Read these 37 Where to Ski Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Skiing tips and hundreds of other topics.
If your snow sliding addiction cries for a fix in the summer and you cannot afford to “go Southern Hemisphere”, get to Mt. Hood, Oregon's Timberline Lodge. The lodge's ski area offers year-round skiing (with about a ten-day break for lift maintenance after Labor Day), thanks to its lift-served access to Mt. Hood's Palmer Glacier. The summer skiing there is great, and the view from Palmer Glacier is breathtaking.
Some resorts thrive off skiers in their regions. These regional resorts have enough of the resort equation to draw crowds--just not from “all over”. Often, regional resort fans hope the rest of the skiing world never finds their hidden paradise. A good example of a regional resort is Washington's Crystal Mountain. Skiing there is incredible, but the resort has limited potential to grow into a draw for people outside the Pacific Northwest.
Portillo's concept stands alone in the world of skiing. The resort's experience has been likened to a cruise ship high in the mountains. To that end, visitors (of which there are no more than 450 at any given time) find but one bar, but one restaurant (the same place as the bar), and one world-class ski mountain. Portillo is a Southern Hemisphere skiing Mecca. There may be limitations in your après ski options, but you simply came to ski anyway, right?
Camden is a special, romantic place on Maine's shoreline – a small town with something to offer every type of person (resident or tourist), especially in summer. During ski season, what makes the local ski area, Camden Snow Bowl, special in its own right is simple. It is the only United States ski area with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. That fact by itself almost makes Camden a must-ski for skiers in the East.
If people regularly fly to a ski resort with lots of amenities--and maybe a ludicrous amount of amenities--then it is a destination resort. Aspen, Vail, Killington, and Whistler, are well known examples of destination resorts. In such locales, the skiing and the amenities are often equally astounding, but so can be the price tag.
The full price of an adult lift ticket can vary greatly at Lake Tahoe ski resorts. If you are going to be heading to Tahoe for your next ski outing, here are a few examples of what the different Lake Tahoe ski resorts are getting for lift ticket fees these days.
British Columbia is full of great skiing. The unusual thing about BC's Mount Washington is the fact it sits on Vancouver Island – more than two hours northwest of Victoria! Mount Washington is rare in the ski community in that getting there will most likely involve a ferry. Perhaps the resort's out-of-the-way location is its own reason for pointing your skis in Mount Washington's direction. Ski there so you can say you did it!
What needs to be said about Killington? They work hard to run the longest ski season in the East (about seven months long, thanks to their snowmaking abilities). Killington has everything most people expect from a ski resort (varied terrain, amenities, and alas, crowds on weekends).
Not that you might want to travel outside – say – Alabama to ski there, but Cloudmont Ski and Golf Resort near Mentone, Alabama, offers skiing on two, rope tow-served trails to give locals a taste of skiing. At 150 feet, Cloudmont's vertical is surely not remarkable – outside its region, that is! May Cloudmont know many seasons for offering folks in its area the chance to ski at all.
Many of the runs in western Massachusetts' Berkshire East are resort quality in design and upkeep. Those same runs are undiscovered. If you sometimes find yourself barreling north on Interstate 91 to ski in Vermont, try a Massachusetts detour. Exit onto Highway 2 West, and go 18 miles to the town of Charlemont. You will find Berkshire East, great snow, steep trails, and no crowds, which all serve to make up for the lack of amenities.
Mt. Rose would be the precious secret of Reno locals on an ideal ski planet. With its steeps and panoramic views, Mt. Rose is worth a day of any Lake Tahoe vacationer's trip. Go on a weekday and you will enjoy plenty of elbowroom, and lift ticket specials. (Weekday lift ticket details are available at Mt. Rose's website.)
One hour from metro-minded Christchurch, Mt. Hutt boasts the longest ski season south of the equator. In 2004, the resort cranked up its lifts on June 7, making Mt. Hutt the first ski operation open for the season in Australasia. Skiers from around the world sojourn to New Zealand specifically to ski Hutt's light powder.
You may see this term in the ski media. It applies to many ski areas. “Feeder area” means that a ski area's market niche is attracting skiing and snowboarding neophytes and feeding them into the industry. Thus, ski areas are not solely competition to big resorts. The areas with fewer bells and whistles also bring people in that may later spend the big money for resort skiing.
Annually, magazine readers pick Vail as the top-rated ski resort in the United States. Why? Many reasons: Terrain, snow, après ski, the back bowls, the long season. Vail has it all -- even the high prices. But the cost doesn't keep away skiers and snowboarders. Vail has been popular for decades.
