I'm from the northeast where I could be on the slopes in less than an hour when the skiing bug hit. So, of course, I never skied anywhere else.
But living in Florida now, I have broadened my thinking when it comes to choosing skiing destinations.
Since I have to fly anyway, why not fly west to ski on the deep, powdered snow? I can also bring all of my non-skiing friends, because these days the ski resorts are not just for the skier. Those who prefer the lodge or spa to the slopes will find plenty to do at these winter wonderlands.
In the western states there are a wide variety of ski-towns to choose from. The most popular spots might be located in and around Vail, Colo., where there are a multitude of options for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and every other winter sport imaginable. Vail is the largest single ski mountain in North America and known worldwide for its awe-inspiring mountain and unmatched amenities. From its miles of groomed trails to its untamed "Back Bowls," Vail has it all and skiers from around the world visit this incredible resort. Although known for its country-club atmosphere, Vail can accommodate any pocketbook from a 10-bedroom designer house on a hill to a modest motel room in town.
Beaver Creek is considered a sister resort to Vail and is located about 10 miles down the valley just above the small town of Avon. It is considered a luxury resort and has many amenities to prove it, such as luxurious accommodations from condos and town homes to the cozy opulence of each room at the five-star hotel. There are even slope-side valets to help you in and out of your skis. This is a resort for guests that want to that extra convenience and luxury. It is quieter than Vail, but you can take a shuttle bus there when you're in the mood for excitement.
In any ski-town you will find accommodations galore - the more desired ones are with the very convenient ski-in/ski-out option. These are usually villas, luxury hotel rooms or chalets that are attached or close to the ski lifts. You put your skis on right outside your door and ski right to the lift and up you go. When you are finished - ski right back, pop them off and in you go to the cozy warmth. No lugging your skis to and from the lifts.
The Village at Beaver Creek sits on either side of a small scenic and secluded valley and has won numerous awards and accolades for its architecture and design. The main village's square, with its cobblestone walkways, sits at the bottom of the Centennial Express chair and connects the large hotels, condos, small lodges, stores, restaurants and bars. The Market Square pedestrian plaza contains more shops, restaurants, and an ice-skating rink - it's the place to be for numerous cultural events from ballet to blues to Broadway shows.
In our agency we get hundreds of travel offers from various hotels and resorts with ski packages not to mention some of the airlines that offer air-inclusive ski packages. Sometimes you get one that really gets your attention, as I have this week. A company that manages luxury homes / condos in Beaver Creek, not only manages the property, they take care of those guests that stay and play here.
Although property management is not new, what they supply to both the owners and the guests that stay here is far beyond management. For the owners they supply all the necessary services to take care of the property as well as 24 hour emergency service and travel assistance. For the guests they offer concierge or butler service including assisting with travel arrangements, activities, restaurant reservations, as well as stocking the home with foods before arrival. They also work closely with the travel agent community, which allows us to make our clients' travel experience extra special. Now this is a vacation.
For 201l this company is offering additional amenities such as free lift tickets, free ski equipment rental, and free night stay if you stay for six nights or longer. Of course all is based on availability at the time of reservation.
Don't forget these vacation homes are not just for winter skiing - spring and summer are beautiful in Colorado as well.
Patty Toppa is a travel consultant with Gadabout Travel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.cruisetraveltours.com.