•   
  •   
  •   

Travel Can’t Make It to the Alps? Visit One of America’s European-Inspired Ski Towns

02:35  02 november  2021
02:35  02 november  2021 Source:   afar.com

Last call to pay less to ski this season with the Epic Pass: Lock in pricing by Sept. 6

  Last call to pay less to ski this season with the Epic Pass: Lock in pricing by Sept. 6 Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information. Cooler temperatures are right around the corner as we head toward fall, and that means ski season is almost here. After the heat advisories that have hit different pockets of the U.S., many are probably dreaming of freshly packed snow and the thrill of racing …Cooler temperatures are right around the corner as we head toward fall, and that means ski season is almost here. After the heat advisories that have hit different pockets of the U.S., many are probably dreaming of freshly packed snow and the thrill of racing down the mountain on a pair of skis.

Can’t Make It to the Alps? Visit One of America’s European-Inspired Ski Towns © Photo by Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock Can’t Make It to the Alps? Visit One of America’s European-Inspired Ski Towns

Europe’s eternally charming Alps region, spanning France, Monaco, Switzerland, Italy, Lichtensten, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia, is on many travelers’ wish lists for a reason—hello, gorgeous snowy peaks, endless fondue, après cocktails, and natural alpine hot springs. If you’re yearning for an Alpine experience closer to home, you can get your fix in several U.S. ski towns with a uniquely European past and aesthetic.

How did these Alps-inspired ski hubs come to be? In the 1930s, a small group of Germans and Austrians fleeing the rise of Hitler was deployed by U.S. ski developers to run America’s first ski schools and help turn its mountain towns into world-class resorts. They had been taught by the “father of modern skiing” Hannes Schneider at a famous ski school in St. Anton, Austria, and helped develop the modern resort and sport that we know in the U.S. today in places such as Stowe, Vermont, and Sun Valley, Idaho. Other U.S. ski destinations have also been inspired by their counterparts in the Alps.

Ghost towns hiding in the world's deserts

  Ghost towns hiding in the world's deserts The desert plains across the USA play home to a plethora of Wild West towns that went from being booming mining villages to lifeless towns, within decades. Similarly, the likes of South America, Australia and Southern Africa unveil the crumbling shells of once-thriving towns and villages that were abandoned and reclaimed by the desert. Here are the world’s desert communities that have become eerie ghost towns and, interestingly, manmade attractions.

So, if you can’t make it to Europe’s Alps region this winter, consider a chalet in a Tyrolean-style village at the base of one of America’s first ski resorts.

Leavenworth, Washington

Get your Europe and festive fix in one place in Leavenworth. © Photo by Shutterstock Get your Europe and festive fix in one place in Leavenworth.

If the thought of vacationing inside a life-sized snow globe appeals to you, Leavenworth, Washington is a good bet. This quaint Bavarian-style village, dominated by German A-line architecture with tiny windows and wooden balconies, is nestled in a narrow valley of the Cascade Mountains. The town features forested winter wonderland scenes straight out of a classic fairytale, and is home to one of the country’s earliest private ski clubs with a long legacy of competitive jumping. Visitors can still ski at this little mountain, now owned by the town, catch the shuttle to Stevens Pass, or in a few hours be at world-class mountains like Mission Ridge, Mount Hood (Oregon’s oldest and biggest), or Crystal Mountain, where Schneider’s pupil, Austrian Otto Lang, founded a ski school and made some of the first ski films, classics such as Ski Flight and Sun Valley Serenade.

5 things you must know before taking a first ski trip

  5 things you must know before taking a first ski trip I’ve been to almost 40 countries on every continent except Antarctica, yet I’ve never strapped on a pair of ski boots. That’s right, I’m a novice to the wonderful snow-clad sport known as skiing — and so are my children. So when my family settled on a first-time ski trip to Colorado during Thanksgiving week, …Now, with hours of research under my belt, I’ve got a bit more clarity on these questions and more for your first time hitting the slopes.

From Thanksgiving until February, the entire town of Leavenworth, one of America’s most festive Christmas towns, is decked out in thousands of strings of lights, and hosts carolers and numerous holiday festivities. There’s even a nearby reindeer farm. Snack on authentic German fare at München Hause Bavarian Grill & Beer Garden or Andreas Keller, and stay at the Bavarian Lodge or the Haus Hanika, a Swiss chalet with river and mountain views.

