Winter will soon arrive in all its snowy glory. It’s the most magical time of the year, so why not head to some spectacular winter wonderland resorts to put you in the holiday spirit. From pony sledding to snowmobiling, it’ll be love at frost sight for travelers craving something beyond skiing (because winter vacations don’t always have to be about skiing). Take a look at these unconventional frosty weather activities from around the world.
Sledding at the Carlton Hotel St. Moritz
While St. Moritz is one of the most well-known ski resorts in the world, the town also offers plenty of activities for non-skiers to enjoy. Travelers to the area are invited to stay at the Carlton Hotel St. Moritz, where they can take advantage of one of their winter experiences for an unforgettable stay in the magnificent Alps. New for the 2020-2021 winter season is the property’s sledding from Preda to Bergun, where guests hop on the train to Preda to embark on the longest sled run in Europe, spanning just under four miles, to Bergün, For travelers who want to take in the scenes from above, the Carlton offers paragliding from Corvatsch, allowing guests to soar over the Alps for a one-of-a-kind flight. Those looking for something a little more low-key can enjoy their carriage ride through the town, complete with warm furs and mulled wine, or spend a day with the hotel’s very own Outdoor Butler, an experience that is completely tailored to the interests of the guests.
Snow Rafting at the Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, in Niseko Village, Japan
On the starkly snowy Japanese island of Hokkaido rests Niseko Village, a prime winter destination. Resting at the foot of Mount Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village is a haven for ski lovers and non-skiers alike who appreciate secluded luxury and culture. The winter wonderland offers its very own Snow School with a variety of activities for guests of all ages to enjoy. Adventure seekers can spend the day whisking through fresh white powder by snowmobiling or snow rafting, while those looking for something less thrilling can enjoy reindeer sledding and snowshoeing.
Opening this December, Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will act as a world-class gateway to Niseko’s mountains and winter offerings. Complete with a team of Higashiyama Reservists to create a tailored experience, the new property will provide access to the top highlights and offerings in the area. No matter the activity, whether soothing or exhilarating, guests of Niseko Village and its newest resort will experience a stay unlike no other.
Hot-air balloon rides, pony sledding and more in Méribel
Les Trois Vallées in France is the largest ski domain in the world and includes Méribel, the oldest resort within the domain. Méribel is a very popular skiing and cold weather destination for Europeans and internationals alike. However, while skiing is the firm favorite and popular winter activity that attracts visitors to Méribel, there are a number of other opportunities to explore the area. For novice and level 1 skiers, a unique activity is skiing joëring, where a horse pulls skiers as they hold on tight and experience how mountain goers made the ascent in the days before ski lifts. Something similar is sledding and pony sledding down 28 turns of the Mission Black Forest piste. Visitors can also take to the skies with hot-air balloon rides or even a two-seater paraglider for those who dare and see Les Trois Vallées ski domain from above. Additional activities include a hike through the forest with snowshoes or on horseback and snowmobile rides through the valley. Arranging these fun non-skiing winter experiences can be organized seamlessly for guests staying with Hôtel Le Coucou Méribel.
Perched on the heights of Belvédère, close to Le Rond-Point des Pistes, Hôtel Le Coucou is a the ultimate French Alps hotel located in one of the loveliest sites in Méribel, right next to the slopes. The hotel rubs shoulders with the snowcapped summits and overlooks the entire valley, providing stunning views. Renowned interior architect, Pierre Yovanovitch, designed the hotel in entirety to create a reinterpretation of the classic repertoire of the Alpine style with a contemporary look that is minimal, but also warm and subtly original. Hôtel Le Coucou offers 16 guest rooms and 39 suites, two private chalets, two restaurants including their own BeefBar butcher shop, a spa, a Kids Club and a Teens Lab by Petit VIP*, an indoor and outdoor pool, a ski room designed as a lounge boutique; and it is also ski-in/ski-out, with direct access to the slopes. The concierge team and experience manager of the hotel are available for guests to help arrange alternative activities to skiing within Meribel and Les Trois Vallées for a winter holiday to remember.
Snowmobiling in Aspen, Colorado
With an average snowfall of 153 inches per year and lows in the single digits, Aspen, Colorado is a frozen paradise, perfect for cold-weather lovers. Travelers exploring Aspen can enjoy plenty of snow-inspired activities – without ever having to hit the slopes. Adventurers can try snowmobiling through White River National Forest, try ice climbing a frozen waterfall, fly fish in the Roaring Fork Valley or strap on some snowshoes and trek the trails on the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System.
To warm up after chilly days outside, guests can retire to this exquisite Aspen Townhouse available through luxury property and travel club THIRDHOME. The lodging from the Quintess Collection features four bedrooms and can easily accommodate ten guests. Guests can enjoy the expansive views of the legendary Aspen mountains curled up next to a roaring fire and while soaking in the hot tub.
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