Monday, December 31, 2012

Bye Week = More Skiing for Me

Some call themselves Football widows - but I actually enjoy the game and love watching Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork - the Patriots! What's not to love, especially when they are winning?!

My only problem with football season, and particularly playoff football, is that it conflicts with my all time favorite sport- skiing! So I was doubly stoke when the Pats trounced the Dolphins and earned themeselves a Bye Week, or a weekend off in my book. That means they won't be playing next weekend and we can go skiing without concern for missing a football game, having to DVR the game or cut our skiing short to rush back home for kick off!

Here is my Boston.com ski blog about the Patriots Bye Week!

So we are heading to the fairy tale ski land of Quebec, we will be skiing Mont Sainte Anne and Le Massif, and enjoying apres ski as it was intended - in French Canadian style! Au Revior, Happy New Year and enjoy your Bye Week skiing!

The Super Bowl will be another ski versus stay home conundrum. Last year we were skiing at Stowe staying at the lovely Stowe Mountain Lodge (with a bunch of NY Giants fans ironically)...the skiing was obviously much better than the game day results. But that's another story, and this is another year! Already the snow in New England is much more promising for 2013 - so I am equally optomisitc for the post season football for the Pats!

Your friends at Family Ski Trips and Luxury Ski Trips!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Serious snow!

Thanks Santa...I ask for snow every Christmas - and I am often disappointed that there isn't a big dump and a White Christmas. Well not this year! December has been super snowy - ski resorts and this ski reporter are very pleased with the abundant, frequent snowfall! New England, the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest have been getting serious now, and its been seasonably cold to preserve the frosty flakes.

The above snow total map from our friends at Alpine Zone shows signifcant snow depths exceeding last year's yeild across the country.
Already skiers have had more powder days this season than all of last in New England. Sugarloaf Maine in particular has been able to open their glade terrain in Brackett Basin and the Eastern Territory on all natural snow- with base depths of up to 40"...impressive.

My son is a ski instructor at Big Sky Montana and he calls on his way home from work with big stories about how Lone Peak and the Dictactor Chutes opened earlier this season than he can remember, he's been there for three seasons now so that is his "seasoned" perspective.

So thank you Santa, Winter Warlock or whomever is in charge of the frozen precipitation...and my subsequent elation.

Only downside is my friends know I asked for all this snow, and now they want me to come get "my snow" out of their driveways.
This is a great winter to plan that big ski trip. If you are traveling as a ski family, be sure to check out our Family Ski Trip site. If its just you and your sweety, a guys getaway or your gal pals looking for the perfect ski/spa vacation, go to our Luxury Ski Trip site! Happy trails!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mayans miscalculation = Maine skiing!

It's all good! After considerable hype and hoopla about Doomsday on Dec 21, 2012 - the first day of winter arrived seemlessly and with snow in the Maine mountains. Smart skiers, ok - Greg & myself, saw the predictions for the last day on earth (yeah, right) and for snow in the mountains, so we made the obvious executive decision to skip out of the office for a Friday ski day. Just in case it was indeed our last day, it seemed like the better choice - downhill time versus more desk time.

The drive to Sunday River was slippery to say the least, but that made for great fresh snow on our first several runs from South Ridge, and the cozy uphill confines of the Chondola cabin, to Spruce Peak where we were among the first down American Express (chaching), Downdraft and Risky Biz, followed by Barker runs on Right Stuff and Sunday Punch, then over to Aurora Peak where we felt like we were in a winter's fairy tale - few other skiers, just frosted sparkly trees draping over us, soft snow and silence - magical.

By lunch, we had logged 10 runs, and headed to the Foggy Goggle, with our foggy goggles and damp mittens. A plentiful pub lunch with a picture window out to the slopes was perfect, and allowed us to keep tabs on the precipitation situation. The morning's mixed snow had turned to the other four letter word, rhymes with pain...we tested the wicking properties of our outerwear after lunch, with mixed results in the mixed precipitation! Hey Santa, a new waterproof jacket would be sweet, but I'll probably settle for a spray of Scotchguard!

Well, like the Mayan calendar, you never know what you are going to get on Dec 21, first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. Glad we chose to spend the anticipated apolcalypse pursuing our favorite sport  - alpine!

If you are looking for winter in New England, and really long for a White Christmas, I recommend you head to the ski areas up north - Maine got the bounty this past week, 20 to 30 inches of new snow at Sunday River, Saddleback and Sugarloaf respectively.

