay on the mountain, Jackson Hole also ranks high on Torah’s list: “The terrain is incredible, and the town is amazing with its cowboy bars and all! We Roxy Girls love it here and go all the time. It’s a quaint winter wonderland!” There’s a ton to do in the neighboring town of Jackson, including luxe spas, amazing restaurants and even museums. There are also options for non-skiers and snowboarders, like snowmobiling, snowshoeing and sleigh rides (yes, for real) at the local elk reserve.
3. Hakuba, Japan: Hakuba is one of the best places in Asia to get your ski or snowboard on. In the summer it transforms into a hiking destination, so no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll get an active experience. “The Hakuba Valley has so many great resorts to choose from and amazing steep tree runs,” explains Torah. There are actually seven different resorts, to be exact, providing options at every level of comfort. As for non-slope activities? “Eat lots of Japanese food!” she suggests. We can definitely get down with that.
4. St. Moritz, Switzerland: One of the most amazing snow destinations in the Alps, this area has been a trendy place to visit since 1864. “I was at St. Moritz during a major snow storm, and for some reason it is etched into my head as being the most amazing trip yet,” Torah shares. “There is great terrain and small resorts around the area.” With over 200 miles of runs and a seriously glamorous town for shopping, eating and drinking, you won’t be disappointed if you choose to hop across the pond for this year’s ski or snowboard trip.
5. Thredbo, Australia: Since Torah is Australian, it only makes sense that the country’s best spot for winter sports would be on her list of favorites. “Thredbo is home to me,” she says. “I have so many memories of learning to ski and snowboard there, but it’s shredding amongst the gumtrees that I love the most.” Torah describes the place as having a European vibe, with a community right at the base of the mountain. “There’s good food and good entertainment, and if you want to shred snow and surf in one day it’s possible, with the rugged south coast only one and a half hours from the mountains!” That would be pretty epic.
What’s your favorite snowboard or ski destination? Tell us your top picks @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Roxy)