Grab Your Skis and Hit These Slopes3 min read
The winter sports season is here, meaning it’s time to hobnob with jet setters at the world’s greatest ski resorts – how awesome does that sound? A winter vacation on the slopes can be just about the perfect dose of “healthy travel” – skiing and snowboarding are not only fun; they’re great forms of exercise.
Downhill skiing, though it takes shorter bursts of energy, requires you to use your some of your largest muscles: hamstrings, quadriceps (thigh), calf, hip and foot muscles. You may also use your abdominal muscles for control in addition to strengthening your arms by using poles. This power sport improves your balance, agility, flexibility, leg and core strength. And it doesn’t put stress on your back muscles like water skiing. You can burn anywhere from 360 to 570 calories per hour during downhill skiing.
Snowboarders work their calf muscles, hamstrings, and quads to guide their snowboard. They also use their ankle and foot muscles for steering and core muscles for balance. Snowboarding can burn approximately 480 calories per hour.
These winter sports may be good for more than your physical fitness too – some recent studies have shown that people’s mood and anxiety level improve when they exercise outdoors. Exercise causes your body to produce those feel-good hormones known as endorphins that make you feel happy.
So take advantage of this winter season and travel to some of the world’s best slopes – your mind and body will thank you for it.
Fernie, British Columbia, Canada
This spot is touted as having the most spectacular terrain and best snow in Canada. Despite these awesome conditions, it is a bit less traveled to than other Canadian ski destinations, which means the slopes are much less crowded. Not only is it a great place to ski, but it is the home to an eclectic and charming downtown full of interesting bars, restaurants and shops.
Even compared to all of Switzerland’s classic ski towns, Zermatt is often considered the world’s ultimate ski resort. Its views are worth the train ride in – this resort is surrounded by glacial peaks and the distinctive Matterhorn.
This picturesque village is stunning, but so are the slopes, which have vertical drops of up to 7,152 feet on varying terrain. You won’t go hungry either – there are more than 50 fine restaurants on the mountain.
The skiing destination is known around the world as the birthplace of extreme skiing, with some of the world’s best lift-accessed steep skiing and snowboarding. Chamonix is for all levels of skiers though, offering a variety of slopes for all levels. Skiing and snowboarding here is marked by long slopes, skiing through the trees, free ride and beginners’ slopes.
This town is also known for its cobblestone streets, car-free pedestrian center and spirited nightlife.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of Italy’s most famous and extensive ski towns and once hosted the Winter Olympics. The town is surrounded by mountain scenery with slopes for all levels of skiers. Cortina itself is a large resort with two cable cars from either end of its center accessing the main ski areas.
This happens to be one of the most upscale resorts in Italy, so you’ll find furriers, designer boutiques and restaurants serving the finest wines here.
Niseko is comprised of four resorts on one mountain that is known for some of the lightest powder in the world. Seasonal winds and storms out of neighboring Siberia form snow clouds, churning out some of the driest, lightest snow.
There is a variety of terrain and winter woods here, creating a memorable experience for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Night skiing is popular here, with enormous stadium-style lighting that brightens the slopes.