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Convert me from decades of European skiing to the US (or Canada)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We've been skiing in the Alps for years, first on our own then taking the kids for the last 15 years or so. Kids will be leaving home (hopefully) in the next few years and we're toying with the idea of a 'big one' in the US or Canada but I know almost nothing about it. Or I 'know' some stuff but suspect it's incorrect. The things I 'know' are that it's expensive, it's not worth going for just a week and that the accommodation is a good bus ride from the actual skiing.

One obstacle is that we almost always sort our own holidays out normally driving, renting a chalet etc. We're not used to buying package holidays but I would not know where to start organising our own US ski trip.

We can't be the only people who, with years of Alpine skiing holidays under our belt, decide to go to the US/Canada from a position of almost complete ignorance.

Please give me the benefit of your experience.

p.s. this is not for this winter - it will either be 20/21 or 21/22
p.p.s. I have a personal ambition to ski in either Chile or Argentina but let's get the US out of the way first!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It's pretty easy - if you can speak English, rent a car and potentially drive competently in winter conditions the world is your lobster.

Yes daily lift tix are very pricey and you pay a hefty premium for ski in/out but with an Epic or Ikon pass you can can hit a number of the best resorts in the country on a road trip and maybe stay cheaper in nearby or downvalley towns (cutesy ski resort "atmosphere" not really being a thing unless totally faked).

Some ideas to start with - SLC and Jackson Hole combo, Vail resorts - Breck, Keystine, Vail & BC, Winter Park , Copper & Aspen. Tahoe with VR (3 Hills) or Squalpine & Mammoth combo with Ikon. Or Whistler standalone or a Canadian roadtrip ex CAlgary.

Google maps is all you really need.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I do like the look of those multi-resort passes.
I've driven in the US (I spent a couple of days in a Dodge Challenger on the Pacific Coastal Highway a couple of weekends ago) and I'm OK driving in winter conditions in the Alps and even here in the Peak District so the driving won't be a problem.

I guess the thing I don't want to do is go there for a once-in-a-lifetime last big ski hol with the kids and not get the best out of it.
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It is as expensive as you make it. Generally it will be more expensive than europe, however doesn't need to be crazy amounts.

One of the big savings is to buy your passes early. For example an epic pass bought at the early bird price can pay for itself in around 4 days compared to buying daily tickets (which are incredibly expensive).

Package holidays can sometimes be cheaper for North America, so I wouldnt rule them out. That said organising it yourself is not particularly difficult either. Skipass, flight, hotel, rental car/transfers, that's it 4 transactions.

You can go for a week. However longer transfers/time difference/jetlag come into play. Also the more days you go for the more the cost of flights and lift pass are offset bringing the cost per day skiing down.

It's true that generally people stay in a town and drive/bus to the resort each day. These journeys can be "a good bus ride", but it really depends on resort. If it's a big deal to you there are good options like whistler where you can stay in the village close to the lifts.

The big differences for me preferring north America:
-Everything inside the resort is avalanche controlled, meaning you can happily ski off piste without having to worry about that or carry equipment. This opens up lots of terrain (glades, chutes, bowls, steeps). Generally the groomed stuff is just there to get you to the good stuff.
-Lift queues are polite and organised
-On average north America gets more snow so powder more likely

I would say that it doesn't suit everyone though. If you like to rack up km of piste you might be disappointed. If you like long lunches at nice restaurants you will probably be disappointed.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Higs, I think the concept of combining skiing with other sightseeing is what’s worked for us in N. America.

To be honest, I wouldn’t go to NA just to ski. I’m not an off pister or snowboarder any more, so that influences that viewpoint.

Combining San Francisco with Tahoe skiing made a great trip. We took in Yosemite too, which was magical in mid December snow.

Vancouver with Whistler another good one.

Really liked Jasper but only went there in summer, so can’t comment on skiing.

Denver with Vail, Aspen and Steamboat Springs. We even took in the Grand Canyon from there, via 1 night in Las V, though it was a hell of a drive.

SLC with Park City was OK but not our most memorable.

Also did a trip starting New York, then Boston, before 1-2 days each at about 6 different NH, Vermont and Maine ski villages. Cities were great; skiing OK. It was March, so not too cold or icy.

