This Week's Links
Holiday Rentals Limited
is Hot in June, July and August
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by Joe Harkins - May 26, '99
I recently realized that too many of my columns follow
a predictable pattern. I've often held back the name and web address of the better web
sites that cover the subject and didn't reveal them until near the end. The effect is
similar to the way supermarkets put the "gotta haves," such as bread,
milk and meats, all the way in the back of the store to force you to trek through aisles
of stuff you really didn't want.
No more. This week, we'll explore summer skiing outside the boundaries
of North and South America by moving the whole-wheat muffins, grade-A cream and
sirloin steak up front, closer to the checkout.
seems to live up to its claim of being "the largest web index of European ski
resorts." However, 1ski.com
is a much better organized page and doesn't appear any less complete as regards summer
skiing all over the world.
I do have a minor qvetch. When I started researching links to
European locations, it was hours before dawn, their time, yet many so-called "live
web cam" shots showed a bright clear afternoon scene. A half-day and again a full day
later they displayed the exact same static scene. It seems "live cam" is as much
of an oxymoron as "live recording."
Little of that will matter when the glorious warm weather skiing season
begins next month at Tignes,
the summer skiing capital of Europe. Resorts at around 9,000 feet offer fun on the Grande
Motte Glacier. The level, open fields inspire a unique local sport during which you
are drawn behind a kite at the speed of the wind. Nearby, there are downhill runs to la
Plagne, Val d'Isere, Bonneval sur Arc, L'Alpe d'Huez, Val Thorens and
From early June into September, Les Duex Alpes has
skiing and snowboarding "on the largest skiable glacier in Europe." Its
17 lifts open at 7:00AM. When the downhill and cross country activities slide into the
apre-ski hours of the afternoon, there's still plenty to do in the form of a luge run and
ice-skating rink. It's no surprise that the area is the favored training grounds for the
national ski teams of France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.
In addition to a romantic name and some of the most dependable year
'round skiing in the world, Val d'Isere's amenities at lower elevations include
golf, tennis, mountain biking, fishing, white water rafting, and sailing. While the region
has a reputation for being expensive, at least one frugal British tour operator has an
economical solution. Internet
Holiday Rentals Limited offers handsome apartments at low prices.
Switzerland boasts "the largest and highest summer skiing area in Europe . .
. eight ski lifts remain open all summer." Most spectacular is the "Klein
Matterhorn cable car - soaring up a shear mountain face to a lung-bursting 12,530
Elbrus in the former Soviet Union is even higher but getting to dependable
snow at the 13,800 feet elevation may require a snowcat ride beyond the end of the
For superb skiing while most of the USA is baking on the beach, head Down
Under. June, July and August are winter months in Australia and New Zealand.
When planning a trip there, only use the names of the months; ignore the confusing names
of the seasons.
OzSnow takes its
title from the Aussies affectionate name for their continent's improbabilities.
About one-third of Oz lies in the tropics. It is not only the smallest and
flattest continental landmass of all, it is also one of the driest, with an overall
rainfall that matches parts of North Africa. Yet it has good skiing in a
concentrated mountain range about halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, its two
Hundred of miles to the east of Australia lies another concentrated and
exciting ski-Mecca. The auction page of the New
Zealand Guide invites bids on ski vacation packages.
Well, this week, thanks to an improved floor plan, I got right into the
meat and potatoes but I'm not sure I'm going to make it past the refrigerated cases filled
with ice cream and pizza. Maybe the extra weight will help me go downhill faster?
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