All text and photos by Tess McLennan ©.
Still need more guidance for visiting all the Winter Wonderlands of the world? Never fear. Here is my second instalment, your guide to visiting the snow. Everything you need to know, nothing less.
6. Don’t forget your safety in the snow. I can feel you groaning, but hear me out. Earlier this year, I saw clips on T.V of people diving into shoulder deep snow. Diving! In humble old Australia, we are taught not to dive into any water that we can’t see the bottom of. The same goes for snow: you can’t see what’s on the bottom, why would you dive into it? And also, if you’ve had a night out on the town, it’s probably not a good idea to venture home in the snow alone. Unless you want to sacrifice your fingers or entire nose to the frostbite devil, make sure you arrange safe transport back home, and that the person driving actually gets you inside the house. I read a story about a girl who died from being left out in the snow all night, because she fell asleep on her front doorstep. A bit of common sense will save you many appendages, and maybe even your life, later on.
Snow bandits. Targeting irresponsible snow divers.
7. Alcohol: the equivalent to a roaring fireplace. Have you ever seen skiers and snowboarders with their tiny flasks of Jim Beam or other unidentified whiskeys/bourbons/scotches? For newbies, just remember that spirits warm the cockles of your heart, when the outside is absolutely freezing. Unless you’re just naturally cold-hearted, then alcohol might not work so well for you. Just go easy though. You still need to drive those skis down the mountainside. And get yourself home afterwards.
You get my point. Get toasty, yes. But be responsible when you slurp and ski.
8. Driving in the snow. Oh boy. Again, I believe it comes down to common sense. Black ice is something you want to avoid, the type that is clear, and can’t be spotted on the road until it’s too late. Ever seen Olympus Has Fallen, and that devastating road crash with the President and his wife? Yea, it’s like that. So it pays to be a little more cautious when driving in the snow. Snow chains are really useful in keeping your tyres firmly on the road, unless you’re my Dad, who has never taken his snow chains out of the box. This has led to him sliding backwards down an icy road, in a van that mildly resembled a prison bus. So, liberate your snow chains. Let them do what they were meant to. Your car will thank you for it later.
9. Not a skier? Not a problem. There are plenty other amazing things to do in the snow that don’t involve hurtling down a mountainside at warp speed. Again, it all comes back to research and simple pre-planning, the key components of any successful trip. For instance, in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, the Jungfrau train can take you to the highest point in Europe (and some bone chilling temperatures!), with amazing views on a clear day, and a the fantastic Ice Palace (a must see for artists and those who appreciate beautiful things). For people who prefer life a little faster, Lauterbrunnen also offers skydiving (pending good weather), if jumping out of a plane in winter is your sort of thing. Each to their own.
Even better in person. Jungfraujoch, Switzerland.
The Peak2Peak Gondola in Whistler, Canada
Salt Lake City, Winter Olympics Museum.
10. While it would be impossible to pinpoint every non-skiing activity in the world, again, research is the absolute key. So fellow traveller, meet Trip Advisor. Your new best friend. For example, has your winter destination ever been home to the Olympics? Chances are there is a museum dedicated to it. Ever wanted to try dogsledding? Check out Trip Advisor and see if there are any classes nearby. The same goes for snowmobiling. Want to check out some man-made ice castles? Check out Trip Advisor (Ice Castles are highly recommended!). What about a gondola ride between two snowy mountain peaks? Make Trip Advisor your answer to everything. Snow? Trip Advisor. Pickles? Trip Advisor. Guaranteed, Trip Advisor will have all the answers. Trip Advisor will see you through.
Just thought I’d add this as a reminder, that amateurs shouldn’t make snowmen.