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I have never been skiing and know nothing about it. I wish to surprise someone with a ski travel package (airfare, ground transportation, hotel, ski rentals, skiing admission tickets, and whatever else is entailed). (I and the other person live in the United States.)

  1. Should I buy hotel and skiing admission as a package? Or should I book a hotel separately from the skiing admission?
  2. What factors should I consider in choosing a hotel and skiing facility? (I'm asking about things that are specific to skiing. I know price, hotel rating, visa availability, and so on are factors, but those apply to any hotel stay.)
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If you live in the United States where do you intend to go skiing? Why would you need a visa? –  Karlson Apr 8 at 18:03
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@Karlson I was thinking northern U.S., but my question is for future site visitors also. –  user12877 Apr 8 at 18:44
    
... or Colorado or Utah. –  user12877 Apr 8 at 18:48
    
I'd start closer to home. And Colorado and Utah aren't Northern US. –  Karlson Apr 8 at 18:58
    
@Karlson That's probably why user said "or". –  starsplusplus Apr 8 at 20:26

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Most people skiing for the first time choose a ski package, where you get accomodation, lift tickets (skiing admission as you put it) and maybe meals and transport in one package. The big benefit is that everything is simplified for you - you know you are getting what you need. It also guarantees that the hotel is suitable for skiing and close enough to the ski area you choose.

The simplest possible approach is to choose a ski resort, i.e. a place where skiing is the main activity, and the accomodation is in the middle of the ski area. Most ski packages are like that. It guarantees a low transport time to the ski area, and the availablity of all the services you will need in the same place. It won't be the cheapest option, but as a beginner it's got the lowest possibility of an unpleasant surprise. As well as accomodation, meals and lift tickets you are going to need equipment rental, and probably some lessons, both of which will be available at a resort. Equipment and lessons can be sorted out when you arrive, but there may be advantages to booking lessons in advance. A normal pattern might be to do a couple of hours group lessons each day, with the rest of the time free to just ski around. A few days of that should get you to the stage where you can ski on your own.

In choosing a location, some thing you may want to take into consideration:

  • How close is the hotel to the ski area? In a resort it will almost always be walking distance, or there may be a frequent shuttle bus. You don't want much distance between your accomodation and the slopes. If you don't go with a resort, look for close accomodation. Accomodation close to the slopes, or with a frequent shuttle bus, should save you the cost of a car rental.
  • Check the snow conditions at the time you want to go. In the Northern Hemisphere the main season is January through March, and you should be able to ski for all of that. December and April can be doubtful, but the higher and colder the resort is the more likely it is to be OK. Higher and colder also make for better ski conditions. Also check the annual snowfall - the more there is, the better the skiing is likely to be.
  • Is there nightlife? This may or may not be important to you. Look up to see if there is a town nearby, otherwise you are stuck with the nightlife on the resort.
  • Look up how much 'vertical' the ski area has. This essentially means the difference between the highest and lowest point of the ski area. More is better, though as beginners it probably won't be that important to you. Also check on how many km (or miles) of trails there are, and what kind of terrain there is. As a beginner you will be skiing 'green' easy runs, and maybe blue as you get better. Look to see what fraction of the runs are those colours.
  • How great is the scenery? The Rockies and the Alps are generally great, others slightly less so. Decide how important this is to you.
  • What else is there to do? Unless you are sure you will like skiing, this might be significant. Learning skiing can be hard work, and you might decide you want to take a day off.
  • How far do you want to travel? West Coast US resorts are generally better on the above measures than East Coast, but as beginners that isn't going to make as much difference to you. and if getting there involves a long expensive flight, you might find that a smaller, cheaper, nearer resort serves you just as well the first time.
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Voting on this requires 15 reputation, but thank you. –  user12877 Apr 8 at 21:54
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@user12877 You're welcome. And you now have 15 reputation. –  DJClayworth Apr 9 at 13:51

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