Happy White Christmas everyone...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Vote for your favorite TP?

I have a favorite TP...everyone does, right? We are talking terrain parks here...that sweet spot at the ski resort where anything goes, you can throw big tricks or just watch as others huck themselves wildly into the air. 

Ski Area Management,  SAM,  wants you to chime in with your favorite terrain park feature and event in the 8th annual Terrain Park contest...see the full story here on Heather's Boston.com ski blog...

And we'll see you on the slopes.... this weekend we will be skiing at Okemo Vermont

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stoked for ski season...

There is much to be stoked for this ski season - early snow and cold temps are certainly tops on my list, and investment in snowmaking throughout New England, the Mid Atlantic, Mid West and Western Rockies is another!

Here are my top 10 stokes for the winter 2012-13 season...many reasons to get out and ski and ride this season!


Stay Tuned as we will be heading to Okemo for an On Snow Demo Dec 8 and we will have news and  reviews on new gear just in time for Christmas. Sunday River skiing before the holidays is also on our December bucket list.

So keep those skis and snowboards tuned and at the ready - cheers to a better  ski year! 

Check out Family Ski Trips for news and reviews of your favorite ski resort, and the resorts you haven't discovered yet... and for that super sweet luxury ski vacation, check out Luxury Ski Trips and check in to a slopeside Four Seasons soon!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black Friday or White Weekend?

Do you really want to go to the crowded mall or wait in line in the dark at Wal-Mart for some soon to be obsolete appliance on Black Friday?  If you are a skier, you know that the day after Thanksgiving is a great day to ski, and pre-Christmas is the best time to get ski ticket deals.

Our friends at Liftopia are having a Pre Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale with discounted lift tickets at over 200 ski resorts across the US and Canada. In New England, you can get tickets to Waterville Valley for $35, and Attitash for as low as $17 for example. Many resorts are half price, some up to 84% off the retail window rate. Ski Lake Tahoe's Homewood for just $35 or Sierra at Tahoe for $40. Liftopia is the largest online platform selling lift tickets at discounted rates - keep in mind tickets are date specific and non refundable. 

If you can't make it to the slopes this Thanksgiving weekend, then play Liftopia's facebook challenge to see how many ski resort you have skied. Click on each ski resort around on the globe where you have skied with the "Where I have skied" app,  then challenge your friends on facebook to  a virtual vertical showdown. I have skied 107 ski areas in North America and Europe, pretty cool. How about you?

Happy Thanksgiving skiers and riders and may your Black Friday be white.
Cheers from Family Ski Trips!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ski Resort Opening Everywhere...Good Omen

Ski Resorts across the US and Canada are opening faster than you can say No Shave November.... Killington, Sunday River, Okemo, and Sugarloaf are all open for skiing and riding.

Opening this weekend are Jiminy Peak and Mount Snow - thought just for a rail jam. In Quebec Mont Saint Sauveur is open. In western Canada, Sunshine in Banff plus Norquay, Lake Louise and Marmot Basin are open. In the Rockies, A Basin, Loveland, Keyston, Copper, and Breckenridge are skiing, and in California - Squaw and Mammoth  have already been skiing and riding.  Heck even Cataloochee in North Carolina is open, after getting wallopped with snow from Hurricane Sandy!

Can you say La Nina? Call it whatever you will, but we are off to a nice start to the ski season! Cheers... now go shave...and make plans for a big ski trip this winter! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Beast is back..Killington open, Sunday River is next!

Yes, the Beast of the East is back and blowing serious snow like the good ole days. Killington will open for skiing Monday November 5, 2012 with the K-1 Gondola and the Triple servicing Ryme and Great Northern trails... it will be marginal snow conditions, so experts only please. This is the second opening for Killington - they opened Oct 14 this year for passholders only - a sweet privilege if you have the K-mart pass and an interested marketing decision to limit the number of people on the hill while rewarding their loyal pass buyers.

Killington and Sunday River always make our best bet list for ealy season skiing...they are the A Basin and Loveland of the East. And the word from the River, Sunday River opens Election day Nov 6 for skiing ... trying to catch the beast with more trails and potentially better coverage...

See you on the slopes soon!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

No Snow November? No way...bring it winter!

Happy November, offically my least favorite month of the year as the leaves are off the trees, the daylight hours are deprived, it's the undecided month...not summer, not yet winter..blah.

