Chammonix, France.

There’s no short­age of snowboarding/skiing resorts strewn across the world. Most of them pro­vide epic pow­der and slopes that’ll send you tum­bling with one wrong move. Whether you’re a sea­soned vet or just get­ting into the sport, here are five moun­tains you should check out before you kick the bucket.

©istockphoto/Banff, Alberta, Canada

1. Banff, Alberta, Canada

The area around Banff pro­vides over 8000 ski­able acres. This makes it one of the largest and most beloved snow­board­ing and ski­ing spots on the plan­et. The moun­tains here are teem­ing with dou­ble-black-dia­mond runs to keep rid­ers sat­is­fied. While the town itself is a haven for folks who love win­ter sports. There are plen­ty of craft brew­eries and upscale resorts in the area to keep you busy when you’re not slay­ing the slopes.

Verbier, Switzerland

2. Verbier, Switzerland

Ski­ing and Snow­board­ing in Ver­bier aren’t exact­ly easy on the wal­let, but if you can afford it you’ll dis­cov­er why it’s a favorite around the world. The lines down the moun­tains here are some of the best in Europe. It’s wide­ly known for its piste rid­ing, so if you pre­fer off-piste it might not be your style.

Chammonix, France.

3. Chamonix, France

The Cha­monix Val­ley in France is one of ski­ing and snowboarding’s pre­mier off-piste des­ti­na­tions thanks to extreme­ly rugged ter­rain and the locals’ gen­er­al avoid­ance of even main­tain­ing the pre­tense of try­ing to upkeep the resorts. It’s beloved in the win­ter by those who need to hit the pow­der and in the sum­mer by climbers, mak­ing it one of the best places on Earth for out­door adven­ture. Ski­ing and board­ing cul­ture thrives here and it’s home to one of the most charm­ing lit­tle towns in all of Europe. It’s also home to the continent’s most thrilling moun­tain: Mount Blanc.

Myoko Kogen, Japan

4. Myoko Kogen, Japan

The Myoko area is made up of sev­er­al ski resorts, most of which are local­ly owned and operated—a won­der­ful break from the many west­ern­ized resorts in Japan. It sits right in the heart of the Joshinet­su Nation­al Park an hour north of Nagano. Myoko is renowned for the sheer enor­mi­ty of snow that falls: rough­ly 42 feet a sea­son. There’s ample oppor­tu­ni­ty for snow­board­ers and skiers to get off-piste in the region. Plus, the lack of ritz and glitz means you’ll have noth­ing much else to do while you’re here.

Mammoth Mountain, California, USA

5. Mammoth Mountain, California, USA

While most snow­birds flock to Col­orado once the pow­der sea­son begins, diehard rid­ers know that the best place to go close to home is Mam­moth Moun­tain. With near­ly 3500 acres of unadul­ter­at­ed ter­rain to explore, it’s a mec­ca for out­door enthu­si­asts. Snow sea­son lasts well into May with aver­ages near­ing 15 meters. Thus, there’s always a good time to hit the slopes. The ter­rain parks have pistes for every skill lev­el. You won’t have trou­ble chal­leng­ing your­self at any of the three major hubs.

alyeska alaska

Give your win­ter quest for fresh pow­der an ele­ment of the unex­pect­ed by vis­it­ing one of these unique inter­na­tion­al ski resorts.

Skiing in Dizin, IranDizin Ski Resort, Iran
Sit­u­at­ed north of Tehran on the Alborz Moun­tain Rage, Dizin is one of the world’s high­est ele­va­tion snow resorts (11,800 ft). That high alti­tude gives the resort a long season—November through May—so even as that spring thaw arrives in most of the world, here you can con­tin­ue shred­ding snow to your heart’s content.

alyeska alaskaAlyeska, Alas­ka
If Dizin is note­wor­thy as one of the high­est highs, Aly­se­ka has the hon­or of being among the very few sea-lev­el ski resorts in the world. Yes, Alas­ka is just such a cold and rugged place that it pro­vides a top-notch expe­ri­ence with­out the nose-bleed induc­ing ele­va­tion. With 1,610 ski­able acres and more than 669 inch­es of annu­al snow­fall, pow­der seek­ers will find all they could wish for at this frosty haven.

hlidarfjallHlíðar­f­jall, Iceland
Snow-cov­ered moun­tains are beau­ti­ful any way you slice it, but in Ice­land, you can spend all day out on your board and all night search­ing the skies for the north­ern lights. The nat­ur­al spec­ta­cle is matched by the qual­i­ty of the pow­der in this breath­tak­ing top-of-the-world par­adise. A mix of slopes and cross-coun­try tracks pro­vides con­di­tions for any preference.

