A New England Skier Imagines the Best of Year-Round Skiing
By Thecla Vis, Atlas Travel International Ski Vacation Specialist
There are two kinds of New Englanders. There are those who start planning their Caribbean escape as soon as the temperature dips below 40 degrees, and there are those who dig their skis out from storage, have them tuned up and look forward to being ready for the first snowfall. In the summer I love to lie on the beach and soak up the sun, but my winters are strictly reserved for a good workout on the slopes. I would like to offer some of my personal insights on how to get the most out of your snow time and enjoy your winter holiday as never before.
There is a lot of good skiing in New England. For New Englanders passionate about their sport, there is no need to extol the virtues of Sugarbush, Sugarloaf or Stowe. I am going to branch out and look at some hotspots outside of New England where skiers can enjoy a whole new experience.
For Experienced Skiers
I have been skiing all of my life. As a travel agent, I have lots of information about ski resorts at my fingertips, as well as first-hand knowledge of these places. I have traveled extensively in search of the "ultimate mountain," but have found that rather than picking a favorite it is more useful to classify them according to the skills and preferences of the type of skier. Some mountains are easier to ski than others; some are more scenic, for those who like to look around them; and some can only really be enjoyed by very experienced skiers.
One of my favorite places to go is Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Spring Creek Ranch is a wonderful place to stay, offering beautiful views of the Grand Tetons. This mountain is incredibly challenging and perfect for the more experienced skier. Besides wonderful skiing, it offers all sorts of winter playground opportunities, including snowmobiling, dog sledding, cross-country, snow tubing parks, wildlife expeditions and nature tours. With a 4,139-foot vertical drop, 22 miles of groomed terrain, average annual snowfall of 459 inches and 2,500 acres of resort to enjoy, Jackson Hole is the expert's skiing choice in the U.S.
Perfect for a Combination of Skill Levels
If your winter vacation party includes different ages and experience levels, I recommend Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia. This ski resort has some of the longest and steepest vertical runs in all of North America, yet it also boasts one of the best ski schools in the world, so it is a great starting place for those who have never strapped on skis before. The village has an immense variety of accommodations, including luxury hotels, homes, lodges, chalets and condominiums.
At Copper Mountain in Colorado, skiers of all ages enjoy a self-contained resort with over 850 lodging units ranging from hotel rooms to 5-bedroom homes. This resort also has a Club Med on site. The summit elevation is 12,313 feet with a base at 9,772 feet, 23 lifts and 125 runs.
One of the great things that we are able to offer at Atlas is the creation of a specific package with our ski wholesalers that includes the exact mountain, accommodations and amenities tailored specifically to your ideal vacation.
For an Idyllic, Peaceful Ski Experience
And for those who want to steep themselves in a quiet, incredibly serene and beautiful ski experience, I recommends Davos, Switzerland . If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the lively North American ski resort towns and drink in the simplicity of nature, this is the place for you. With its six extensive skiing areas all accessed by high-tech ropeways, Davos attracts skiers from all over the world. Nicknamed "Magic Mountain," Davos also sports Europe 's largest natural skating rink, sledge slides, paragliding and handgliding.
For Those Passionate Enough to Ski in Summer!
If the winter months in the northern hemisphere alone don't salve your passion for the sport, there's always Valle Nevado in Chile. I've flown here to ski June-October.
Located in the heart of the majestic Andes, only a 1 1/2 hour drive from Santiago, Valle Nevado has become a major South American Mountain destination. This self contained resort offers 3 lodges and 2 apartment complexes built around the base area with a few restaurants, shops and skier service buildings.
Valle Nevado is a huge resort offering 29 named runs with approximately 40 miles of groomed runs and a vertical drop of 2,592 feet and many acres of off-piste ski terrain, all served by 11 lifts.
All skiing in Valle Nevado is above tree line and the skiing options off all lifts are endless, with numerous ridges and bowls. There is always a groomed run or two from every lift, otherwise it's pick your own route and go. With an even mix of terrain, Valle Nevado offers skiing and riding for all ability levels. Skiers can also ski La Parva and El Colorado, 2 areas located in the valley just below Valle Nevado by purchasing a lift pass upgrade once at the resort.
Get Planning, the Snow's Flying Somewhere!
No matter what your skill level or budget is, there's a ski resort that's perfect for you and I would love to assist you in selecting the perfect resort for your personal ski fantasy.
If you have questions about ski vacations or about other travel topics, please contact me at:
Atlas Travel International
One Maple Street
Milford, MA 01757