But hope springs eternal if you will pardon the seasonal pun. Once elections are over, and everyone has made the "right" choice, we can set our sights on ski season and our own white houses and white mountains. Those slippery metal campaign signs that didn't blow away during Hurricane Sandy can be used as sleds once we get that first big November snow storm right?!

I think we are due for a big cold winter in the North East and a snowy season in the West...and not just a pounding in the Pacific mountains of Oregon and Washington this time! Squaw Valley in California has already been dumped on to open for skiing prior to halloween!

Vail will celebrate its 50th with a beautiful new Golden Peak Gondola from Vail Village - complete with wifi and heated leather seats - sweet! Aspen Snowmass hopes to open 230 acres of new glades on Burnt Mountain. Arapahoe Basin opens a new Pika Place beginner area with a magic carpet - beginner terrain that A Basin previously lacked. Jackson Hole in Wyoming has a new high speed quad to replace the ghostly slow Casper triple.

And in the East, Cranmore, Burke and Jay Peak have new lifts, Bretton Woods opens new glade skiing with T Bar access and  Sugarloaf will open more of the Brackett Basin glade expasnion towards Burnt Mountain. See what's new in New England skiing and riding for this season at FamilySkiTrips.com

Have those skis and boards waxed and ready - winter is coming. Props to Killington for their Oct 14, 2012  debut, but it was only a day and only for passholders. Shout out goes to the North Carolina ski resorts as well that got dumped on by Hurricane Sandy and opened for Halloween skiing...

Anyone want to wager on who will be the next New England Ski Resort to open and stay open?  See you on the slopes!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Skiing!?

Can you say Cataloochee three times?! How about Halloween skiing?! Well, Hurricane Sandy has brought snow and an early ski season opener to Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain in North Carolina!  Both mid Atlantic ski resorts will open for skiing on Wednesday Oct. 31, 2012 thanks to significant snow from the "Superstorm Sandy" or what some are calling "Frankenstorm" given the timing just prior to Halloween!

Last year it was Killington and Sunday River that both opened Oct 29, 2011 for Halloween skiing following Hurricane Irene and what we called "Snowtober"!

Ironically, this huge storm system Sandy brought tropical temperatures to the North East, no snow, just rain and high winds. Well, props to North Carolina for their early season snow show for a change!

Killington has already opened for skiing October 14,2012 for one day of limited skiing on that Sunday on K-1 for passholders only, taking advanatage of their impressive snowmaking power and a cold snap earlier in the month. Killington is reclaiming their Beast of the East title.

So who will open next? My money is always on Sunday River - they blow the competition away with their snowmaking efforts. Loveland and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado and Squaw Valley in California have already opened for limited skiing out west. Thee early season ski resorts are perrenial favorites, all on our Top Early Season Ski Resorts list.

Next week is the Boston Ski Show, a kick off to the New England ski season excitement. So it's time to go in the basement, hoping that it didn't flood during Sandy's serious rain, and find your ski and snowboard equipment - cause winter is on its way.

This year Heather Burke will be blogging about skiing here, on Boston.com, Liftopia, FamilySkiTrips.com and LuxurySkiTrips.com plus facebook, twitter and Google + so keep tuned in and keep your skis tuned up!

Happy Trails!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Client List, Zumba, Presidents and Prostitutes

My little town of Kennebunk is making national news. Yes, my Zumba instructor was also turning tricks, videotaping her johns, and evading taxes and its all over the web, TV, newspapers, and local gossip. Can I just say Alexis is a very attractive gal, her Zumba dance workout classes were fun and she is very fit? No defense, just little details. Zumba is like skiing, it's a great work out but you don't feel like you are exercising.  The music, the movement, the hour just flies by. That's all I have to say on the subject - I am not going to get into The Client List, Kennebunk's Coming Out Party for Johns and Janes. While the Zumba/Call Girl scandal has made for lots of humor around town, it will also do some harm to families and friends in our tight community.

Kennebunk and Kennebunkport have been in the national media spotlight before, as the Summer White House for two Ex Presidents. The Bush family has brought fame and fields of reporters to our seaside hamlet through the years. Now that we have two retired Presidents, the attention is more of what we call Bush Gawkers, eager to get a photo of Walkers Point or see George and Barbara in Church, on Fidelity - their boat,  or out at Mabels for Lobster.  George W, or as we call him - 43, versus his dad 41, actually mountain bikes with my friends - a fantastic athlete and great guy they say. Not a zumba guy. 

