With winter right around the corner, skiers are beginning to make their vacation plans at resorts throughout the world. Considering there are almost 500 ski areas in the US alone, skiers have plenty of options from which to choose. All told, 37 states have ski areas with New York leading the way with 50 followed by Michigan with 38.
Believe it or not, even Alabama and Tennessee are home to a ski resort, and as you can imagine each depends almost entirely on snowmaking. For example, snow comes to Alabama’s Cloudmont Ski & Golf Resort as soon as cold overnight temperatures drop to 28 degrees or colder, which allows snowmaking to commence.
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Because it involves so many factors, such as snowmaking ability and choice of accommodations, planning the perfect ski vacation requires some research. After all, a ski vacation can be an expensive proposition and you want to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at a ski resort for the first time only to discover that the slopes aren’t what you expected or that the accommodations don’t meet your standards.
Here are five golden rules for the perfect ski vacation:
- Begin your planning process far in advance.
The most popular resort often book up as early as October. This may come to a surprise to those procrastinators who always wait until there’s plenty on snow on the ground before they make their ski vacation plans. Also, many ski areas offer discounted packages to skiers who book their vacations well before the ski season actually begins. Stratton Mountain, Vermont, provides an Early Booking Offer which can save skiers up to 50 percent on lodging and lift tickets. This package also includes a free upgrade for one adult to performance ski or snowboard rental, one free appetizer at Table 43.1 with the purchase of an entrée and one free admission to the Stratton Fitness and Training Center. Check this out at https://www.stratton.com/plan-your-trip/deals-and-packages/early-booking-offer.
- Do some thorough research.
By its very nature, a ski vacation is always a gamble. Despite the best intentions of Mother Nature, there’s never a guarantee that a ski resort – regardless of its location – will have natural snow when you arrive. This, however, should not deter you. Your research will help identify those ski resorts where extensive snowmaking almost always ensures snow-covered slopes no matter the actual accumulation of natural powder. With more than 2,000 snow guns, Sunday River, Maine, is a snowmaking monster while Homestead Ski Area in Virginia covers all of its nine slopes.
- Choose accommodations wisely.
Choosing accommodations can make or break a ski vacation. After all, skiers spend a fair amount of time within the confines of their condo unit, hotel room, hostel or bed and breakfast. If your budget allows, try and stay slopeside. The convenience of skiing in and out of your accommodations is worth its weight in gold because it saves you the hassle of driving to the resort and lugging your equipment from the parking lot to the slopes. The opening of Snowpine Lodge, Alta, Utah, is slated for January 16, 2019. The new resort, timed with the simultaneous opening of the adjacent Snowpine ski lift, will introduce the first ski-in/ski-out luxury resort in the historic town, known for its laid-back style, rugged terrain and plentiful supply of annual powder snow. Snowpine Lodge will be resurrected at the site of the original 1941 Snowpine Lodge and the site of the oldest building in Little Cottonwood Canyon dating back to the Silver rush of the 1800’s.
- Check out additional mountain activities.
No matter how ardent a skier you may be, chances are you’ll want to do more than swoosh down a mountain while on vacation. Ski resorts usually offer an abundance of activities that are designed to please even the non-skier in your group. Camelback Mountain Resort in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania features an indoor Aquatopia Water Park that allows you to bask in 84-degree Caribbean-like water play, year-round. Purgatory Resort, Colorado, will arrange a dog sledding tour along a scenic winter wonderland trail, with breathtaking views.
- Know your ability level.
Not all ski areas are created equally. Search for the ski areas that are best suited to the ability levels of those in your group. Beginning and intermediate skiers will love the wide trails at Deer Valley, Utah, while advanced skiers might opt for the precipitous headwalls and deep moguls at Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.