GulmargGul­marg, Kashmir
The quest for per­fect ter­rain and con­di­tions is a big part of the ski expe­ri­ence. Humans will go to great lengths—and heights—for a mem­o­rable day on the slopes. Enter Gul­marg, whose gon­do­la will take you a ver­tig­i­nous 13,000 feet above sea lev­el to access some of the finest pow­der any­where in the world.

Giv­en the ten­sions between India and Pak­istan, it’s a volatile region. But for its nat­ur­al won­ders and its cul­tur­al diver­si­ty alike, this is one you won’t want to miss.

Whakapapa skifield on Mount RuapehuMount Ruape­hu, New Zealand
New Zealand boasts some of the most dra­mat­ic ter­rain in the world. No sur­prise, then, that one of the nation’s most pop­u­lar ski regions is atop an active vol­cano. The dynam­ic nature of the topog­ra­phy makes Mount Ruape­hu a mem­o­rable spot to tack­le the snow, but just as impor­tant as the geog­ra­phy is the guid­ing phi­los­o­phy of this spe­cial place.

Unlike most well-devel­oped resorts, the ski zones here are quite pub­licly acces­si­ble, with lots of great descents to choose from. Ski and board rentals are avail­able, as are afford­able resort pack­ages that include lodg­ing and meals. Be pre­pared to share in the cook­ing and chores, though; the do-it-your­self com­po­nent helps keep over­head low. And the shared respon­si­bil­i­ty makes the expe­ri­ence unique­ly communal.

masikryongMasikry­ong, North Korea
Yes, the most inac­ces­si­ble nation on Earth hosts a ski resort. And the con­di­tions on the moun­tain are stel­lar. The geo­graph­i­cal sit­u­a­tion of the resort makes for light, fresh powder.

There’s sure to be a spare, remote beau­ty in this place so large­ly shut off from the wider world. But if you man­age to arrange a vis­it, you’ll be assailed by large video-screen pro­pa­gan­da at every cor­ner in the resort—and by the knowl­edge that your $30 lift tick­et costs more than any local can afford.

7 Best Dirtbag Resorts

Hav­ing trou­ble ski­ing on a dime? Here are the sev­en best dirt­bag resorts for skiers and snow­board­ers who need mon­ey for ramen:

Jay Peak
Most folks trav­el a long way to ski here for good rea­son. It has the MOST snow in the North­east thanks to the Jay Cloud and the micro-cli­mate cre­at­ed by the pass. While Stowe also boasts great Back and Side Coun­try access, the lines are way too long, the tick­ets are expen­sive and the trees are often tight. At Jay, the lines are short, the tick­ets are cheap, and there’s sim­ply noth­ing quite like pulling high speed GS turns in thigh deep pow­der deep in the woods. If you learn the moun­tain you can eas­i­ly spend the day ski­ing pow­der turns all day even a few days after a good storm.

Bear Moun­tain
Big Bear Moun­tain Resorts is actu­al­ly two ski areas: Bear Moun­tain and Snow Sum­mit. A dual moun­tain pass pro­vides access to both and a shut­tle ser­vice is pro­vid­ed between the two ski areas. They can’t quite com­pare to Mam­moth or Tahoe Resorts but, if you’re in SoCal and want  to ski 30 plus days a year, Big Bear is hands down the best choice. Bear Moun­tain appeals more to the 20 some­thing crowd and though it wel­comes both skiers and board­ers, most of the resort is ded­i­cat­ed park ter­rain. Lit­tle Sean White corked his first rodeo on these slopes and the bar is set high here, but if you  keep your flow you’ll be fine. Bear Moun­tain placed 33rd in Out­side Mag­a­zines 2012 top 40 nation­wide resort rank­ings and it’s a spot well deserved. 

