Old 04-03-06, 12:59 PM   #1
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Winona, MN
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Article on choosing the best ski resort

What are your ski dreams made of?

Vail and Chamonix are just a couple of ski resort areas that bring visions of pristine white powder under bright winter sunshine. Yet, for many, a trip to a ski resort in Switzerland or Colorado isn’t in the budget. Even so, you may find the right ski resort close to your back yard! Choose the right ski resort by considering all elements from price and place to weather and when!

When to wake and start skiing

The time of year you choose can mean the difference between powder and snow pack and settles several other ski holiday concerns as well.
Early season skiers (pre-Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere) often find lower prices at many ski resorts. Of course, that means that ski resorts may not yet be full-staffed or full-service. However, it also means that you miss the crowds and the long lift lines during prime ski resort days. In addition, you’ll probably find more temperate weather than later in the season. Although natural snowfall may be sparse, which means you’ll need to rely on snow cannons to cover the trails, it’s a great time for Novice and Intermediate skiers to advance and refine their skills.
The last week of December is the busiest week for many ski resorts. Expect to pay top dollar, but you’ll also have access to the best services your ski resort has to offer.
Ski season slows somewhat in January. However, because of the cold, powder is at a premium and you may find that your skis chatter as loudly as your teeth! Yet, as you zip over icy trails, chatter may be the loudest sound you hear, as the less daring abandon ski resorts for the warmth of hearth and home!
February and March are peak ski resort months. Days lengthen and snowfall is good in most areas. However, be prepared to face crowds at every turn.
Ski season winds down in April. Although end of season ski resort prices may be attractive, be prepared for less Après-ski events, out-of-stocks in ski gear, and less staff on hand to provide services.

Who shares your ski dream?

In choosing the right ski resort, consider the members of your party. Does everyone ski at the same skill level and enjoy the same type(s) of skiing? If not, you’ll need to find a ski resort with several types of ski trails. If it’s a family outing, will you need child-care services? Are there off-slope and Après-ski activities that everyone can enjoy?

Snow – the stuff ski dreams are made of…

Probably the most unpredictable element of a ski vacation is natural snowfall. Although most ski resorts are equipped with snow cannons, there’s a significant difference between man-made snow pack and heaven-sent powder. Yet, before you give man-made snow the cold shoulder, consider that three feet of powder may not be your best option unless you are an expert. Rather than fretting over whether trails are hip-deep or snow-packed bunny slopes, put more weight on the types of trails you want to ski. A handy guide in choosing a ski resort is the piste map. Piste maps color-code a ski resort’s trails, marking each type from novice runs to double black diamonds.

Ski resorts – dream locations!

Switzerland is the king of the snows yet with all its Swiss banks and expensive Swiss chocolates, it’s packed with very affordable ski resorts. Switzerland offers every type of skiing imaginable from Alpine (of course!) to backcountry. Zermott is the home of the world's second largest lift-served vertical drop and is ranked as Switzerland's top ski resort. St Moritz and Lausanne are other popular ski destinations.
Although Switzerland may be the king of the snows, Kitzbuhel, Austria is called the “Pearl of the Alps”. However, the most regal peak in the Alps is located at Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France. In addition to skiing the second highest peak in Europe, you’ll ski the world’s longest ski run, 22.7 kms (13.5 miles).
Of course, in the US you can ski from sea to shining sea. Starting with Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, ski your way through New England. Although top ski resorts in Vail and Aspen get most of the glory in the mid-US, many ski resorts throughout the central region, like Montana’s Big Sky offer much more than a scenic overlook! Ski resorts dot the West Coast from Washington to California. Try night skiing at Summit-at-Snoqualmie near Seattle or find plenty of top-notch Après-ski activities in California’s Tahoe ski resort area. If you prefer the far north, Alaska’s Alyeska may be just the ski resort for you.
Canada is also flecked with coast to coast ski resorts, starting with Mont-Tremblant, Quebec in the east and progressing through Banff/Lake Louise, Alberta and on to the Whistler/Blackcomb area in British Columbia.