Hope that’s some help.
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The idea of a mixed sightseeing/skiing tour appeals but that's one for after kids I think.
We ski well together but I'm not sure we'd be looking for the same things on the non-skiing days.
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Goto Whistler. You will be able to stay at the foot of the slopes and walk 5-10 mins to the lifts or even stay slopeside in blackcomb. You can eat out or get food delivered for your arrival from supermarkets if self-catering. There are other BC resorts which are also ski in/out more so than the USA. If you don’t want to do package then book flights and look at alluradirect for direct bookings who I’ve used a few times. Go for the epic pass, 8 days is the cutoff point for daily pass vs an entire season. If I had the money I’d be in Canada every year rather than Norway and Italy this forthcoming season.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Higs, I'm an American and most of my skiing was there prior to moving to England. Obviously the big expense will be flights, but after that I didn't feel it was more expensive than the skiing I've done in the Alps. It's a very different experience, though. America has quite a few ultra-luxury resorts, where prices are astronomical but commensurate with the experience. Places like Vail and Aspen in Colorado, Deer Valley in Utah, and Sun Valley in Idaho are expensive for a reason - you will get valets to carry your skis around, excellent fine dining and wine, and impeccable hotels.

But if you just want to ski amazing mountains, you don't have to do all of that. Salt Lake City is an absolute bargain. We had an Airbnb in Park City and skied PCMR and Deer Valley, amazing snow and not ridiculously expensive. I've also used Airbnb in Telluride for a ski in / ski out flat at the base of one of the lifts, it was the best skiing I've ever experienced and I'd go back in a heartbeat. Even Sun Valley, the famous haunt of the rich and famous in the mountains of Idaho, has affordable lodging just down in Ketchum.

You can absolutely do this without a tour operator! I don't think Americans use tour operators for this sort of thing, I'd not heard of package holidays until I moved to England. It's just America, they all speak (something like) English. If you want to spend a bit of money, you will absolutely love Vail or Aspen (you'd fly to Denver). And if you want excellent skiing but don't need the luxury, go to the resorts around Salt Lake City, Utah (ski at Alta, Deer Valley, PCMR etc). For expert skiing and a real feeling of the mountain west, go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

It's easy and you can't go wrong, just book the flights and get a hotel or Airbnb and you're on your way.

For lift passes - check out Liftopia.com, and do some searching. Some resorts don't offer any kind of discounts ever (Telluride) and others have deals available (Alta and PCMR).
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20 years ago, Whistler was easily the best resort in the world. European sized mountains with North American Lift system and service.
Now, the Europeans have got their act together so you can be whizzed all over the mountain by high speed 6 seaters on both sides of the Atlantic.

What North America does get, that Europe doesn't, are bucketfuls of regular, dry powder. For which the best place is Colorado.

Go to any of the big resorts out of Denver and you'll get something you won't really get anywhere else in the world.
I love Canadian skiing but Whistler is often wet and further inland is bloody cold.
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I'd go Utah or Jackson Hole before Whistler, although Whistler is also pretty cool.

Probs are, if you aren't quite good skiers, NA doesn't offer that much of a benefit other than novelty and generally immaculate grooming.

Accom in a condo easy to find and often surprisingly cheap/good vfm.
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Sorry missed the bit where you were taking kids. I'd go for a different experience to Europe like SLC ( nice hotel in Sandy Midvale and pick a different resort everyday plus a hockey or basketball game then Jackson and Yellowstone. ( (winter snowmobile access)
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
We went to vail and drove to beaver creak a few days, (Got given a free fanny pack at beaver creak!) it was fab. One thing to watch out for is altitude sickness, a couple we were with were really ill, I was a bit breathless. We stayed out of town, the ski bus was great, and at set times so easy.
Heated seats and pull down windshields on the chairs, proper queuing, even had paper hankie dispensers!
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....
Madeye-Smiley


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Sat 12-10-19 20:51; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Banff TRs in my signature, I tried to add as much useful information as possible.

I’d go back again. And again, and again...

Good points already mentioned but we also love the free ski guides every day. Instruction quality is excellent too.

I don’t go for the haute cuisine or the partying.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Doesn’t have to be more expensive necessarily.