Red Lodge
Red Lodge Moun­tain Resort is as much about the charm­ing town of Red Lodge at the base of the Beartooth High­way from Cooke City as it is the moun­tain itself, because Red Lodge has about the friend­liest peo­ple in the coun­try. Their $30 col­lege rate was hard to find any­where else, espe­cial­ly when you con­sid­er the qual­i­ty ski­ing they have. Red Lodge is the kind of resort that puts ski­ing above every­thing else. There’s no fan­cy lodge, but the lifts are great and the ter­rain var­ied.  This is one of the best resorts to take your first crack at hit­ting fea­tures in the ter­rain park.

Grand Targhee
For­get for a moment all those adver­tise­ments about Utah. The best snow in my opin­ion is in Wyoming. This is not the place for peo­ple who like to ski groomers though, as groomed runs are prac­ti­cal­ly non-exis­tent here. The locals don’t even show up unless there’s at least 10″ of fresh snow because it hap­pens so often. For pow­der hounds, this place is heav­en. Because of its remote­ness, very few peo­ple come here. Most peo­ple go to Jack­son hole, which is on the oth­er side of the moun­tain range, and does­n’t get all the good snow dumps like Grand Targhee. They get more than 500 inch­es of snow annu­al­ly and with over 2,200 ver­ti­cal feet, it’s hard to not nab your own first tracks.

Bridger Bowl
Bridger Bowl is renowned for its extreme inbounds ter­rain and its cold, super dry snow. Being on the east­ern side of the con­ti­nen­tal divide, snow qual­i­ty is deli­cious­ly dry, hence Bridger’s moniker ‘Ski the Cold Smoke’. The ski area is locat­ed on the east slope of the Bridger Range and extends 2 miles from the ridge­line down to the base area at 6,100’. Bridger Bowl is flanked by large bowls to the North and South. The name has a reason—most of the ski area offers wide open ter­rain with a vari­ety of land­scapes includ­ing long slopes, glades, chutes and gul­lies in addi­tion to oth­er small­er bowls.

Mount Shas­ta7 Best Dirtbag Resorts
With 1,390 feet of ver­ti­cal and fab­u­lous­ly groomed trails, Mount Shas­ta is a great place for any lev­el of ski­er or snow­board­er. They have the Rev­o­lu­tion Ter­rain Park and Super pipe, which is not for the faint of heart (a net­work of box­es and rails along with a 1,000 feet ver­ti­cal ter­rain run). Not only is Mount Shas­ta known for it’s great trails and ter­rain parks, but their gold medal learn­ing cen­ter which is con­sid­ered one of the finest in the indus­try. Whether you’re a begin­ner or advanced ski­er, there’s some­thing at Mount Shas­ta Ski Park for everyone.

Pow­der­horn
Nes­tled deep in the heart of the Grand Mesa on the sto­ried West­ern Slope of Col­orado, Pow­der­horn is a scenic, fam­i­ly-friend­ly resort fea­tur­ing 1,600 acres of ter­rain suit­ed to a vari­ety of abil­i­ties and pref­er­ences. Pow­der­horn is known for extend­ing excep­tion­al val­ue to each guest, thanks to improve­ments at the resort and moun­tain focused on cre­at­ing a one-of-a-kind, year-round expe­ri­ence. West­ern Col­orado is known for its wide-open spaces, dis­tinc­tive topog­ra­phy and friend­ly local res­i­dents. It is also rec­og­nized for its vine­yards, winer­ies and agri­cul­ture. The cli­mate allows for ski­ing or snow­board­ing in the morn­ing and play­ing a round of golf or enjoy­ing a hike or moun­tain bike ride in the after­noon. The options for explor­ing, both moun­tain and the Grand Mesa, are mind-boggling. 

laketahoe

If you and your fiancee are diehard snowhounds, have amassed a siz­able guest list for your upcom­ing nup­tials, and/or wish to cel­e­brate your big day with class and style, then a ski resort wed­ding is right up your alley. Here are some of the best venues for a high alti­tude vow exchange.

