Well, for one thing, the food is different. Growing up, we’d usually go to a ski resort in Italy called Plan de Corones. So for me, a ski lunch includes spaghetti, sauce, lasagna, Knoedel (potato dumpling), etc. I didn’t even know how much I associated skiing with that type of food until I went skiing in Ruidoso, NM, for the very first time and had the choice of burger, fried chicken, or chili. What?! No pasta?? Of course there’s nothing wrong with any of these foods, but they were so not what I expected! I really had been looking forward to a big bowl of fresh Spaghetti Bolognese. What a disappointment that was… On the flip side, I can totally get down with a delicious New Mexico breakfast burrito with potatoes, egg, and green chili (as opposed to the typical light Italian breakfast of coffee, bread rolls, jam, and maybe, maybe some cold cuts). We found the best breakfast place in Santa Fe right when we were leaving… more about that in another post though.
And the lifts? I couldn’t believe that so many chair lifts here don’t have restraining bars! In fact, I’d never been on a chair lift without one until I skied in New Mexico. I still can’t believe that in a country that’s known for suing companies and individuals like crazy these bars aren’t mandatory everywhere. On every little household electronic thing you find tons of warnings about what NOT to use them for, but a lift that carries you up to 10-15 meters in the air has no safety bar? Unbelievable! Plus, I always enjoy that you can rest your legs in the lifts that do have the safety bars 🙂 There also seem to be many more types of lifts in Italy and Austria like gondolas and T-bars. Here it’s mainly chair lifts I think. But that difference might be due to the difference in size of resort. The resorts we’ve been to here tend to be much smaller.
Lodging is another difference. All the resorts I have been to in Europe had lodging options right at the base of the mountain, pretty much your typical ski in/ ski out resorts. Two of the ones I have been to in New Mexico (Ski Apache & Ski Santa Fe) both require a 30 – 40 minute drive up the mountain in the morning. It really isn’t that bad and especially in the case of Santa Fe totally worth it, but it is a different experience. It sure is nice to be able to get into your ski gear, fall out the door, and onto the slopes. On the other hand, we really enjoyed being able to eat out in downtown Santa Fe in the evenings where I did get lots of delicious Italian food after all 😉
So, yeah, there are a few differences, but it is just as much fun here than it is there! How couldn’t it?! The basics are the same everywhere: skiers and snowboarders are having a blast enjoying the snow, the trails, lunch in the sun, speeding down the mountain, and maybe toasting the day with an après-ski drink in the hot tub. Prost and Cheers!
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