Everlasting fans of downhill, snowy escapades and, of course, the soothing après-ski that follows, my family and I fell for the beauty and exhilaration of winter travel long ago. From the adrenalin-packed days to snuggling up in front of a log fire with a local glass of red; if you haven’t yet dared to luxuriate in a winter escape, I may just change your mind.
You needn’t squeeze into a pair of rigid ski boots and hurl down a glistening trail for the perfect snowcation; winter journeys are as much about hot tubs, dreamy scenery, superb dining, fine wine and making snow men and angels – the champagne powder skiing and boarding is just a bonus!
The lure of a white Christmas is undeniable. Once Sinatra or Bublé’s crooning has enchanted you along a twinkling village boardwalk decked in festive trim, or you’ve sipped Glühwein (mulled wine) at a Christmas market in Germany or Austria, it’s difficult to imagine December any other way.
All those 30 degree green Christmases by the pool with lashings of seafood and ham are now challenged by smores and sleigh rides! But what if you could have it all?
Aside from peak Christmas (mid December – mid January), winter travel is generally low season, and travelling on the cusp of premium Northern Hemisphere travel periods puts you in the thick of twinkling lights, blue bird days and snow ghosts, while offering great value and a few surprises.
Magical creations such as Lake Louise’s Ice Castle or the Hotel de Glace in Quebec City are crafted in January; with famous ice festivals and winter carnivals erupting in February and beyond. With Japan ticking off the desires of deep powder, friendly people and unique cuisine, no wonder more and more resorts are catering for the Western market, and North American resorts are serving up legendary spring skiing during March/April, often aligning with Easter and school holiday dates.
Next month, my husband Brad and I depart for an amazing destination in British Columbia, home to Canada’s highest five-star dining and lodging experience. When last run of the day is called and skiers return to the resort below, a gondola will whisk us to the summit (2300m) where a log chalet retreat for two awaits, complete with private chef and butler. Reminiscent of a James Bond film, the luxury lair has an eagle’s eye view of the greater Columbia Mountains and is guaranteed first tracks to over 2500 acres of powder.
Any winter worshipper’s dream!
Following Canada, it’s off to incredible Iceland for a research expedition for our upcoming Northern Lights Small Group Journey, in search of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), exploring the ice caves and thermal wonderlands of the Golden Circle and south coast, and floating in the famed Blue Lagoon.
We invite you to create your own snow globe moment, and make a winter escapade the next chapter in your travel journal. Here are a few wintery favourites to inspire your next (or first) snowcation:
- Take a snow train or winter rail route across lands of a million Christmas trees
- Visit or stay in an ice hotel or igloo in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland or Canada
- Hire a log cabin or stay in a chateau, castle, alpine chalet or backcountry lodge
- Try dogsledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice canyon walking, ice skating or even ice fishing
- Marvel at fairy lights, holiday decorations, sweet roasted chestnuts at a street stall, and even a few keepsakes from the Christmas markets
Join Jacinta in February/March 2019 on the ultimate winter journey to Finland, Norway and Iceland to experience the Aurora Borealis, luxury glass-domed igloo chalets and ice hotels, reindeer, husky dog and wildlife encounters, fishing for King Crab, Sami culture, and a Norwegian coastal fjord cruise. Follow Jacinta in Profile for her next adventures.
Make an appointment to see one of helloworld travel’s specialists today or visit smallgroupjourneys.com