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For those who love winter sports, Europe is the place to be.

Its resorts are top-notch, offer a variety of runs and are near enough to most U.S. military bases that folks with a free weekend can easily reach them. And quality equipment is readily available through military outlets and on the economy — guaranteeing that skiers, snowboarders, sledders and snowshoers can easily find everything they need.

To help kick off the season, Stars and Stripes joined military ski clubs on a trip to Sölden, Austria, where equipment manufacturers showed what was new and improved for the current season.

Those who need help learning how to use that equipment can head to the Armed Forces Recreation Center in Garmisch, Germany, and sign up for one of its ski or snowboard weeks. We tell you how to get started.

Advanced skiers who are looking for some challenges can read about the daunting Portes du Soleil on the border of Switzerland and France and the awe-inspiring Sella Ronda in Italy.

And for those seeking fellow skiers to do this all with, we offer a list of military ski clubs, complete with details of their future trips.

And that’s just for starters. In upcoming issues, Stars and Stripes will look at some of the smaller resorts in Austria, a spa that offers skiing and more, and an overview of the slopes in eastern Europe and the Balkans. Plus, we’ll update the ski clubs calendar week to week (keep us posted).

So stick with Travel throughout the ski season. And we’ll see you on the slopes!

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