Let it snow! Our favourite 3 skiing destinations in the United States.

Winter arrived and oh boy, did it arrive in style! Bomb cyclone and Craig Blizzard aside, it is so wonderful to wake up to a winter wonderland, isn’t it? And once the snow settles a little it is the perfect time to grab your ski gear and have fun! If you happen to live in a place where all you can do is build snowmen and snow castles but can’t feel the adrenaline of going downhill, we present you the best skiing destinations in the United States and Canada for your winter holidays!

  1. Vail, Colorado:

This famous ski center in the United States was founded in the early 60s by a group of professional skiers who used to train in the area and realized it was the perfect ski mountain. They opened a ski resort and then the town of Vail grew around it, within a few years’ time there were available 33 ski lifts and more than 190 ski trails where marked on three mountain faces: Blue Sky Basin, the back bowls and the front side. Vail´s architectural style and planning follows the one found in European alpine towns, having a large pedestrian area and extremely efficient and secure public transportation system (including the largest free shuttle bus system in the United States).

The best place for beginners is the front face which has many beginner friendly trails such as Lion’s Gate, Gitalong Road and Trans Montaine; in case you are not so much of a beginner and want to enjoy a magnificent view of Gore Range, ski down Eagle Nest Ridge and Back Bowls out the Sourdough Lift.

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Is winter wonderland in Blue Sky Basin, Vail.
Photo credit: Dave Eichorst under CC License.

2. Breckenridge, Colorado:

Breckenridge is a quaint mountain town that is also the largest historical town in Colorado, its history goes back to the 19th century when it was founded in the middle of the Gold Rush era. Rumor has it that for many years the town was considered as No Man’s Land which is remembered today in many festivals that refer to that time in Breckenridge´s history as “The Kingdom Days”. Skiing was introduced in the early 1960s when ski trails were cut in Peak 8 and in the following decades expanded to 187 ski trails in Peaks 6, 7, 9 and 10 today. Beginners will have the time of their lives skiing down Peak 9, intermediates are going for a fun day at Peak 7 and experts are in for some good skiing at Imperial Bowl.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Breckenridge served as the location for movies like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Dumb and Dumber?

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Breckenridge has plenty of adrenaline fuelled activities for skiers and snowboarders.
Photo credit: Sanjoy Ghosh under CC License.

3. Avon, Colorado:

The town of Avon is known as the gateway to Beaver Creek Ski Resort, one of the best places to ski in Colorado for beginners. Only 10 miles away from Vail, it is possible to take the shuttle bus that connects these two beautiful towns and go for a stroll or even try the different ski facilities. Avon has lots of sport action throughout the year since Beaver Creek Resort hosts many ski world cup competitions in its facilities as well as golf tournaments in a golf course  designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. once the snow is gone during spring and summer months.  Slide along its 150 ski trails, enjoy the views from Rose Bowl and Larkspur Bowl as you enjoy the three distinctive areas of the mountain which provides access to every level of skiers.

Fun fact: enjoy fresh out of the oven complimentary cookies at the base of the mountain at 3:00 p.m.!

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Breathtaking views of Avon-Beaver Creek Resort from a lift.
Photo credit: Sean shaughnessy under CC License.

We could go on and on about these skiing destinations in the United States since they have breathtaking landscapes, difficulty levels for every skier and fun for all ages. Would you like to visit them? Then give us a call and our concierges will be more than happy to guide you through your ski trip planning!

Where to find the best marzipan on World Marzipan Day!

It’s a glorious day for sweet and pastry lovers all over the globe since world marzipan day celebrates the marriage of two of our favorite ingredients: almonds and sugar. This delicious treat has been used in a great variety of dishes, cuisines and cultures for centuries now and although there is not a definite theory about its origins, one thing that everyone agrees on is that the idea came from the Middle East and muslin culture, which has used nuts and other forms of spices for centuries.

It is known that The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night (850 A.D.)has references to an almond and honey paste flavored with orange water and shaped into delicate flowers; it is believed this paste was introduced to Europe by the Turks in any of their approaches and the colonies they held in the south of Spain and Portugal but also made its way to Eastern Europe where Germans and Estonians embraced this, particularly the cities of Lübeck in Germany and Tallinn, the Estonian capital. That said, these are some of the countries and cities where you will be able to find the best versions of marzipan in the world:

Spain:

The area known as Andalucia in the southern end of Spain was once a region where Muslins, Christians and Jews lived peacefully for many centuries; it is believed that the Ottomans brought the spices and knowledge to the region of Al-Andalus somewhere between the years 711 to 1492 A.D. but it wasn’t until  1512 that the nuns of the Convent of San Clemente in Toledo turned it into what is known today as Mazapán de Toledo, the best of its kind that can be found in Spain.

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Toledo is known as the birth place of the spanish mari¿zipan we know today.
Photo credit: Peter Nijenhuis under CC License.

Portugal:

On the western end of the Iberian Peninsula sits the region that the Ottomans called as al-Gharb, today Portugal’s Algarve region, which borders with Andalucia in Spain, the almond and sugar pastry had a similar evolution to the Spanish desert since the tradition was passed on to nuns, however, the Portuguese variation has the maçapão is a fruit shape sweet and colored with edible natural dyes to make them more fun.

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The maçapão sweets in the streets of Algarve are colorful and fruit-shaped.
Photo credit: John Barber under CC License.

Switzerland:

There is no questions swiss know how to make amazing candy and sweets, right? Well, marzipan takes the center stage at the L’Escalade, or Fête de l’Escalade which is an annual festival held in Geneva, every December. Here the marzipan is used as the filling for chocolates that are wrapped in the red and gold, traditional Geneva colors; the tradition is to smash a cauldron with the sweet goods in reference to the Savoyard siege of the city in 1602.

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Geneva offers chocolates filled with marzipan during the Fête de l’Escalade.
Photo credit: ITU Pictures under CC License.

Italy:

Italians claim to have invented marzipan or marzipane as they call it, in 1193 D.A. in a convent in Sicily. Rumor has it that the nuns who made the March Bread or marzapane were from greek origins worked on this paste made out of almonds and sugar and decided to shape them into animals and fruits for fun. These are also painted with natural dyes including pigments extracted from roses, pistachio nuts and saffron.

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Marzipan fruits, even better than the real thing!
Photo credit: Rachel Lovinger under CC License.

Turkey:

According to the Ottoman Empire history, marzipan became an important dish for the Sultans back in the day. That being said and due to its long history of trading spices little known by the Europeans, there is no doubt that the street markets and cafes that have been making and serving this delicacy in the vibrant city of Istanbul.

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What about a traditional turkish marzipan treat while enjoying this view?
Photo credit: Blucava under CC License.

As you can see, marzipan is an European and Middle East tradition that has developed in different delicious ways, countries with an incredibly rich culinary history and sceneries; also across the pond you are going to find a rich variety of marzipan sweets across Latin America. In case you would like to add any of these beautiful destinations or mix and match them and embark in an European marzipan tour for 2018, give us a call and we will be more than happy to help you trace your travel map!