In 2010 (yikes where did that decade go Shocked ) we went to panorama in December, returning Christmas Eve if I remember rightly. It was a package with Inghams including lift pass/equipment and tuition costing 700 each. And the accommodation was ski in, ski out. If you’re used to And enjoy European stylee meg resorts this place wouldn’t tick the box though. That said we did have a good time.

Have also been to Banff/LL with a package via Inghams. Again, <£800 each for 10 days incl. lift pass and equipment.

My self organised trip across the pond was to winter park. Would do it again but was more costly. I think it would be easier to DIY it somewhere like Tahoe/mammoth with flights into SFO.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
If you’re not into off trail skiing there isn’t much point making the trip from a skiing only perspective but if you like to ski off trail you will love it.
Buy a Mountain Collective Pass or Ikon Pass. Fly into Salt Lake City. Ski at what must be the world’s best inbounds ski areas (combination of terrain and quality and quantity of snow) at Alta and Snowbird. Take in a couple of the other hills too - Solitude and Brighton.
Head southwest toward Colorado but stop in at Moab for a couple of nights to take in the spectacular Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Then move onto Aspen and ski the 4 hills there. Drive closer toward Denver but stop in Frisco or Silverthorne for a couple of nights so you can ski Arapahoe Basin. Fly out of Denver.
The other option is to drive north from Salt Lake and ski at Jackson Hole and Big Sky. Yellowstone NP is a great diversion.
In my experience it is cheaper to go on a skiing holiday to North America than Europe (from Australia anyway).
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I went to Jasper in Canada on April this year. They only have seven chair lifts yet as virtually the whole side of the mountain is open to ski you can get a huge variety of slopes and conditions just from those few lifts. No queues in the first week of the UK school holidays and very friendly people. However it is a long way to go so for me a minimum of ten days need to be planned. The snow was in great condition with temperatures still below freezing but not extremely cold.
There are much better resorts than Jasper (in NA) but I was impressed by how good it was despite the lack of lifts.
I would go again but would also look at a multi center holiday.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Silverstar & kicking horse are the only areas that I have skied in NA, what struck me the most was the variety of marked ski runs, from easy beginners runs to double black diamond runs that make the poncy, manicured "black" runs in Italy look like snow covered footbal pitches.
Diy is dead easy if you're happy to hire a car.
The Silverstar season ticket earlybird price was the same as buying a 9 day ticket in resort so something like the epic pass? That covers more than one resort bought as an earlybird (usually before November) is probably the best value.
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I would recommend Canada over the US at present due to the more favourable exchange rate.

Car hire & a road trip loop from Calgary would be a great adventure eg:
- Westbound to Banff (NB cheap digs en route at Canmore).
- Depending on flight arrival time, you can even ski the Canada Olympic Park on the outskirts of Calgary. It's usually all artificial snow but is a great set up - a couple of chairlifts and views over Calgary. It's also next to the ski jump made famous by Eddie The Eagle.
- Then ski the Banff resorts for a few days (Lake Louise, Sunshine - & don't discount Norquay, which has some good steeps).
- Drive south, skiing at Panorama (massive vertical, accommodation on the slopes - & heliskiing too...).
- Onward to a motel out in the sticks at somewhere like Radium Hot Springs - maybe skiing at a tiny locals' ski hill like Fairmont Hot Springs, where a ski pass includes admission to the local hot springs.
- Next up, ski Kimberley. Totally underrated as it's thought of as a family area but has some great cruising runs and some challenging steeps. Very quiet runs too.
It also has slopeside digs - but there are better value hotels in the nearby town of Kimberley.
- Onward to Fernie. Great value motels in town, or slopeside digs available. An excellent ski mountain, with some fantastic bowls and steeps, as well as more normal cruising runs. Fantastic catskiing is also available by the day at Fernie Wilderness Adventures - excellent guides and a great set up.
- Drive south over Crowsnest Pass - passing the world's biggest truck at Sparwood - has to be seen to be believed - and stopping at the roadside (on the pass) to see the rock debris of The Big Slide - a tragic landslide that killed a lot of people... & maybe skiing another small, locals' area - Pass Powderkeg, which is a very friendly set up.
- Continue to your last ski area - Castle Mountain in Alberta. It's a bit of a cult area, down a dirt road - some fantastic skiing.
- From there, head north towards Calgary - perhaps with a night in a motel somewhere like Pincher Creek or Claresholm.

