British skiers who try skiing Colorado Mountains for the first time are captivated by the experience and the contrasts with Europe. Everyone is struck by the relatively deserted slopes, high level accommodation and snow quantity & quality. All resorts accept pretty much any duration of stay and there are daily flights to accommodate whatever itinerary you wish. But don’t make the mistake of lumping all resorts together – they differ enormously. You need experts to give advice on the most suitable resorts and accommodation for your requirements.

North America ski tour operator AmeriCanski, based in Tunbridge Wells, are such experts. Their ski manager, Ian Porter, personally answers all inquiries. He’s an ex-travel writer and ski-journalist (he wrote most of the original edition of the skiers’ bible “Where To Ski”) who has been sending clients skiing to North America for over 10 years. You name it, he’s been there, skied that and bought the fleecy!

Ian was recently asked to name his favorite North American all-rounder, a resort to which he could send almost any client without any undue concerns. A place with all the general advantages of North American skiing mentioned above plus additional plus points specific to that resort. Ian also thought that a lack of drawbacks was important. Ski resort surveys are often topped by resorts with an impressive array of amenities, but their obvious drawbacks are ignored. Anyone who has stood in a long lift queue getting soaked by rain in “North America’s no. 1 rated resort” will know where he’s coming from.

Ian’s vote goes to Winter Park for ski vacations in Colorado. “It has the uncrowded slopes, fine lift system, superb accommodation, reliable snow, great ski school & kid’s facilities, flexible stays and friendly natives that virtually all North American resorts can boast. It has the champagne powder snow that many of its Colorado neighbors also enjoy. But it also gets the largest volume of snow of any Colorado mainstream resort, making it the safest bet for really good snow conditions on early or late holidays, which is when a high proportion of UK skiers visit for ski vacations in Colorado. It also has the shortest transfers from Denver, which is a real boon after a long flight.

Many of our clients like 2-centre trips and Winter Park scores well here too. There are numerous fine resorts with easy reach with transfers arranged for those who don’t like to drive. A Winter Park-Steamboat (another fine all-rounder) combo is a particular favorite of mine for ski vacations in Colorado. But what really sets it apart as the best all rounder is its amazing value for money and lack of drawbacks. In many resorts the ubiquitous superb accommodation already mentioned, is not surprisingly quite expensive, especially if you travel at peak times.

But Winter Park has incredibly affordable prices season-long, and its lack of peak period price hikes makes it a particular bargain at such times.

StayWinterPark has a variety of great Winter Park lodging options. For example, it offers a quality 2-bedroom plus loft 3-bathroom Crestview condo for around $200 a night at Easter when the same category of property in less snowy more crowded Vail is well over three times that price. It also has deluxe 3 bedroom townhomes at Sawmill Station, and 1 to 3 bedroom condos at Meadowridge at amazing prices.

As for the disadvantages of Winter Park – there are very few. Many American resorts are criticized for having mediocre mountain restaurants but Winter Park has some fine on-slope eateries. True, the town itself isn’t a shoppers’ paradise, but it has nearby factory outlet stores to satisfy retail therapy cravings. People may assume that being so close to Denver must make Winter Park, Colorado prone to day tripper overcrowding. Not so. Denverites seem to prefer to hurtle down the motorway to Copper Mountain, and the relatively small number of beds at Winter Park means that it’s never anywhere near as busy as say Breckenridge, which has a similar size ski area with probably 10 times as many people staying there. Winter Park’s unpretentious laid-back feel would not suit the glitterati of Aspen or Vail, but for anyone else it’s great. And that’s not just me saying so – it’s all our clients we send there too.”Ian can be contacted via e-mail at ian@awwt.co.uk.

For more information on AmeriCan & Worldwide Travel, go to www.awwt.co.uk.

Top 10 Reasons to Ski Winter Park

Top 10 Tips for International Visitors

Travel Agent Recommendation