Sunday, December 5, 2010

Top 10 Places in North America to Ski and Golf

For some outdoor lovers, there is no recreation dream more fantastic than a ski and golf vacation: on the same day no less. To do both within the same week is fine enough but to whoosh down powdery slopes and work on your slice on the same day is absolutely divine. Thankfully in North America, the climate in many locales is such that you can do exactly that. How you transport and store all your gear however, is another matter.

With all that in mind, here are the first five in our top ten places in Canada and the U.S.A. where you can ski and golf … on the same day.

10. Mount Washington, British Columbia

Vancouver Island provides the province of British Columbia with a gem of a playground. While not the location of the city of Vancouver, which sits on the mainland, the island to the north of the state of Washington, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, is home to the beautiful provincial capital of Victoria. Other towns like Nanaimo and Campbell River are equally superb. But the possible allure of ski and golf on the same day at the Mount Washington Alpine Resort puts this Canadian paradise over the top.

Mount Washington, British Columbia

Vancouver Island golf course

9. Mont Tremblant, Quebec

While winters in the province of Quebec can be long and nasty, they do offer excellent conditions for ski lovers. Some of the best winter sports athletes on the continent come out of the francophone province, but to the surprise of many, golf is the most popular pasttime here (even more so than hockey). Mont Tremblant, a short drive north of Montreal in the Laurentians, wins consistent recognition as the best ski resort on the Eastern Seaboard of North America. When the ski season runs well into April and even May, the prospect of a tee time at one of several championship courses after a ride down the slopes is a distinct, if not a longshot, opportunity.

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Fall view from Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Mont Tremblant village, Quebec

8. Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

The name Lake Tahoe alone evokes idyllic visions of snowy peaks, lush, forested environs and world class ski conditions. The Sierra Nevada area around the famous alpine lake is at the fortuitous pulse point of a climate zone that gets a lot of the white stuff. As a result, resorts like Squaw Valley, Heavenly Mountain, Diamond Peak and Kirkwood allow visitors to ski like mad in relative warmth, strip off the heavy gear and race to the first hole to tee off. A slew of first class golf courses offer stellar views and elevations that see the ball travel 25 yards farther per drive than at sea level.

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Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe golf course

7. Ludlow, Vermont

When most people think of Vermont, they envision cozy bed and breakfasts, colorful autumn foliage and maple syrup. But what about great ski resorts? Vermont is just south of Quebec after all and has winters that fall in line very well with Canada. Resorts like Stowe and Jay Peak are among the best in the United States and thankfully, have a long season as far as the slopes go. Both offer fabulous golf packages that can be enjoyed simultaneously, if conditions in early spring are just right. The town of Ludlow however, with the phenomenal Okemo Mountain Resort, is your best chance in Vermont to do both.

Stowe, Vermont

Ludlow, Vermont

6. Valley County and Sun Valley, Idaho

The home of the Idaho ground squirrel and former summer pasture for livestock is sort of like the rest of the state in terms of mass tourism: dull. There is one notable exception of course, as the region of Valley County and indeed, Idaho as a whole, has become a major focal point as a winter and summer outdoor destination. Although the owners of Tamarack Resort filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2008 and tennis legend tandem Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf rescinded their mutual investment, the fact of the matter is that conditions in the area are such that both pursuits are possible. Golf at a Robert Trent Jones II signature course and ski the alpine West Mountain on the same day? Absolutely.

Tamarack, Idaho

The affluent community of Sun Valley, Idaho heralds the same four season pleasures. Bald Mountain, to many, is the best peak to ski in the world, believe it or not. With Dollar Mountain, the snowy slopes are ideal for ski and snowboard lovers. Golf pros and insiders covet Idaho’s top-notch courses in Sun Valley.

Sun Valley, Idaho