Photo: Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch
When choosing where to ski we Europeans often turn to the Alps since it’s proximity means even a minibreak weekend is possible, but if you look over the pond and catch a direct flight to the States there are plenty of benefits for US skiing! We thought we’d share with you our reasons to consider skiing in Vail and Beaver Creek as your next destination of choice!
The snow! This has to be our first mention, since each season is all about the snow; where is it, how much and when does it arrive…?! In the US the snow is pretty much guaranteed, and not just that they have snow, but it’s the volume of snow that is exceptional. Be prepared for fresh tracks, tree runs, off piste (back country for those in the know- when you ski out of the boundaries) and perfect snow for learning in too.
Opportunity to ski several resorts. When you buy a Colorado ski pass in Vail the resorts generally included are Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge & Keystone, which means that each day you can enjoy the feeling of adventure and exploration as you ski different areas. This skier’s dream of vast terrain means that it might actually be possible to ski new runs each and all day, adding to the sense of excitement and preventing an ounce of boredom for the more experienced in the group.
Hospitality. When you choose to ski in the States one of the key benefits is that all the staff on the mountain are incredibly friendly. Whether it’s lift managers, bar staff or resort personnel they are all chatty & helpful, this is really noticeable when you’re in an area you’re unfamiliar with or you have young children. In these situations you always want a friendly face to point you in the right direction or help in any way. It is the resort itself as a whole that is very keen to make sure all people on the mountain are well looked after and enjoy their holiday
Luxury! Both resorts are incredibly comfortable, Vail is slightly more luxurious and glamourous, and Beaver Creek is very modern and well designed (try heated walkways and escalators which take you directly to the lifts- that’s pretty clever!). In Vail imagine a traditional old fashioned feel, cobbled streets and rustic cabins nestled in the mountainside. The town is car free so a stroll through Vail is relaxing, giving you the space to dip into some of the very chic boutiques! Beaver Creek also has an outdoor ice rink for romantic fun post skiing! With many fine dining establishments both towns won't leave you disappointed- for the inner foodie in each one of us!
Great Off-piste skiing. When you buy your pass you’re basically being given access to all runs and off-piste that are within the boundaries that are clearly marked out. Therefore not all of this terrain is actually pisted, allowing for incredible powder and fresh tracks within the areas that also come with help if needed and allowed within most insurance policies (obviously please check yours to make sure!) This subtle difference between European and American skiing means that you can relax and enjoy the pleasure of skiing ‘off piste’ while feeling slightly safer and more visible to mountain patrol staff.
Spoilt for choice! Between these two resorts and all the others that are open for you with your ski pass there is something for everyone on the mountain! If tree lined runs are your thing then get ready for some stunning descents through the trees, all covered in snow and ready to be explored either on or off the piste. There are also challenging but exhilarating mogul fields for a serious work out, or go gnarly at the park for twists, jumps and sliders. In Vail you could check out Adventure Ridge for children who need a break from the skis, with ski bikes, snowmobiling & tubing lanes. Or of course for the non skiers, enjoy the beautiful town and excellent shopping on offer.
English speaking. This sounds obvious but actually when it comes to being lost, having had an accident or needing help in some way, being able to communicate with no issue makes a huge difference. It can be hugely comforting when you’re not forced to delve back into the recesses of your French GCSE for asking directions… “excusez-moi, où est l'hôpital?”
Child friendly. As already discussed above the Americans are super friendly, polite and helpful, and thus taking children with you is so wonderfully simple in America. Even the lift managers take a lot of care and consideration when helping children on and off the lifts! Due to the great amount of space and pistes there is plenty for all abilities to enjoy and fantastic ski instructors offering group classes through to private tuition.
Wide quiet pistes. One of the main joys of skiing in somewhere like Vail or Beaver Creek is that even on busy holiday periods or weekends you can still find yourself half way down a run and have it all to yourself; just silence, birds singing and your skis slicing through the fresh snow. That is worth flying half way round the world for! We might even say the whole way round the world!
Cocktails. Sometimes we get asked about the après scene in the States, people wonder whether it’ll be the same as in Europe. It’s certainly less rowdy than the Alpine scene, but in the towns there is definitely a buzz after a day’s skiing, with great outdoor areas with braziers and live music, it’s generally more family friendly but being such stylish resorts they definitely know how to mix up a mean cocktail to go with your fries!
To find out more about skiing in Vail, Beaver Creek or any other resort stateside, give our team a call on 01993 899 420 or contact us online here.