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Tag Archive | « ski »

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Hotel La Ferme, Quebec

Posted on 12 February 2013
Tags: Baie St Paul, Canada, Hotel La Ferme, Le Massif, Quebec, ski, skiing

La Ferme, Baie St. Paul, Quebec
Every day I receive press releases about the next glitzy resort opening, set to make its splashy debut in some corner of the globe. Many of these upscale properties charge in excess of $1,000 a night, your entrance fee to a world of exclusivity. Forget the local community. You’ll be hidden behind gates and fences, where maybe, if you’re lucky, your server that night comes from somewhere inside that country. Sustainability, the buzzword of the 90s and 00s, seems to have been replaced, as of late, by excessive opulence. Then I laid eyes on Hotel La Ferme in Quebec’s Charlevoix region and I can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that someone gets it. They have finally built a resort worthy of the new millennium.

When Daniel Gauthier’s wooden barn, the largest structure in Canada, burned to the ground accidentally during a Quebec holiday in 2007, he began to reimagine the property he wanted to create in Baie-Saint-Paul. He ended up housing the 145 rooms and lofts in five separate pavilions reminiscent of farm buildings from yesteryear. The simple wooden exterior of the buildings hides a whimsical and contemporary European décor, where rolling barn doors might open to the bathroom or the family suite might come with comfortable bunk beds for each child. Yet, Gauthier’s next move is what won me over. He added 12 rooms, each with four beds, as his own version of a hostel. Gauthier knows that the nearby ski area, Le Massif, attracts a large crowd of young skiers. He wanted to offer them a great place to stay for only $49 per bed.

There is no separation between Hotel La Ferme and the community. In fact, Gauthier made a mandate that food and craftsmanship should be produced within a 50-kilometer radius of Baie-Saint-Paul, if possible. So that salmon and emu meat was raised locally, the cheeses and bread a Charlevoix specialty, the red beer was brewed just down the road. The wooden trays and « do not disturb » signs in the rooms are manufactured by a group of local artisans who had the misfortune of not graduating high school. On Sundays, from mid-June to mid-October, the hotel invites 20 local farmers to showcase their fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and breads in a market just outside the lobby.

Yes, there’s a spa with six treatment rooms, a room for yoga, a bar and lounge around a fireplace in the main building, and a café that makes arguably the best café au lait I’ve had this side of the Atlantic. But again, Gauthier, one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil, chose to be innovative. He has returned to his performing roots by offering a banquet space that can double as a theater, screening room, or dance hall. Since Hotel La Ferme’s opening last June, they have featured many Quebecois performers, including cabaret singers, theater troupes, and DJs.

I love it when a local son or daughter becomes successful and gives back to the community. But in the case of Daniel Gauthier, he did so with class, style, and forward thinking. I’m hoping his ideas catch on with other hoteliers.

  Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at and blogs daily at Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels
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Smart Deals: The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Beaver Creek

Posted on 27 November 2012
Tags: Beaver Creek, Colorado, ski, Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa

Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Beaver Creek, Colorado
What’s the Deal: The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa Thank You Offer.  Book four or more nights this winter and take 25% off your entire stay.
The Backstory: For the third year in the row, Condé Nast Traveler has named The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain #1 on their list of the « Top 50 Ski Hotels » in North America. The AAA Four Diamond Westin Riverfront is located in the heart of Colorado’s magnificent Vail Valley at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain. The resort features 230 finely appointed guest residences ranging from studio suites to three-bedroom condominiums, all featuring custom kitchens, five-piece bathrooms and gas fireplaces.
The Westin Riverfront is connected to Beaver Creek’s spectacular ski terrain via the Riverfront Express Gondola. Amenities at the dog-friendly resort include a ski valet, on-site ski and snowboard rentals, a Westin Kids Club, the state-of-the-art Athletic Club at The Westin, a year-round outdoor pool and three riverside hot tubs. Spa Anjali offers an extensive menu of treatments focusing on healing mountain traditions and features a full-service salon and spa boutique. Cima by internationally acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval is a contemporary Latin kitchen that blends traditional Latino flavors with global ingredients and cooking techniques.
Fine Print: The Thank You offer is available until January 2, 2013


