CASE IN POINT: For those contemplating a trip to Europe this year, be advised that Swiss International cancelled their wonderful direct flight from IAD to ZHR airport, and has no plans to re-introduce the flight this winter despite a personal appeal made by the Swiss ambassador in DC to the airline. This flight was the most popular flight for DC travelers heading to the major French, Swiss, and Austrian resorts.
Currently, the best direct flight to Europe for skiers is Lufthansa's daily non-stop to Munich from IAD. Most of the major Austrian resorts are less than 3 hours from Munich. Munich is also not too far from some of Swiss Resorts (Davos, and St. Moritz).
For those considering Austrian resorts near Salzburg, Austrian Air still offers direct service to Vienna. There's also an easy connection via Tyrolean to Innsbruck--the gateway to the big Western Austrian resorts.
Those looking to go to Trois Vallees in France will have to fly to Geneva via New York or Paris. For those going through NY, be advised that some of the commuter planes do not take skis. Yes, that's right, some of the puddle jumpers do not take skis. Before booking connecting flight through a commuter airline, call and make sure they take skis. I had to call American Eagle twice to be sure EMB-135 flights take skis.
Also, Amtrack demands that skiers check skis on most Amtrack trains, including Acela. This can be a real hassle if you plan to use Amtrack to get to BWI or Newark. Call Amtrack ahead if you plan on taking skis on one of their trains.
Has anyone investigated the situation for Western resorts? Salt Lake City and Denver still look easy to get to but what about places like Vancouver, Jackson Hole, or Kalispell?
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 10-17-2003).]
Continental is promoting added service to Telluride (Gunnison?) but I think it's just a byproduct of them now offering Delta flights.
I've been looking at Jackson Hole and from DC (and Raleigh, Atlanta, and Ft. Lauderdal) the price is from $450 to $600 and has been for about 3 months. I'm still waiting for those to come down.
This is really not a bad deal for the DC based skier or rider. If you figure that lift tickets and airfare for your average 3 day trip to Vail would cost about $700 give or take, you would be skiing and flying for free after the fourth trip.
As expected, the blackout dates fall on major holiday weekends. But if you can ski other times and arrange for a cheap crash pad in the are, this could be a wonderful deal.
NEAT PERK: Wear your ski gear and head for the lifts. I understand that if you show your flight ticket stub you get a free lift pass for the rest of that same day.
We have already booked our flight for February and from what I understand the bookings are filling quickly.
which resort offers this deal? where did you find out about it? thanks...
BE SURE TO READ THE FINE PRINT. There are some blackout dates and other restrictions.
Airfare isn't bad, it is a moderate flight (about 5ish hours), and with the times zones you save two of those hours.
Certainly, it makes more sense than Europe for the budget minded.
It can even be cheaper and/or easier or quicker than Vermont from this area.
For Telluride, from DC, probably you will fly to Denver and connect using twin turbo into Gunnison. From there take the shuttle in -- about 1hr ride perhaps (or rent a car but why?) Telluride town and resort are connected via Gondola. There is a telluride airport but i believe it is serviced by mainly charters. About the size of a large table top. :-)
Crested Butte has a similiar setup but the name of the town you fly into escapes me at the moment.
To Jackson Hole, you fly into Jackson the town, about 30 miles away. There is a bus service between, the airport, the town and the resort. You can also rent a car at the town. The town is a tourist trap for yellowstone in the summer. It has restaurants, shops, bars, etc... Jackson Hole has skiing and the Mangy Moose Pub!
Costs for flights -- I recall reasonable rates. I recommend going through Expedia -- try varying search between the 3 airports we have, or select them all and try that. I have found sometimes that yields a discount for some reason. Last year we flew out of National to Jackson -- originally Northwest, then re-badged to continental. We stopped in Houston on the way. It was exceptionally inexpensive and we booked months in advance. We got lucky and also side effect of crappy economy and travel jitters. FLexibility is the key. we had to stay one plus night over to get the great rate, and stayed at the Hostel X!
Anyway, resort web pages have all the skinny on that...