Avid skiier and mountain culture enthusiast Mike Cotton tells us about lesser-known ski destinations, where to hit the slopes on a budget and where to go this summer to satiate your powder craving.
1. What’s one lesser-known ski destination you recommend to travelers?
I have to start with my home ski hill of Fernie in beautiful British Columbia, the epic snowfall is just part of the reason why so many make this town our home. Great vibe on the hill and in the town, everyone knows everyone.
2. What’s a ski destination you would recommend to budget travelers?
I am going to go recommend New Zealand and it’s array of club fields. They are super friendly, cheap and rustic. They also hark back to a bygone era, when lift tickets were affordable and the crowds thin.
3. What’s one tip you would give to someone who has never skiied before but is interested in trying?
Take lessons. Learning to ski or snowboard isn’t easy, especially if you’re out of your teens. Enjoy it and remember everyone had to start somewhere.
4. What’s one safety tip you would give people for not injuring themselves on the slopes?
I personally don’t wear a helmet (stupid I know) but I would recommend one for sure — especially if you’re learning.
5. What’s been your favorite adventure on the slopes and where were you?
This is a tough one. There are so many good memories on the slopes but one which sticks out is January 17, 2012. A date which will mean nothing to many but means so much to those of us in Fernie who experienced it. On this day Fernie received over 100cm of the fluffiest, lightest and great blower powder. The video above says it all.
6. What’s your favorite destination for apres ski? Where would you recommend to go there for an after ski drink?
The local bar, in Fernie I always head to The Kodiak Lounge, the town’s hostel bar.
7. What’s a great destination for U.S. travelers wanting to go skiing in the summer (June through September)?
About Mike Cotton
Mike is a former journalist and relasped ski bum — he has lived in France, Colorado, New Zealand and Canada chasing winters. Working any job he can to afford a ski pass, Mike has been a dishy in France, a liftie in Colorado and Canada and a bum in New Zealand. You can follow his adventures at Nomads on the Road.