Have you ever been to a ski resort town? Do you know what they're like? Are they even fun for those who don't know how to ski? Since the early 20th century (or possibly earlier), society's elite have been escaping to various mountain towns to ski and luxuriate. As such, many of these destinations have become the most desirable, especially around winter. You've probably heard of them yourself and plan to go to one, don't you? Before you pack your bags, however, you'd do well to learn more about ski towns in general. Info such as where the best ski resort towns are, if skiing is a requirement, and if you need a car or not.
There are Ski Resort Towns Around The World
Think of the famous ski resort towns you know: Vail, Aspen, Park City, Whistler, Chamonix, Zermatt, etc. Aren't these all in just two places in the world, North America and Europe? Does this mean that you can only find ski resort towns on these specific parts of the planet? Of course, not. As popular as these destinations may be, there are also ski resort towns in other regions. In East Asia alone, the resorts in Hokkaido in Japan and Gangwon-do in South Korea are pretty notable. As is Wanaka in New Zealand too!
They're Not Big Cities
They're called “towns” for a reason. As popular as these destinations are, they're far from being standard cities. Take a look at the towns in the French Alps
, for example. Sure, these places might have many cafes, a few museums, and ample public transport, but they're nowhere near as 'complete' as, say, Paris. There are many facilities in the French capital that you won't find in Chamonix or Morzine. As such, it pays to be more careful when you're in a ski resort town. You might end up needing something or to go somewhere that's not in the town you're in.
Ski Resort Towns Are More Popular Than You Think
Nevertheless, ski resort towns are popular. They can get pretty crowded at times, which is why it's easy to confuse them for big, standard cities. And it's important to know this because this will help you plan your trip better. If you go to Aspen, Colorado in its peak season, for example, expect to see a lot of crowds. You might have planned to go here to escape the big city life and yet the place looks exactly like how it is back home, ruining your vacation. If you went here during the off-season, you would've had a better time!
Skiing Isn't A Requirement
Just because it's a ski resort town, it doesn't mean skiing is required. In fact, you can plan an entire ski holiday and not do any skiing at all. Let's not forget that these are resort towns too, which means they're practically built for vacation. Skiing might be the main activity they offer, but it's not all what they're about. In Chamonix, France, for example, the storybook-like appeal offers the most marvelous French countryside
charms. While in Innsbruck, Austria, there are plenty of museums and galleries to entertain you outside of the slopes.
Beginners Should Get Lessons
This is a no-brainer but unfortunately, there are lots of foolish people out there who think that skiing is a walk in the park. So for their sake, it bears repeating that beginners ought to get lessons before going on the slopes. You should at least get the basics down pat before you attempt to ski, even with an instructor present. It's easy to think that sliding down the mountain with sticks on your feet is no big deal, especially with all the gear you have on. But one mistake is enough to cause a grave injury or much worse.
Ski Accidents Can Be Deadly
The late actors Natasha Richardson and Gaspard Ulliel are proof that ski accidents are no joke! Glamorous as it may be to play in a ski resort town, you never know what might happen. Even the most experienced athletes are not immune to falling victim to deathly accidents. Sometimes, it's beyond their control. Something as simple as a wrong turn, forgetting one specific gear, or doing the wrong move at the wrong time can change your life forever. Or perhaps even take it away in an instant! This is important to remember when you travel to a ski resort town!
You Don't Need A Car
Do you need a car to get around a ski resort town? Not necessarily! Though having your own car will help, these towns aren't so rural that commuting is a foreign concept. Take the public transport in Morzine
, for instance. From the Télécabine to the free ski buses, you'd barely need your own vehicle to get to where you need to be. In some cases, it's even better if you don't bring a car. If you go to a ski resort town in the peak season and you bring your own car, chances are you'll spend a lot of time stuck in traffic jams.
They Stay Open Even When It's Not Winter
While ski resort towns are the most popular during the winter season, many of them stay open at any other time of year too. The aforementioned Innsbruck in Austria is a good example. Since it's a big town with a variety of tourist attractions, it never fails to draw in visitors even in spring or summer. Wanaka in New Zealand, on the other hand, turns into an idyllic lakeside town after winter. It's one of the best places to go camping during the warmer seasons. The same goes for Whistler in Canada too. There are tons of things to do in Whistler
apart from skiing, ranging from mountain biking to hiking and more!
Before you travel to any of the world's finest ski resort towns, it's better to know what these places are all about first. Ski resort towns are unlike any other destination out there, so you'd do well to learn more about them.