Subject: Re: Ski trips
Hello Skiers:

I suppose that we all have our favorite ski areas. My personal taste favors the Rockies for aggressive downhill and Europe for more social skiing. As for the Rockies, my personal favorite is Telluride, but getting there can be a problem. When my children were young we preferred Vail for two reasons: (1) it has very good skiing as long as you learn how to avoid the crowds during school vacation week and (2) the children could take the bus anywhere in the three villages and always wind up back where we were staying (just a loop). Steamboat is fun. Jackson Hole is where the men, women and pets are rugged. Snowbird was okay, but Park City seemed to attract an Aspen-like crowd (but ski Scott's Bowl once and that image disappears in a hurry). I thought that the best deal in Utah was Alta with its low ticket prices, but we skied Solitude a couple of years ago and we had the place to ourselves. I liked Deer Valley for if you did not like the conditions, the help would ski it for you. ;-)

If you are thrilled by celebrity watching, then you can get that and good skiing at Aspen. We used to get a condo for free there, but what we saved in lodging we burned in lift ticket prices. Still, for apres-ski it is hard to beat.

I did not care for Taos; the skiing was okay, but there were too many novices there and the trail system wound down into a single catwalk at the bottom which caused real chaos at the end of the day. The other place I did not enjoy was Lake Louise for at the single time I was there the equipment (lifts, etc.) was in a state of disrepair. Perhaps it has improved, but I am not going back to find out.

Finally a skiing war story: Four of us had been skiing Jackson Hole, Alta and Snowbird and then wound up at Park City. We tried to ski as much of Park City as we could and we were not terribly impressed when compared to the former three. Then as the day wore down, we happened upon a low speed double chair named the Jupiter Lift. Signs all over said Experts Only. One of my companions said, After what we have skied here, how tough can this be? Fateful words. Two decided not to go up: one was still nursing a bad knee and the other was a relative novice. My friend and I went up. When we got to the top my friend asked the ski patrol which way was the easiest down. I had already spotted a group headed down a catwalk with moguls the size of VW Beetles on it. We headed that way. Then the group ahead of us stopped, took off their skis and started hiking up. So we followed. On the way up we passed a photographer. Uh oh! When we got to the top of a wall my companion asked, How do you think we get down from here? I said, Watch. The four guys ahead of us stepped into their bindings and skied over the lip of the wall aiming for the snow 20 or so feet below. Not one of them stayed upright. We decided to jump also, but closer to the photographer where the jump was only 10 to 15 feet, but where we had to make a left turn immediately to avoid hitting a pine forest. It was then I remembered that my ski instructor daughter had changed the settings on my bindings to a lower number increasing my chances to pop out of the bindings. Anyway, I reasoned that you can't get hurt in the air and over I went. The bindings held, the left turn was made, we did not fall and made it down the wall of Scott's Bowl in one piece. The best part of the story, however, is that we were back in Vail the next day where we had cocktails with an acquaintance who is a legend in his own mind (and won't hesitate to tell you). He asked where we had been skiing and we mentioned Park City. He said, Oh, let me tell you about Scott's Bowl. We stopped him and told him we had just skied it yesterday and it was a piece of cake. It was worth it just to see him go quiet and not mention skiing again that evening.

Tom in a still wet Carlisle.