North Conway, New Hampshire

For a bit of Old World charm, head to North Conway in New Hampshire. © Photo by Nick Beer/Shutterstock For a bit of Old World charm, head to North Conway in New Hampshire.

The quaint ski town of North Conway in New Hampshire’s White Mountains was once home to Schneider himself. The legendary founder of the ever-popular three-step Arlberg teaching technique (that takes skiers from snowplough to paralell by shifting their weight on their outside ski for a “stem Christie” wedge turn) arrived in North Conway in 1939 straight from anti-Nazi house arrest. An influential financier pulled some strings and had Schneider released in Germany to come run his ski school at what’s now Cranmore Mountain Resort. Schneider’s son, Herbert, co-founder of the Professional Ski Instructors of America organization, later acquired Cranmore, and Schneider’s grandson went on to open the Schneider Hof Hotel Garni in St. Anton, Austria, in 2017, bringing the family story full circle.

Nature's most incredible spectacles you have to see

  Nature's most incredible spectacles you have to see From mesmerizing light displays in the sky and water to jaw-dropping animal migrations and more, we bring you some of the nature's most magnificent shows.

Today, the Schneider legend can be felt throughout the Cranmore experience. From the New England Ski Museum to the oldest ski shop in America (Lahout’s), the area is a scavenger hunt of rich World War II-era European ski history, and a short drive to about a dozen ski resorts. After hitting the slopes, stay at one of America’s first ski schools that is now converted into an inn, Eastern Slope Inn Resort, or opt for old world Austrian charm at Mittersill Alpine Resort, modeled by Austrian Baron Hubert von Pantz after his Austrian castle and ski club.

Stowe, Vermont

Get cozy with a stay at the Austrian-inspired Stowehof. © Courtesy of Stowehof Get cozy with a stay at the Austrian-inspired Stowehof.

Early Austrian influences in “the ski capital of the east” date back to 1936. That’s when Schneider’s student, Austrian engineer Sepp Ruschp, arrived in Stowe, Vermont, to direct the ski school at Mt. Mansfield, now Stowe Mountain Resort—home to the country’s first ski patrol. By the 1950s, climbers and skiers were traveling from all over to the Trapp Family Lodge, still owned and operated by the descendants of Maria and Baron Georg von Trapp of The Sound of Music fame. Over the years, the family’s add-ons, like the country’s first cross country ski center, the von Trapp Brewing Bierhall Restaurant, a farmstead, and a kaffeehaus, offer even more reasons to visit this iconic ski destination.

15 of our favorite ski-friendly resort hotels you can book on points

  15 of our favorite ski-friendly resort hotels you can book on points Ski season in the Northern Hemisphere is about to begin in earnest. Though ski trips may still look a little different this year, resorts are already gearing up for expected crowds. With people clamoring to get away, and closer-to-home destinations being all the rage this year, it stands to reason that ski resorts will be …Though ski trips may still look a little different this year, resorts are already gearing up for expected crowds. With people clamoring to get away, and closer-to-home destinations being all the rage this year, it stands to reason that ski resorts will be an even hotter commodity than usual.

Down the road, among timber ski chalets and New England farmhouses, sits The Stowehof. In keeping with the town’s tradition of homes built from raw repurposed materials, the inn is built around structural tree trunks that jut through the interiors and a sod roof that still needs mowing. This Austrian-inspired landmark, later owned by a German-American free climbing pioneer Fritz Wiessner, has hosted John F. Kennedy, and offers a sprawling lobby with a wall of windows and fireplace nooks to curl up in front of after skiing. For other Alps-inspired spots in Stowe check out the Innsbruck Inn at Stowe, Edelweiss Mountain Deli, and the restaurant Swiss Fondue by Heinz.

Sun Valley, Idaho

The connection between Sun Valley and Austria is strong. © Photo by Shutterstock The connection between Sun Valley and Austria is strong.

