Snow patrol: why we can’t wait to get back to the slopes
Whether it’s fresh Alpine air, the pre-ski holiday buzz, the après boogies or the indulgent mountain food, a year off has made the smaller joys of a skiing escape even more tempting. For professional skiers and casual slopers alike, returning to the pistes can’t come soon enough. Three regulars tell High Life why…
Who: Aimee Fuller, 2014 and 2018 Team GB snowboarder
Favourite ski hang-out: Tyrol, Austria
There are places I love going back to and there are places I wish I could never leave. For me, that special place is the mountains. I can’t wait to go back. I can hear the pistes of Tyrol in Austria and Laax in Switzerland calling my name – they’re where I feel most at home. I’ve missed the snow so much in the past 18 months. There’s no better feeling than waking up to the fresh mountain air, a blank white canvas for creativity and freedom of expression – that is what I live for. That first powder turn is going to be special.
Whenever I’m racing down the slopes, the adrenaline and endorphins put me in the best feelgood mood – being active in a beautiful outdoor environment just can’t be topped. The bracing air on my face, the rush of snow beneath my snowboard and the beautiful wintry vistas around me do wonders for my health and wellbeing. Not many activities intuitively feel as healthful and invigorating as downhill snowboarding and I can’t wait to experience that feeling of freedom again. My first stop is Saas-Fee in Switzerland to begin the season filming for the BBC’s Ski Sunday and my second stop is my favourite, the region of Tyrol, in Austria, where there are so many resorts to choose from. I have plans to get my first day of turns on the glacier at Stubai and hopefully a road trip over to the glacier in Kaunertal.
The ski junkie
Who: Felice Hardy, editor of welove2ski.com
Favourite ski hang-out: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The last time I went to the mountains was in January 2020 when I visited Val d’Isère. I started skiing when I was three years old and have made my career around the sport, so not having skied for almost two years is quite bizarre for me. Now I’m champing at the bit to go back. Yes, it might feel strange making those first turns, but I’ll be doing the activity that I’ve loved for so many years.
My first trip to the snow this season is to Andermatt in Switzerland, and I just can’t wait as my favourite place to eat in the Alps is there, inside the spectacular Chedi Andermatt in the town centre. Apart from serving sushi to die for in its Japanese restaurant, the hotel is a prime reason to visit a resort that turned itself around a few years ago from a rather dour garrison town with steep skiing to one that has a world-class hotel and varied ski runs. The hotel can only be equalled by the Amangani in Jackson Hole – another destination that has steep skiing, but over the years has improved its intermediate facilities to make it a place for everyone who loves the mountains.
The British Airways frequent flyer
Who: Justine Gosling, Arctic explorer and skier extraordinaire
Favourite ski hang-out: Zermatt, Switzerland
All in one day, skiing combines all the best things in life for me – the great outdoors, travel, exercise, freedom, socialising, plus dancing to cheesy tunes like nobody’s watching (preferably outside and on a table). Every ski trip is an exhausting but cherished week, with memories made and antics joyfully retold many times over. What could be more fun than zooming down a mountain, racing friends with the wind on your cheeks? I’m never more present than on a run of smooth, quick turns on my skis. The fresh air, vast views, carefree boogieing and being surrounded by my favourite people is the best mental reset I could have. If you love the outdoors, the spectacular natural settings that tend to accompany skiing shouldn’t be discounted either.
My go-to ski destination is Switzerland, specifically the chocolate-box resort of Zermatt, overlooked by the mighty Matterhorn. It’s a haven for ski enthusiasts like me. For its location and chilled vibe, my favourite hotel is Cervo. With its sunny terrace, it’s the perfect place to savour some much-needed post-ski drinks, plus the vegan food there is excellent.
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