As a prominent investor and hedge fund manager, Greg Boland is no stranger to risk. His signature investment style consists of taking ambitious positions in troubled companies. Today, Greg is the Founding Principal, CEO and Co-Chief Investment Officer of West Face Capital Inc., a Toronto-based investment management firm that specialises in event-oriented investments. All business aside, friends and colleagues would agree that Greg is a passionate skier, with a deep interest in traveling the world in search of a little perspective and a lot of adventure on the slopes. With an eye for experiencing new and interesting travel, we asked Greg Boland about his must-visit ski destinations. Here are the ski towns and destinations that topped his list.
In a town north of Vancouver, British Columbia lies Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. The stunning landscape, pedestrian-only village and laid back, mountain culture make Whistler an unforgettable ski destination. There’s a moment of awe that strikes even the most seasoned skier between hopping off the ski lift and slaloming to the base of the run as you gaze at the mountain peaks around you. Whistler also can accommodate every type of traveler, from budget lodgings to high-end luxury like Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
Insider Tip: Skiers and snowboarders can find the most challenging terrain at the alpine area accessible by the Glacier Express and Seventh Heaven chairlifts on Blackcomb and The Peak and Harmony chairlifts on Whistler.
As one of British Columbia’s most popular backcountry ski destinations, Revelstoke is the perfect spot for the more adventurous skier. Experience the peacefulness of the snow-covered mountains at Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park. But, note: before heading out, it’s important to make sure you and your group have the proper equipment and knowledge of avalanche conditions and weather forecast in order to plan appropriately.
Insider Tip: If you want to learn about the designated ski runs for the day, wake up by 7:30 am for early lift access before other ski lovers arrive. You can connect with a guide so you can get a head start on the day’s activities.
Val d’Isère, France
Val d’Isère, famous for its off-piste runs and ski touring, should be on every skier’s bucket list. This high-altitude village is located in the heart of the Alps and has gained the attention of many respected back-country experts who claim that Val d’Isère is the best of the best when it comes to adventure-seeking. What’s more, Val d’Isère is surrounded by many undisturbed wild valleys and the neighbouring Parc National de la Vanoise, which has helped preserve the natural environment.
Insider Tip: Skiers looking for one of the best runs in Val d’Isère should definitely visit The OK, located from the top of the Bellevarde sector down to La Daille. The OK has a long run and plenty of variety.
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Like skiing the Alps, but in Colorado, San Juan Mountains boasts some of the best backcountry skiing in the United States. In an area that was once popular for mining, the San Juan Mountains now possess slopes full of powder and a steep, wide-open terrain perfect for backcountry ski enthusiasts. Those who aren’t ready to venture out on their own may want to try Silverton Mountain for a similar backcountry experience, but with only one ski lift and guides willing to lend their expertise.
Insider tip: Visitors who are unfamiliar with the snowpack and topography should hire a mountain guide to help them manoeuvre through the runs safely.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
If spending time exploring the mountain ranges among fresh untracked snow in the peaceful backcountry is what excites you, then Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a must stop on your ski travel list. Here, there is an endless supply of untouched terrain in the Tetons and surrounding mountain ranges. For the adventurer, backcountry skiing and snowboarding is available via helicopter, snowcat, or your own two feet.
Insider Tip: Snowcat skiing may be an alternative option for someone new to backcountry skiing to test their skills and endurance.
Rounding out the list, Greg also expressed his love for Mont-Tremblant, Québec, the 755 acre Laurentian Mountains ski attraction known for its gladed terrain and events like the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup.
What characteristics does a ski destination need to have to be included in the world’s top five? Greg answers the question this way…
for me it’s not all about the miles of trails, expensive resorts, and high-speed heated lifts. It’s truly about the experience. Feeling like there is a connection between yourself, the community and the mountain — that’s what it’s all about.