The next time you head to Vermont to ski one of that great state's “name” resorts, make a day for Mad River Glen. Three miles from Sugarbush, “MRG” is a fabled ski area – owned by a cooperative of skiing devotees content to ride the only diesel-powered single chair remaining in America to 2,000 feet of vertical on demanding, “old school New England”, narrow trails. The antithesis of corporate-owned, mega-resort skiing, Mad River Glen is for the hearty skier – nearly 7/8s of its terrain is tree skiing!
Montana has some of the best skiing you will find stateside. Among all of the Montana ski resorts that are available, one stands out from the rest for great slopes and rarely rivaled service and perks. Big Sky ski resort in Big Sky, Montana is a Montana ski resort fit for any skier from around the world. Situated at Yellowstone Park, the views and trails are enough to make a great vacation on their own. Add in the amazing activities beyond skiing and you have a vacation for anyone. Their spa features a full range of professional massage and other therapeutic treatments that can get you loosened up after a long day of carving. If you are looking for a great vacation and are interested in Montana ski resorts, check out Big Sky and you will be sure to have a great time. With over 3,600 acres in their total property you will find ski trails fit for any level of skier.
There is nothing like a deep tissue massage to relax after a long day skiing. Many ski resorts are equipped with luxurious spas ready to meet your every whim. These ski resorts offer spas with beauty treatments, massages, and sometimes even Jacuzzis. If you are booking yourself a ski trip and staying at a ski resort, book your spa treatment ahead of time. From my experience, ski resorts often are at full capacity during the ski season, and their spa can book up quickly. You may not remember the weather conditions, but you will never forget the spa at your next ski vacation!
If you can ski all that Alpental offers, you can ski! Off the Edelweiss Chair, Alpental serves up only advanced and expert terrain. From International to 500 acres of restricted access backcountry terrain, Edelweiss is your gateway to “no whiners” skiing. The view from the top astounds (on a rare clear day), but beware! There is no easy way down.
Most ski resorts today come complete with spas, restaurants, and bars. There is nothing like taking advantage of these luxuries at the end of a day on the slopes. My favorite way to unwind is in front of the ski resorts fireplace, which your resort undoubtedly has. When you travel with friends or family to ski resorts, unwinding at the end of the day can make for some amazing bonding time. After accomplishing so much individually on the mountain, taking the time to have a nice dinner just steps away from your room at the ski resort, then enjoying a drink at the bar will make even the most special day feel perfect.
If a variety of amenities is your thing, the ski resort will probably be more desirable than the ski area. When applied correctly, “ski resort” means skiing and (a whole lot more--especially varied accommodations and dining choices). Ski resorts usually spend more on lifts, equipment, and facilities. Sadly, you will pay more for a lift ticket--sometimes way more--than at a ski area.
The term “ski area” means there are no amenities at the mountain or hill, like condos, or nighttime entertainment. But who cares? You came to ski, right? Of course, the typical ski area does have restrooms, a ski shop, a cafeteria, snack machines, and maybe a couple of video games (though these may be hand-me-downs).
Gunstock loves to groom its snow. So if you love to cruise (and you live within a couple of hours of its lower New Hampshire location), get there! Sure, they leave some terrain bumpy, but Gunstock grooms “morning, noon, and night”--and even as conditions warrant on some trails. As the area's grooming policy implies, Gunstock is open for night skiing (Tuesday through Saturday).
Perusing Perisher Blue's trail map might remind one of the Northern Hemisphere's Killington. Perisher Blue spreads over seven mountain peaks and features skiing for all styles and abilities. If you plan a summer trip to Sydney from the Northern Hemisphere, pack your skis. Skiing at Australia's biggest resort is about two hours from Sydney (by air, with one hour of ground travel included).
You might call Perfect North Slopes Greater Cincinnati's ski area. Nestled in Indiana's southeast corner, Perfect North rests a half-hour drive from Cincinnati, Ohio. And like other ski areas located near large cities, Perfect North realizes offering night skiing is a winning proposition for both the company and gainfully employed local skiers. The area is open until 9:30 PM on weeknights, and until 3:00 AM on Friday and Saturday nights!
Every winter, skiers from throughout the Southeast throng to Snowshoe. But the diverse terrain found at this lesser known Intrawest resort rivals the offerings of many resorts to its northeast and far west. Go to Snowshoe and expect to be happy, as long as you can live without bowls or tree runs. At Snowshoe, you can find “flat” runs, steeps, and the much-loved terrain in between.
