New High-Speed Rail Service From The UK To The Alps

ski trainWhether you’re a ski fanatic or simply a lover of natural beauty, the Swiss Alps are a destination on many people’s bucket lists. Now there’s a new way to get there.

A new partnership between Eurostar and Lyria, a high-speed Swiss train operator, brings us a day-long journey from London to Switzerland offered every Saturday from December 22 to April 13. The train zips along at over 300 kilometers per hour, making the trip a quick and simple daylong affair.

Stop at Aigle, Martigny, Visp and Brig or change trains in Lille to access the resort towns of Verbier, Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Villars and many others. The French resort towns of Chamonix and Portes du Soleil.
are also accessible.

The journey is even fairly affordable … just £189 in standard, and first class on Lyria from £299. Thanks to A Luxury Travel Blog for alerting us!

[Image credit: Eurostar]

Ski Season Is Coming: Buy Early To Save

ski seasonSki season may seem far away but while snow has yet to hit the slopes, resorts are offering advance sales on lift tickets. Like buying winter clothes in the summer and swimwear in the winter, ski fans know now is the time to buy lift tickets and make resort reservations.

“Every season skiers and snowboarders start to get the itch,” says Evan Reece, Co-Founder and CEO of Liftopia, a big online retailer of lift tickets on his blog, adding “It could be a cool breeze that catches you the right way, the change in the way the light falls on the trees, or if you are like me the first dream I had about skis gliding effortlessly through perfect powder.”

Got that itch? Check these online sources for some of the best values.

Ski.com the largest independent seller of mountain travel in North America, selling more than 80 of the most popular resorts and 1400 properties in North America, Europe and South America. Savings go up to 50% on Colorado resorts with stays starting as early as November 12, 2012.Liftopia has their largest-ever Red Hot End of Summer Sale, featuring more than 32,700 deals with up to 86% off ticket prices at more than 60 ski resorts across North America.

REI has the latest snowboards, boots, bindings and clothing from 686, Arbor, Burton, Dakine, Gnu, Oakley, Vans and more top brands. Their ecoSensitive Program takes responsibility for the entire life cycles of their products, from design to manufacture to end-of-life too.

SkiEssentials.com specializes in providing alpine ski and snowboard equipment, winter apparel, footwear, and travel gear. They sell new skis and used demo skis, alpine bindings and ski boots, as well as travel equipment such as ski bags, boot bags, wheeled travel bags, backpacks, hydration packs, and hard travel cases.

“Much like airlines and hotels, the farther you buy in advance the more you will save on your lift ticket deals. Resorts will give you a better deal when you commit farther in advance of your trip,” says Reece.

Flickr photo by mcmortygreen

Best Ski Resorts in North America

Food & Wine Classic at Aspen celebrates 30 years, tickets going fast

aspen food and wine 2012Who would have guessed that 30 years ago, a high-altitude, fancy-pants gathering of some chefs, winemakers, and hungry and thirsty revelers would have evolved into the nation’s preeminent food and wine festival?

This year, from June 15-17th, Food & Wine magazine will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the legendary Food & Wine Classic at Aspen. Join the nation’s top chefs including Jacques Pépin, Mario Batali, Ming Tsai, Michael Symon, and Tom Colicchio, as well as internationally renowned winemakers, master sommeliers, brewmasters, and mixologists at the most anticipated and prestigious culinary event of the year.

The three-day weekend also features over 80 cooking demos, wine and interactive seminars, panel discussions, tasting events, and classes on food and wine pairing, as well as a bacchanalia involving 300 winemakers, craft brewers, distillers, and food purveyors in the Grand Tasting Pavilion. This year, new seminars and demos include “Game on!” with Andrew Zimmern; Ming Tsai’s “Asian BBQ;” “Undiscovered Grapes of Spain” by Steve “Wine Geek” Olson; “Fried Chicken for the Soul” by Marcus Samuelsson, and “Swill for the Grill” by uber-restaurateur Danny Meyer.

Special anniversary events are also on the menu, including a hands-on knife skills seminar, “Butchering for Beginners,” by acclaimed chef John Besh, a 5K charity run, an anniversary party, and a late-night dessert bash (Fact: your metabolism actually speeds up at 8,000 feet!). Additional special events will be announced over the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen Facebook page over the next few months. Psst…tickets are selling fast, so hop to it.

Tickets are $1,125 before March 15, 2012 and $1,225 thereafter. Food & Wine donates two percent of the net proceeds from all tickets sold to Grow for Good, a national initiative dedicated to supporting local farms and encouraging sustainable agriculture. To purchase tickets, click here.

Need an affordable place to stay after splurging on said tickets? Here’s an insider tip.

How to Prevent Altitude Sickness

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Steamboat ski resort receives record snowfall

Steamboat ski resort has plenty of snowSkiers and snowboarders still looking for fresh powder this season now have another destination to add to their list. Earlier this week, Steamboat was hit by a massive storm that dumped 27 inches of snow on the region in less than 24 hours. That number marked a new single-day record for the ski resort, which has now received more than five feet of snow this month alone.

The resort now boasts a base of 75 inches at mid-mountain, with the summit cloaked in an additional seven inches of snow. But it seems mother nature hasn’t finished with Steamboat just yet, as additional accumulations are predicted for today and later in the week as well.

Located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the resort has an average yearly snowfall of 349 inches. So far this winter the mountain has received about half of that, which is still plenty to ensure that all 165 named trails, and 2965 skiable acres are open to the public. Steamboat also features a massive 450-foot long Mavericks Superpipe for the boarders as well, making an excellent destination for skiers and riders alike.

It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that ski resorts across the western U.S. were desperate for some powder, but that has changed dramatically in recent weeks. Now there seems to be an abundance of snow in most of the major resorts, and it doesn’t appear that it will be in short supply again any time soon. It may have taken a little longer than usual to get here, but winter has most definitely arrived, and we should enjoy it while we can.

[Photo credit: Steamboat/Larry Pierce]

Boy skis into bear den, lives to tell tale

A 12-year old Swedish boy has quite a tale to share after he accidently skied into a bear den last Friday, much to the ire of the inhabitant, who was home at the time.

Ollie Frisk and four of his friends were skiing in the backcountry at the Härjedalen ski resort, located in northern Sweden, at the time of the incident. Frisk unwittingly skied over the den, causing it to collapse under his weight and sending him tumbling inside. The female brown bear slumbering beneath the snow, woke up at the sound of an intruder in her home, and immediately pounced on the young man, who says he thought that he was dead for sure.

“I accepted death, that was the feeling, let it come,” Frisk is quoted as saying.

But Ollie didn’t die. Instead, he says, he quit struggling as he accepted the inevitability of his fate, and when he did so, the bear simply stopped attacking him. A few moments later she wandered out of the lair, where Ollie’s friends made loud noises to scare her away. They then helped Frisk from the den, and back down the hill to safety.

The boy spent the night in a hospital, where he was treated for bite wounds on both legs and scratches on his back. Although he is lucky to be alive, Ollie is recovering quite nicely now and has returned home with his family.

The bear’s cubs might not be so lucky however. After being scared off, the female hasn’t returned to the den and the cubs have now been left alone for several days. If they aren’t fed soon, wildlife officials may need to step in to save them. They’re still hoping that mama will return home to her kids, but they are prepared to act if she doesn’t.

[Photo credit: HBarrison via WikiMedia]