In 1935, the Union Pacific Railroad commissioned Austrian ski resort developer Count Felix Schaffgotsch to find a piece of skiable land where “the powder is dry, the sun shines all day, and the harsh winds of winter don’t penetrate,” according to Sun Valley: A Biography. Schaffgotsch responded with Sun Valley, a mining town on the northern edge of the Rockies, which he claimed “contains more delightful features for a winter sports center than any other place I have seen in the United States, Switzerland or Austria,” the city’s website retells. One of America’s first destination ski resorts is home to the country’s first chairlift, which opened in 1936, and has remained a prominent ski school, which was under Austrian leadership until 2006. It was directed by greats who trained under Schneider in St. Anton, like Sigi Engl (his trail, Sigi’s Bowl, offers gentle, intermediate terrain for the day’s first tracks), Sepp Fröhlich, Otto Lang, Hans Hauser, and Friedl Pfeifer. Once a fashionable destination for sunbathing in roofless ice igloos at glamorous hotels, and jet setters like Ernest Hemingway (check out the Hemingway-themed walking tour) and Gary Cooper, Sun Valley (and neighboring Ketchum) has stayed true to its Austrian and mining roots, with a touch of opulence.

Best ski resorts for families in North America

  Best ski resorts for families in North America Many mountain resorts across North America excel at catering to families, whether your child is a shredding, snowboarding teen or a newbie headed to ski school for the very first time. Skiing is one of the best socially distanced winter activities there is – and if this year is anything like last winter, skiing can …Skiing is one of the best socially distanced winter activities there is – and if this year is anything like last winter, skiing can absolutely be done in an incredibly fun and safe manner. In fact, my family skied more last year than any year in the past.

Accommodations range from the newly remodeled Austrian-styled ski chalet Sun Valley Inn (think old-world charm with modern amenities and sweeping mountain vistas), to Knob Hill Inn, an upscale single-structure Alpine lodge with similarly gorgeous mountain views for days. Sip après-ski themed cocktails at Konditorei Bakery & Cafe, or dine like Hollywood, 7,700 feet up on Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain (aka “Baldy”) at the Roundhouse, a classic on-mountain experience since 1939. And don’t forget to take a plunge in the natural hot springs just outside of Ketchum—this ancient tradition has long been a favorite in the Alps.

Vail, Colorado

One of our favorite alpine imports, fondue, is on the menu at Vail establishments like Alpenrose. © Photo by Anna Nahabed/Shutterstock One of our favorite alpine imports, fondue, is on the menu at Vail establishments like Alpenrose.

If you’re after big powder with traditional Austrian charm, get a taste of the Alps in the Rockies. It’s impossible to overlook the influence that Austrian Olympic skier Pepi Gramshammer had on the 5,317 acres that is Vail Ski Resort. After leaving Austria in 1960 to teach skiing at Sun Valley in Idaho, he was lured to Vail the year it opened in 1966 and remained at the heart of the community until his death in 2019. Authentic Austrian hospitality lives on at the base of some of the best skiing in the country at Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer, which he founded with his wife Sheika in 1964. This Austrian-styled inn, which serves up traditional favorites like bratwurst and sauerkraut at the onsite Pepi’s Restaurant and Bar, offers an intimate setting with 37 rooms with the rustic Austrian ambiance of hand-carved furniture and wooden beams.

How to enjoy a ski resort vacation without hitting the slopes

  How to enjoy a ski resort vacation without hitting the slopes Many people will assume that if you’re visiting ski country, you must be a skier. But packing up your skis and hitting the slopes every winter might not always be in the cards, especially when you consider the cost of gear and ski passes. And, if skiing and snowboarding simply aren’t for you, that’s OK …But packing up your skis and hitting the slopes every winter might not always be in the cards, especially when you consider the cost of gear and ski passes. And, if skiing and snowboarding simply aren’t for you, that’s OK too.

In Vail Square, pay homage to Bavarian culture in old-world luxury at The Arrabelle at Vail Square (a nod to Bavaria developed in 2007 by Vail Resorts at the site of the old gondola), and wander narrow streets with Tyrolean facades where you will find traditional eateries run by German immigrants, like Alpenrose and Almresi, that serve fondue and pretzels. There are also plenty of lodging and shops inside vintage chalets, a vibrant Oktoberfest season complete with ample lederhosen, and don’t forget to stop by Gramshammer’s former ski shop, Pepi Sports, for a wide selection of top gear and luxurious alpine knitwear.

>> Next: The World’s Most Charming Ski Towns

How to ski for free with your airline boarding pass .
Ski trips can be expensive. And I mean really, really expensive. You can offset the costs of hotels and flights by using points and miles, but lift ticket prices can add up, especially when multiplied by the number of people in your family. For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our …For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

usr: 1
This is interesting!