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Luxury Travel Insider PODCAST
Luxury Travel Insider INTRO:
We’re all searching to get more out of life, to experience our world in unexpected ways. Welcome to Luxury Travel Insider, where we bring the magic of iconic destinations to life. Our guests are the visionaries behind the experiences that have inspired travelers for generations. Let’s make your life the journey and the destination right here with the Luxury Travel Insider herself, Sarah Groen.
Sarah: Hey hey, Insiders! Welcome to a wintery episode of Luxury Travel Insider. Today, we’re going skiing, not just in Colorado, or Utah or California, but all over the world, from Chile to Japan to Italy and France. Our guests today are brother and sister team Rick Reichsfeld and Richelle Blanken. The duo grew up skiing competitively, both raced in college, and then Richelle even raced professionally. When Richelle left the national team, brother and sister teamed up to find a way to make a living by helping others experience the joy of skiing around the world. We discuss everything from their best tips for families to their favorite destinations, ski runs, and the craziest après ski parties. If you are a ski lover, this is an episode you do not want to miss.
Short Excerpts from the podcast
Richelle: “…knowing it’s lunch-time, and you’re in Italy, so you know you’re going to eat well, and just skiing down one of their great tree runs to a place we call Giacomo’s. That’s actually the name of the owner, it’s actually called Maison Vieille, but we call it Giacomo’s… you’re gonna get a hug usually from the owner Giacomo… and you end up staying there all afternoon…”
Rick: “…every day it snows except for two sunny days a year… the storms come across Siberia, hit the mountains of Japan, and just sit. It’s really super dry powder… when you ski through the trees if you’re gonna ski under a lift, you have to make sure you duck because you’re gonna hit somebody’s skis that’s on the lift. It’s truly about the snow…”
Richelle: “… when we go there it’s like going home. The same shop owners and restaurant owners are there and remember our clients and people leave there with making new friends that they keep in touch with… “
Rick: “… three thousand people show up at 2:30 in the afternoon, they have a band on the roof of the lodge playing, and people shooting champagne off, it’s dancing until like 6 o’clock in the evening then the ski patrol makes everybody leave… people falling down, trying to ski to the bottom, it’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen…”
Rick: “Richelle had a booking from a celebrity a few years back and they had teenage kids and they wanted a half-pipe built in the house’s backyard… we pulled it off, and they loved it so much they ended up extending their stay sixty days… Those are some of the things that we can pull off, you know “oh we want an ice sculpture tomorrow”, or… one time we had to fly in somebody to give a mani-pedi from California, we had to fly them in because they wanted the next day, you can’t get that in Utah on short notice… Lots of fun things and special requests… we can pull it off.”
01:42 – What Rick & Richelle favorite spots are
04:45 – How skiing can offer a unique perspective on life
06:37 – About some behind the scenes stories from the Olympics
08:55 – How they were inspired to continue their skiing journey
15:05 – What the most underrated skiing destination in Europe is
16:29 – About the best skiing experience for beginners and for party people
20:09 – How you can get your kids interested in this sport
21:24 – What the special places for advanced and adventurous people are
23:50 – Why you should hire a travel advisor to plan your next skiing trip
30:08 – About a special memory of a past guest
32:48 – How Rick & Richelle decide on their ski favorites & more
39:45 – What you will learn about the world after taking a ski trip
EXPERTS FOR HIRE – Ski in Japan this season
EXPERTS FOR HIRE
To navigate language differences, flight and airport options, ground transfers, ski passes, ryokan and restaurant bookings, and local transportation, use a ski travel specialist who is familiar with Japan such as Scout Ski (scoutski.com), a boutique custom ski trip planning consultancy, Alpine Adventures (alpineadventures.net), a full-service luxury ski travel agency, or Aspen-based Ski.com (ski.com), which has five decades of ski travel experience and offers à la carte trip planning. Ski.com also operates several annual Japan guided group trips….. (page 157)
Missed the winter ski season? Make u for it this year by hitting the summer slopes.
The last two winters haven’t been kind to skiers. In early 2020, most resorts shut down abruptly because of the onset of the pandemic; this past season, capacity restrictions made booking lift tickets so frustrating that many skiers simply passed altogether.