If you aren’t ready to hang-up your skis when warm weather approaches, consider a down-under ski vacation. Australia’s Falls Creek area boasts several ski resorts with family-friendly ski packages. Treble Cone in the Wanaka Lake area of New Zealand has made some tremendous enhancements, sure to satisfy the dreams of any budding Olympic skier!
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Last edited by Michael; 21-05-06 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 18-03-06, 11:01 PM   #2
 
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nice article very well written
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Old 18-03-06, 11:04 PM   #3
 
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What a great guide to choosing a ski resort! Thanks for this!
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Old 24-10-07, 02:46 AM   #4
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Whistler
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few resorts I know pretty good

Here are some resorts I worked and ski (over 100 days a season). I tell you what you should expect if you go to:
Crested Butte Colorado ... nrmal day should be sunny or must of the time good weather. Pretty dry and high altitude (drink a lot of water). Bad daywill be flat ligth (not too bad just change gogle). If you like challenge no worry, head wall, north face and other part of the mountain will challenge you. If you are beginner and intermediate , painter boy and paradise chair are pretty good. Nice tree trail for the kids .... really nice best have seen actually.

Sahoro Japan.. 16 trails ..yep!!! but if you are there in a powder day... you will have one of your best day ever (if you go on the almost illegal place..oupsss!). Almost no line up, no crowd, tree trail....with fresh powder (no bumps at all in the forest). If you want to see some good shot of powder runs search for skibob or sahoro on youtube... you will have an idea about what is a face shot. I ski with a bandana on my mouth to not be choked by the snow. Bad day there, can be minus 20 a lot of wind ,never rain. You have a Club med there with all included even ski lesson they speak english no worry.

Whistler/Blackcomb : Terrain for everybody... long week of vacation without to do the same run if you are advanced intermediate and more. Harmony bowl is one of the good place to be.... and other places like spanky's ladder which are great too. you should find a guide or an instructor to enjoy more hidden spot that you will never find by yourself. The snow can be pretty heavy sometime. Bad day.. wind and the worst is rain!!! Go higher or go to apres ski earlier!

Sunshine Village Banff Canada, not too crowded and beautifull view from the top. Nice terrain for every level. Good challenge on goat eyes. The snow is pretty dry and dont loose a ski because you will maybe never find it back in the powder. So Deeeeeep powder. Bad day will be cold and windy. Spring time there is ''merveilleux''.

Mont Tremblant Quebec. If you are lucky you can get fresh snow . If you like to test your edge on ice and pack snow for long GS Turn and see if you carve or you think you do you will know pretty soon. The bumps and glades are beautifull and keep you warm. I suggest to go in low season, less crowded. Many choices of runs , pick up a pro to help you find the best spot. Bad day!!! Rain (rare) or a minus 35. Test yourself. Apres ski and night life... Excellent!

So if you have any question about these resorts, you can ask me and that will be a pleasure for me to help you.

Belynx

Last edited by belynx; 24-10-07 at 03:00 AM. Reason: my bad english! sorry
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Old 04-10-08, 12:55 PM   #5
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I can only ski powder if it is just a shallow layer that prevents me from skidding.
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Old 16-12-08, 03:00 AM   #6
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Hey guys...

I found this article on rating the top 10 resorts. http://www.mountainyahoos.com/TopTenSkiResortTowns.html
it has some great stuff to say about each one... basically this is what it lined up:
1-Telluride, CO
2-Aspen, CO
3-Saint Anton, Austria
4-Stowe, Vermont
5-Steamboat Springs, CO
6-Banff
7-Whistler, Canada
8-Heavenly Valley, CA
9-Sun Valley, Idaho
10-Mammoth Mountain, CA

The site also rates luxury resots, nightlife, best moguls, best chutes, best snowboard parks... it is pretty cool.

anyway. enjoy!
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Old 19-12-08, 10:38 AM   #7
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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some precision...

Hi all,

Your article is pretty cool, but quite inaccurate regarding Switzerland . I actually live in Lausanne, Switzerland, and I can assure you that it is not a ski resort at all ! It's not far from a lot of mountains (within 45min drive you find Champéry - Portes du Soleil, 600km ski slopes, and within 60min drive you are at Verbier, more than 400km slopes) But Lausanne is a 250K citizens city, surrounded by a Lake, where you can wakeboard, but surely not snowboard !!

Then, I do not actually know "Zermott" , but for sure Zermatt is THE PLACE to ski in Switzerland , while Verbier might well be the place to party ! Families might also like smaller villages, like Grimentz or Villars

Btw, we have sooo many snow over here, up to 7.9ft (2m40) !! And the week-end will be sunny...

Merry Christmas to all and come visit us in Switzerland !
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Old 20-12-08, 02:33 PM   #8
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I live in the united states eastern seaboard, so I live close to none of these places!!
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Old 12-10-11, 03:52 PM   #9
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Every week, I visit and review a different ski area. Read my blog to look at my reviews: http://skiresortweekly.blogspot.com/ It will be very appreciated if you follow my blog!
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