Kennebunkport's Christmas Prelude, a holiday celebration the first two weekends of December, has also brought tv coverage with the Today Show,  Travel Channel, HGTV and Food Wars. I rarely participate in Prelude as it conflicts with the start to New England's ski season and my small Maine town is more packed than the ski slopes. So welcome to my world, the Kennebunks - home of Presidents, Prelude and Prostitution... party on!

In other news, the leaves out my Family Ski Trips office window are turning faster than you can say Kennebunkport Zumba scandal. So soon it will be ski season.  We are preparing our editorial and travel calendar for winter 2012-13, ski resorts are blowing the mice out of their guns, and prepping for a much bigger snow year than last...ok maybe Oregon, Washington and Austria being the exception as they made out like snowy bandits during last year's snow drought every where else.

Our ski friends at Sugarloaf, Saddleback, Aspen and Lake Louise are posting frosty photos on
facebook, Killington is making snow, one resort called the contrast of autumn leaves a fresh dusting of snow "snowliage" ... love that! So enjoy the snowliage...ski season will be here faster than you can fill in the blank_____. 

Think snow, do your Zumba snow dance, and be ready for the first ski resorts to open!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

No more SBX and Skier X in the X Games? What the X...

Winter X Games 17 will take place in Aspen, Colorado at Buttermilk, Jan 24-27, 2013. But don’t tune in to see the exciting skier and snowboarder cross events -  those have been cut from the racy program. 

ESPN, the creator of the popular X Games, decided to eliminate skier cross and snowboard cross, plus the mono skier X events, citing the expense for the venue among other reasons. As you might imagine, snow athletes, like snowboard gold medalist Seth Wescott and skier x champ and former US Ski Team racer Daron Rahlves, are not too pleased about this decision. There is even a facebook to page begging to Bring Back The X Course.

It is ironic that the edgy X Games are stepping away from these roller derby elimination on snow events, while the conservative Olympic Authority has recently loosened up and decided to include SBX and skier X and will add skier slopestyle to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi Russia in 2014. The Winter X Games helped put snowboarding on the competition map, and helped athletes like Shaun White get their due. In 2012, Shaun White won snowboard superpipe for the 5th consecutive year, with a first ever perfect score of 100.

The first Winter X Games took place at Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, California, in 1997, to provide “a competition compiled of the greatest winter action sport athletes from around the world competing on an annual basis in skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling."
Aspen has been the exclusive host of Winter X Games since 2002, even though Whistler made a bid to host - Aspen won the X Games bid for two more years through 2014. Winter X Games are traditionally timed by ESPN to air the weekend between the NFL's conference championship games and the Super Bowl. 

Further irony is that the two X Game events that were dropped last year, Snowmobile SnoCross and Speed and Style, are returning to the 2013 Aspen schedule.  So go figure. Winter X Games have seen plenty of zaniest events come and go – like super modified snow shovel racing, snow mountain bike racing, and the latest urban street style snowboarding.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall = Football and Alpine Anticipation!

The New England Patriots season opener has me very excited. My big buddy Wilfork was amazing as he put all his weight into the game and made Flat Stanleys out of some of the Titans. Gronk and Tommy were impressive too, as were our Rookies! Brady took a pretty big hit and bloodied his otherwise-pretty face (btw: thank you for the clean cute hair cut Tom, or Gisele if that was your doing)! But Brady in his always-poised, powerful fashion played on, pushed through the pain and put 34 points on the scoreboard with his team. Titans' #10 JakeLocker (sounds like one word to me) was sacked and sidelined with a left shoulder bang- wonder how he is feeling today?

It was a great start to the fall football season for The Pats – hope springs eternal among New England sports fans - a welcome distraction since the Red Sox are out of the action with their usual fall folleys. Are they drinking in the Red Sox  dug out again?  I did say when they hired Valentine that I liked his spirit and his smile, ok - I liked that Bobby V was a skier and talked about heli skiing trips and how he loved New England snow. Now, I am rethinking that - perhaps downhill is a distraction, downhill is certainly the direction of the current club management.

