Cities With It All
August 31, 2017
Words: Daniel Lunn/
Photos: Icebreaker / Sourced
It seems like every few months some organization publishes a new index that ranks world cities on how good they are to live in. Generally, they seem to work out a complex formula of “livability” based on things like incomes, accommodation costs, healthcare and education facilities. But what if you’re looking for “adventurability”? Which of the world’s cities has the most to offer in terms of being handy to short escapes and diverse adventures in nature? Where is the best place to hole up if you’re looking to duck out on weekends, or even before, during or after work?
We’ve looked for places that give you both surfing and snow options as the two main qualities for contention. If they’ve got these, then many other opportunities are going to be on offer. The following are our findings based on a complex formula of opinions, things we’ve heard and a bit of research.
"We’ve looked for places that give you surfing and snow options as the two main qualities for contention."
OLYMPIA (SEATTLE), WASHINGTON, USA
With Westport – USA’s own surf city – a mere hour and a half west, and the Crystal Mountain Resort, the nearest ski field, only 2 hours east, Olympia splits the difference neatly between two dream destinations. Add to this the complex arrangement of inlets and islands that Olympia sits on and the many forests and parks within easy reach, and you have a little known city that you could never grow bored of. Just up the road is Seattle, a much bigger city, but if we could we’d base ourselves in Olympia as the maths is much neater.
Travel two hours northeast of Santiago and you’ll find yourself at the ski resort of Portillo, one of Chile’s premiere skiing destinations. Head three hours southwest and you’ll hit Pichilemu where the waves are rated as some of the best anywhere. In Santiago you’re also within an hour’s drive of multiple Andean parks and sanctuaries where you can explore hundreds of trails and hiking tracks.
Tofino, to the west of Victoria Island, is stretching things at a five-and-a-half hour drive away. But it has been voted the best surf town in North America. Ski fields, on the other hand, are breathing down your neck at a mere half an hour away and there are plenty more to choose from if you’re willing to go a bit further. The world famous Whistler is less than two hours up the road. Vancouver itself is home to a variety of sports on the waters that surround it and even whale watching experiences in the Gulf and San Juan Islands.
Hossegor, on the south western French coast, is great for surfing and is a two hour drive northeast, while the nearest Pyrenean ski resort is three and a half hours east. The Basque region of Spain also hosts a wide range of desert, lake and forest-covered terrain that we used as a backdrop for our Spring/Summer 17 photoshoot. By and large Bilbao is a bit industrial and ugly, but we could see ourselves enjoying a lot of fascinating training runs and rides in its urban landscape.