How to get the true winter experience

January 31, 2019 — by Angelina Chen and Amanda Zhu

It’s common to see people traveling to sunny places during the February break to avoid the plain winter weather back in California. Throughout the holidays, Instagram feeds fill with photos of sunny beaches and tropical scenery from destinations such as Hawaii, Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean … the list goes on.

However, if you’re looking for the true winter experience, consider going to somewhere that’s colder.

We’ve never seen snow. Not in Saratoga, at least. But traveling to spots with a stark contrast to the repetitive sunny California weather is a reliable way to experience the winter-feeling that the Bay Area does not offer.

A popular snowy site is Lake Tahoe, the epicenter of many notable ski resorts. Specifically, the ski resort Mt. Rose has much to offer, from various authentic restaurants to a Santa Ski Day, where skiers dress up in the holiday spirit. The slopes include the basic three levels: Black, Green, and Blue, Green being the beginner level and Black being the most challenging. Nearby, there are also many forest lakes to appreciate.

Sadly, the ongoing drought has impact the quality and amount of snow on ski slopes. Resorts must turn to fake snow, which hardens quickly and becomes more slippery, posing dangers to skiers.

Another very well-known vacation hotspot is Canada. Popular winter activities include watching the northern lights, dog sledding, ice fishing and much more. Quebec City is home to the Ice Hotel, where everything, including the beds, are made out of solid ice. There, you can admire ice sculptures, sky-high ceilings and even buy a drink with a glass completely made out of ice.

In addition to the Ice Hotel, make sure to check out the PEAK 2 PEAK sightseeing gondola ride in Whistler over a winterland like terrain. The bottom of the gondola is clear glass, giving passengers the opportunity to see nature’s beauty from 1,427 feet in the air. The gondola gives the passenger a 360 degree experience of icy forests, snowy mountains and ancient glaciers.  

If you need to get away from busy everyday life, Yosemite National Park is the perfect place to go. This famous park will give you stunning views of waterfalls, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and evergreen landscapes. If you enjoy hiking, photography, or just a natural place that is enchanting all year round, Yosemite National Park will be paradise for you.

Los Angeles is also a worthwhile winter location. Especially for Hollywood fanatics, ‘The City of Angels’ will be a perfect spot to explore all the latest trends. Tourists can visit countless hotspots from the Hollywood Walk of Fame to Universal Studios Hollywood, where they can take a walk through The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Another famous location is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where visitors can get the perfect instagram-worthy shot.

Whether you decide that you want to spend your break living in an ice hotel, or spend hours suntanning on the Caribbean beaches, any location can be special as long as you enjoy it. There are many differing options for a vacation that gives a true winter feeling, but ultimately, each destination offers its very own unique winter experience.

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