The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.
You don't have to be an adventure seeker praying for air and serious moguls to enjoy the slopes. Cross county skiing is a wonderful outlet for those that want to be firmly planted to the ground. This ski season, both downhill adventures and cross country snow shoeing can be equally as physically taxing and fun-filled.
From Ski Europe (tel. 800-333-5533; www.skieurope.com) a seven-night trip to Chamonix including air and hotel starts at $1,079. The trip includes roundtrip air out of New York to France, all hotel accommodations at a top-notch ski lodge, and daily breakfast. Lift tickets aren't included but the trip guarantees great snow and hard core trails. Ski Europe provides all airport transfers to the hotel and back for your return flight. Chamonix is France's equivalent of Aspen or Vail. You can't go wrong with a quaint ski town and charming inns.
If you're into cross-country skiing, check out the information at Chamonix's official website through http://montagne.chamonix.com/SkiFond.php?ling=En#top. The web page lists prices, trails, areas around two mountain ranges, and phone numbers for the cross country ski lodges at Chamonix or Argentiere. They have five types of trails including a pedestrian trail where dogs and walkers are allowed. Of course, cross country ski rules are in effect as all trails are one way and skiers and snoe shoers must be acutely aware of signposts. Dogs are allowed as well on pedestrian trails. Prices range from €6 per full ($7.19) day for adults and €4 ($4.80) for children. Length of the trails varies go from 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) to 12 kilometers (7.5 miles).
For skiing in Canada this winter, Whistler (tel. 888/403-4727, www.whistlerblackcomb.com/index.htm?campaignid=overture-eb-whistler_blackcomb) offers a host of skiing vacations. A $79 per night hotel room is available in Canada's most popular skiing town. For stays over Christmas, between December 20-26, this very low rate can be yours for stays in Whistler's Upper Village. Filled with bars and restaurants, the Upper Village is a less rowdy than the town and a great place to enjoy aprÂ¿s-ski moments and prepare for the next day on the slopes.
For cross country skiing closer to home, The Cross Country Skiing Information Center (tel. 877/779-2754; www.xcski.org) lists areas around the United States and Canada where cross country skiers can explore trails and unscathed areas. All sorts of resorts are listed. In Mount Washington, Pennsylvania, a cross country skiing event is available around January 10, 2006 for a Moonlight Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Tour. The tour departs from the Nordic center at 6:30pm and includes cider and hot chocolate. Horse drawn sleds are also available. These events go on all across the country and you can select an area close to you for a romantic or family adventure. For another Pennsylvania adventure, a trip to the Callenders Windy Acres Farm (tel. 570/727-2982) includes snowshoes, 6 kilometers of trails, woods, rentals, and children skis. An active family maple syrup farm, Callenders gives you something else to do or look at as you ski by. These type of services and trails are available nation wide. Check out the sites resort guide for details at www.xcski.org/resort-guide.shtml.
For one-day cross-country ski adventures, Wild Earth Adventures (tel. 845/354-3717; http://www.wildearthadventures.com), founded by wilderness expert, author and professional guide Charles Cook, offers almost weekly excursions around the New York and New Jersey. Although membership is not needed to join the excursions, members Cook's wilderness group do receive discounts on the excursions coming to about 1/3 of the non-member price of the day trips. Most outings cost $90 for non-members. Members pay $60 per trip but if they purchase three or more outings at once they receive a discount. Three outings, for example, cost $150; ten trips cost $400. Unlike other day trip providers, Wild Earth provides transportation to and from Manhattan. Trips start at around 7:00am and go into the early evenings. Number of people per trip usually ranges from 10 to 20 people. Rental fees for skis and equipment start between $10 and $20 dollars. Fees for trails start at around $7. Beginners are encouraged as trails are moderate to easy. If you decide to become a member, fees are usually $75 per person ($135 per couple). For a discount, however, if you join before December 31, 2005, membership costs $50 per person. While the website has a full list of excursions, some January and February cross-country trips include the Catskills and High Point State Park. Going all year round, Wild Earth Adventures includes hikes during the non-ski season.