Olympic Secrets: Best Destinations For Winter Sports & Active Holidays (Vol. 1)

by Travelling Peach

1. Canadian Mountains
Recommended by: Arianne Jones, Team Canada Luge
Arianne says Nature’s very important to me. I love being active outdoors; away from technology with the fresh air and peace. I’m fortunate to live really close to Kelowna and Banff, surrounded by the Canadian mountains. It’s like another world so just immersing myself in nature, hiking, cycling, climbing etc. is a really powerful way for me to recover.’

2. Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Italy
Recommended by: Elena Hight, Team USA Snowboarding
Elena says I really love Italy. It has some of the best powder I’ve ever ridden and the best food in the world. I’m part Italian so I love going there to film snowboarding demos. It’s the coolest place. If you like winter sports, I recommend visiting Gressoney-Saint-Jean. It’s a little mountain town with a huge ski resort not too far from Milan – you drive though Milan on the way there. It’s probably the biggest mountain I’ve ever been on but absolutely beautiful.

3. Volcanic Cycling, Lanzarote & Slovenia
Recommended by: Lizzie Simmonds, Team GB Swimming
Lizzie says My boyfriend and I recently cycled up a volcano in Lanzarote, followed by Slovenia. They’re not for the fainthearted – each ride is approx. 100km – but they’re such beautiful places so if you enjoy active holidays they’re perfect. Slovenia is particularly stunning. I’d never considered going there before but we took a long bike ride over the Alps in the northwest of the country and then through Italy.’

4. Pisueña River, Northern Spain
Recommended by: Jess Fox, Team Australia Sprint Canoe
Jess says ‘This is my favourite river. My friends and I did a 7-hour river trip where we started at one point and paddled down this beautiful, versatile river. It has some really big rapids, some easier rapids where you can chill out and the terrain is incredible. We were surrounded by fantastic snow-topped mountains, the views were spectacular and it was so much fun. Then, at lunchtime, we stopped at this little Spanish restaurant where the lady cooked a really delicious feast for us. That’s probably another reason why it’s my favourite place: I love food.’

5. Rural Spain
Recommended by: Jess Fox, Team Australia Sprint Canoe
Jess says ‘Next week, I’m going to a tiny little sleepy town in Spain; a farmers’ town. It has some amazing natural rivers and white-water courses but it’s somewhere you’d stumble across. You’d never find it on a tourist map but I love it. It’s such a cool little city with a big market every Saturday, the people are lovely and friendly and there’s a strong community spirit. Everybody comes down to watch the kayaking because it’s in the middle of the city and it’s a really lovely experience.’

6. Oregon Sand Dunes, USA
Recommended by: Elena Hight, Team USA Snowboarding
Elena says I recently visited the sand dunes in Oregon, which was so cool. One of my sponsors, Toyota, held a Hotel Tacoma event on the Oregon Coast. The weekend was built around play and challenged how our society has become all about ‘work, work, work, work, work’ Rihanna. We don’t make the time to play anymore but it’s so important - it can really revitalise you. Oregon has so much to offer. During the weekend, we went paragliding (which I’m now obsessed with), biking, climbing and much more. It was such a cool experience. You’re basically flying like a bird. I’m pretty sure it’s the closest you could ever be to being a bird so definitely worth trying.’

7. Bled, Slovenia
Recommended by: Victoria Thornley, Team GB Rowing
Victoria says ‘One of my favourite places. We competed there for the 2011 World Championships and it must be the most magnificent lake in the world. There’s a little island in the middle with a church on it and it’s just breath-taking… really green and beautiful.’

8. St. Moritz, Switzerland
Recommended by: Chris Spring, Team Canada Bobsleigh

Chris says My favourite bobsleigh track is in St Moritz. It’s the longest in the world, travels down from St Moritz to Celerina and is absolutely beautiful. We train there a lot and there are so many other sports to enjoy too: skiing, snowboarding, skating, curling... It’s great and, afterwards, it’s always nice to spend time relaxing in a spa or with a hot toddy.’

9. The Alps
Recommended by: Chris Mazdzer, Team USA Luge
Chris says I love competing in The Alps. My 3 favourite tracks are:
1. Berchtesgaden, Germany (towards the most south-eastern tip) has an incredible track that’s completely surrounded by mountains and nature. It reminds me of Lake Placid (Northern New York) where I grew up so it’s one of my favourite places to compete.
2.  St. Moritz, Switzerland. We train there alongside the bobsledders and it has one of the longest tracks in the world, travelling down from St Moritz to Celerina. It’s surrounded by snow-capped mountains and has such a sense of freedom. Stunning!
3. La Plagne, France.’

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