Le Massif: Where Cirque du Soleil meets Canadian Skiing

Posted on 06 November 2012
Tags: Le Massif, Quebec, ski, SNOW

Skiing down to the St. Lawrence from the top of Le Massif in Quebec
By Everett Potter
It’s safe to say you’ve never skied anywhere quite like Le Massif, which lies about two hours north of Quebec City. For starters, you first click into your bindings at the top, and ski down toward the shimmering Saint Lawrence River 2,526 feet below before you ever sit in a lift chair. This vertical drop, the biggest east of the Rocky Mountains, accounts for the jaw-dropping scenery that led this place to be designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. This is the Charlevoix region, known for rich farms, mountainous beauty, and — arguably — the best skiing in eastern Canada.
You may also start at the bottom, dropped at a base lodge by a new train that runs from Quebec City to Petite-Rivière-Saint-François on rails that seem to barely cling to the rocky shoreline. The train stops literally at the base of the ski lift, a nice Euro-ski touch. The cushy train is owned — with a few other partners — by the same guy who owns Le Massif: Daniel Gauthier, who is more famous as co-founder of Cirque du Soleil.
Read more in the current issue of SNOW …
Everett Potter is the Editor-in-Chief of Everett Potter’s Travel Report

Notes from the Road

Smart Deals: Ski Free at Viceroy Snowmass

Posted on 02 October 2012
Tags: Aspen, ski, Snowmass, Viceroy Snowmass

Viceroy Snowmass
What’s the Deal? Ski Free deal at Viceroy Snowmass provides Two Free Six-Day Lift Tickets. Guests who book seven nights in one of a studio and one-bedroom units will receive two six-day lift passes valid on the ski-in, ski-out terrain of Snowmass Ski Area,AspenMountain,AspenHighlandsand Buttermilk.
What’s the Fine Print? The Ski Free special offer must be booked by October 31, 2012 and is valid for stays between January 5 and March 31, 2013.
Backstory: Viceroy Snowmass is an award-winning luxury ski resort located at the base of one of the world’s finest ski mountains and is located 20 minutes from downtownAspenin the heart ofSnowmassBaseVillage,
Booking: Viceroy Snowmass


Summer Skiing in Portillo, Chile

Posted on 06 June 2012
Tags: Chile, Portillo, ski, South America

Portillo, Chile. Credit Jonathan Selkowitz
By Everett Potter
The Hotel Portillo lies on the shores of the Lake of the Incas in the treeless Chilean Andes, 9,000-plus feet above sea level and a two-hour drive from Santiago. It is painted a jolting Crayola yellow and blue, possibly to catch your eye during a whiteout. It is the centerpiece of a remote and raw landscape of rock and snow, overseen by condors with 11-foot wingspans who slalom the thermals around 19,000-foot peaks.
There is no town, no boutique scene and nowhere to walk to except La Posada, a truckers’ brothel turned bar. Yet it is the social hub of Southern Hemisphere skiers. Read more at Forbes …
  Everett Potter is the Editor-in-Chief of Everett Potter’s Travel Report

