Forget ski-in/ski-out lodging or all those amazing restaurants that are just steps from the hill. What about the truly unique ski-in/ski-out experiences, the moments that make the cover of picture albums and become your go-to travel story? Curbed Ski began with the question, "What are the weirdest things you can ski to?" and this is the result. We found the world's only ski-in/ski-out Starbucks, a well-known statue of Jesus that requires snow gear to see, a pop-up bar where you don't need to take off your skis to indulge in pricey caviar and champagne, and much more. So without further delay, here is our first-ever list of the most awesome/bizarre things that you can ski to.
Starbucks: As further proof that Starbucks has indeed taken over the world, at the company's Squaw Valley location, there is no need to take off your skis to indulge in your Grande Nonfat Sugar Free Two Pump White Chocolate Mocha. And while skiing to grab coffee may not be a novelty, the ski-through outdoor window makes the world's only ski-in/ski-out Starbucks pretty unique.
A Sauna Gondola: Saunas in high-end spas at the base area are so 1995. All the cool resorts these days (well, at least one) are adding saunas on the mountain. In the Finnish resort of Ylläs in Lapland, the ski area converted a gondola cabin into a timber-lined sauna. Skiers strip off their gear, take a ride in the sauna (with up to three friends) to the summit, and then spend time in a "normal" sauna on top of the mountain.
A Distillery: Okay, so you have to take your skis off to drink the whiskey, but we just can't get enough of the world's only ski-in distillery, High West Distillery in Park City. Just take the blue cruiser runs Quin'N Time or Creole into the town of Park City and ski till you can't ski anymore. Delicious food and awesome whisky await. And for those brave enough to head back onto the hill, catch the Town Lift (across the street) to make a few more runs.
An Ice Chapel: Sure, plenty of people get married at mountains around the world, but did you know that you can ski to a wedding in an ice chapel? The ice cave at Saas Fee, Switzerland boasts a beautiful chapel that takes the whole "winter wonderland" theme to the next level.
Jesus: In the ski community, the Jesus Statue at Whitefish Mountain Resort is an iconic landmark. Built almost 60 years ago to honor the 10th Mountain Division's efforts in WWII, the statue has survived vandals, blizzards, and even a lawsuit that aimed to have the statue removed.
Champagne and Caviar: Okay, there are probably plenty of places where you can indulge in champagne and caviar after skiing. But what about on-mountain, with your skis on? The only place that happens is Aspen. Each spring, the Little Nell reincarnates the Oasis, a pop-up, ski-in/ski-out champagne bar that turns up around Aspen Mountain to dish out bubbly and caviar. Because the only way to make skiing more pretentious is to sip a $225 bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame without unstrapping from your $2000 skis.
A Volcano: There are several volcanos that you can ski on, but we find the one at Ski Pucon in Chile's Araucania Province to be the most dramatic. It may take a bit of a hike, but 2 hours from the resort's highest lift you'll find the Villarrica Volcano, Chile's most active volcano. Check out the smoke and bubbling magma before skiing down the treeless slopes (did we mention it's a volcano!) back to the base.
A Double Decker Tram: Double decker busses don't just haul irritating tourists around London, NYC, and Paris, they also haul skiers up les Arcs and la Plagne in France. Not buses, exactly, but the double decker cabins of the Vanoise Express are each capable of holding 200 passengers as it travels 1,000 vertical feet to the summit.
So there you have it, Curbediverse: a tour of 8 unique, wacky, and frankly bizarre things you can ski to. Did we miss something? Let us know or put it in the comments.
· The World's Most Unusual Ski Lifts [Liftopia]
· Start Après Early With Champagne on Aspen Mountain [Curbed Ski]
· What It Means To Ski in a Vail-Dominated World [Curbed Ski]
· Why the Death of the Ski Bum Will Ruin Ski Towns Everywhere [Curbed Ski]
· The Snow Lover's Bucket List: 33 Things to Do Before You Die [Curbed Ski]