Where to Find the Best Off-Piste Skiing in the Alps

The thrill of skiing off-piste into the great white wilderness is what the Alps offer best. Ungroomed slopes give the exhilaration which the tailored ones do not. Documentaries often show skiers and snowboarders descending huge mountains swiftly, jumping off the edge of a cliff, and disappearing into the powdery white.

The good news is that the Alps offer something for everyone.  While more advanced ski mountaineers can head for bigger lines,  people with little backcountry touring experience  – can also ski  ungroomed slopes. So, if you plan to visit a European alpine country anytime soon, read on!

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TBT: Backcountry skiing in Fernie (2/23/2010)

The account below is one small piece of a series of posts documenting our road trip to Montana and interior British Columbia in February, 2010. Stops included Bridger, Whitefish, Fernie, Roger’s Pass, Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, Whitewater, and Red (Rossland). This unforgettable adventure was made possible by the generosity of strangers – now friends – who time and time again let us crash on their floors or in their guest rooms, and then guided us around some of the best terrain that they knew. We were lucky to have this in almost every place we stopped.

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6 Things Backcountry Skiers Can Do When It Isn’t Snowing

In much of Colorado, we’re currently sitting high and dry, without much snow in the forecast. Northern Colorado is close to average, but central and southern Colorado are anywhere from 30-70% of average. Across the rest of North America, some areas are already having a year to remember, while other areas are just as dry as we are here in Crested Butte. So, what’s a backcountry skier supposed to do when there is no snow?

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Totumo Mud Volcano, Colombia

Going back to our fabulous trip to Colombia this spring, Frank and I had a little stop over at the famed Totumo Mud Volcano when we drove from Cartagena to Minca. Totumo is a volcano full of mud – but whether the “volcano” is actually real or simple a manmade tourist trap is actually a subject of debate. Nonetheless, it’s growing in popularity and was even featured in an episode of the Amazing Race. And why wouldn’t you want to go romp around in a mud pit when it’s right on the way to your intended destination? So, to Totumo Volcano we went.

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Contrasting Cartagena

Of course, there were more water taxis coming, right?

“Oh no,” Eddy said. “There is only one more water taxi. The teacher’s taxi. It leaves in a few hours. It takes the teachers back home to Cartagena. If it is not full, you can take it. But, if it’s full, then….”

Then we’re stuck. We’re spending the night on the beach most likely. Where we would eat, who knows. To make things worse, this island worked on cash, and we hardly had any cash left. Eddy had most of it.

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Colorful Cartagena

A beautiful city right on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, this city feels like you’re on the set of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. But, none of this series of films was actually filmed here. What inspired us to come was Romancing the Stone, in which some of the plot took place in Cartagena. Again, however, none of this movie was filmed her either. That didn’t stop us from coming to soak in the charming and colorful Cartagena this past April, though – after continuing on from our trip to Panama. Founded in 1533, this colonial city is as rich in history as it is in color and diversity.

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Bocas del Toro Boat Tour

The Panamanian archipelago surrounding Bocas del Toro is best done by boat. If you book your tour somewhere in Bocas Town, you’ll likely end up crammed on some tiny boat with 20 other tourists. So, when we found out that a boat tour was leaving straight from our dock at Koko Resort on the other side of Bocas Town, we were game on. A tour with 5 sounded a whole lot better than a tour with 20.

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