Thrill-seeking skiers are always on the lookout for new challenges. From jumping out of helicopters onto pristine powder far from the beaten path to finding 60-degree slopes in equally out-of-the-way places, these daredevils will try almost anything. Following are five outstanding and challenging options, at premier resorts and remote mountains.
1. Gulmarg, Kashmir Region, Himalayan Mountains: In a disputed territory nestled on the border between India and Pakistan, skiers will find fantastic runs, spectacular scenery and, while in the lodge, even advertisements for nuclear fallout shelters. The area is only 80 miles from the town where Osama bin Laden was killed, and the Line of Control is “just over the next rise.” All the unrest, however, doesn’t stop travelers from taking in the gorgeous surroundings and topflight skiing. Riders will find friendly people from all over the world, including India, Brazil, France, Germany and Scandinavia. As an added bonus, the wildlife in the area is as dazzling as the views. Skiers have come face to face with bears, and some have even reported seeing snow leopards beneath their skis as they fly over jumps. No one has yet seen a yeti, but who knows what that shadow is behind that tree?
2. Wiencke Island, Antarctic Peninsula: The bottom of the world offers a unique skiing experience that juxtaposes a little bit of mountaineering with a lot of skiing. Skiers will have the opportunity to do both cross-country and alpine-style skiing as they tour the areas around Wiencke Island. This trip is ideal for intermediate skiers. The thrills begin with the unique way one gets to the island, which includes a two-day cruise across the Drake Passage and a rounding of the Horn. The wildlife includes penguins and all manner of birds, seals, whales and other fauna for which Antarctica is famous. Less-active family members can remain on the ship while the skiers traverse the “last frontier” of the Antarctic continent.
3. Aspen, Colorado, Rocky Mountains: Right at home in the center of the United States, Aspen offers some of the most challenging ski faces in North America. The resort boasts more than 2,500 vertical feet of 45-degree slopes at its Highland Bowl, and other hills provide 35-degree bowls that are accessible only by either 10-foot sheer jumps or cornices that are almost that tall. Black-diamond trails abound all over the mountain’s 11,212-foot height. Part of the resort’s allure is that less-experienced family members can find many intermediate trails while the experts thrash the powder in the backcountry. Best of all, Aspen offers world-class hotel accommodations that provide the perfect break from thrill seeking.
4. Hahnenkamm, Kitzbühl, Austria, the Alps: Austrian skiing legend Franz Klammer won the prestigious World Cup race on the face at Hahnenkamm an astounding four times. The course is notoriously difficult not only because of the challenging combination of technique and gliding required to negotiate it but also because of the flat lighting conditions in the area. Right off the bat, skiers must negotiate the “Mousetrap,” which is a harrowing jump mere seconds from the beginning of the run. After landing, skiers can quickly reach 80 mph and must immediately navigate a severe left turn. Of course, if someone really wants to try his or her luck, it’s just a little more than 56 miles up the road to Patscherkofel. Skiers can try to match or beat the 1976 gold medal time of Klammer himself: 1:45.73.
5. Panorama, British Columbia, Canada, Rocky Mountains: Recently named as one of the Top 10 Skiing Destinations in the world by USA Today, Panorama offers more than 100 pistes. Many of them provide exceptional thrills:
Sun Bowl and Extreme Dream Zone are particularly noteworthy. Whether cutting powder through the 2,847 acres of patrolled terrain or slicing tight turns through the trees down nearly 4,000 feet of vertical face, advanced and expert skiers can find enough to challenge them for days on end at Panorama.
If you have to cook for a large group, the first thing you will want to do is get organized by listing everything you plan on doing and cooking. If you are wondering what to cook, a Dutch oven chicken recipe might make a very nice meal, or you can prepare the chicken in a traditional roasting pan. The advantage of using a Dutch oven over a Crock-pot®slow cooker is that you can brown the chicken before cooking it. You cannot brown chicken in a Crock-pot. To help cut down on the cooking, you can buy the appetizers, rolls and salads prepared and ready to go.
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To minimize your work on the day of your event, you may want to consider preparing your chicken ahead of time so that all you have to do is plop it in the oven or pan on the day of cooking. Many recipes allow for preparation beforehand. A successful party is in the planning, so be sure to organize as soon as you can.
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