Heav­en­ly Moun­tain Resort, Lake Tahoe, Nev.
Ameni­ties: There are gen­er­al­ly two options for cou­ples who wed at Heav­en­ly. A cer­e­mo­ny at the Lake­view Lodge starts with a mile-long hike to a breath­tak­ing van­tage point over­look­ing Tahoe in all its glo­ry. Once vows are exchanged, the cou­ple and their guests head inside the lodge for the recep­tion area which accom­mo­dates up to 250 peo­ple. For even larg­er wed­ding par­ties, the Tama­rack Lodge serves up to 400 guests. This cer­e­mo­ny begins as guests are shut­tled to the top of the gon­do­la and seat­ed near the Obser­va­tion Deck, the lodge’s out­door patio  with panoram­ic views of the lake and sur­round­ing countryside.

 

What the Experts Say: “Imag­ine get­ting to your cer­e­mo­ny via a mile long aer­i­al tram. The loca­tion over­looks the sap­phire blue waters in the spring and a win­ter won­der­land in the win­ter” — GroupTravel.org

smSun­shine Vil­lage, Banff, Alb.
Ameni­ties: There’s no short­age of ser­vices avail­able for a Banff wed­ding; from tuxe­do rentals and florists to cake dec­o­ra­tors and video­g­ra­phers, the Alber­ta resort/national park and the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ty know how to accom­mo­date a nup­tial cer­e­mo­ny. There’s even a cou­ple of local wed­ding plan­ners on hand to make sure that any two peo­ple who mar­ry in Banff have the time of their lives. Cou­ples even have a long list of cer­e­mo­ny and recep­tion venues from which to choose includ­ing Sun­shine Moun­tain Lodge, Lake Louise (which is locat­ed inside Banff Nation­al Park), and the quaint local com­mu­ni­ties of Can­more and Kananaskis.

 What the Experts Say: “Besides offer­ing the most incred­i­ble scenery in the West, Banff is proud of its user-friend­ly wed­ding leg­is­la­tion — or, as local wed­ding com­mis­sion­er Rick Kunelius says, “No blood tests, no wait­ing peri­od, no reg­is­tered loca­tions” — Tele­graph

bsrBreck­en­ridge Ski Resort, Colo.
Ameni­ties: Breck­en­ridge boasts nine dif­fer­ent cer­e­mo­ny venues, includ­ing Ten Mile Sta­tion, Moun­tain Thun­der, One Ski Hill Place, and The Mag­gie; no mat­ter how big your par­ty or spe­cif­ic your demands, at least one of these spots will suit your wed­ding needs. Also, the Breck­en­ridge wed­ding menu is absolute­ly insane.

What the Experts Say: “A per­fect moun­tain town with stun­ning scenery, an impres­sive cul­tur­al her­itage and a quaint Vic­to­ri­an atmos­phere, Breck­en­ridge is a year-round play­ground for guests of all ages and inter­ests. With accom­mo­da­tions rang­ing from spa­cious hotel rooms to lux­u­ry con­do­mini­ums, indoor and out­door wed­ding venues boast­ing panoram­ic views and end­less activ­i­ties in all four sea­sons, Breck­en­ridge sets the scene for a per­fect moun­tain wed­ding” — Icon­ic Weddings

mtwThe Moun­tain Top Inn & Resort, Vt.
Ameni­ties: If a “Ver­mont wed­ding” appeals to you (and you know who you are), then this lav­ish alpine estab­lish­ment just 11 miles from the Killing­ton ski area, will do you good. Venue options range from a lake­side lawn to the inte­ri­or of a barn (again, you know who you are), and any cer­e­mo­ny style — from inti­mate elope­ments to full-on bash­es — is wel­come. It’s also worth not­ing that the resort’s wine list is stel­lar. The Moun­tain Top accom­mo­dates wed­ding par­ties year-round.