Fall sports talk, and the emerging fall weather pattern, certainly leads me to one thing - skiing. Cool crisp mornings and an email box full of ski resort media releases means one thing: ski season is just two months away. 
The Boston Ski Show, November 8-11, will be here before we know it, and I predict Sunday River and Killington will race to open for skiing by Halloween! Last season you may recall Killington opened minutes prior to The River on October 29.  So enjoy your fall football, and get ready for ski season. The Farmers' Alamanc and every ski resort east of the Mississippi, and west for that matter, are all calling for an epic snow year. Keep riding the bike, looking for ski swaps, sales and ski news...the snow will be here soon.  Remember Snowtober, the pre Hallloween storm of 2011?

Think Snow, Go Pats!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Vail's Epic Pass is now more...EPIC!

Vail's Epic pass has always been one of the best deals in skiing. Even vacationers were well off to buy the season pass  for about $600, often less than buying day tickets on holiday, since the pass is valid at Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado. Then Vail Resorts added on Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California's Lake Tahoe ski region.

Well Epic just became more Epic as Vail Resorts announced that Epic Pass holders can now use their season passes at four premier resorts includng Les 4 Vallees of Verbier. Epic Passholders can fly across the pond and enjoy three free days at Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon in Switzerland.

So say yes to the pass people! One pass, 12 amazing ski resorts! For as litle as $649 you can have unlimited unrestricted pass privileges at these big boys of skiing. Get your Epic Pass at www.snow.com

We at Family Ski Trips are big fans of Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood  in California and we are eager to ski Verbier and Les 4 Vallees in Switzerland! Just wanted to keep you in the ski loop! You're welcome!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Countdown to winter...skiing and snow!

Don't you love this time of year?! August is a beautiful month for boating, biking, and of course buying back to school supplies for the kids. Yippee..it's a time of anticipation for school kids, parents and skiers most of all! While you won't find us skipping through the aisles at Staples and Walmart...you will see we have been checking out all the snow report prognostications on ski resort websites, facebook and twitter and of course the Farmer's Almanac!

Check out these ski and snow predictions we compiled, these ski season indicators are optomistic if not entirely objective (or based in any meteoroligical fact).

Which of these ski forecasts for 2012-13 winter do you "like" best? Let us know on facebook ....

With less than 100 days away till skiing in New England and many Rocky Mountain ski resorts, it is time to start planning your winter ski season.

Where are you planning to ski this season?

Did you buy a season pass at your usual place?

Or are you planning a big ski trip out west, heli skiing in the Canadian Rockies or a ski vacation in the  European Alps?

Let us know and keep those skis tuned and the snow thoughts optomistic...see you on the slopes soon!

Your friends at Family Ski Trips and Luxury Ski Trips !

Monday, August 6, 2012

Beat the heat - Think Winter and Skiing!

When mid summer heat hits, there are a few sure ways for skiers and riders to cool off. White wintry thoughts and plans will help you get through those dog days of summer when downhill skiing and riding seems far off. No need to fear ski friends, snow season will soon be here. Until then...

Here are 5 ways to beat the heat in summer!
1.       Watch our ski videos to cool off!

2.       Ride your bike to exercise those quads and glutes as a primer for winter!

3.    Plan your next ski vacation with these helpful ski trip planning tips!

4.     Read about our recent trip to ski the Alps of Austria

5.       Follow Family Ski Trips on twitter and facebook for a daily dose of snow and ski anticipation!

And of course, snow dance often and with enthusiasm!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Snowboarding...its all about change!

Snowboarding is a sport of continuous evolution. It changed the way we thought about the sport of skiing back in the early 80’s. It changed our terrain with the emergence of jumps, halfpipes, rails and staircases, and changed the style of events on the slopes from ski racing in gates to rail jams, terrain park sessions and big air contests.  Snowboarding has changed ski slope apparel, vocabulary, the shape and size of skis, you name it. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the definitive snowboard competition, the Burton US Open, is switching its venue. After 27 years at Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont, Burton’s US Open is changing it up and moving out west to Vail Colorado.
The first US Open snowboarding competition occurred in 1982 at Suicide Six, a traditionally small race hill in Woodstock Vermont. Competitors had to hike up Snow Valley in Manchester Vermont in the 2nd and 3rd year of the National Snowboarding Championships. In 1985, nearby Stratton became the host of the US Open Snowboarding Championships, where the venue was officially named and remained through its 30th anniversary in 2012, making it the longest-running snowboarding competition in the world.
The US Open changed the way we looked at snowboarding - not just a new snow toy to throw tricks, but serious competition with a high caliber of athletes. Backed by the godfather of snowboarding himself, Jake Burton, the event put riding on the map. In fact, IOC judges attended the US Open as part of their deliberation over allowing snowboarding in the Winter Games, It was determined in 1996 that snowboarding would be featured in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
The US Open draws over 30,000 fans and riders from all over the globe. It is also traditionally a big party for fans and high flying riders alike. At Stratton, you would see Vermont snowboard heroes Kelly Clark, Ross Powers and Hannah Teter, and big names like Danny Kass, Gretchen Bleiler, and Shaun White.
Now Vail will have the honors, and has plans to construct a slopestyle course and huge 22-foot superpipe on Golden Peak, a bigger – potentially better venue than Stratton with more a festival atmosphere and free live music concerts for spectators and riders alike.

