"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?
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).
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.
Take a look at this powder video:
Wide open motorway pistes are great for beginners & intermediates to master their turns without
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
4. Service with a smile!
The Americans are hugely customer service orientated and will greet you & be friendly at every
Many of the luxury hotels / apartments have ski valets, who will bring your gear to the slopes & even
5. Bigger & better!
Well they say everything is bigger in the USA and to some extent it's true:
Accommodation in the USA tends to be a lot more spacious than in Europe and often homes includes
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.
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.
Helen & Rob Brown