Bar/restaurant with panoramic views across the mountains.
You can eat traditional Savoyard specialities on the terrace or sit in a deckchair in the snow on a sunny day for a drink.
Good place to meet non-skiiers for lunch as you can reach it by the Pas du Lac cable car from Mottaret, and for learners there are lots of blue runs leading all the way back down to Méribel.
At the top of the Pas du Lac 1 cable car from Méribel-Mottaret
Lift tickets for Silver Mountain are very reasonably priced, and price reductions are given to seniors, and students. Also if you keep an eye open many of the gas (petrol) stations have 2 for 1 vouchers available. Also if the snow isn't to your liking you can return your ticket for a 100% refund! So there is no fear of going up the gondola only to find poor skiing conditions (very very rare).
If backcountry is more your style then Warden Peak is for you. This is for the true back country skiiers seeing how you are going to have to hike up the peak (20 minutes give or take) and then additional hiking to find the run you want. Your lungs may burn just thinking about it but the payoff is well worth it. What the dedicated will find is acres of untouched powder. Also a breathtaking view is awaiting those who feel like taking the hike.
Silver Mt. offers two peaks for the price of one. Kellogg Peak is where you will find your groomed runs and free style park. There are also many runs left un-groomed for the powder hounds. The runs for the most part vary from intermediate to expert. The terrain park boasts to have the largest halfpipe in the pacific northwest when the conditions permit it to open to the public.
The intermediate and expert runs on Kellogg Peak will challenge a skiier of any skill level, and the hidden pockets throughout the peak will keep a skiier happy for a week. There are also many great beginner runs to be found at Kellogg Peak if you want to learn and the instructors are very nice.
Silver Mt. is one of the unfound gems in the Pacific Northwest. About two hours from Spokane airport (nearest airport)Skiiers and boarders are treated to a mountain that averages over 300 inches of the white stuff a year! Better yet, in my four years of boarding Silver Mountain I have never encountered a line at a chair life that had me waiting longer than two minutes, so the mountain is all to yourself; meaning that the powder lasts longer through the dry spells. Silver Mt. is also the most accessible mountain ever.
Just take the freeway (I-90 which is also the freeway you will be leaving Spokane Airport from) to the Kellogg exit, drive to the ski shop and that's it. What awaits you is the world's longest gondola to take you up to the mountain. No queasy stomachs driving in whiteout conditions up a steep mountain that hasn't been sanded yet. Just buy your lift ticket, jump on the gondola and you're on your way to skiing heaven. Though the gondola takes around 15 minutes, you can spend this time putting on your snowgear and getting yourself pumped for the day of riding coming up.
The adventurous may wish to consider driving two hours north of Salt Lake City to Logan, Utah, to ski the aptly-named Powder Mountain, or another 3 hours further north from there to check out the spectacular scenery of Wyoming's Grand Tetons and the wicked and wide-open terrain of Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee resorts.
The legendary Utah "Pow", the fine, deep powder snow of Utah, is definetly superior on the western (Salt Lake City) side of the Wasatch Range than on the eastern flank. Thus, hard-core ski bums and powder hounds will be better served by avoiding the hoardes of tourist families infesting the Canyons/Park City/Deer Valley resort megalopolis, and instead stick with the local ski bums and the deep Pow found at Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude.
Don't forget that Alta is a skier's-only mountain, while Brighton sports a totally sick terrain park for the youthful boarders in your life. Consider purchasing a day ski-demo package instead of a straight equipment rental, as with the former you can try any number of different all-mountain fatty skis, which offer a much better ride in the deep powder than the narrower glacier carving skis familiar to European skiers.
Four-wheel drive vehicles with optional ski racks can be rented by the day or week from RuggedRental.com (approximately $550 per week for a Jeep Grand Cherokee). They will pick your party up at the airport, and within two hours you can be skiing in the finest powder conditions to be found anywhere in the world.
Stay at the no-frills Motel 6 in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray just off Interstate 15 south of the airport for under $40 per night, with an easy, 30-minute drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta/Snowbird, or a 45-minute drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton and Solitude.
