Dream Trip: 3 Vallees France - Ski Mag

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Alpe d'Huez, near La Grave, France

La Grave, France

Powder Day: Ski the tree-lined chutes and ledges between midway stations P2 and P1 before dropping into the broad Vallons de la Meije.

Arosa, Switzerland

Julian Carr's Europe

Pro skier Julian Carr is a hustler. So far this season, he's skied in South America (back in August), Utah, Montana, and Switzerland, and pimped his headwear/apparel brand, Discrete, at trade shows in Denver, Salt Lake, and Munich, Germany. He just sent us these shots from his last few weeks in Europe.

Although heli-skiing in North America dates back to the 1960's, it wasn't until Alaska burst onto the scene in the 1990's when skiers and riders became fixated on the dream to heli-ski. Heli-skiing and more specifically the idea of of heli-skiing are now engrained in ski culture. We’re hooked on the idea of accessing what we believe could be the run of our lives. Heli or no heli, that's the ticket; the feeling of the best run of your life. But the reality of the matter is that heli-skiing is not cheap. Sure, it can be done on a dirt bag’s dime at some operations, but for most of us, putting in the time and effort isn’t realistic. So if you're not able to go heli-skiing this year, why not take a trip to a ski town that offers the chance to get the equivalent of a heli-run-steep lines, limited crowds, and most importantly, untouched snow- every day there's fresh snow. Here's a breakdown of three places you can do just that. Each area has a unique lift, a varying amount of skiable terrain and vertical, and a thirsty group of hard core locals who wait patiently hours before the lift opens to make sure they get an untracked run each powder day—what they deem as the "free" heli-runs they get with each season pass purchase.

Three Inbounds "Heli" Runs

All skiers should have the chance to feel what it’s like to heli-ski. But if you don’t have the dough or can’t make the trip to a heli-pad this year show up to one of these resorts on a powder day, wait patiently in the dark with the locals, and seize your chance to be one of the first to slice through some of the most sought after lift-accessed terrain in the world.

The day our group of international journalists and representatives from Black Diamond Equipment and Polartec arrived in Iceland, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, causing enough smoke and ash to shut down all airports in northern Europe for almost a week, wrecking havoc on the global economy. We had planned to head south to ski the highest peak in Iceland, 2,110-meter Hvannadalshnjúkur. But road closures as a result of the eruption changed our plans and we headed north instead, to ski the mountains near the town of Dalvík.

Skiing in Iceland: How to Plan a Trip

Even a massive volcanic eruption that shut down all European airports couldn’t halt our ski-touring trip to Iceland. Here are images from a week of climbing and skiing Iceland’s peaks—plus tips on how to plan your own trip there.