Read more about Snowboarding Evolution and the biggest events in Snowboarding on www.LuxurySkiTrips.com

Friday, July 27, 2012

Winter vs Summer Olympics?

So we at www.familyskitrips.com are obviously skiers and lovers of all things snow sports related...so we are not as excited about the London Games as we were the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. We will watch the Summer Olympics 2012, we are particularly eager to see how the Brits fare competing with the last Summer Games 2008 opening ceremonies in China. The British are proper but probably not quite as polished and precise as the thousands of Chinese drummers in cadence. That was an unforgettable performance, like the agony of defeat, the unison of one huge country's beat.

We recently posted a poll on our family ski trips facebook page asking what you prefer, winter or summer games! Of the participants, mind you these are mostly skiers and snowboarders, the results were not surprising. While the majority of responders said  "I never miss watching the Olympic Games", the next most popular response was "I prefer Winter Olympics, skiing, snowboarding, even ice dancing, over Summer Games."

A few funny replies to our Winter versus Summer Olympics poll included:

"Nothing more exciting than the Open will come out of the UK this year"
"How can London possibly top the frenzy of the Queen's Jubilee?!"

We believe that last response was slightly sarcastic, don't you?!

Still the fact remains, Summer Olympics are more popular, more widely watched, with more participants than the Winter Games. Gymnastics, swimming, soccer, even Equestrian starring Ann Romney's horse will draw more couch potato viewers than Downhill Racing or Snowboarder Cross. 

Well, enjoy these 30th Summer Olympics on ABC with a pint of ale in hand, as the next Winter Olympics aren't going off until Feburary 7-23, 2014. The Sochi Russia 22nd Winter Olympics will feature skiing venues at The Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort near Krasnaya Polyana. After much deliberation and petitioning by the US Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Teams, the IOC will include ski and snowboard slopestyle in the 2014 Winter Games. Ski Mountaineering and Ski Orienteering did not make the cut this time...stay tuned on those crazy winter sports.

Game on, go Phelps and Rafalca - Ann Romney's dressage horse!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer, no bummer, just waiting for ski news!

While we are enjoying our summer, waterskiing, hiking the green mountains and dreaming of them turning white, ski resorts are busy prepping for next winter. Ski brochures and trail maps are on order, ski show displays are in the works, and websites are being tweaked to offer the best season pass deals and ski and stay packages to lure you at the first sign of snow. 

Jay Peak and Burke, now sister resorts in Vermont since Jay bought the North East Kingdom resort in the spring, is offering a Kingdom United Pass valid at both ski resorts. We at www.familyskitrips.com had predicted this, so we are pleased at the Vermont pass deal at $749 unlimited. Of course, that does not make Jay Peak or Burke Mountain any closer by car – but still we expect exciting things from these two hills with the EB5 investment opportunities and obvious recent growth at Jay – two hotels, a waterpark, and a new fixed grip Stateside quad for next season.

Since last winter was low on snow throughout most of the US, don’t expect many more fancy new lifts. Park City in Utah is just happy to be reopening, their land battle with Talisker who owns abutting Canyons resort continues. Stay tuned, keep your skis tuned. Winter will be here soon!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Oh the places you'll go

Ski Journalism...a passion, not necessarily a big paycheck!

I love skiing and writing about skiing. It's something I have enjoyed since age 3, a pasttime I share with my beloved Greg, and one of the most important hobbies we have shared with our two kids. Skiing and snow are our "glue" so to speak. We actually call ourselves the 4-skiers, and much of what we do is "4 skiing."

