As visitors arrive they are first welcomed by the Olympic torch, burning since the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, soon after they are greeted by the beautiful European-style village, and colossal snow covered peaks. The area is a winter paradise as more than half a million people flock to the resort every winter to enjoy its luxurious accommodations, legendary skiing and snowboarding, and an ambiance that perfectly blends adventure, fun, and relaxation.
The ski area is absolutely enormous and spans 4,000 acres over six peaks. There are 16 bowls that have terrain ranging from gentle sloping runs to menacingly steep chutes. The 170+ runs also cater to all ability levels—25 percent of the runs are great for beginners, 45 percent suits intermediate levels, and the remaining 30 percent are reserved for the most experienced and advanced skiers.
The area’s climate is quite unique, as it receives huge amounts of snow (450+ inches) and has more than 300 sunny days a year. Remember to bring plenty of layers, waterproof a plus, because temperatures can vary greatly during the day. Also, it is imperitive to bring sun protection due to the combination of high elevation, reflective snow glare, and pristine cloudless days.
While it is home to some of the best skiers in the world, it is no surprise the instructors on the mountain are also some of the most highly qualified and experienced in the business. Skiers will take lessons away from the general population in a safe and secure area. There are a variety of group lessons, private lessons, a teen freeride camp, women-only classes, back-country skills clinics, and the “Rocker Revolution” class, which focuses on introducing skiers to the newest in ski design.
The village is rife with luxury facilities and essential services. Among the standard offerings are full and half-day lessons and daycare, storage lockers, rental and repair shops, and a medical center. However, it’s in the luxury offerings setting it apart from most other resorts. There are beautiful art galleries, boutiques, unique souvenir shops, and an incredible range of the top brands for skiing and snowboarding. There are also more than 40 spots to dine and enjoy the scenery, from quick cafes to elegant and romantic restaurants.
The resort works hard to make a ski vacation here affordable. They offer great fly and ski free specials, heavily discounted ski and stay packages, as well as deals on lessons, rentals, and dining.
The amount of terrain here is staggering and the diversity of the terrain is impressive. The back country has everything from gentle cruiser runs to shocking narrows and steeps that stimulate the most seasoned rider. The runs are also fairly evenly divided to suit all ability levels, 25 percent beginner, 45 percent intermediate, and 30 percent advanced/expert terrain.
There are three terrain parks and a massive super pipe. The Riviera Park has mid to advanced level riding with two major jump lines of step-ups, step-downs, and table tops. It also houses big features like log rides, wall rides, and even old petroleum tanks. The super pipe is nearby, in-ground, more than 400-feet long, and has 18-foot walls. The resort crew uses a top of the line pipe cutter to maintain the pipe. The Riviera Park and Pipe are open for night riding during the weekends. The High Camp Yard is another freestyle park and the crew is constantly updating the features so the park is ever-evolving and always sports new additions.
Stay active with activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice skating, a climbing wall, a swimming lagoon and spa, a scenic cable car, snowtubing, a ski jump, as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Check out the informative Olympic Museum. Sit and relax at a plethora of quaint cafes. Walk the village for great shopping, art galleries, and a wide array of fantastic restaurants and casual eateries.
One of the biggest novelties and most popular spots is the ice bar located at the top of the mountain, constructed entirely of ice it’s an arctic paradise. For a more warming atmosphere check out Le Chamois, which serves delicious pizza and ice cold beverages, and provides endless entertainment outdoors on the deck bar or upstairs in the loft bar. There are several places on and around the mountain to grab a drink.