Notes from the Road

Crested Butte: Ski Steep & Deep

Posted on 17 January 2012
Tags: Colorado, Crested Butte, ski

Descending the Banana Funnel at Crested Butte
By David McKay Wilson
Since my arrival in the Rockies in late March, I’d peered up at Crested Butte Mountain, that 12,161-foot peak with some of Colorado’s most challenging ski terrain, and dreamed of skiing down the chutes that spill down its western face.
On the last day of our trip, the mountain’s snow safety team dropped the ropes and I headed down a steep chute called Banana Funnel, which grows narrower and narrower as you descend, with a steep rock wall rising on skier’s right. My legs were strong, the snow was forgiving, and my crisp turns brought me down into the snowfield they call the Hockey Rink, where the gentler terrain encouraged wide sweeping turns.
I spent the rest of the afternoon traversing along that face, and heading down trails called Peel and Forest, and then finding my way back to the base area.
It capped a three-day trip to one of Colorado’s premier resorts, high in the heart of the Rockies, with its base elevation at 9,375, which makes it among the West’s highest. Perched in the Elk Mountains, Crested Butte is accessible from Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, or a five-hour drive from Denver.
Our three-day powder fest ended came near the end of the 2010-11 ski season. The mountain, like most in Colorado, could have used some of the snow in December and early January, 2012, as clear sunny skies prevailed, and skiers stuck mostly to groomed runs where the mountain’s snowmaking guns had laid down some white stuff.
The resort is just up the hill from the town of Crested Butte, an old coal-mining town that has retained its charm, and supports a year-round population of 1,600. It’s a town that loves a parade – be it the Flauschink to mark the end of the ski season, the July 4 parade, or the impromptu gathering this past April, to celebrate a mining firm’s decision to withdraw from a controversial plan to mine molybdenum from Mount Emmons.
Dogwood Cocktail Cabin
Many of the old century-old structures have been restored, including one with a second-floor outhouse. We stopped by the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin, an old mining cabin at 309 Third St. with snow piled up over the first floor windows that’s been transformed into a dimly lit lounge with an edge of funk. At the Dogwood, I savored a Beetnik martini with ginger, a deep-red drink concocted with vodka infused with beets.
After cocktails, we headed down Elk Avenue for The Secret Stash, an upscale pizza restaurant where we sat on pillows around a table, kicked back, and sampled such delicacies as The Notorious F.I.G. – a pizza topped with mozzarella, blue cheese, prosciutto, and fresh figs – and another called the Booty Call, a pizza piled high with meat and cheese.
Crested Butte is just 40 miles from Aspen, but that’s as the crow flies, or the back-country skier skis. You need to cross two, 12,000-foot peaks to get there, which hundreds of back-country racers in the annual Grand Traverse did the stormy night we arrived. The racers, who set out in two-person teams – headed out with head lamps at midnight, and arrived in Aspen the following morning in one of skiing’s hallowed endurance races.
We kept within bounds during our stay, and there was plenty of challenge for our East Coast ski legs. It was late March, and we’d booked the trip, hoping for three days of spring skiing in the Colorado sun. Instead we had three days of snow, with powder stashes everywhere. There were wide-open intermediate trails for carving, and expert terrain up on the Headwall and the North Face that proved wonderfully challenging during our stay.
Elevation Hotel, Crested Butte
We stayed at the Elevation Hotel, in a room with a sixth-floor balcony that overlooked the Red Lady Express Lift, and the sound stage for that weekend’s FestEVOL, which featured the popular rock band, O.A.R. Downstairs, at the restaurant, 9380 Prime, where the Rocky Mountain IPA flowed by the tap, skiers dined on hand-cut steaks, and I savored my Mediterranean Salad, with spinach, roasted tomatoes and peppers and feta cheese.
By 9 p.m., hotel guests still gathered around the fire pit. One Texan, Mary Grayhart, who’d owned a condo here and spent up to four months a year at the resort, says she preferred Crested Butte over glitzier Colorado resorts, like Aspen or Vail.
« It’s more southern, more laid back here, » she says. « It’s not the place to wear your fur. And if your ski outfit doesn’t match here, it really doesn’t matter. »
To learn more, visit Crested Butte
David McKay Wilson has written on travel over the past 30 years as a freelance journalist, with his travel stories appearing in The Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Hartford Courant, New Haven Advocate, and Gannett News Service. An avid cyclist and skier, Wilson enjoys vacationing in the mountains and by the sea. His articles on public affairs have appeared regularly in The New York Times. He’s currently the nation’s top freelance writer for university alumni magazines, with his work appearing in publications at 81 colleges and universities, including Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown and the University of Chicago.


