How to plan a Western ski vacation

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No matter what your budget, you can have a fantastic ski vacation if you're a savvy planner. Here are some great Western ski destinations, as recommended by Travelocity's Senior Editor, Genevieve Brown.

How to plan a Western ski vacation When planning a Western ski vacation, consider what's most important to you. Nightlife? Dining? Accommodations?  Notice skiing wasn't mentioned?  That's because most ski resorts out west offer a variety of terrain and ski activities to please most any skier.  So, very often, considering the non-ski activities and accommodations can help narrow down all your options.

Whistler, BC
  • Known for the variety of terrain for all levels of skiers, Whistler Village is host to many events for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
  • Vancouver is the closest airport.
  • Currently a good value for American travelers because of the favorable exchange rate.
  • Offers a variety of accommodations for every price range, great nightlife and dining options.
  • The new PEAK 2 PEAK gondola connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, making it easy to ski both mountains.
  • Luxury accommodations include the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. It is known for its old-world luxury and charm and is very upscale.
  • An excellent value in Whistler Village, you can try the Holiday Inn Sunspree, which is located right in the village, close to skiing.  Generally, you will spend more if you stay in the heart of the village or close to the slopes. 

Vail, CO
  • Vail appeals to groups, couples and families.  Vail Village is great for families, in particular, because it is very walkable, has lots of shopping, dining and activities for the kids.  On the other hand, Vail Village has a great nightlife and apres-ski scene.
  • Known for being the largest single ski resort in North America, the resort boasts that even on a busy day, there are only five skiers per available acre.
  • Luxury accommodations include The Arrabelle at Vail Square, which is very intimate and romantic.
  • The Vail Racquet Club offers more moderately priced accommodations, including condos and townhouses with kitchens and daily maid service.  This is a good choice for groups that may need a little more room to spread out.

Lake Tahoe (California and Nevada)
  • South Lake Tahoe and North Lake Tahoe offer quite different experiences, which makes a vacation on Lake Tahoe very special.  
  • South Lake Tahoe is on the Nevada side of the lake.  Genevieve Brown recommends the Heavenly Ski Resort that offers unparalleled, breathtaking views skiing down the mountain. Because gambling is legal in Nevada, you could choose to stay at a casino, such as Harrah's Lake Tahoe.  
  • North Lake Tahoe in Squaw Valley USA is an excellent ski resort, which was home to the 1960 Olympic Winter Games.  It is known for having the most sophisticated lift system in North America, providing access to over 170 trails.  Although more quiet than South Lake Tahoe (no gambling), the village of Squaw Valley has a great nightlife with lots of restaurants, bars and taverns.
  • Genevieve recommends spending a few nights in Nevada and driving an hour to spend a few nights in California.
meet theexpert
  • Genevieve Brown

    Genevieve Brown Senior Editor, Travelocity Genevieve Brown is the Senior Editor at Travelocity. She has appeared on Fox Business News, MSNBC Live, The Early Show, Fox & Friends, CNN American Morning, NBC Nightly News and Martha Stewart Sirius Satellite Radio. more about this expert »

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