Traditionally, the typical UK school ski trip concentrated on the major European resorts, but today the option of the USA is a very real one.
The USA has some of the best snow resorts in the world. Based in a variety of east and west coast locations, in just a few decades these resorts have made a huge impact on the world of snow sports. There are many things that make them unique and very attractive to a potential school ski trip including the following aspects.
Altitude – some of the resorts have ‘tops’ that are very high and that means their snow record is excellent.
Accommodation – as is the case with almost any sort of holiday in the USA, the accommodation provided is spacious and typically of a very high standard.
Service culture – in the USA the customer is king and that means that service is usually exceptional and very efficient.
Top equipment and processes – Americans don’t accept queues and delays unless they’re absolutely unavoidable, so that means that delays accessing lifts (etc) are perhaps less common than might be the case in some European destinations.
Value for money – this is a major imperative in much of US life and it means that, typically, students’ spending money goes a lot further on a school ski trip here.
Superb snow sports – many resorts are vast and have a huge selection of runs of different difficulty levels.
Of course, US resorts are further away, yet sometimes that might be less of an issue than you may think. Take, for example, the Sunday River resort in the state of Maine. A typical flight to Boston Massachusetts from the UK takes around six hours. Upon arrival, there’s a three and a half hour transfer to the resort, so perhaps say a total travel time of nine and a half hours plus some time used in baggage collection. That might compare very favourably to some travel times from the UK to parts of Switzerland, Austria and Italy.
A school ski trip to west coast destinations will inevitably involve longer flights, but taking, say, London to Squaw Valley California as an example, the flight time to San Francisco is around ten and a half hours and the transfer to the resort another four. Once again, that isn’t prohibitive when compared to European snow destinations by road.
Things to do
One thing that US resorts are very good at is providing ancillary entertainment. They’ll usually be well equipped with restaurants, discos, swimming pools, saunas and even cinemas in some cases. That provides plenty of après-ski entertainment for all, including school parties, where boredom can easily set in at the end of a day in the snow unless other activities are easily available.