Easy peasy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Mountain addict gets my vote.

I agree, best holiday I've had was driving round the powder highway with mates.

The snow and freedom are unreal. We moved to Nelson because it is so good. The driving is part of the fun.
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Look at lift passes very seriously. It isn't a lot more to ski for a season in the states than it it is for ten days . Some of the epic type season passes also give you days at Europe's top resorts too.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
And if you want to buy an Epic pass, do it now as the price goes up today. And I think it might still be Saturday in Camifornia?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
bug, you missed it
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pieman666 wrote:

There are much better resorts than Jasper (in NA) but I was impressed by how good it was despite the lack of lifts.
I would go again but would also look at a multi center holiday.


I think this is one thing Euros need to get their head around. Number of lifts does not necessarily correlate to quality of skiing and bar stitched together places like WB, Park City and bigger resorts like Vail nothing compares to mega areas like the 3V or Arlberg etc. Somewhere like Fernie or Red Mountain or Grand Targhee or Alta is objectively tiny and would be a poor choice for many groomer only skiers for an extended yet ski bums can easily entertain themselves over multiple seasons.
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I prefer the snow, but miss the alpine atmosphere.

I would go to Utah - stay in Salt Lake City and then drive to the whole range of resorts that are under an hour's drive from there. I think you can get a super pass that covers these resorts....and IIRC that is something you need to get before you leave.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Old Fartbag wrote:
I prefer the snow, but miss the alpine atmosphere.

I would go to Utah - stay in Salt Lake City and then drive to the whole range of resorts that are under an hour's drive from there. I think you can get a super pass that covers these resorts....and IIRC that is something you need to get before you leave.


And ideally the preceding April/May when Epic/Ikon at their cheapest. Usually go off sale after Thanksgiving because the idea is to lock in tourists early.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I agree with mountainaddict andmotdoc - That would be a great trip.

And Fernie Wilderness Adventures is definitely worth a trip. We've skied 4 days with them over 2 trips and had a fantastic time on each occasion Very Happy It has indeed a real wilderness feel to it. 12 skiers in a snowcat, with a couple of guides in the middle of nowhere. Just you, them and fresh tracks. Amazing! Toofy Grin Toofy Grin
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I'm going to go against the grain a little and say that proposed trip by mountain addict wouldn't be my first choice

Assuming the OP is a regular person looking for at most 14 day holiday it's too much in too little time. At best you are going to get 2 days in each resort, which is not enough imo. Most north American resorts take a little while to work out the lay of the land and find the good spots. It is also going to cost a lot buying day tickets everywhere. Finally, too much driving imo, nice to relax a bit more and not move around so much.
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@Higs, so...

what sort of skiing are you looking for?

on or off piste?

steep or relaxing?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
In the last 5 years, we (me and husband) have done Canadian package deals for 4 of them. We couldn't go independently for cheaper (we checked!) - since we decided we were too old for basic French apartments (generalising I know...), every time we've priced up nice accommodation in Europe, we have been able to go to Canada for the same - and the Canadian hotels have been head and shoulders above the same star rated accommodation in Europe.

Early lift pass booking or tour operator 2 for 1 offers (Jasper) have helped control costs - although they are not cheap! The ability to ski everything in-bounds means that what might look like a small area actually has so many options - quite good if you've got different abilities as you can each pick the line you're happy with.

Super friendly people, civilised lift queues (often no queues at all apart from Whistler! And Lake Louise after a dump...) and a really chilled apres scene - you can't beat watching the hockey with chicken wings and local beers. You can eat decent basic food quite inexpensively and increasingly we're finding you can get some really good food if you want to splurge, in addition to the usual poutine and regular meat options.

We started with Whistler in 2015 for a "once in a lifetime" Canada trip and now we can't stay away!!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Higs wrote:
We've been skiing in the Alps for years, first on our own then taking the kids for the last 15 years or so. Kids will be leaving home (hopefully) in the next few years and we're toying with the idea of a 'big one' in the US or Canada but I know almost nothing about it. Or I 'know' some stuff but suspect it's incorrect. The things I 'know' are that it's expensive, it's not worth going for just a week and that the accommodation is a good bus ride from the actual skiing. !

