Skiing in North America

Why ski in Canada or the USA?

In my opinion the effort of making the non-stop flight across the Atlantic is well justified by three key reasons:

  • Great snow
  • Friendly service
  • No queues

The North American continent and the Rocky Mountains in particular, are justifiably keen to promote the quality of their snow. And not just the quality, but the quantity! The Rockies are an ancient mountain range in comparison to the jagged peaks of the European Alps. High, wide and, perhaps most importantly, far inland. The quality of the air in these eagles’ eyries is as dry as a bone. As a result, although the mercury may be plummeting, the feeling on the slopes is certainly not bitter; and of course the dry air preserves the famous ‘champagne’ powder for days on end. With a season that stretches from before Christmas until well after Easter, the attractions are obvious. Service with a smile and the ever present ‘have a nice day’ are the keynotes of customer interaction in North America.

North American ski resorts are relatively new, and whilst they may lack some of the intrinsic charm of an Alpine Farming village that has adapted to snow sports, they more than make up for it with efficient lift systems and an enlightened approach to the rare manifestations of queuing. High speed quad chairs dominate the resort based lift systems with one simple expedient in mind: to get people up the mountain and spread across the ski area as quickly as possible and thus avoiding any wearisome queuing. In the unlikely event that you do find yourself in a queue you will find that the resort staff work hard to fill up every seat to minimise waiting time and that you and your fellow skiers and boarders are soon travelling back up the mountain.

Only in North America will you innocently asked “Are you Single?”; nothing to do with your marital status of course but simply asking if you are enjoying the mountain alone, in which case there is often a queue just for you in order to fill up any spare slots on the chairs. There is of course another option:Snow-Cat from Fernie!

Canada's Big 3 Ski Area - It’s hard to imagine three resorts (linked by an excellent ski bus service) which are so different in ambience - which is why this Alberta triumvirate of Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay are such attractive prospects…the sheer variety they offer on the same lift ticket. There could hardly be a more beautiful setting than Lake Louise – whether you’re on the mountain looking down at the village or taking in the sublime views from the accommodation. Not only is the frozen lake itself, with its glacier-strewn backdrop, a stunning sight, but the whole Bow Valley mountain range is simply breathtaking. No wonder that for years the “Valley of the Ten Peaks” occupied pride of pace on the back of Canada’s $20 banknotes. By way of contrast, staying in Banff is to enjoy the razzmatazz and frontier-town feel of a town with some of the best après-ski in Canada. Banff’s nearest ski area is Mount Norquay, sometimes referred to as “the locals’ hill” because it’s only four miles out of town. But make no mistake, even though it’s the smallest of the three “Big 3”resorts, Norquay is no picnic

Whilst in Banff why not go to see the famous Calgary Flames?  Watch NHL Hockey - soak up the atmosphere on an unforgettable trip to see the Calgary Flames, one of the top performing Canadian teams. Prices for Upper Bowl seats from £90. Price includes transport from Banff with a guide and commentary en route to the match. Seats can be upgraded to Lower Bowl locally through your Inghams Rep, subject to availability and local costs.

USA's Ski Classics - Sooner or later many British skiers are tempted to try America simply out of curiosity, and Wyoming’s Jackson Hole and Breckenridge, Colorado are American ski classics, offering some of the finest slopes in the Rockies. Jackson has a well-earned reputation as something of a cult resort for its steeps and deeps, though it has plenty of more modest slopes too. Breckenridge has long been a firm favourite with British skiers, and is opening up a big new off-piste area in one of the biggest terrain expansions in Colorado for some years.  Both resorts have an excellent snow record: when it comes to American ski holidays, Colorado and Wyoming powder are hard to beat!

Finding your best holiday options...
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