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Monday, June 2, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside: International Ideas

While many people just can't wait to get out of the kitchen and into more heat, some of us prefer to seek frigid climes during the summer months. Thankfully, there are plenty of places you can visit during the summer to escape hot temperatures--and several are in the Northern Hemisphere.

That said, let's start first with the cheat. For cooling off, you can always head to a place where summer is winter. We are talking the Southern hemisphere, y'all. How about a ski trip to Queenstown in New Zealand? Or, if you don't want to deal with jet lag, head due south (more or less) to explore the mountains and glaciers of Patagonia, which spans Argentina and Chile. Ski season in these places starts in June and ends in October.

It's Chilly in Chile...and Argentina

Chile's central and southern regions are home to a wide variety of ski areas. Some suggestions: El Colorado, La Parva and Valle Nevado are all comprehensive ski resorts. The latter is the largest winter sports center in South American. Northeast of Santiago, Portillo is the country's most traditional ski center. It's served as a training site for Olympic skiers for years.

Bariloche, a small city in the Andean lake region, serves as a gateway to Argentina's most renowned skiing region. The town was colonized by Germans in the 1800s. It was then built to resemble an Alpine skiing town during the 1930s (to the point where it is nicknamed "Little Switzerland"). Argentina also sports the southernmost ski area in the world. Caster Mountain is located near Ushuaia. Due to its location at the bottom of the world, the ski season there is exceptionally long.
O, Canada

Don't want to head south? Then head to the Great White North instead. Canadians typically go to Florida during our winter. Let’s return the favor and explore their northernmost regions in the summer. Thanks to global warming, Montreal and Toronto are no longer no brainers for cooling off during the summer. It can be as hot in those cities as it is in most of the USA. To ensure a cooling-off period, head to the Northwest Territories or Nunavut.

How about hanging with an Inuit community on the Arctic Circle? The Best of the Arctic trip designed by the Great Canadian Travel Company offers independent travelers the chance to combine time in Churchill, the iconic destination on the shores of the Hudson Bay, with two night in Repulse Bay, where an Inuit community goes about its daily business within the Arctic Circle. The price is $3800 per person, double occupancy, for seven days of touring (starting July 28 or August 4). You also have to jet yourself to Winnipeg. 
Later in the summer, starting in August, you can head to Yellowknife to see the Aurora Borealis. Because Yellowknife is situated in an advantageous position vis-a-vis magnetic latitude, the night skies here light up during late summer on a regular basis. And because Yellowknife is far from the ocean with a flat geographical landscape, there is a high percentage of clear skies during that time.. The Great Canadian Company hosts Aurora Escape trips beginning in August. Prices start at $2,099 per person for a five-day visit. You don't even have to freeze your buns off--average daytime temperatures in Yellowknife reach the 60s and lows are in the 50s. You can find out about other ways to visit Yellowknife at www.canada.travel.

For ideas on cool domestic getaways, see the next post.

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