1. Bragging rights
How many of your dinner party guests are heading to the Rocky Mountains for their skiing holiday next season? None. Ski yourself interesting by heading across the pond to ski in exclusive resorts such as Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge.
Breckenridge is at 2,926m and Vail is 2,476m. It snows a lot. Yes, it’s cold, but it’s a skiing holiday…get out on the slope…plus every day feels like Christmas Day. Subscribe to Joel Gratz’s http://opensnow.com/ for the latest powder alerts and snow forecasts.
3. Step back in time
Breckenridge is an old mining town and still has its own Gold Pan Saloon, that opened its swinging doors in 1879. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid lived in Colorado in the 1890s but we don’t know if they ever dropped in for a whiskey…
4. Mom ‘n’ Pop stores
The Colorado ski resorts aren’t dominated by corporate America and you can spend your dollars at local stores and get the best service. Everyone speaks English so why not pick the brains of the guys in the ski hire store or coffee shop to get those priceless recommendations you won’t find in any guide-book.
5. World Championship slopes
The 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships was held in Vail / Beaver Creek for good reason, and was the third time it was held in this prestigious area. If you can ski the slopes of Beaver Creek’s famous Birds of Prey course you may be ready for the next World Championships.
6. Deserted mountains
The local ‘weekend warriors’ head to the Colorado ski resorts in their droves on a Saturday morning but don’t hang around and are often back to Denver the same day for the Broncos game. Americans get half the vacation time we do in Europe and don’t even use that. That leaves the slopes deserted for us, especially during the week….
7. Free cookies every day at 3pm on Beaver Creek Mountain
Make sure to head to the base of Beaver Creek Village at 3pm for one of their famous chocolate chip cookies, lovingly passed out by volunteers in full chef uniforms. Remember, if you’re staying in one resort you can often do day-trips to another using local shuttle buses…or even book a multi-stop ski holiday, to combine two or three resorts in one trip.
8. Cat skiing
For $10 in Keystone you can hop into a snow cat and hitch a ride. This offers skiers and boarders the ultimate mountain experience above the tree-line where the resort’s serene and quiet bowls beckon snow enthusiasts. Also check-out the nearby Arapahoe Basin (A-Basin) which is known for its extended season—usually staying open until early June, and sometimes into early July.
9. Variety of Terrain
With more than 5,200 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain and seven legendary Back Bowls spanning seven miles, Vail has terrain for every level of skier and rider and has been a winter vacation destination for passionate skiers and snowboarders for over 50 years.
10. Epic Pass
The Epic Pass is a season-long lift pass which gives skiers access to a huge selection of ski resorts from around the globe, for one single price. This year, the pass has its most comprehensive offering, with unrestricted access to 12 American and 30 European resorts on top of the Perisher in Australia and more.