Live Talk: Ski vacations

Writer Brad Tuttle answers your questions

Brad Tuttle, who wrote "In Search of the Perfect Ski Village" in the November issue of Budget Travel magazine, will be online to answer your questions about planning a ski vacation. Brad answered your questions Tuesday, October 26, at 12pm EST.

Brad Tuttle is Associate Editor at Budget Travel magazine. He grew as a good Catholic boy in northern New Jersey and received a degree in English from Villanova University in 1995. After college, he drove cross-country, did the Â"backpack EuropeÂ" thing for several months, then moved to Colorado for a year of volunteering at a homeless shelter, interspersed with snowboarding, camping, and hiking when opportunities arose. Returning to the East Coast, he went to work at STA TravelÂ's Greenwich Village office, where he met his future wife. He left STA for a series of newspaper jobs in New Jersey, and in 2000 received a graduate degree in journalism at Columbia University. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, and American History, among other publications, and has been a part of the BT team since April 2001.

Click here to read Brad's article on skiing.

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Brad Tuttle: OK folks, let's get started. Someone was nice enough to turn down the heat in my office to get me in the spirit for our chat on skiing. Let the questions begin.

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Wellington, FL: Tell me about The Canyons, Utah.

Brad Tuttle: LetÂ's start with the terrain: itÂ's the biggest of the resorts in the Park City area, 3500 acres, 3000-plus vertical rise, which is pretty darn huge. Overall the terrain isnÂ't as challenging as Snowbird or Alta (Canyons doesnÂ't get as much snow as them either), but an expert skier will probably have more fun at Canyons than he or she would at Park City or Deer Valley, which are flooded with cruisers that are perfect for intermediates. CanyonsÂ' trails are spread out over a bunch of different peaks, and itÂ's not all that easy to bop back and forth between them. As for the resort area around the Canyons, theyÂ're totally going for the upscale market, copycatting the Deer Valley-country club type atmosphere. There are a few ritzy hotels and restaurants right at the Canyons, but most of the action is a few miles away in Park City. Most people stay right around Park City, and in the course of a week ski there, the Canyons, and manage to dip over to Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Snowbasin, Brighton, or another of the greater Salt Lake City ski resorts. TheyÂ're all within about an hour of the airport, theyÂ're all blessed with great snow, and each has a little different personality.

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Fairfield, CT: What are your thoughts on a summer ski trip to New Zealand? Is the skiing there worth the long flight and travel expenses?

Brad Tuttle: I love, love, love New Zealand, went there on my honeymoon a couple years ago, and even went skiing. That said, I wouldn't go there just to go skiing. You're from the East Coast, so the airfare alone would cost over $1,000. The skiing is decent, and can be great at times, though the snow is generally not as reliable as in Colorado or Utah. Most of the ski resorts are just little old school ski associations, with a lodge resembling a mobile home at the bottom. It's just skiing, no glitz, no "resort" for the most part. Queenstown is probably the area you'd want to go to, with a half-dozen or so ski hills within an hour. That said, if skiing is just part of the reason you want to go to New Zealand, go for it. Don't bother with bringing your ski gear either. Most ski hills will rent you skis, boots, poles, even ski pants and jackets if you need them. Plus, you can rent all that gear, pay for a lift ticket and lunch for less than what a lift ticket alone costs at many ski resorts in the U.S.

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St. Paul, MN: Hi Brad! My father was an avid skier until his eyesight started to fail. I've hear that some ski resorts offer ski guides for blink skiers (he's almost blind at this point). Any idea how I can find out more about these types of programs?

Brad Tuttle: Here are a few sources: www.dsusa.org (disabled sports association); ussa.org (U.S. ski association); and usaba.org (blind sports association). They should all have good recommendations for your father. They have some great programs out there these days. Good luck!

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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