- As the birds fly
June 1, 2013
TOI-Crest lists five 'hotspots' where scores of exotic birds and curious birders flock each year.
- Peak hour
June 1, 2013
To mark the 60th anniversary of the conquest of Mt Everest, India's armed forces, old visitors to the mountain, mounted several expeditions.
- The other Dali, also surreal
May 18, 2013
This quaint Yunnan town has managed to retain its olde worlde charm. You are unlikely to find any flaw in its design aesthetics.
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Be a cheapskate
KRANJSKA GORA, SLOVENIA
Only a few miles from the borders of Austria and Italy in north-west Slovenia, Kranjska Gora in the Julian Alps is an option for those on a budget. The snow is as good as in its neighbouring countries - Italy to the west and Austria to the north. Indeed, you can see both places from the tops of the slopes In recent years Slovenian ski resorts have become well equipped with lots of new ski lifts and restaurants. It's good for beginners as it has gentle nursery slopes and friendly English-speaking instructors provide excellent tuition. More experienced skiers will enjoy the Podkoren Trail, where two World Cup slalom events are held annually. Nearby, the alpine valley of Planica is popular for cross-country skiing. You can also enjoy tobogganing, horsedrawn sleigh rides and day trips to Venice or Lake Bled.
Slovakia has a number of small ski resorts, but the best developed are near Poprad, in the High Tatras, which is just 20 minutes or so from the airport, and in Jasna, which is less than an hour from the airport. It's a long season, running from early December until late April. Jasna is generally considered the superior of the two resorts, with more runs and slightly higher mountains.
The oldest and biggest ski resort in Bulgaria, Borovets is a smallish ski town nestled at around 1, 300 m in the Rila Mountains. The upper half of the mountain is largely above the tree line and offers plenty of wide open pistes, most of which are fairly gentle and ideal for beginners and intermediates. Nightlife is a big pull here plus cheap eating out options.
LES ARCS, FRANCE
If you're looking to ski in France, this would be the most affordable station. With four modern resorts and a small village, Les Arcs is one of the largest ski areas in the world. Its slopes are good for beginners and intermediate skiers. Some chalets include meals in the price and this can help save on otherwise expensive dining options.
LAKE TAHOE, UNITED STATES
Lake Tahoe offers several great skiing options on both its northern and southern shores, but the south, with an abundance of casino-hotels, family-run inns and motels for every budget, tends to be easier on the wallet. Its proximity to Reno also means there are good flight options, and ski-and-stay packages abound.
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