Gstaad Journal

Posted on 04 January 2012
Tags: Grand Hotel Park, Gstaad, ski, Switzerland

Grand Hotel Park Gstaad
By Everett Potter
Even among Swiss ski towns, Gstaad gives fresh meaning to the term « rarefied. » Located in the Saanenland of southwestern Switzerland (famed for its ceremony crowning the most beautiful cow), Gstaad has been attracting the über-rich to its Alpine air, skiing, and Olympic-class socializing for more than a century.
In the 1960s, they were known as the jet set, a roster of winter residents like the Aga Khan, David Niven, Peter Sellers, and Elizabeth Taylor. Now it’s the private-jet set, including the beleaguered Roman Polanski, Formula One owner Bernie Ecclestone, and Mercedes Benz heir Mick Flick …
You can read the rest of this story at Forbes Life
Everett Potter is Editor-in-Chief of Everett Potter’s Travel Report.


Active Travels: Ski & Surf Jay Peak

Posted on 15 November 2011
Tags: Jay Peak, ski, Vermont

Powder at Jay Peak, Vermont
By Steve Jermanok
A powerful nor’easter that swept up the East Coast in late October dumped snow in Boston and the New England peaks. In fact, a few ski resorts like Sunday River and Killington opened early to get the first taste of winter weather. In northern Vermont, Jay Peak received 7 inches of snow. That’s no surprise. Bordering Quebec, Jay Peak receives more than 370 inches of powder, more snow than any other ski area in the East. Being this far north, Jay also accommodates far more Quebecois than New Yorkers. This might change now that the resort has poured more than $200 million into renovations in the past two years as it tries to rival Stowe as the premiere ski resort in northern New England. The Tram Haus Lodge, a 57-suite ski in/ski out lodge, made its debut last winter, along with a new nordic center, and ice skating arena. Set to debut this December is The Pumphouse, an indoor waterpark in the new Hotel Jay that will include a fully retractable open air roof and the longest indoor lazy river in America. The park also features a 50-seat bar overlooking the rides, a slide that drops its passenger into a free-fall, and the Double Barrel Flowrider–a standing-wave ride that will allow visitors to « surf » in Vermont.
Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life.His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World .He’s currently an adventure travel expert at and blogs daily at Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels

Active Travels: Ski Revelstoke

Posted on 08 November 2011
Tags: Revelstoke, ski

Revelstoke, BC
Those same summer guides that took my family rock climbing and white water rafting in the Canadian Rockies this summer are hardcore skiers once the first snow falls. And which ski area were those guides raving about? Revelstoke. Located about two hours northeast of the Kelowna Airport in eastern BC, Revelstoke has the most vertical in North America, attracting the expert skier who wants a taste of the Selkirk powder, via traditional ski trails, heli-skiing, or cat skiing. The only knock against the ski area was its lack of terrain and infrastructure for young families. That’s all about to change. New for the 2011/2012 ski season is a new beginner’s slope with snowmaking, a tubing park, a kid’s outdoor center, and new child care facilities. Watch out Whistler, because Revelstoke is starting to make a big push for international clientele.
Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life.His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at and blogs daily at Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels

High Society: Skiing in Portillo, Chile

Posted on 23 May 2011
Tags: Chile, Portillo, ski, skiing, South America

The scene at Tio Bob's at Portillo, Chile
By Everett Potter
Portillo sits in a wonderland of knife-edged peaks and turquoise lakes, where Chile’s Andes Mountains climb 19,000 feet into the sky. Yet despite the stark vistas and the distance from civilization, this mountain outpost breathes elegance and polish, a living tribute to what skiing used to be. And, to the guests who return year after year, what it still is. Why is Portillo, Chile one of my favorite places in the world. Read the rest of my article at Ski magazine

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