If you have always dreamed of skiing Europe here are ten reasons this could be the year to make your dreams come true, along with why you can find the Alps is a real choice for a family ski vacation.
The Alps Are Closer Than You Think
If you base your travel itinerary out of an East Coast departure portal such as New York or New Jersey you can plan your flight for an overnight ocean cross you can sleep through. For example, there is an early Eastern Standard Time evening departure out of Newark that gets you into Geneva International Airport about 7:00 am Geneva time. You will still be a little jet lagged for a day, but if can sleep on a plane the trip over is a dream.
You Really Don't Need a Car
Whatever arrival city in the Alps you choose - Geneva, Munich, Turin, etc. - you can find a shuttle service to your destination. Reserve the service in advance. Shuttles can be buses or vans run either by a private resort town company or through the lodging service that you choose.
You Can Afford A Ski Vacation In the Alps
It will be more expensive to enjoy a ski vacation in the Alps, but If you weigh a ski vacation in North America that includes a cross country flight you won't be outlaying much more money. Travel and tour companies have plenty of package deals available for most all the ski resorts of the Alps. If you plan your destination away from the most obvious jaunts of the rich and famous you will find great skiing and value deals.
World's Largest Ski Area
There are destinations in France that include, under one lift ticket, more miles than you could ski in ten vacations. The Val d'Isere/Tignes areas cover huge amounts of marked trails, The Les Trois Vallees includes 8 resorts and the Portes du Soleil covers two countries.
Yes You Can Ski The Alps
Many North Americans have an impression that skiing Europe is all about huge, steep, and dangerous descents. Nothing is further from the truth about this misconception. Don't think Europeans were born with skis - on everybody has to learn and there are some of the best ski schools in the world in the Alps. Virtually every resort has miles of beginner and intermediate terrain.
Don't Worry About Being Understood
If English is your only language don't fret a bit, as you would be very hard pressed to find for yourself a resort where some staff members do not speak English. In fact, most European countries require some study in English and while some Europeans avoid speaking it, many can understand what you need or can direct you to someone who does speak English. It is very well received if, in fact, you learn some basic phrases in the native language where you visit and try to communicate.
You Will find Food to Your Liking
It's not all pasta in Italy, nor wiener schnitzel in Germany and Austria, nor cheese and crepes in France. You can readily find stateside favorites throughout the resorts. However, you should try the local cuisine and a good way is to book a breakfast and/or dinner arrangement in your reservations, especially if you can get a dine around value to try different restaurants. A half board arrangement is not that much more.
Lodging Is All You Want It To Be
Don't worry about plumbing or bathing facilities. There are still shared baths, but they are not the norm and you can have all the lodging and bath facilities and dimensions spelled out before you make reservations. You will be pleasantly surprised at the number and accuracy of web sites available for European resort hotels and lodging establishments.
Europe Really Does Welcomes North Americans
Ski country throughout Europe is like ski country in North America. People are friendly, willing to help, and you find yourself more engaged in friendly conversation with natives that really are curious about your home. You may be a little surprised at the eagerness of the skiers to get on or in the lifts, that is to say voluntarily forming a line is not a learned trait but once you get the Europe shuffle down you'll be fine.
You Will Have The Most Fabulous Experience of Your Skiing Career
If you do nothing but look out the window you will be awestruck by the grandeur around you. You may be too awed to take pictures. When you do, they'll be hard to compare the ones you will keep in your mind, and in your heart, once you have experienced the Alps.
If you are like me, much of my skiing in the Alps involves turning a corner and becoming more amazed at the expanse and natural raw beauty. I wish everyone who skis can spend time skiing Europe and I wish everyone could be there at least once - but, then again, once will never be enough.