There’s no doubt that trusted snowfall records are a factor; when the snow is only just arriving across the Alps, it can often be a different story on the other side of the Atlantic. Tales of deep powder from North America are always enticing particularly hearing stories of yet another bumper season for North Eastern American resorts.
Snowfall aside, you’ll discover that our USA and North American cousins often benefit from lighter snow (as the resorts are usually further away from the sea the snowflakes are less dense, creating fine powder snow that skiers love), immaculately groomed, tree-lined slopes, with modern lift systems and virtually non-existent lift queues, offering good value (dining both on and off the slopes), great hospitality and most importantly for schools; superb tuition for all abilities and ages.
But there’s also a more practical reason why America and Canada attract more schools each year, particularly schools taking the older student demographic skiing; the enforced restrictions on the age of drinking alcohol to 21yrs in both the USA and Canada offer a undeniable reassurance for both teachers and parents alike.
Unlike Europe where you often share space with skiers of all abilities, across the Atlantic the provision of dedicated areas for beginners, for safer, more controlled learning is an obvious attraction for any school. And everyone knows that the best snowing conditions are found the further up the mountain you travel; which is why green and blue runs often start from the top of the resorts giving the learner a chance to ski the whole mountain, rather than stuck at the bottom dreaming of higher climbs.
To further enhance what is evidently a wholly uplifting skiing experience, the option to include a city stopover to the likes of New York, Boston, Toronto adds a cultural dimension to the trip. This works particularly well for school ski trips to North America when transferring back to a major city airport is essential.
To ensure that everything fits into term time breaks for schools without compromising the skiing time, resorts in the USA and North America tend to offer five days of five hours of skiing rather than the four hours for six days offered in European ski resorts, not to mention the Eastern Seaboard of North America offers around 62% of skiing for beginners and intimidates.
There’s also something to be said for great American hospitality, with the community feeling certainly warming hearts. Everyone – from hotel staff to lift operators to fellow skiers seem dedicated to making the whole enterprise charming and calm. People talk easily and comfortably to strangers with that wonderful friendly North American courtesy, helped by the fact that 90 per cent of skiers are Anglophone. The invaluable added benefit of having English speaking instructors certainly helps student to progress just that little bit quicker.
So before you book that next school ski trip, stop and think because there’s certainly something to be said for taking that marginally bigger leap across the pond!