Skiing as a career for me has grown from ski instructing in college (which ironically our son Ian does now at Big Sky) to working in the ski biz, to now writing about skiing for numerous outlets from glossy magazines in the late 90's, to the newspaper weekly column beat for over a decade, to feature 4-color articles, to the world wide web - blogging on Boston.com, social media and creating and maintaining to succesful ski travel websites, www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com .

My websites, started in 1998, have grown to over 300 pages and over a half million visitors with top search results!

So when a college journalism major from North Eastern University wants to discuss writing and ski journalism with me for her college writing project...it's my pleasure. Jessica Melanson writes her own ski blog, and interviewed Greg and I about our ski writing and photographing experience over the past two decades...

Here is her journalism project featuring us:

As we told Jessica, ski journalism is aboutt he passion, not the paycheck. But the opportunities and open snowfields are a big reward. As Dr Seuss says, "Oh the places you'll go..."

Our recent review of Austria's Alps, read all about it....

Friday, April 27, 2012

love skiing the Austrian Alps!

After over two decades of skiing New England and The Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Utah, Montana and a few trips to Canada...we finally made it back to Europe. Skiing in The Alps is amazing, this is where the sport of alpine skiing originated, the first lifts and ski schools were created teaching the "Arlberg" style...and apres ski was invented.

We visited Austria and skied legendary St Anton in the Arlberg and the vast slopes of Lech Zurs, then Solden in the Otztal Valley where the US Ski Team trains on glaciers, and finally Obergurgl Huchgurgl where we finished our season with 20 centimeters of fresh snow and sunshine!

5 things we love about skiing in Austria:
1. In Europe, they "prepare" their slopes for you, what we called groomed in the states is "prepared" and we love that terminology - sounds like such personal service. "Madam, your ski slope is prepared just the way you like it this morning!"

2. It's better to be off piste than piste off  (ha ha)! There is so much terrain in The Alps, above tree-line open bowls, completely accessible and totally untouched. It's legal to ski, but you need to be wary of avalanche danger (and getting lost) so tranceivers and a guide are always a good idea.

3. Eurpoean ski lifts are uber modern and efficient. Six and eight passenger chairs with heated leather seats and bubble covers are more the norm than the exception.  8 to 30 passenger gondolas - all glass lined for optimum viewing, whisk skiers from the ski villages to mid mountain and the summit with swiftness and spectacular Alps scenery.

4. Skiing to mountain chalets that serve extraordinary lunches sure beats cheeseburgers in the States. These ski huts are so charming, their menus feature authentic homecooked food like fondue, spatzle and schnitzle, in a warm music filled atmosphere. So much better fare and more fun than a ski area cafeteria. Oh and there's beer, wine and schnapps!

5. Apres ski is not an option, it's an objective. Europeans love their leisure time on the slopes in the sun, relaxing on a sonnenterasse or at an umbrella bar with a beer or schnapps in hand.

For more reasons why we love to ski Europe read our European ski reviews of St Anton, Lech Zurs, Solden and Obergurgl Huchgurgl!

We are already eager to return to Austria and to explore more of the Alps in France, Switzerland and Italy...so stay tuned to our websites www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Have you logged a million vertical this season?

 A little ski math, I typically log 40, maybe 50 if I am lucky, ski days in a season. My husband Greg tracks our vertical with his handy Vertech Ski watch and with the Alpine Replay iPhone app – for comparison. Okay, so we are a bit obsessed, but we enjoy measuring our time on the mountain, typically bagging 10 runs before lunch. It’s a game, it keeps us going. Our average ski day, we accumulate about 26,000 vertical feet, so that squeaks us in at just over 1,000,000 vertical feet in a ski season. I have always thought our alpine accumulation was worthy, till I saw Tom Hanson’s stats. Read Heather's Boston.com blog about the 4 million vertical this Loafer has logged...

Ski season is not lacking for this Loafer

Thursday, March 29, 2012

80s on the slopes baby

80s on the slopes baby

Sunday River celebrates 80s weekend March 30- April 1...so grab your K2 comp 200-cms and your fart bag one piece suit - cause its gonna be totally bitchin to the max! Party at the Goggle - Tears for Fears anyone?!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

4th Annual Dumont Cup at Sunday River - but Simon is Sidelined....