Traveling to ski Valle Nevado presents one with easy access from Chile's capital, Santiago. Once in Valle Nevado's domain, you will find 23,000 acres of terrain to ski (including available heli-skiing). The view is legendary at the Southern Hemisphere's largest ski resort. When you are done carving the slopes, restaurants and a range of après ski options await you.
Arapahoe Basin, a.k.a. A-Basin, a.k.a. The Legend, is known for extremes. It offers the highest lift served skiing in North America. The trails and bowls there are steep. And the average season lasts from November to June. Locals work at Summit County's nearby resorts, but ski A-Basin on their days off.
Located high in Argentina's Andes, Las Lenas offers you the chance to ski all day and party all night. (Actually, three nights a week, you can ski into the night, too – thanks to a few lit trails.) With bars and nightclubs, an array of restaurants, a cinema, and a casino that is open until 4:00 AM, Las Lenas keeps the party jumping. Of course, if you are the type to go to a ski resort and actually ski, Las Lenas can accommodate you with nearly 4,000 vertical feet of skiing, including off-piste terrain. The company's website boasts of a microclimate where no rainfall occurs – and yet the resort's average snowfall is around 300 inches.
Do you long for gorgeous views? Challenging terrain? Plentiful snow? Easy access from a Pacific Northwest metropolitan area? Crystal Mountain can quench your desires. At Crystal, you will find all manner of terrain, but the prodigious regional ski resort is best suited to the experienced skier. Then again, if you take a few lessons at Crystal, you will likely become an experienced skier.
Getting ready to hit the slopes can be a daunting task in the morning. Loading the car, driving on icy roads, finding a parking spot and then carrying your skis to the ski lift can take well over an hour and can make even the most fit skier work up a sweat before hitting the mountain. By staying at ski resorts instead of a separate hotel, you can usually drink your coffee and be skiing within less than 15 minutes.
Often, ski resorts will even have your skis rinsed and ready for you long before you finish getting on your long johns! Ski resorts eliminate the need for parking and storing your belongings when you hit the slopes, since your room is often a few steps away from the mountain. There is just no way to beat the advantage of staying at your mountain and not having to schlep yourself to and from the slopes every day of your vacation!
When one thinks of Colorado skiing, one thinks of Vail and Cooper Mountain first. Both have excellent ski resorts. Colorado ski resorts are know for their comfort and luxury. There is ample shopping around the resorts, as well as great food and evening entertainment. Colorado ski resorts remind us that a ski vacation does not just involve the action of the mountain. At the base of the mountain, vacationers will enjoy exciting festivals and other unique Colorado activities. Colorado Ski resorts are a must for skiers who want more than just great snow, but want an all around wonderful vacation.
Any savvy head of the house will look for the best deal when booking a family vacation. If your family is the type that prefers skiing on snow to skiing on water, you can get great deals on packages from any number of Utah ski resorts. Here are a few ways that you can find these deals and get a great vacation for the whole family.
Some of my favorite ski vacations ever are not remembered for the snow, or even the weather. I remember for the location of my room to the slopes. At these ski resorts, my room overlooked the slopes, as the hotel buildings were built on the mountain, alongside the trails. Each morning, I would simply exit by room, which often was complete with a kitchen and living space, and my skis would be waiting for me outside my door. At these ski resorts, skiers simply ski down a slope to get to the base of the mountain. From there you simply enjoy the rest of the mountain, and plan to make your last trip down the mountain take you back to your front door! You can even go back to your room midday for lunch and then be back on the slopes in no time at all.
State owned Cannon was long a “ski it if you can” type of ski area. It is today, as it will likely remain, best suited to advanced skiers. But change is afoot. For 2003-04, Cannon has added green and blue runs for the less experienced sliders. If backcountry is your thing, go to Cannon and seek out its access point to the trails of long defunct Mittersill next door.
Gore Mountain is one of the few ski resorts owned by New York State. It is in the Adirondacks and has a vertical elevation of 2,537 vertical feet. Gore is divided into two sections: an upper half and a lower half. The upper mountain has many black diamonds and a couple double-black-diamond trails. Of these, Rumor is the most challenging, but Lies is also a difficult trail. On the lower mountain, there are many longer, easier runs. These include green circles and more challenging blue squares, which are often used for high-school and college races. There are also several terrain parks and a glade on the lower part of the mountain. In addition to several chair lifts, Gore has a Gondola that goes to its peak.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|