January is a fabulous month for skiing, especially when trekking through countries located in the northern hemisphere. There are many destinations around the world that offer amazing skiing in January, but the places that deserve a closer look are Zermatt in Switzerland, British Columbia in Canada, and Aspen in Colorado.
A well known destination for ski enthusiasts is Aspen, Colorado, which is renowned for its world class skiing. Celebrities, Olympic athletes and all sorts of winter sports fans visit this town for the best in what winter has to offer. While it may have a reputation as being a bit pretentious, Aspen is one the world's favourite ski towns outside of Europe. The location gives visitors an up-close and personal experience with the Rocky Mountains.
Getting to Aspen, Colorado is fairly easy. From the U.S., numerous flights from other states fly directly into the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. From overseas, you'll fly into an eastern or western U.S. airport, depending on your current location, and connect a flight into Aspen.
There are four separate ski areas within ten radial miles that offer different levels and skiing tastes. The Aspen Mountain is an awesome place for seasoned skiers and has no green runs at all. It is one of the most constant steep areas in all of Colorado. The runs from the mountain spill straight into downtown Aspen. Next is Snowmass mountain, which has the second most vertical in the U.S., but also has skiing terrain for all levels. Then there is the local favorite Aspen Highlands, which has the most steep terrain of the four ski areas. The last ski area is Buttermilk, which is by far the best for beginners. Here you will find lots of green areas plus a magnificent ski school for novices and intermediate skiers. You can get lift tickets that work for all four mountains and are easily accessible from Aspen and from each mountain area by free shuttle buses.
For those on a budget, the Tyrolean Lodge on Main Street offers the best rates in Aspen. This quaint hotel was actually built by an Aspen family and has been remodeled with a charming vintage ski decor. If you prefer more luxurious digs, you can't go wrong with The Hotel Jerome, a historic Aspen establishment.
To eat on the cheap, you must try the 520 Grill, which is run by local skiers and chefs who have a taste for healthy burgers, delicious unusual sandwiches, and scrumptious salads. If you are into gourmet then you can enjoy the Cache Cache, a French-inspired eatery that offers a sophisticated, but high-energy atmosphere.
Take a leisurely walk along the Roaring Fork River on the Rio Grande Trail, which takes you to the Hallam Lake nature preserve. This 25-acre wonder is part of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. You can also visit the Aspen Art Museum and fawn over an exceptional contemporary art exhibit.
Aspen is a relatively safe town, so just using your judgment for safety in general will suffice. Stay away from lonely backstreets and be sure to mingle where the crowds are. Keep your belongings close to you and be mindful of your purse or wallet. When you are skiing, leave your valuables in your room, or rent a locker to store them in while you are on the slopes. You can look into ski insurance plans to give you extra peace of mind on your next world wide adventure.
Zermatt is a beautiful town in Switzerland that is known as the crown jewel to skiers. Glacier-clad peaks, luxury hotels, wooden barns and numerous skiing zones make this a top destination for those who want to combine old-world culture and quality ski accommodations.
Canada's British Columbia offers an a variety of skiing options from daredevil vertical drops to long, rolling ridges. With numerous ski resorts that range from small and quaint to large and spectacular, it's no wonder this destination was chosen to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Stay safe in the snow and learn more about snow safety.
Learn more about what to expect on your first snow trip.
What you should do in an avalanche.
Our guide to saving time and money with your luggage.