“Put the Bar Down!” This is what you will here frequently at almost any ski resort in Europe if you do not put the bar down right away when you get on a ski lift. I am not sure if they are concerned about your safety or what, but they tell you every single time to put it down. There are many differences between American ski resorts and those in other parts of the world like Europe which I have skiid over the last two years.
I interviewed Concha Romero from Madrid, Spain who has been skiing in the Tahoe area a bunch over the last year and a half to see what her perspective of Tahoe is after skiing all over in different parts of Europe. In Europe she has skiid all over the French and Spanish Pyranees as well as the French and Swiss Alps. She is a passionate skier and I wanted to get her perspective on the differences of the skiing atmosphere based upon her many experiences in Lake Tahoe, and Europe.
What is the biggest difference between American ski resorts and European ski resorts?
In general the American ski resorts appear to be smaller than the European ski resorts, the French Alps are just so massive based upon what I have seen in Tahoe so far. Also, there are way less chairlifts in Tahoe which means they place them more strategically to where riders can access the same terrain with less ski lifts. This possibly makes it more earth friendly and cheaper. In Europe there are many lifts that bring you to virtually almost the same place at the top of the mountain which I believe wastes money and is not as friendly on the environment.
Alpine Meadows and Homewood are my favorite. Squaw is more glamorized but I liked the less crowds and down to earth feel that Alpine and Homewood provide. Homewood doesn’t have as much terrain but you can find fresh powder there a week after a storm and the views of Lake Tahoe are incredible. It is much different than many European resorts as well.
What is your favorite resort in Europe?
The Interlaken area in the Swiss Alps, and the resort is called Wengen. It is super integrated into nature, you can see cows when you ski and lots of wildlife. There are a lot of small restaurants where you can have many different traditional dishes.
Is there any difference in the ski lodges in Europe?
In Europe there is always a ski lodge in the middle and the top of the mountain, where in America it is random where the lodges are placed, but usually at least one big one at the base of the mountain. Also, the lodges in Europe are much smaller and cozier, while the Americans have bigger lodges with buffets and lots more cayoss.
Do you feel the atmosphere at most ski resorts are generally friendly in America, or is it better in Europe?
In America they are much more friendly, along with service in general on the hill or in the restaurant. The lift operators here are very nice, where they won’t say anything to you in Europe unless you leave the bar up.
These are just some of the differences and similarities between Europe and American ski resorts, and I will update more in the future so stay tuned!