Travelers often find themselves on the path most traveled because – amid the brush and bramble of advertisements, trend pieces, and travel magazine features – it's the only passage they can imagine. And that's fine: Popular destinations tend to be popular for a reason. That said, there is a singular joy in trying something different.
To encourage travelers looking to take a chance, we've compiled a list of places they can skip in 2014 and found the places they ought to go instead. Going to Vail is not (and never will be) a mistake, but there are other adventures out there.
Don't go to Vail.
Vail's sick back bowls make for legendary powder carves, but when it comes to sheer mass of terrain paired with that certain je ne sais quoi of a European ski vacation (sauna culture, bier gardens), it's impossible to trump Trois Vallées. Located in France's Savoie département – a roughly two-hour drive from the airports in Geneva and Lyon – Trois Vallées is French for "three valleys." And the sprawling interconnected terrain in the world's largest ski area spreads over three valleys and eight different resorts with more than 370 miles of ski slopes. Méribel resort is the party town in these parts, but the place to hobnob with Austrian counts, French movie stars, and the like is Courchevel 1850, where the chalet-style apartments at the ski-in/ski-out hotel La Sivolière are well worth the splurge.
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