Inside Track – Ski Bucket List; David

Dave June 4th, 2014

Having started his love affair with winter sports on the slopes of Scotland (both real snow and dry slopes!), David spent several seasons living and working in Austria and he is a big fan of this small and charming country. A qualified snowboarding instructor, David knows all about the great slopes, pretty resorts and plentiful après-ski on offer in the Austrian Alps but he’s also ventured further afar in recent years and counts Whistler and Banff as two of the top ski destinations in the world. Read on for David’s Ski Bucket List.

Ski Bucket List; David

My Top Three Ski Resorts:

Ski Bucket List; David

Whistler – hard to beat!

  1. Whistler: Staying at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. A huge and magical ski area that is just world class, and very hard to beat!
  2. Banff: Staying at the Fox Hotel & Suites which are lovely, and have a great location on Banff Avenue. Banff is a great traditional Canadian town with friendly locals and great terrain at the Sunshine & Lake Louise ski areas.
  3. St Anton: Staying in the Post Hotel in the centre of St Anton. With easy access to the massive Arlberg Ski Region, and with over 400km’s of terrain & off-piste, you just keep discovering something new every time you visit.

My ultimate skiing itinerary:

Hmmmm, if my budget were limitless, then I’d have to say my ultimate skiing itinerary would be a multi-centre trip over in North America.

Ski Bucket List; David

Vancouver to Whistler, to Vegas – David’s ultimate North American trip

Of course, I’d be flying British Airways Club World flights Edinburgh to Vancouver, and spending 3 nights at the Fairmont Pacific Rim in a Gold Level Room….nice! Previously, I’ve only really passed through Vancouver on my way to Whistler, so I’d like to spend a bit of time exploring this popular city. I’d then transfer up to Whistler for a 12 night stay in a Gold Room at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

For me, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is hard to beat due to it’s fantastic location, friendly & relaxed atmosphere, and great facilities such as the lap pool that actually plays music underwater. During my stay in Whistler I’d arrange some heli-boarding ever other day (depending on the weather), and have another go at the Ziptrek, which is great fun!

Ski Bucket List; David

Explore Whistler’s backcountry on a heli-ski/heli-boarding adventure. Image: Yusaku Tanaka

After a fab time in Whistler, I’d then fly from Vancouver into Las Vegas, where I’d stay for 4 nights in the amazing Aria Resort & Casino in a Executive Suite. Why not go for the best eh? I’ve visited Las Vegas a couple of times before when my best friend used to live there, and think Vegas is just a fun place to visit, and would make a great stopover destination at the end of my trip. In Vegas, you can just chill out & relax at these amazing resort hotels, or, you can just go for it Vegas style, and hopefully not end up as an additional cast member in the ‘Hangover’ film. This would be an amazing trip, and If I keep playing the Lotto…it may just happen ;o).

My Favourite Places to Stay:

I admit, that there are quite a few on my list, but one trip I did a couple of years ago with Ski Independence is pretty hard to beat. We did a trip over to Alberta to touch base with some of our Canadian suppliers/friends in the resorts of Banff, Lake Louise & Jasper. We were very privileged to be staying in the lovely Fairmont hotels in each of the resorts, and all three hotels could not be more different, while still maintaining that classic Fairmont style, and top facilities.

Ski Bucket List; David

The iconic Fairmont Banff Springs hotel

The Fairmont Banff Springs just reminded me of a Scottish castle overlooking the town of Banff. Recently refurbished, this hotel’s decor & leisure facilities were just fantastic, with a good selection of restaurants and a great bakery.

Due to its location at the edge of Lake Louise, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise has views of the lake & surrounding glaciers that are just incredible. You can’t stay in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise unless you have a lake view room, and visit the Chateau deli at least once for a breakfast burrito.

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a hotel located on the edge of Lake Beauvert where you have a main lodge, with signature cabins spanning out from either side with magic views of the lake & surrounding mountains. I’ve never (and will probably ever again) stayed at a hotel where we actually saw two wolves chasing a pack of coyotes just outside the grounds…you just can’t made that stuff up!

My most memorable skiing experience:

I was working & living in St Anton in Austria a number of years back, and in the beginning of March a huge snow storm passed over the Arlberg region, leaving over a meter of fresh snow in a couple of days. Once it cleared, a friend and I had two amazing bluebird powder days getting first tracks, which I will never forget. At one point when I was off-piste, I hadn’t realise that I had ventured onto the roof of a farm house because the snow was so deep, and sneakily dropped off the front of this little mountain alm, and continued on.

Ski Bucket List; David

Autrian Powder in St Anton. Image: Josef-Mall

For Couples I would recommend:

  • St AntonArlberg ski region – Hotel Grieshof: any visitor has got to do après-ski at the infamous Mooserwirt & Krazy Kanguruh bars on the mountain.
  • Chamonix, Chamonix Valley – Hotel Le Morgane: a vast and varied ski area with great terrain.
  • Breckenridge, All the Peaks, and your lift pass covers Keystone & Vail – DoubleTree by Hilton is in a great location not far from main Street, and is a great full-service hotel with outdoor hot tubs.
  • Lake Louise: Fantastic ski area (along with Sunshine), with fab terrain and good snow – Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in a Deluxe Lake View Room. You just can’t go to this hotel without staying in a Lake View Room!

For families I would recommend:

  • Les Arcs 1950, Paradiski ski area: Great ski area, modern apartments & facilities, with ski schools, rentals, restaurants etc, all on your doorstep.
  • Whistler, Whistler-Blackcomb ski area: stay either the Delta Whistler Village Suites, or a Hilton Family Combo Unit at the Hilton Whistler, plus Ziptrek, dog-sledding, bobsleigh, tubing etc.
  • Tremblant: super fun ski area aimed at beginners & intermediates, and a village where all the properties are ski in/out – Hilton Homewood Suites offer good quality accommodation lots of family activities.

Get in touch with David or any of our reservations team by calling 0131 243 8097 for expert help and advice with your ski holiday plans this winter. We have a huge number of Early Booking offers that you can benefit from. Click here to request a tailor-made quotation online.

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