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Alive With The Sound of Skiing

Vermont, USA

‘Winter Wonderland’ vacations are growing in popularity among vacationers in general, rather than those who head for the snow simply for the thrill of winter sports. Vermont is an excellent vacation destination for those in search of the white stuff – and especially eastern seaboarders who don’t want to drag all the way over to Colorado or Wyoming. If you live in NY, Vermont is a pretty easy drive by interstate standards – and most of the major vacation companies allow you to make ‘no flights’ reservations. Of course, if you want to let the plane take the strain, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t – you’re supposed to be on vacation after all!

Apple Vacations offers a number of fully-comprehensive, flights-and-rooms, flights only and hotel only package deals for the popular winter resort areas of Vermont. If you’re a fan of classic movies, probably the Apple resort you’ll be most interested in will be the Trapp Family Lodge (pictures). The original Trapps – or the von Trapps, as they were known in their heyday – were the family of Austrian singers that provided the inspiration for the musical The Sound of Music, by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. The original stage show and subsequent film starring Julie Andrews were so successful that the family have been riding a rollercoaster of free public relations ever since.

The final scene of the movie shows the Trapp children, led by Baron von Trapp and Maria the ex-nun striding over the hills of western Austria towards Switzerland and freedom from Nazi oppression. The film ends, and doesn’t go on to explain what happened next – the family moved to the States and set up in the hotel and vacation business.

The Trapp Family Lodge has been growing in popularity among vacationers ever since. The original Lodge – built in an authentically Austrian style amid Vermont’s authentically alpine scenery – originally only had 27 rooms. Since its opening, demand has been so great that more than ninety extra rooms have been added, along with one hundred guest houses which lie dotted around the 2700 acres of grounds. Although it’s now among the larger resorts in North America – though not quite up there with Disney – there is a very pleasant feeling of tranquillity and calm about the place: sit on one of the terraces and you can almost imagine that you’re outside a village inn in a sleepy Tyrolean village.

A full range of continental foods is served in the resort’s main restaurant, prepared by chefs who know their wienerschnitzel from their rosti very well indeed. If you’re particularly struck by the quality of the cooking you can even buy a copy of their family cookbook – ‘Crisp Apfelstrudel and Schnitzel with Noodles’. Those of you who have spotted that this title is a quote from the Rodgers and Hammerstein song ‘My Favorite Things’ will not be far wrong if you begin to suspect that the Trapp Family Lodge is in very many ways a kind of ‘Sound of Music’ theme park.

If you want to get out and get active, you don’t have to stray very far from the Lodge. The Trapp resort is also home to one of the leading cross-country ski centers in the US. Back in the sixties, company president Johannes von Trapp saw an market opportunity to exploit: downhill skiing was growing in popularity in the States, but cross-country – which is just as much fun – was barely available. He started the center with the help of Norwegian friends, and now it’s one of the most popular in the world.

For those of you who have never tried it before, cross-country skiing is one of the most thrilling sports in the world. It’s also one of the most intensive, whole-body workouts you’ll ever have. It uses every single major muscle group in the human body – and boy will you feel it during the evening after a day on the trails! Cross-country isn’t just about ploughing along flat routes, either: most cross-country routes go across variable terrain, so there will be elements of downhill skiing during your expeditions – and uphill skiing, too, which isn’t as silly or as hard as it sounds! Those of you used to regular downhill skiing will find the skis longer and thinner than regular skis, and more dependent on the way you weight your body. Traditional beginners’ downhill tricks such as snowplough stops aren’t as effective on cross-country blades. That said, it’s possible to learn the basics of cross-country very quickly indeed – and having little or no experience of downhill skiing is often considered to be an advantage.

All in all, the Trapp Family Lodge is a great vacation destination, whether you wan sun, snow, skiing – or just the chance to relax and chill out in this chilly vacation resort!

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