I'm really happy for people to stay away - Scotland's probably good and easy for people from the UK to get to, for now.
However on the OP, stuff you "know" as you say maybe aren't completely correct.
(1) It's expensive to get there, but not particularly expensive once there, although I guess it depends what you mean by "expensive". Compared with Switzerland, it's not expensive.
(2) Often fly over for a week. The main issue is travel time/ jet lag, which is easy to deal with if you do a bit of research and behave sensibly. I've been more jet lagged driving overnight to Tignes.
(3) Accommodation is not always a bus ride away, there are many destination places if that's your thing. Places like Taos and Whistler have on-slope places to stay, as do many others.
(4) I've never used package companies, but I find it easier to organise trips to North America anyway. It's partly the language, but also the more flexible approach and higher levels of customer service. And lack of tobacco smelling hotels. If you simply want (say) to stay in the Banff Springs and use resort transport for a week or two, then a package would be cheaper; you can easily check hotel rates (and room classes) online to verify that.
(5) The US is ok, but harder to fly into and BC/AB are also very popular for good reason. I would recommend all of them.

I still ride in the Alps now and then, but I like the North American approach to in-bounds off-piste, plus the lack of cigarette smoke. I prefer Austrian/ Finnish sauna etiquette. French food can be great, but it can be expensive and pretentious, and you can't beat the Sushi in Whistler. Oh yeah, and the snow is almost always drier.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Higs, we have skied with our kids (now all in the early 20s but we still ski as a family every year) a similar number of times on each side of the Atlantic.

Regarding price, a North American trip will have more expensive flights (but in half term very possibly cheaper), lift passes (but no-one pays full price), lessons and equipment hire. Typically, though, like-for-like accommodation, transfers/car hire and food will usually be much cheaper - although that can vary with resort.

Many North American resorts have ski in/out accommodation, but it's rare to find a bustling village at the foot of the mountain. That said, some traditional mountain towns like Jackson have massive character and can be better places to stay than on-mountain.

The single biggest difference is that, inbounds, you can ski anywhere that you dare. If you like tough skiing, that saves the cost of a guide and means that you can easily spend every day with a mixture of glorious groomers and gnarly off-piste rather than chopping your trip into on and off piste days. Terrain wise, you will typically find far more moguls, tree skiing and ungroomed terrain than in Europe. On the downside, even in the biggest resorts like Whistler and Vail, you will be unable to ski groomers for long distances or link up valleys and villages the way that you can in the larger European areas. If that doesn't appeal, I would question the value of leaving Europe.

Nothing can be guaranteed in the mountains, but your chances of bluebird days with abundant fresh powder and glorious sunshine are much more likely in the eastern Rockies than on the coast or in the Alps - think Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta and east British Columbia rather than the west coast.

Although most North American resorts are small, I don't recommend a road trip. I would prefer to spend time getting to know one mountain well than waste my time driving between resorts, packing and unpacking suitcases.

So where are my favourite resorts? If you're up for a challenge, Jackson Hole with a day at Grand Targhee is probably the epic choice. Big Sky is incredible, too; it's a much larger ski area than Jackson with far fewer skiers. Panorama is a hidden gem with an awkward lift system and scarcely any groomed runs but also the incredible Taunton Bowl which literally holds fresh powder for weeks after a snowfall.

Ignore anyone who says not to bother going for a week. If you can go longer, do so. But don't be discouraged if a shorter trip is all that's possible.

This year we're off to both Whistler and Fernie. I've never been to Fernie before, but Whistler is simply a convenience choice due to easy flights and I personally wouldn't recommend it for a memorable epic family excursion - too much rain, cloud and heavy snow. I also have less favourable memories of the Colorado resorts, which are mostly too busy for my liking.

Enjoy.
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what are your favorite Alpine resorts and why? That answer will assist greatly in making some recommendations for where to ski in NA. Otherwise, you are just getting a lot of folks telling you what they enjoyed.
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Quote:

Whistler is simply a convenience choice due to easy flights and I personally wouldn't recommend it for a memorable epic family excursion - too much rain, cloud and heavy snow


Not the whistler rain myth again. Does it rain in the village? Sometimes, but means dumping up top. Does it get top to bottom rain? Very occasionally, but usually reset within a day or two. There's a reason so many pro skiers move to live there, do you really think they would if it was raining all the time? There is a reason it has won multiple ski year of the year awards - fantastic lift infrastructure, terrain to suit all levels, enjoyable village with good atmosphere. Whistler can certainly make an epic vacation. There are reasons you might prefer other resorts, but nothing wrong with whistler.
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Bottom line …………. I prefer 2 Alpine ski holidays for the cost of one Trans-Atlantic jolly! Simples.
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Quote:

I prefer 2 Alpine ski holidays for the cost of one Trans-Atlantic jolly!


