Vail to Sweden: Ice-Cold Conditions Give Way to Ice Hotel

As the photo I posted suggested, I was a frigid man this past weekend in Beaver Creek and Vail. The temperature was consistently below zero – making things a little uncomfortable, but isn’t that what travel is all about, putting yourself in uncomfortable positions?

Unfavorable weather is something you must fight through if you want to enjoy yourself, plain and simple. There’s always going to be a rainy day at the beach, a sub-zero day on the slopes, or a hot and humid day on a hike. Sure, it sucks, but at the end of the day you have two choices: You can make the best of it, or you can complain and let it alter your happiness.

We hit the slopes hard both Saturday and Sunday. My Camelback froze solid, the battery in my camera stopped working, and at one point I thought my fingers were going to fall off. But when you take a look at the photos below, you’ll see why it was all worth it (not to mention how good it was to settle into an après beer). The pictures are only a preview of the coverage – more details on the town, lodging, and slopes are on the way.

I’m currently writing this note from about 30,000 feet somewhere over Iceland. I flew out of Denver this morning, stopped in Chicago, and now am a few hours from Sweden. I will arrive at seven in the morning local time and haven’t slept yet, but I’ll figure it out. I always have.

The plan in Sweden is to spend one night in Stockholm, then catch a flight up north for two nights and stay at the ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi, 200 km above the Arctic Circle, where I hope to see the Northern Lights if all goes according to plan (does it ever?). It’s an extremely quick trip – I fly back into New York City on Saturday – but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Excuses are easy to come by, but they are rarely fulfilling.

I’m going to be writing a story for Travel and Escape about my experience at the ice hotel in the coming weeks, and I’ll also be writing a roundup for Conde Nast on ice hotels at some point. If you’ve never stayed in one, definitely stay tuned for the coverage – they are absolutely stunning. You can read about my trip to the Hotel de Glace in Quebec City last year. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated a hair dryer more.

For now, follow along on Facebook and Twitter for on-the-go photos and updates. I’m not exactly sure of the Internet situation in the arctic, but I’ll check in with you when I can.

Photos of Vail/Beaver Creek:

View of Beaver Creek from Beaver Creek Mountain.
View of Beaver Creek from Beaver Creek Mountain.
View from Beaver Creek Mountain.

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