Simon Dumont is from Sunday River, Maine...when the X Games Gold Medlaist and famous freeskier comes home now, he brings his best freeskier friends for his pro am Dumont Cup Slopestyle Event, sponsored by Red Bull, Target, Oakley, and Nike 6.0!

This year, the 4th Annual Dumont Cup will be different - since the host and superstar of the on snow show is sidelined, Simon left the Euro X Games earlier this month when he tore his ACL, he flew to Vail and underwent surgery last week, so he will be on crutches, not be competing on skis as he has done for the past three years.

Still this is a great big air event, free for spectators, and your chance to see the next superstars of the X Games! The skiing at Sunday River should be great too as the sun comes out and the snow softens.

See Heather's Boston.com blog about the 4th annual Dumont Cup!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Cult that is Sugarloaf…

Heather takes a closer look at
The Cult that is Sugarloaf…

Are you a @Sugarloafer since__?

Read her ski blog and see if you can be a Loafer ...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Skiing at 80 …

Read Heather's article about skiing at 80+. No we are not talking 80mph, though Klaus Obermeyer claims to ski his age every year in mph - and he's over 80. That just seems crazy. No, this is a ski story about a great guy Heather met on a windy lift ride at Wildcat...

Skiing at 80 …

For photos of that great ski day at Wildcat, see our Wildcat ski photo gallery

Happy trails...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Saddleback secret

We love discovering snowy places, ahead of the curve and the crowd...this special Maine resort begins with an S like the other big boys ..but it has something special...soft snowy glades, untracked cord late in the ski day...and an old school vibe...

Read Heather's review of the gem in the Rangeley Lake region...and go there now...the snow is good, and the sunsets from the Loon Lodge are lovely...

The Saddleback secret

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Family & Luxury Ski Trips among "the best"

How flattered are we to be included among the Best Ski Blogs and websites?! In a word, very...check out Find The Best, and our ski sites featured  in a comparison with Kim Kircher and Brave Ski Mom for example...

FindTheBest's ski resort comparison allows browsers to compare ski resorts based on location, price, acreage, average snow fall, and even whether or not they have a children’s snow school for example. They also offers alpine ski reviews, heli ski and cat ski comparisons, a great resource for the vertically inclined. Our sites were invited to take part in this clever comparative format and we were indeed flattered.

Take a look at our Family Ski Trip ranking and our Luxury Ski Trip status on Find the Best.

Find The Best gets more than 6 million unique visitors per month, with the sole purpose of providing consumers with completely objective, relevant information to allow them to make more informed decisions. That's very much like what we do at family and luxury ski trips, provide honest, personal reviews of ski resorts we have visited and our recommendations on where to stay, dine, what's the best place to ski, all the stuff you need to nknow for your on snow vacation.

Thanks for being fans of www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com ...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Skiing, safer than driving...

Skiing is a relatively safe sport, a healthy fun way to enjoy the great outdoors in winter...but sometimes skiing gets a bad rap...read the statistics on how skiing is safer than driving an automobile on the highway. Of course they are ways to dramatically improve your safety on the slopes, most of these safety tips are covered on the timeless National Ski Area Association's 7 Point Skiers' Responsibility Code...

“Your Responsibility Code”:
1. Always stay in control.
2. People ahead of you have the right of way.
3. Stop in a safe place for you and others.
4. Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield.
5. Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
6. Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails.
7. Know how to use the lifts safely.

Read Heather Burke's blog on ski safety: Skiing, safer than driving...

Top 10 Ski Lists

Everyone loves a Top 10 Lists ...you can thank David Letterman for that I suppose...but we are the skiing critics - we are more about daylight downhill skiing than late night comedy. All jokes aside, here are our top 10 Favorite Ski Resorts for families in the East and our top 10 Favorite Family Ski Resorts  in the West.

You will also find tips on teaching your kids to ski, getting the most out of ski and snowboard camps for kids, and how to pack for your family ski vacation.

Thanks for checking in with the ski journalists at Family Ski Trips...stay tuned! And enjoy your time on the snow with your family!

first tracks - 'cause if you're not first, you're last...

Our family is hooked on first tracks, ours' is admittedly a competitve crew. Sometime you have to pay to play, and pay extra for the early morning ski privilege - but like many of the best things in life: it's worth it! We love to crush the corduroy at 7am, or get fresh powder while others are still hugging their pillows...here is our take on taking sweet laps before the lifts are open to the public.

Read our review of First Tracks for skiing families