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Why do we love to ski in the Rocky Mountains USA?

 

"The powder!" you hear the locals cry.

And yes the knee to thigh deep fluffy powder snow is incredible, but there are all sorts of other elements to the USA ski experience which bring visitors flocking to Colorado ski resorts from all over the world. Colorado is famous for its "bluebird" blue sky days with wall to wall sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. With wide open pistes giving beginners more time & space to make that turn, intermediate bowls to help you progress in the powder, and in bounds off piste skiing for more advanced skiers there's something for everyone...

Will you love it too?

Powder skiing USA Aspen USA ski holidays

 

1. Snow, snow, snow
Big snow

Ski resorts in the Rockies get a lot of snow!

Year after year snow conditions are pretty reliable & the snow total averages are impressive - Jackson Hole gets 459 inches (1166cm) on average, Breckenridge 300 inches (762 cm) & Winter Park 348 inches (884cm).

 



Powder skiing USA Breckenridge

Powder snow

Ski resorts in the Rockies are famous for their powder snow - light fluffy flakes that feel like skiing on air. Steamboat Springs coined the term "Champagne powder" from the delicacy & lightness of the
snow & its bubbly namesake.

"Powder days" are special & many local businesses will even shut for a few hours to let their employees "shred the pow" if there's over 8 inches of powder snow over night...and yes it happens quite a few
times each season!

Knee or even thigh deep powder is common and you'll hear skiers & riders whoopdy-doing down the mountain as they float along with just their ski tips poking through the snow.

 


Big snow in Breckenridge Dec


2. So what's the skiing like?

     

Wide pistes

Wide open motorway pistes are great for beginners & intermediates to master their turns without 
feeling like they're going to careen over a cliff.

 

 

Vail skiing with family on wide open slopes

Good visibility

Most of the ski runs in Colorado (except the bowls) are lined by trees which gives you good definition
& helps you see even in low light & when it's snowing - whiteouts are rare here.


Off piste in bounds skiing

In many US resorts there tends to be a ski boundary around the whole ski area & anything within that
can be skied (avoid closed areas of course & only ski terrain appropriate to your ability level). So in the USA you can pop off the ski run into the powder at the side of the run, nip in & out of the trees or make your own route between runs. It's pretty much all in bounds, making the ski area twice as big as it
seems.

 

Vail ski resort USA 4 snowboarders on a chairlift

Bowls

So to the bowl skiing - huge wide open, in-bounds, bowls with off piste conditions, often plus some groomed runs, can be found in many resorts - Vail has its 7 bowls, Aspen has its Highlands Bowl, Beaver Creek Larkspur bowl & Breckenridge its Imperial Bowl as well as peak 7 bowl, Winter Park has Parsenn Bowl, plus Jackson Hole has Rendezvous & Laramie Bowls.

Yes some of the bowls are advanced / expert skiing, but there are also blue bowl runs, ideal for intermediate skiers to improve their off piste skills.

 

Vail skiing the back bowls Vail ski resort

Iconic runs

Vail is famous for its Back Bowls & Blue Sky Basin, Aspen for its Highlands Bowl & Ruthie's Run, Beaver Creek for its Golden Eagle Birds of Prey downhill course & Jackson Hole for Corbet's Couloir.

For keen skiers these are "must ski" runs & not to be missed!

Yes you need to be pretty good (and pretty brave!) to attempt Corbet's Couloir, but intermediates can definitely give blue runs in Vail's back bowls a try.

Iconic ski runs Jackson Hole Corbet's Couloir

3. Ski lifts & slopes:

     

Rest your legs

Most of the ski lifts in the major resorts are chairlifts or gondolas, so you can rest your legs between
runs. Poma / draglifts & T-bar's are rare, so you can avoid achy legs and do not have to worry about falling off
half way up the lifts.

 

Gondola in Aspen ski resort for relaxing ski holidays Colorado USA

Orderly queues if any

Many times you'll ski in the Colorado resorts without having to queue for lifts at all, especially during
the week. On the whole lift queues in the USA are orderly, with skiers / riders politely alternating
taking turns to get on the lift from left & then right. Unlike Europe you tend not to have little kids or
angry Frenchman (!) barging in front of you to get onto the lifts.

 

Uncrowded slopes

Especially on weekdays the slopes tend to be pretty quiet & uncrowded, leaving you free to whizz at
top speed down that run or wind your way gently down through the glades at your leisure.

 

USA skiing on uncrowded slopes in Vail ski resort

4. Service with a smile!

     

The Americans are hugely customer service orientated and will greet you & be friendly at every
opportunity. The "lifties" help you get on the lifts & have a chat, staff at your lodging ask about your
day & want to make sure you know about the latest great restaurant or event. They all just want you
to have a great ski holiday...

Many of the luxury hotels / apartments have ski valets, who will bring your gear to the slopes & even
help buckle your boots for you if needed!

 

Viceroy Aspen Snowmass, self-catered ski holidays - ski valet

5. Bigger & better!

Well they say everything is bigger in the USA and to some extent it's true:

Spacious accommodation

Accommodation in the USA tends to be a lot more spacious than in Europe and often homes includes
rec rooms with pool table / tennis / full size bar, family rooms with big screen TVs and even home
cinema's complete with stadium seating in leather, reclining chairs & projector screens.

Chateau of Breckenridge luxury ski in ski out catered or self-catered chalet

Restaurants

Yes the portions are bigger! The Americans are pretty used to eating out regularly as in several times a week, so you'll find a large variety of restaurants in resorts and often many affordable options which
are pretty decent.

The huge portions mean you can share dishes to keep the cost down or it really is the norm to take a doggy bag home, perfect for a snack or lunch / dinner the next day.

 

Ski in ski out homes Breckenridge - cinema / media room

 

Ask Chalets USA about your USA skiing holiday today!

We live in the USA, know the ski resorts & accommodation and visit them regularly.

We can give you expert advice and save you time & effort finding the right USA ski holiday for you.

Happy Skiing!

Helen & Rob Brown
Chalets USA

UK Tel 01223 655642
US Tel 303 482 1961

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