Ski resorts can be rated using many criteria: snow quality, snow quantity, trails, lift systems, nightlife, etc. But can the ambience of these towns also be important in making your decision? If you prefer to take random breaks from winter sports and stroll around a mountain town with your skiing partners, while embracing the local culture, the answer is yes.
Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Located 80 miles away from Montreal, Mont-Tremblant, part of the Laurentian mountain range, is an easy getaway for East Coast skiers.
Its picturesque Pedestrian Village, nestled near the base of Mont-Tremblant is a special place to hang out any time of day. It’s especially beautiful at dusk. This charming town offers multi-story buildings with vivid colored roofs that seem to be cut and pasted from an Alps ski resort, well-lit streets, and an array of shops, restaurants, and hotels that are lined up to embrace weary but happy skiers, hikers, and travelers. A few miles away from the resort, downtown St. Jovite and Old Village offer visitors amazing choices for shops, food, accommodations, and cultural activities.
Surrounded by magnificent mountains and lakes, the town is also a hub of the year-round outdoor activities: hiking, kayak, canoe, cycling, paintball, golf, etc. Snow Polo Tremblant, Ironman Mont-Tremblant, events at Circuit Mont-Tremblant... it's worthy of checking out the events calendar while you plan for your trip.
It opened in 1939, maintains its reputation as the one of the oldest and best resorts in North America. It serves 95 runs and 14 lifts on 650 acres. Generous snowfall is not an ordinary scene in Mont-Tremblant, but the well-groomed runs make up for the lack of blizzards.
Aspen, Colorado, USA
Winter is perhaps the most festive season of the year in North America, and Aspen, positioned in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, boasts the most festive ski resort of all.
The modern-day founders, Walter and Elizabeth Paepke, opened a ski resort in Aspen and planted the Aspen Ideas in 1946, in a tiny former silver mining area. It quickly emerged into a center of winter sports and cultural events. The Aspen Ideas that focuses on the community’s Mind, Body, and Spirit are the basis of Aspen’s arts and culture. Aspen Art Museum, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Wheeler Opera House, and Jazz Aspen Snowmass are conveniently located in downtown Aspen, and host world-class events throughout all the seasons. The traditional event in Aspen, Wintersköl. the annual “Toast to Winter” festival, celebrates its 65th birthday in 2016, and features Soupsköl, WinterFest, the Fat Cycle Challenge, fireworks, and more.
The snowfall in Aspen, about 300 inches annually, is what you can expect in most of Colorado’s ski mountains. The Aspen Snowmass is comprised of Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. A paradise for skiers, one pass/ticket works in all four mountains, and all four areas are conveniently connected by shuttles.
Taos, New Mexico, USA
Located at a high altitude in northern New Mexico, Taos brings a unique experience to its skiers with its cultural heritage and natural beauty.
The small town of Taos, a 30-minute drive from Taos Ski Valley, and Ranchos de Taos Plaza, a historic district in this region, have graciously preserved the history and arts of northern New Mexico. Visitors can enjoy the unique atmosphere of this mountain town with its mud-constructed adobe buildings and the spirit of a people in love with the arts. San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, a beautiful adobe landmark that Georgia O’Keeffe painted multiple times, is located in the Ranchos de Taos Plaza. The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, an impressive landscape of steep canyons with a tucked-in river, is also a visitor's favorite.
Taos Ski Valley is known for the light powdered snowfall, where an annual average of 300 inches of snow is reported. The ski resort was opened and run by Ernie Blake and his family since 1955 and was bought out in 2013. This delightful, glorious ski valley offers 110 runs and 13 lifts in 1,300 acres. The Kachina Lift, constructed in 2014, is one of the highest lifts in North America, reaching up to the magnificent Kachina Peak (12,481 feet elevation).