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The Travel Section

Our Ski Vacations – with Allergies

The following accompanies the “Have Kitchen, Will Ski” article (and travel tips) in the Winter 2010 edition of Allergic Living. All are written by AL’s food allergy/celiac travel writer, Scott McKenzie. To purchase that issue, click here.

Owl’s Head – For more than 20 years now a large group of 50 family and friends has gone skiing every spring at Owl’s Head (www.owlshead.com) in the Quebec Eastern Townships, about 1.5 hours east of Montreal. Owl’s Head is one of the last family-owned ski resorts in Canada and also one of the best values. The resort offers one- to three-bedroom condos with full kitchens with excellent ski-in, ski-out access. It is rarely crowded, has a good mix of runs for all levels, but après ski activities are limited. Views of Lac Memphremagog are stunning.

Mont Tremblant – We have been to Mont Tremblant (www.tremblant.ca) in both winter and summer. It’s located 132 kms north of Montreal and consistently rated the Number One ski resort in eastern North America. It is pretty much the opposite of Owl’s Head, and is a full fledged four-season resort with shopping, swimming and lots of restaurants. It also has golfing, swimming, boating and biking in the summer. Tremblant has studio to four-bedroom condos with good ski-in, ski-out access. There is a good mix of runs and lots of après ski activities. But it can be crowded, and sometimes very cold.

Smugglers Notch – Smugglers Notch, Vermont (www.smuggs.com) is about 165 kms south of Montreal and is consistently rated the Number One ski resort for family programs in North America. Accommodations range from studio to five-bedroom condos with full kitchens and good ski-in, ski-out access. There is an excellent learn to ski program for children as young as 2½ years old, as well as more non-skiing activities for children than any resort I have been to. These include: a fun zone with inflatable slides, bouncy house, pools, basketball and mini-golf. Resort has a good mix of ski runs for all levels, but can be crowded on weekends because there are no high-speed chairlifts.

Sugarbush – My favourite ski area in the east is Sugarbush, Vermont (www.sugarbush.com), 235 kms south of Montreal. It has studio to five-bedroom ski-in, ski out condos with an outdoor, heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is a great variety of skiing, with lots of easy and intermediate runs as well as among the best expert terrain in the east. The luxurious new Claybrook Residences have a valet to park your car, a ski valet to stow your skis and a boot valet to dry and warm your boots.

Silver Star – My daughters’ favourite ski trip was to Silver Star Resort (www.skisilverstar.com) in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, about an hour from Kelowna. There are reasonably priced studio to six-bedroom condos and chalets with excellent ski-in, ski-out access. The chalet we stayed in was so close to the run at Silver Star that the kids could ski right onto the back porch. It has a good mix of runs for all levels, lots of après ski activities and rarely gets crowded.

Big Sky – My wife Keely’s favorite ski area is Big Sky (www.bigskyresort.com) in Montana, 70 kms from Bozeman. The village has ski-in, ski-out studio condos to five-bedroom homes. It features lots of groomed, intermediate cruising runs as well as easy and hard runs and never has crowds. There are swimming pools, restaurants, a spa, shops and it’s also near Yellowstone National Park.

Whistler Blackcomb – The largest resort in North America is Whistler Blackcomb (www.whistlerblackcomb.com) in British Columbia. This is a huge resort, 125 kms from Vancouver, which will host the alpine skiing event of the 2010 Winter Olympics. It features over 200 trails for every level of skiing. There are three villages at the base of two mountains with studio to six-bedroom units. Some of the accommodations are ski-in, ski-out, but others require you to walk or shuttle to the lifts. There lots of activities to keep you busy, regardless of whether you ski or not, but it is not cheap.

Next Page: More ski resorts.

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