For half the world, however, this year’s ski season is just getting started. “This upcoming summer ski season should be a big one”, says Pete Kovacevic, an expert on South America for the tour operator Alpine Adventures. What’s more, since travel restrictions are still in flux, Kovacevic notes that many places are offering extremely flexible reservation policies.
Aside from the novelty of snow in July, alternate-season ski trips offer unusual fringe benefits, such as being able to combine warm-weather pursuits — golfing, cycling, even sunbathing — with time on the slopes. From the mountains of South America to the glaciers of Europe, here are the best places to carve out a summer ski vacation.
The number one summer destination for snow lovers, Chile is the choice of many national teams and World Cup racers for off-season training. The Andes are the second-highest mountain range on earth, with epic snowfalls, yet Chile’s top resorts are affordable and accessible — a little less than two hours’ drive from Santiago, which means you can mix world-class skiing with visits to vineyards, art museums, and, if you’re willing to go a tad farther, the beach.
Ski Portillo is a longtime favorite of legends such as Bode Miller and Chris Davenport, and the Portillo Hotel, at its base, operates like a landlocked cruise ship, with value-packed all-inclusive weeklong stays featuring great food, Chilean wine,. and even a disco. The country’s other big ski resort, Valle Nevado, mean while,. plans to open two of its three base hotels — the mid-range Hotel Puerta del Sol and the deluxe Hotel Valle Nevado — this reason. Chile is also rich in opportunities for those who want to try heli-skiing. Both major resorts offer on-site day-trip hell-skiing, and several tour oper-ators offer itineraries to various mountains throughout the country.
“Valle Nevado and Portillo are always hot ski destinations, and the most popular in South America,.” says Kovacevic, but he also recommends the up-and-coming resort Nevados de Chain, which has a new luxury hotel, tree skiing not found at its competitors, and thermal hot springs. Alpine Adventures also puts together trips to Ski Arpa, in the shadow of Aconcagua (the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere), and Corralalco Mountain Resort, in the Araucania region.
Chile may get more attention, but there are several notable ski resorts on the east side of the Andes, in Argentina. Bariloche, a Patagonian city with Swiss-style architecture, is the gateway to the nation’s largest resort, Cerro Catedral, which has around 3,000 acres of skiing and stunning views of the glacial lake Nahuel Huapi. While there are plenty of accommodations at the resort base, Bariloche, just 30 minutes away, offers a truer ski-town experience, and it has one of the best luxury hotels in South America, Llao Llao, where the Obamas vacationed in 2016. Hotel guests have access to free transfers to Cerro Catedral and a private club at the base of the mountain, plus backcountry and Nordic skiing at a nearby mountain reserve.
Argentina’s other major resort, Las Lenas, is farther north, in Mendoza Province. With 14 lifts, a nearly 4,000-foot vertical drop, plenty of hike-to expert terrain, and night skiing (plus the highest casino in the world), this is the preferred option for adrenaline junkies.
What to Do in St. Moritz During January
The first month of the year is a prime time to visit.
The star event of the month is the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival (January 11-19, 2019), which brings top culinary talent from around the world and turns the town into a foodie hotspot.
Nine critically acclaimed chefs will take over the kitchens of nine of the grandest hotels in St. Moritz and the Upper Engadin region (including Badrutt’s Palace, the Carlton Hotel, Suvretta House, and the Kulm Hotel) for nightly gourmet dinners, while each hotel also hosts a slew of tastings and parties.
How do you recover from nine days of gluttony? Easy—hit the slopes. Hundreds of miles of the most beautiful powdered snow are practically at your doorstep. The winter sport experts at Alpine Adventures will impart their wisdom on the best trails, routes, itineraries, and, most importantly, après-ski boîtes. They will also find the right hotel for you, though the #verytandc thing to do would be to book a room at Badrutt’s Palace, the grande dame of St. Moritz.
While St. Moritz is one of many snow-covered destinations favored by the world’s elite for their Christmas to New Year holiday (along with places like Gstaad, Verbier, and Courcheval), it’s really the month of January when the alpine town starts to show its true colors. It’s much quieter this time of year than it is at the end of December, but isn’t that a blessing? The village is tiny and quaint, just the way it should be. No fighting for tables at King’s Club (the hottest nightclub in the Alps), for the last slice of truffle pizza at Chesa Veglia, or for the last cashmere throw at Cabana. And that’s not to say you would ever get bored. …
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