I can do 1 month in Canada for similar costs to my friends 2 1 week trips to Europe! That said price is not everything, if you just want cheap go to Bulgaria.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Higs wrote:
We've been skiing in the Alps for years, first on our own then taking the kids for the last 15 years or so. Kids will be leaving home (hopefully) in the next few years and we're toying with the idea of a 'big one' in the US or Canada but I know almost nothing about it. Or I 'know' some stuff but suspect it's incorrect. The things I 'know' are that it's expensive, it's not worth going for just a week and that the accommodation is a good bus ride from the actual skiing.


Can't speak for a US trip, only been to Canada, but it needn't be expensive ....... I'm going to Panorama in January for less than twelve hundred all in and Fernie in March for less than fifteen ....... both two week trips.

Quote:
One obstacle is that we almost always sort our own holidays out normally driving, renting a chalet etc. We're not used to buying package holidays but I would not know where to start organising our own US ski trip.


A road trip is a great way to do it, but if cost is an issue a TO can't be beat.

Quote:
We can't be the only people who, with years of Alpine skiing holidays under our belt, decide to go to the US/Canada from a position of almost complete ignorance.

Please give me the benefit of your experience.


The biggest difference between 'Alpine' holidays and 'Canada' is the vibe ....... it's a completely different experience, often more intense and chilled, at the same time ......
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
We do our own thing booking wise. Book flights usually Ba about 11months in advance (business class mid week £750 each way.) book an overnight stay next to the airport for after we land, I book this with the flight.
Accommodation, allura direct, or through central booking for resort or resort based agency. This has to be left until summer if you booking condos as the majority are individually owned and you have to wait for the owners to decide when they are going to be using their own place. Then you pay a deposit and leave cc to recover for a couple of months. Then look at taking internal flights in BC or driving. I check cost for both options and the logistics as to getting between resorts with or without a car. This year flying to Kelowna picking up a 4x4 for 3 weeks driving it to Vancouver.
Visited Sun Peaks, Silver Star, Revelstoke, Panorama, Big White, Whistler, Lake Louise, Banff, Sunshine (stayed in Canmore)
Keep an eye on lift passes. season pass for Sun Peaks break even about 8 days ( bought in June) this gives 2 days of free ski lifts in Silver Star and 50% off tickets in Whistler and 25% off at a whole list other ski resort.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
My tuppence.

Road trips are much more of an experience and it's great to see more than one ski area.

Ski in/ski out is expensive but once you get used to the idea of a road trip and driving and look at costs, it often makes a lot more sense to base yourself in the nearby town. Which is also often where there are more restaurant/bar options.

The lack of crowds (by Euro standards) is refreshing. The snow is better (generally) IMO.

There are some great suggestions above. Personally, of the majors, I've been to Jackson Hole (and had one of the best day's skiing of my life at nearby Grand Targhee) and a number of the resorts near Lake Tahoe, Heavenly, Squaw Valley etc. Jackson Hole is an outstanding ski area (and Yellowstone isn't that far away, which I would really recommend for a visit).

I've also been to a number of medium/minors and in a way, enjoyed them more . . . friendlier vibe, you're not just 'another' tourist because there aren't that many and next to no queues. I hate queues.

Canada, as also mentioned above, is an option for which I'd suggest Calgary and East to Banff or South via Kicking Horse, Panorama etc. I did a six week trip starting at Kicking Horse and all the way south via various ski areas to see Yellowstone.

Whistler is fantastic but it's a long slog to the resorts further East so that would be a better City/ski trip

If you're used to planning your own trips, do your research and you'll will know which resorts suit ski in/out or nearby town. Doing all the research and weighing up possible itineraries becomes part of the fun. To really get the American experience I really do think road trip.
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