Why US ski holidays have never been so appealing

US skiing holidays are more appealing than ever this winter, with a good exchange rate and uncertainty about European snowfall encouraging skiers to head across the Atlantic.

Operators say bookings for ski packages to the US are already well up on last year. Inghams senior product manager Ian Brittain said: “Sales to Breckenridge, Jackson Hole, Killington and Vail are booming, due to the late snowfall in Europe last year and the exchange rate of over $2 to the pound.”

Ski Independence said its sales to the US were already up 14% on last year, which was its best ever, with bookings up 19% on the previous year. Managing director Michael Bennett said additional transatlantic flights had stimulated demand.

“I expect open skies [which lifts restrictions on flights between Europe and the US from March 2008] to give us even more options in the years to come,” he said. 

Inghams, Crystal Ski and Thomson Ski have made the popular Colorado resorts of Breckenridge and Vail more accessible with the addition of British Airways’ non-stop Heathrow-Denver flights.

A Crystal Ski and Thomson Ski spokeswoman said: “These flights, operating five times a week, have doubled seat capacity to Colorado and give passengers the chance to book flexible durations.”

Beaver Creek, accessible from Denver, has added to its family-friendly credentials with the addition of the eight-person Buckaroo Express, which will transport youngsters to the beginners’ slopes. It will also have a new kids’ ski and snowboard school.

Improvements at other resorts include the opening of a new luxury hotel, The Arrabelle in Vail, next January. The resort will also have two new high-speed quad chairlifts on the eastern side of the mountain.

Lesser-known Colorado resort Arapahoe Basin will expand its ski area by 80% with the addition of a quad lift to transport skiers to 36 new runs in the Montezuma Bowl on the back of the mountain.

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