What the Experts Say: “Majes­ti­cal­ly set on 350 acres with sweep­ing views of a sparkling lake and the Green Moun­tain Nation­al For­est, The Moun­tain Top Inn & Resort offers an end­less array of out­door adven­tures, ide­al for your fam­i­ly and friends.…while cel­e­brat­ing your spe­cial day” — Ver­mont Bride

mhsMount Hood, Ore.
Ameni­ties: If you and your sig­nif­i­cant oth­er like out­door venues with sweep­ing scenery, a cer­e­mo­ny at the Mount Hood Ski­bowl, sit­u­at­ed near the vil­lage of Gov­ern­ment Camp, is a great spot to exchange vows. And if a lodge recep­tion sounds appeal­ing, then rest assured that Tim­ber­line is as ‘rus­ti­cal­ly swanky’ as any oth­er alpine estab­lish­ment in the coun­try (and just try to for­get that it’s where The Shin­ing was filmed). And if you want to get off the moun­tain for a lit­tle while, con­sid­er sched­ul­ing the rehearsal din­ner in the near­by com­mu­ni­ty of Hood Riv­er; nes­tled along the banks of the mighty Colum­bia, the town fea­tures an array of restau­rants, pubs and poten­tial oth­er venues for you and your clos­est guests.

What the Experts Say: “If you are [at Mount Hood] on a week­end don’t be sur­prised if you run into a wed­ding  par­ty as [Tim­ber­line Lodge] is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for those look­ing to get hitched” — Mud­dy Camper

cdaCorti­na D’Ampezzo, Italy
Ameni­ties: If the mot­to of your ski resort nup­tials is ‘go big or go home’, then con­sid­er a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding at Corti­na D’Am­pez­zo. Nes­tled in Italy’s Dolomite range, this for­mer Win­ter Olympics host has it all: breath­tak­ing views, decent slopes and world-class après-ski offer­ings. Of course (as is the case with Banff), you and your part­ner will need to obtain a mar­riage cer­tifi­cate issued by your state of res­i­dence in order to make it offi­cial in the U.S. Unless the offi­cial Ital­ian recog­ni­tion is real­ly impor­tant to you, then a ‘Civ­il Wed­ding’ is the sim­plest route to take once you and your part­ner are in Cortina.

What the Experts Say: “Wed­dings in Corti­na are one of a kind in every way. Dur­ing the win­ter, cou­ples can arrive at the church or wed­ding hall in a horse drawn sleigh or car­riage dec­o­rat­ed with flow­ers. The wed­ding hall is right in the heart of the vil­lage and is a palace with ele­gant stone stair­case; the inte­ri­or is rich­ly dec­o­rat­ed with woods. Your wed­ding pho­tos will take advan­tage of the amaz­ing scenery, the chalets, the flow­er­ing bal­conies and Alpine archi­tec­ture” — Ital­ian Des­ti­na­tion Weddings

We’ve got good news, bad news, and real­ly great news. Which would you like first?

I’ll start with the good news: This Wednes­day we’re hav­ing anoth­er GEIGERRIG event! You may remem­ber our first event fea­tur­ing these spray action hydra­tion sys­tems that allow you to not only hydrate fre­quent­ly and eas­i­ly, but it allows you to con­ve­nient­ly clean your sweaty brow, dirty gear, or scuffed knee. If you want to share water with your hik­ing mate or pet, GEIGER­RIG’s spray action valves make shar­ing more hygien­ic: no suck­ing means no grody trans­fer­ence. These packs were such a hit, we had to bring them back. You loved them, and they’ve been spot­ted accom­pa­ny­ing quite a few Clymb employ­ees on their runs and travels.

So, what’s the great news? GEIGERRIG has gen­er­ous­ly includ­ed a SKULLCANDY MOUNTAIN PASSPORT with each pack. Inside the SKULLCANDY MOUNTAIN PASSPORT are free moun­tain pass­es to resorts all over the Unit­ed States and Cana­da.  In almost every case, the use of just one pass pays for the pack entire­ly.  In every case, you’ll end up mak­ing a prof­it if you use more than one of the passes.

Sim­ply reg­is­ter the Pass­port on the GEIGERRIG home­page using the spe­cial code that is in the book.  Then, take the book to the tick­et win­dows of the resorts and redeem the vouch­ers for a free pass. It’s like buy­ing a BMW and get­ting an EXXON gas card for three times the val­ue of the card.

Some of the par­tic­i­pat­ing resorts include Tahoe’s, New York’s Hunter Moun­tain, and Canada’s Big White Ski Resort.

You’re prob­a­bly now won­der­ing, “Well, what’s the bad news?” This will be The Clym­b’s last GEIGERRIG event of 2011. So, if you loved your GEIGERRIG pur­chase last time and was think­ing about get­ting one as a gift for the hol­i­days, now’s the time.