Utah is a ski bum's Paradise, and Salt Lake City International Airport is the Pearly Gates. Nowhere in the world is the skiing better for a comparable low price. World-class areas such as Alta (lift tickets still less than $45), Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude, and the entire Canyons-Park City-Deer Valley resort complex can be reached from the Salt Lake City International Airport in less than two-hours driving time, with Alta/Snowbird a mere 45 minutes away.
You can buy a special ticket "Snow & Rail" which gives a big reduction on the cost of the separate tickets - buy it at the railway ticket desk, and exchange the coupon at the resort for the ski pass. Contactless ski passes also available (even online).
An off-piste ski/snowboard run (guided). The icing on the cake of my favourite resort for snowboarding - Les Arcs. Great views, great powder snow. My first proper off-piste run, and has inspired me to come back for more!
Stay in Peisey Vallandry, and get some ESF lessons and guiding. Don't do the run without a guide and make sure you are given avalanche 'beacons' to wear.
In between Les Arcs and La Plagne.
If going here then I recommend staying in the town itself. There is nowhere more than a 15 minute walk, for further afield, the shopping mall strip, there is a free round-town shuttle. The slopes are a 25 minute shuttle away, on time and frequent, for a couple of bucks. I stayed at The Painted Buffalo and they gave away free tickets. For a fun night out, if they are at home, go to the ice rink for a hockey game and support the Jackson Hole Moose.
Mike's an American and French ski-school accredited ski instructor who works out of this fantastic, family orientated, picture postcard resort...lots of great skiing for beginners to more advanced. Amazing setting...think pony and cart rides... ace place!
A pension I stumbled upon earlier this year in Niseko, Japan.
Niseko is widely regarded inside Japan as having some of the best powder you'll find, and is quickly becoming Japan's worst kept secret abroad.
Hence my surprise when my friend and I rock up in April, bump into a friendly little guy with a whispy goatee who insists on us calling him Tohsan and his wife Kaasan (Dad and Mum) who gives us a beautiful huge log cabin meant to hold 30 people for £15 a night each with meals. He then kitted me out fully for another £15, gave us a lift to the slopes where we got a nice big discount for coming during the spring season.
We had the run of the place, the powder was still coming down in bucketloads and we ended the day with a home cooked meal from Mum listening to jazz, followed by a soak in the hot spring bath down the road. Job's a good 'un.
Turns out Dad built the log cabin with his bare hands. He's got the pictures on the wall inside to prove it!
Ski hire at Deer Valley is expensive - 25 dollars a day. Buy a pair of last year's demo skis and arrange with the hire shop to store them for you until the following year. If you don't intend to return, sell them back to the shop or remove the bindings and throw the skis away. You could save £100 on a two week holiday. 'Skis On The Run' are very helpful, you can buy skis 'out of season' at a good price and they will put them aside for your visit.
Deer Valley resort is around 20 miles from Salt Lake City
If skiing in Jackson then I recommend staying in the town itself. Nowhere is more than a 15 minute walk and there are free shuttles if you want to go further afield to the shopping malls. The slopes are a 25 minute bus ride away for a couple of bucks, but where I stayed (The Painted Buffalo) they gave you tickets.
If they are at home, I suggest a night out at the ice-hockey watching the Jackson Hole Moose play.
With the current exchange rate, the US is the best place to ski this year. Summit County in Colorado is the best area overall for terrain, weather, nightlife and variety (imo). The resorts of Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone and A-Basin are close by, with Vail just over the pass.
For beginners and families, Copper is pure gold - quiet and uncrowded with a terrific ski school and a wide variety of terrain including lots of smooth, rolling, confidence-boosting runs. Somehow it's all arranged so you don't feel like you're in a huge crowd all skiing straight downhill, but as if you're in your own private resort, surrounded by hills and trees. Lovely.
Stay at Copper for convenience, or in Frisco or Breckinridge for more nightlife. You can take the ski bus to whichever resort has fresh powder that day.
Ski area webcams at www.summitchamber.org/
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