SKI SECRETS… you won’t find on Expedia

Ski the Haute Trail!

This most classic and famous of all European high route ski tours, connecting Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland, runs along the spine of the Alps and includes 10 of the 12 highest peaks, including the famous Matterhorn.

You’ll ski under the expert guidance of trip leaders, on amazing glacier runs and even, in skins, up a number of peaks too.

At night, you’ll stay in ski-in lodges and spectacularly situated small hotels, where your luggage is forwarded for you, allowing you to day-ski with only a light pack.

If this all just sounds too strenuous, try the Berner Oberland Haute Route, which has the same excellent Swiss Alpine huts but requires less skiing expertise (strong intermediates welcome).

A 9-day all-inclusive ski tour runs from US$2200-2900, plus air.

Ski-in to the Stone hut atop Mt Mansfield!

Built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a warming hut, the Stone Hut is open about 150 nights each winter and has become one of New England’s most popular accommodations. For one thing, the Stone Hut is cheap: just $150 for an entire ski-in, ski-out property!

What else is the allure?

The novelty of sleeping atop Mt Mansfield, scoring first tracks on Stowe’s Nosedive (or any of the Front Four) in the morning, and staving off the winter’s fierceness with a woodstove and good company.

Bring a headlamp and a sleeping bag!

And apply early… there’s a mail-in reservations lottery run every Fall, although last minute spots are handed out each Friday morning at 9am.

As Robert Fletcher, writer for Elevation 3550, once questioned: How many skiers can claim they have polished off steaks with a can of Pabst’s sweetest nectar, while the wind howled outside and the temperature dropped 10 degrees an hour? Brother, that’s skiing, Stone Hut style!”

Ski the pass from Crested Butte to Aspen!

This classic multi-day trip takes you from Crested Butte, over the Pearl Pass, to Aspen… through rugged and dramatic terrain!

You should have a good level of fitness and skill, but you’ll have the comforts of a cozy hut to look forward to each night.

And you’ll truly feel like you’re escaping civilization, on this one-way ski trek through deep wilderness!

At the end, you’ll take a small plane back to CB.

5-day Hut tour runs about $950pp.

Ski the Catamount Trail!

The Catamount is 300 miles long, running the length of Vermont’s Green Mountains and making it the longest ski trail in North America.

The trail is interspersed with fine country inns, like this one:

who are experienced in organizing multi-day tours and eager to offer fine meals and complete support services.

And you get to choose:

Take the “Touring Cat” route, on beginner/intermediate routes which use groomed trails by Nordic ski centers

OR Take the “Wild Cat” itinerary using wilderness trails and advanced-only terrain, covering 8 to 11 miles a day, and skiing through spruce forests, along panoramic vistas, and by secluded rivers and beaver ponds.

An all-inclusive ski tour includes cozy accommodations, hearty hot breakfasts and multi-course dinners, point to point skiing, car shuttles, maps, trail passes and day fees, gratuities, and even packed ski lunches.

Ski to a hotsprings cabin in Alaska!

Tackle the 11-mile trail on skis (or via dogsled!) and have your supplies brought in via snowmachine, for a super-comfy stay.

The route takes you over long steep hills and the Tolovana Hot Springs Dome, interspersed with low flat terrain.

You’ll be rewarded for this hard work, though, by your private rustic cabin, complete with a propane stove, a fully equipped kitchen, bunks for 4, and a woodstove. Firewood provided.

You’ll bathe in natural hot springs, exposed to the weather, the stars.. and the dancing aurora borealis, if you’re lucky!

Consider getting out of the hot tub on a cold night to be part of your experience!

This is strictly a wilderness adventure and there are no on-site personnel or emergency communications, so consider this outing seriously.

Ski Tuckerman Ravine and Mt Washington!

Do extreme backcountry, right here at home!

Mt Washington is the premier spot in the East for backcountry skiing and mountaineering. When conditions are right, it’s possible to ski practically 4000’ vertical feet, from the summit all the back to your car at Pinkham Notch Hut.

The scariest and most famous area is the Headwall at Tuckerman Ravine, but you don’t have to be an expert. The general rule is:

skiiers and riders wanting to experience these tours should be able to ski most runs at a lift serviced ski area.

All skiers, though, should be in very good physical shape, since the runs are accessed by a 1+ mile snowy, icy, bouldery hike from the parking lot.

Ski from Austrian Chalets above the fray!

Take the bray of a donkey, a sip of hot coffee from a creaky wooden balcony, and a view overlooking a timbered valley with a small river twisting far below, around church spires and through mountainside farms, with sheep and cows grazing on the alm, or mountain pastures….

Welcome to Taxhof farmstead!

Founded some 500 years ago, Taxhof has evolved from something solely utilitarian into an idyllic place to eat, sleep and breathe crystal-clean air. It has five guest rooms in the main farmhouse and two chalet-like outbuildings on the grounds. You can live here, high in an Alpine hut, for a uniquely serene, and now comfortable, mountain experience.

Austria’s mountain regions — the western provinces of Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg, along with parts of Styria and Carinthia — have been sprouting Almdörfer, translated as mountain pasture villages, groups of chalets or huts on mountainsides that offer creature comforts to go along with the vistas.

You can make your own bread, learn cheese production, and even enjoy wellness and spa treatments.

Each farmstead is different, but all offer accommodations, above the fray, so to speak… as well as fine mountain meals.

“All the food is from right here; everything’s natural, except the butter and milk, which is from the dairy farm up the road,” says Taxhof’s owner, and sure enough, we sampled a breakfast spread of home-cured ham slices, fresh dark bread, homemade marmalades and eggs that might have just been laid by the chickens outside.

You’ll have direct access to the expansive Amade Ski area:

or the Saalfelden Leogang Downhill Area:

and cross-country enthusiasts can glide onto an extensive trail system right from their doors!

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