Admittedly, the journey to the U.S. is very long and time-consuming. Why take on this long distance and additional costs when you have the Alps, a winter sports paradise par excellence, right at your doorstep? SnowTrex has 5 good reasons as to why skiing in the U.S. can still be worthwhile:
1. Unlimited terrain
Ski areas in the U.S. differ from those in Europe in that they are not divided into marked out pistes. The special thing about them is that they can be skied on everywhere; you can ski anywhere within the ski area. Of course, there are also groomed slopes, but the area can also be used to the full extent beyond these – provided that you have the necessary skills and sufficient experience. You should have a good self-assessment, because there are no snow cats in the off-piste terrain and the slopes are left to nature.
Here, you can ski through forests, wide bowls, steep gullies, over cliffs, through deep snow or even hilly sections. In these ski areas, everyone really gets their money’s worth. Even experts are challenged on the so-called double black diamond runs, the most difficult slopes, where access is often only possible by a drop (jump).
Due to the size of the ski areas and the unlimited possibilities, the pistes are rarely overcrowded. Empty pistes are not a rarity, but quite normal! Therefore, you can let off steam with wide turns and rapid descents, but beware: fast skiing is not allowed everywhere! In the U.S., there are excellent areas where only slow skiing is allowed, so consideration is given to slower skiers and snowboarders. This means that beginners and families with children also get their money’s worth.
A special highlight is tree skiing, which is usually prohibited in the Alps. As early as summer, the ski areas are prepared so that winter sports fans can enjoy themselves in the forests during the ski season and be even closer to the trees during a slalom run.
2. Insane amount and quality of snow
The snow keeps falling and falling and falling… there’s hardly ever a shortage of snow in North American ski areas! Many ski areas are located at very high altitudes, and if it rains elsewhere, it snows white gold here! Americans are particularly proud of the quality of the snow, which is called Cold Smoke or Champagne Powder for a reason. The feather-light, dry powder found especially in the Rocky Mountains is a real highlight! Winter sports fans from all over the world travel to North America to savour the fluffy deep snow. The fact that the Americans are really serious about their pride and love of their snow can be seen on the car license plate of the state of Utah, which reads: “The Greatest Snow on Earth”. Utah is home to numerous top ski areas around its capital Salt Lake City, where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held.
3. Unique flair
In the cowboy states of Wyoming and Colorado in particular, you’ll get the feeling of being in the middle of the Wild West on a journey through time. Some pubs look like they’re from a western movie, and even some of the people wear cowboy outfits. This is Western flair unlike anywhere else!
There is also a relaxed atmosphere in the ski areas and a lot of emphasis is placed on the idea of easy-going in the U.S. Enjoyment of sport is particularly important in the U.S. and good humour is the order of the day! Crowds and bad moods at the lift are virtually non-existent. Instead, skiers are greeted with a high-five in the lift every now and then. You’re sure to hear “Have an awesome day!” from the lift operator more than once when you’re on your way to a ski area in the U.S.
Another unique ski area can be found in the desert state of Nevada. Only about 50 km from the famous casino city of Las Vegas lies the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort. From flat, endless desert, it goes up to 2,850 metres. Here, you will find everything a skier’s heart desires. In addition to the slopes, there are also several fun parks, equipment rental as well as a restaurant and bar for the perfect ski day. To round off the fun, head back to Las Vegas after a day of skiing. Where better to party after skiing than in the entertainment capital of the world? Après ski “deluxe”, so to speak! Stroll along the world-famous Strip at night, along the countless hotels, past the Luxor pyramid or the “little brother” of the Eiffel Tower, to finally seek your fortune in one of the glorious casinos.
4. Excellent service
Americans have really mastered the art of perfect service! Whether at the hotel, the bar, in a restaurant or the ski area, the service-oriented behaviour of Americans is exemplary. For a lift pass in the U.S., you don’t just get a lift ticket – you also book a complete service programme with it. You just have to use it!
Many ski areas, such as Aspen in Colorado, offer free coffee, tea or cider and even free sunscreen! Offers such as yoga on the mountain or “First Tracks” are often also available for free or for a small fee, you usually just have to sign up for them in advance. There are also often photo stations at various locations in the ski area.
A special service in most ski areas are the free local guides, who show guests the ski area with its most beautiful viewpoints and slopes, tell anecdotes and provide insider knowledge. When skiing in the U.S., however, the following applies: with all free offers, you should not forget to tip!
5. The travel options
It’s all about the journey, not the destination! If the way to the U.S. is already as long as it is, then it’s advisable to make the most of it. On the way from Europe to the ski areas of North America, you usually have to anticipate a stop-over. If you plan some time for it, these annoying stop-overs can quickly become a highlight of your trip! Many major cities have a special charm that makes a stay there worthwhile.
Cities like the Mormon city of Salt Lake City in Utah are doubly worthwhile as a destination as numerous ski areas can be reached from there within a very short time. So why not combine exciting city life with relaxing nature, cultural programmes and sports?