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October 9, 2009updated Feb 11, 2013

Start Planning for Ski & Spa Season with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

With ski season on the horizon, dedicated snow bunnies know to pick a destination that has it all: breathtaking trails, plenty of après-ski options and a spa that can nurture their skin and muscles back to top form. Fairmont’s renowned collection of four-season resorts offers an amazing array of cold weather activities to keep guests busy all winter.

For downhill aficionados, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Switzerlandis within striking distance of the best Alpine skiing in Europe, including the legendary Villars resort. In the Canadian Rockies, The Fairmont Banff Springs offers access to Sunshine Village, which averages 30 ft. of powder from November to May – the longest ski season in Canada. Or try cross-country skiing, is a lovely way to see the Quebec countryside, where Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello offers plenty of invigorating trails. For those who would like to enjoy the beauty of winter without ski poles, a romantic sleigh ride, nighttime snowshoeing trek, canyon ice walks or dogsledding are great ways to mix-up the routine.

However, after a day of winter activity the combination of cold air, bright sun and dry wind can create a perfect storm for dull, chapped skin and sore, aching muscles. So, for guests who want to hit the slopes day in and day out without ruining their complexion or losing their energy, Willow Stream and Fairmont Spas have plenty of options. Therapists will guide guests through their spa’s most rejuvenating experiences to make sure the mind and body are no worse for the wear after time spent in the Great Outdoors.

When aching muscles stand in the way of a great day in the powder, a good masseuse and hot bath are the best way to make it back to the slopes in quick order. In Switzerland, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace’s Après Ski treatment (90 minutes) offers a hot hydro alpine bath followed by a relaxing massage with warm alpine oils and foot reflexology. At The Fairmont Banff Springs in Alberta the Après-Ski Performance Massage (60 minutes) helps improve ski performance and avoid injury with a combination of massage and stretching that will decrease muscle soreness and increase flexibil­ity in the muscles used while skiing. And before any treatment, a calming hydrotherapy bath can start the body on the path to healing.

To keep skin looking bright and fresh after subjecting it to a day in the elements, a hydrating facial is just what Fairmont’s spa therapists recommend. Dry mountain air and intense sun can be particularly damaging, so at Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello the Après-Ski Facial Repair (60 minutes) repairs and protects skin from the harsh winter elements. Great before or after a day on the ski trail, this facial will help skin recover from windburn, dryness and over exposure to the cold. At Fairmont Le Montreux Palace the Mountain Magic body treatment (60 minutes) nourishes and re-hydrates skin that has been exposed to the specific challenges of mountain weather. A comforting wrap and soothing scalp massage with hair conditioning are followed by a customized massage in this invigorating treatment. The Winter Facial (60 minutes) at Fairmont Banff Springs uses a nourishing, gentle Winter Crème mixed with specially blended facial oil that helps protect skin against environmental elements, including cold, dry winter conditions.

Willow Stream Spas also offer seasonal Tara Spa Therapy experiences to make sure guests are in tune with what the body needs in the winter months. The experiences consist of a group of treatments inspired by Eastern Ayurveda, which use a unique blend of essential oils developed to be most beneficial for each season. In winter, therapists use warming and immune-building essential oils that allow guests to get the most out of their visit.

Staying in top form all winter means starting good habits at home. Spa Director Pam Ouellet of The Fairmont Banff Springs says, “It is important to increase the exfoliation process in the winter because a buildup of dead and dry skin cells can form during the season.” To combat this phenomenon, she suggests investing time in exfoliating the face and body on a weekly basis to thoroughly remove the dead skin and encourage cell renewal. Follow with an intensive masque or cream designed to replenish moisture loss and provide anti-ageing benefits. Ouellet also suggests that guests use a richer moisturizer in cooler months as a booster for their skin care regimen.

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