22 January 2016
Winter destinations for people who love winter
When you search for "winter vacations" and its variations online, you tend to end up with listings for Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the like. But what about those of us who don't want to escape the beautiful twinkling snow, crisp, refreshing air, and breathtaking silence you find in nature during the winter? Don't we sweat and look at scantily clad people enough in the summer months? If you are looking for a getaway meant to celebrate winter, but perhaps without so many of the crowds and dollar signs you'll see in the usual spots (Jackson, Aspen...), consider....
Big Sky, Montana
Big Sky is located in Gallatin County, just one hour from Bozeman, Montana to the north, and one hour from Yellowstone National Park to the south. It's small, but is nevertheless home to award-winning restaurants and is a veritable sportsman's paradise.
I could have picked a lot of places (I was veering towards Ouray, honestly), but Durango is a nice compromise between remote and plentiful. As one of the four corners, you can easily pop into New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona to round out your Facebook states map, or whatever you call that stupid thing. It's an actual town with a college, so you can find good places to eat and get a decent coffee. And you're surrounded by trails with beautiful views.
Hood River County, Oregon
Hood River is a small town hear a great city. Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area between Mt. Hood and the Columbia River, it is only an hour east of Portland. It is beloved for its recreation opportunities (particularly windsurfing, kiteboarding, cycling and mountain biking, hiking and skiing), but it's also home to four breweries, a growing wine industry and a thriving food scene.
Park City, Utah
This might be the most populist choice on the list, but I love Park City. I also adore nearby Salt Lake City, and you can easily enjoy both in one trip. Like the rest of these towns, there are good restaurants and lots of options for outdoor recreation, and as a bonus, there's a little film festival in January that sort of takes over the town, while still managing to have a down-home feel.
Royal Gorge Resort, Soda Springs, California
This place is like heaven for cross country skiers. Located right off of I-80 in Tahoe National Forest, it is a self-contained haven with great trails, accommodations, and food. If you want to keep it simple and just park yourself in one spot for a weekend without all the tourists from the tri-state area in front of you, this is the place.