These are the resorts such as Vail, Whistler, and Chamonix that proliferate the ski magazines and travel networks. They are big and pride themselves on their glamour. It is difficult to miss the screen stars who have skied at Sun Valley, the rock stars who have walked the streets of Aspen, or even real princes like Prince Charles skiing at Klosters, Switzerland.
Destination areas have the largest skiing acreage and vertical drop, with lift-ticket prices to match. But before you hang up on the travel agent, it may be worth reassessing the value. Amusement dollar-for-dollar skiing is comparable to if not better than a day ticket at Disneyland or similar amusement facility. To top it off, it would be difficult to compare the amusement park hot dog to the Wagyu corned beef and Emmentaler cheese at Deer Valley, Utah.
Skiers go to destination areas for a vacation. The brochure will tempt the reader with pictures of large expanses of snow and romantic couples in hot tubs. Though these pictures are the product of the marketing department, visitors will probably find themselves in similar scenarios. Dining, shopping, and even spa facilities are common accoutrements to the destination ski resorts.
With Norway as the birthplace of skiing and Austria claiming to be its cradle, skiing is a European invention and design. Since skiing originated across the Atlantic, Europe still holds much skiing mystique. From Norwegian sweaters with reindeer buttons to tanned and accented Austrian ski instructors, Europe indeed is a place for a ski experience to be remembered for life. The Alpine countries of Europe hold skiing in high regard. Ski racers in Europe are comparable to football, basketball, and baseball stars all wrapped up into one superhero.
In Europe you can expect to ski a new run after every ride if this is your preference. Some skiers follow the sun around the mountain to take advantage of its warmth and snow-softening ability, never skiing the same run twice. Although this benefit, and the glitter, is an attraction of large resorts, don’t sell the smaller ski areas short. No matter how many ski runs and lifts, the skier can only be in one place at a time. There have been many world champions who grew up on ski hills with only one or two lifts. The fun is in the descent, and that is what is important to the skier.