Europe OR US Skiing
Across many countries in the world, skiing is amongst the most popular winter sports. So much so, that people will travel as far as necessary to year round snowy mountains to have access to its enjoyment year round. However, different slopes come with different experiences. Especially across continents. Thanks to the help of some of our own skiiers, here are some of the differences that have come up. .
To start off, let’s talk about culture. Skiing is more popular in Europe compared to snowboarding, while in America it’s more of a split demographic. Part of this reason is surely do to the relaxing event that many Europeans will make out of a ski trip. Which is only encouraged, incentivized, and marketed to by the Resort owners. In Europe, it seems that it is more common for groups to take many, lunch, or even drinking breaks and as our since Michelle observed that the culture of alcohol is even bigger there. Meanwhile, in America, food options usually consist of one cafeteria like dining hall, without much for outside options nearby. American’s also may feel they can’t relax much and want to get in as many rounds as possible due to the price being sometimes more than twice as steep. Whereas in Europe, you ski off piste at your own risk, in the US & Canada, designated areas are integrated into the resort. Access is strictly controlled
Mountain height is only one difference between USA and Europe ski slopes. Vertical drop is also a benefit worth mentioning. Alpine slopes vary from beginner to extreme level, but the average vertical drop here makes all North American slopes look like they're made for beginners. This is appreciated by good skiers, but not to scare away beginners, because there is plenty of terrain for them as well. In places like the Alps you can always rely on the glaciers and the altitude to feel confident that there will always be snow.
Just a logistic note, the signs are different. In the US you have, green (beginner), blue (intermediate), 1 black diamond (expert), 2 black diamonds (expert only). While in Europe, it’s completely different. They are used to seeing blue (beginner), red (intermediate), and 1 black circle to represent expert. The Europeans though don't have as good of signage as US resorts.
These key differences will come down to what you value as a skier. Do you want a more communal, laid back ski experience, or a non stop skiing frenzy. To add to Europe’s relaxing skiing nature, the scenery is spectacular. Sometimes even grabbing a view of a neighboring country at certain heights. There are less trees so you can see further out, and a large pride and emphasis on the grooming of slopes to look as presentable for their patrons as possible.