Thinking of jetting off to a hot country for some winter sun? Think again. This season, embrace the sights, sounds and all-important snow of a stay at an alpine resort.
GET FIT AND HAVE FUN
For anyone staying in any snow-capped location, it's hard to resist the all-encompassing exercise and health culture. Perhaps the slim, healthy looking locals are all too obvious a reminder of one's own Christmas over-indulgences or maybe just something in the air.
Obviously the main pull of the mountains is clipping into a pair of skis, hopping over the edge and carving up the piste; but it’s not just up out of resort where you can get your legs burning. Back down in the ‘chocolate box’ resorts, there’s always a plethora of ‘extra-curricular’ activities for you to take part in. Choose your resort carefully and the options will be endless, ice-skating, tobogganing and cross-country skiing will give you opportunities to stay on the cold stuff and get your heart pumping. For when you’re on the slopes and in the snow, the Odlo SLY LOGIC Ski Pants for men and Odlo SLY LOGIC Ski Pants for women provide ultimate insulation from the cold with minimal bulk. You can also use your time to learn with many resorts running free lessons in mountain safety. Learn how to use transceivers and probes to stay safe if you are planning to head off into the backcountry or just want to broaden your knowledge.
If you’re looking to get out of the cold, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to track down a fitness suite, kitted out with a gym and undoubtedly a spa to chill out in after a long day on the slopes.
Staying in the cold this season is the best decision you can make, jetting off to the heat sentences you to a week or two of just sitting, relaxing and creating dodgy tan lines. Pale, topless tourists in a tropical country with their V-neck tan lines are up there with socks and sandals in the uncool stakes; so, don’t even run the risk, stay in the cold where you have every opportunity to get out, explore and have fun whilst staying fit. It’s surely a no brainer.
EXPERIENCE THE APRÉS
Ski resorts aren’t all about the work-hard lifestyle; they sure know how to play-hard too. Spend the day charging the pistes before packing up slightly early and heading to an après bar to really ‘relax’. Most resorts are home to a bar/restaurant that transforms into a mountainside party in the late afternoon as revellers loosen their boots and head to the hot spots for a proper ‘let your hair down’ afternoon. Dance on the tables into the early evening with your friends and family whilst the sun disappears behind the surrounding peaks; if you’re able to prize yourself away from the music for a moment, take in the breath-taking views over the valley.
Depending on the resort you go for, the aprés scene will vary. Bounce on the verandas of the French party bars to the freshest tracks from DJ’s that often have a saxophonist partying with them for good measure. Or take a more traditional approach to things in an Austrian hut, with some traditional dancing to an exuberant Oompah band, armed with stein in hand. Regardless of what scene you choose, ski boots offer a perfect dancing shoe for all occasions; a toe-heel swivel is easily mastered with a little bit of practice.
The parties in the heat will struggle to match any of the unique aprés scenes that you’ll come across in the cold resorts. In the hot places, waiting for the cooler parts of the day pushes parties back later into the night; the beauty of the cold resorts, it’s never too hot to party! By starting early, you finish early; by finishing early, you’re up early and ready to shred the toughest lines the next day. In the heat, you start late and finish even later; you wake up late and before you know it, have lost a morning… why jet away and miss out on your time? Stay in the cold and make the most of every minute. If nothing else, ski boots make much better dancing shoes than flip-flops.
The winter season and extreme weather means only one thing, amazing food and drink. With Raclettes, Fondues and Frittatensuppe (a beef broth with sliced pancakes) on the menu, who’d ever argue against staying in the cold? Sitting down in any alpine restaurant guarantees you a choice of meats, cheeses and broths and about everything else ‘hearty’ you can think of. When chasing the sun, the story is very different, a mixture of salads and lean meat ensure your beach body stays at its chiselled best… but who can really say they want salad all year round?
In the snow, it’s time for indulgence and it doesn’t stop at the food either; vin chaud in France, gluhwein in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and mulled wine in England is a favourite tipple for all snow dwellers. After a day in the cold, take your pick in the best beers, wines and liquors from these chilly regions to your heart’s content, or at least until you feel you should stop! With guaranteed exercise during the day, some over-indulgence in the evenings is almost guilt-free. Once you’re out on the slopes, ‘Schiwasser’ is the best for giving you a sugar kick to battle through the elements and to quench a thirst, its sweet raspberry and lemon flavours taste amazing and are almost worth staying in the cold for alone.
The lure of a Caribbean cocktail of rum and fruit juices in the sun is understandably inviting, but when the option of amazing local cheeses, meats and liquors are put in front of you, it’s difficult to turn your back and head for the sun.
If your extra glass of wine or helping of fondue from the night before does delay your start the following morning, any ski resort will have a selection of shops for you to rummage through to grow your winter wardrobe.
Popular belief will have you think that less clothes is always more fun… but popular belief isn’t always right. Buying for a trip to the sun sure is boring; it’s all just shorts, bikinis and sun cream; just think of the fun you can have extending your winter wardrobe. Full of a variety of jackets, jumpers and boots, the winter wardrobe gives you the scope to really express yourself and provides a great excuse for a treat. Going into the market for a new winter jacket will fill anyone with enough excitement to vie for the land of lederhosen over the land of grass skirts. Being able to show off your Odlo FAB COCOON Jacket for men or Odlo FAB COCOON Jacket for women around the alpine towns is essential and half the fun. The FAB COCOON Jacket’s sleek modern look is lightweight and provides optimal performance with its breathable features and hidden Recco reflector. It’s the ideal choice on the slopes and in the town. Looking great from chalet, to lift, to après in your new ski-wear is essential, strolling along a beach with just a pair of shorts and an exposed hairy chest just doesn’t compare; and is arguably much tougher on the eye too!
It’s not just wardrobe options that the resorts have in their favour, get your hands on any new gear that you need from skis, boots, poles, novelty helmet covers… anything! Testing out your new gear adds to the thrill of skiing regardless of your style; if you’re a hard-charger tearing up the couloirs or an easy-going fashionista cruising through the trees, you need to look good and perform well, so hitting up the shops whilst in resort is a must.
TAKE IN THE LANDSCAPE
Hawaii, it is just endless sandy beaches, crystal clear sea, leaning palm trees and soaring temperatures… it’s all just so grating. Escape the predictability and discover a potentially cloudy, cold and grey landscape that is just as unpredictable as any 2016 election. On its off days, staying in the cold during the winter can be bleak, but it’s those days that make the good days that extra bit special.
Waking up after the previous day’s whiteout, to a bluebird with blue skies, fresh powder and an incredible view down the valley of countless snow-tipped peaks, will make you eternally grateful to yourself for resisting the temptation to go hunting for some winter sun. Jump out and pull on an Odlo STUFF Ski Pullover for men and Odlo STUFF Ski Pullover for women and take advantage of the beautiful landscape you find yourself in. The STUFF Ski Pullover will protect you from the cold; its moisture management will keep you dry and its natural odours control will put your mind at rest when you stop. Having the best gear gives you the freedom to explore the beauty of any frozen landscape from the top glaciers in the Alps to the tree-lined circuits in the bottom of the valleys.
Staying in the cold this winter should be an easy choice, the resorts provide a bit of everything for anyone. Any expert, intermediate or beginner can find their feet at any resort. Those less interested in the skiing will find refuge strolling through the chic shops, partying in the bars, relaxing in a spa or partaking in all of the above. Once you’re in the winter wonderland, the thoughts of sandy beaches and palm trees will soon melt away.