Adventures in Colorado’s snow country

It’s easy to get lost in Vail. It’s just as easy to find yourself in Keystone.

Here’s how to get turned upside-down at Colorado’s largest mountain resort: Take your whole family skiing, and just try to stay together.

My four-year-old daughter, for example, is a timid skier compared with her brother, a kindergartner. He left her in a billow of powdered snow.

Next, ensure you have the worst wireless connection on the mountain. That would be AT&T’s, which jumps from four bars to “No Signal” (and back) every other turn. So all of those text messages that ask, “Who’s with you?” may, or may not, be delivered until you’re back in your hotel room.

Then add a sprawling mountain to the mix. Vail Ski Resort is seven-miles wide with more than 5,000 acres of terrain, not unlike some European ski areas that are so massive, you can ski all day and not hit the same run twice.

For us, it all resulted in several entertaining hours of family time.
Read more “Adventures in Colorado’s snow country”

Thanks to EpicMix, everyone knows what you did last winter

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology isn’t new, even to the travel industry. Resorts have been using RFID to help guests keep track of each other for several years.

But I’ve been following Vail Resorts’ new EpicMix application with some interest. As a consumer advocate, any technology that can be used to improve travel gets my attention. And I love the way social media — which is a central part of EpicMix — has the potential to make your vacation better.

At the same time, I’m concerned with the privacy implications of any gadget that knows where you are.
Read more “Thanks to EpicMix, everyone knows what you did last winter”

Mountain resorts make skiing a family affair

Rebecca Klein’s kids were ski novices when they checked in at Vermont’s Smugglers’ Notch resort for a weeklong stay recently. They didn’t stay that way for long.

“After just one day of lessons, my six-year-old son, Seth, was saying, ‘Come on, Mom, let’s get on the chairlift,” remembers Klein, who lives in Baltimore and grew up skiing in Vermont. “And Samara, my four-year-old, participated in a ski race.”

Ski school has come a long way since Klein took her first turns at Smuggler’s as a child. Young skiers used to be an afterthought at many winter resorts, banished to the bunny hill or daycare centers while adults enjoyed the mountain.

Not anymore.
Read more “Mountain resorts make skiing a family affair”

What to do when a Swiss collection agency demands $3,810 from your girlfriend

zermattIt might be something of an understatement to say that the ski trip that Victor Thomas and his girlfriend Susie took in Zermatt, Switzerland, two years ago, did not go as planned.

On her first day on the slope, Susie fell and shattered her lower leg. She spent the rest of her vacation in the hospital.

Good thing Thomas had bought travel insurance through Access America — or so he thought.
Read more “What to do when a Swiss collection agency demands $3,810 from your girlfriend”