CHICAGO - October 31, 2007 - The crisp mountain air is calling and fresh powder is already falling. After a long, hot summer, the winter sport season is upon us and skiers everywhere will soon flock to their favorite destinations. Whether it's a winter trip out west or waiting until spring for that rare opportunity to ski and golf in the same day, Orbitz (www.orbitz.com), is keeping travelers "A Step Ahead™" by highlighting the most popular ski destinations - as well as great alternatives to the traditional ski vacation.
ORBITZ INSIDER SKI INDEX
So where are skiers spending the winter? The Orbitz Insider Ski Index reveals that all 10 destinations on this year's list hail from the Rockies to the Pacific. Skiing in the Golden State continues to grow in popularity, with Lake Tahoe as the #1 destination this year, followed by Mammoth Lakes at #2. Making its first appearance on the Index is Keystone, Colorado, one of six mountains in the Rocky Mountain state to make the list. Colorado shares the spotlight with Utah's Park City (#3) and Jackson Hole, Wyoming (#5), both of which checked in among the top five.
While many skiers will be heading west this winter, east coasters need not worry. The Orbitz Insiders have picked some great slopes in the east, perfect for savvy skiers who don't want to travel far.
Based on hotel and vacation package bookings on Orbitz.com, the top 2007 ski destinations are:
Orbitz Insider Ski Index Top Ski Destinations
*Based on hotel rooms and packages sold with check in dates between 11/20/07 and 5/01/08. Based on net bookings as of 10/11/07 **Based on hotel rooms and packages sold with check in dates between 11/20/06 and 4/30/07. Based on net bookings as of 10/14/06
ORBITZ STAFF INSIDER PICKS
From golfing and skiing in the same day to discovering a new ski resort in the mountains of North Carolina, the Orbitz Staff Insider Picks are about helping travelers discover new and exciting travel destinations and different ways to enjoy them.
Golf and Ski, In the Same Day
Why choose between your skis and clubs when, in the spring, there are areas to do both?
Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada
Ranked #1 on the Orbitz Ski Index, Lake Tahoe is a destination where visitors can satisfy two urges in one day. With seven ski resorts and expansive terrain spread over more than 17,000 acres, skiers and snowboarders of all levels are sure to find plenty of runs to fit any level of expertise. After a half day of fun on the slopes, travelers looking to hit the links can head down to the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and relish in the many golf courses nestled within the Tahoe National Forest. From the oldest nine hole course in the nation to a championship course designed by Jack Nicklaus, Lake Tahoe's links cater to both the low handicap player and the casual golfer.
Locals call it an "Extreme Day," we call it plain old fashioned fun. Known for having some of the best skiing in North America and featuring four championship golf courses within 30 minutes of the ski resort, Whistler is an ideal location for skiing and golfing in the same day. A day of skiing and golf in Whistler typically starts out with a morning on either Whistler or Blackcomb Mountain. After getting a fill of the white stuff, travelers can head back down the mountain for a tee time at one of four nearby championship golf courses: Nicklaus North Golf Course, Big Sky Golf and Country Club, Whistler Golf Club or Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club. Down off the mountain, spring temperatures can get into the upper 60's, making for a perfect afternoon on the links. For travelers interested in experiencing a Whistler Extreme Day, trips should be taken between the middle of May and early June.
Located just 29 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport, Snowbird features great activities both on the slopes and on the links. The mountains of Snowbird have a combined 4,700 acres of area to ski. From adventurous Heli-skiing to beginner lessons, there is something for every skill level. During the spring, Snowbird can organize golf trips at local courses like Old Mill. Only 15 minutes from the mountain, the par 71 course is a popular venue. There are six other golf courses within 40 minutes of Snowbird, making golfing and skiing in the same day a definite possibility in the spring.
Ski Regions, Outside the Mainstream
Because it's better to be on the mountain, than waiting in line to go up it.
North Carolina High Country
Typically known as a warm weather destination, North Carolina is also a great place to get your downhill fix. Featuring the highest mountains and the coldest climate in the south, as well as an average snowfall of 60 inches per year, North Carolina is a beautiful and exciting winter ski destination. Four of the seven ski resorts in the state are located in the North Carolina High Country, which is situated in the northwestern corner of the state. In the High Country, about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Charlotte or Winton-Salem, downhill enthusiasts can visit Appalachian Ski Mountain, Hawksnest Ski & Golf Resort, Ski Beech Mountain Resort or Sugar Mountain Resort. Between all four resorts, 57 ski slopes ranging from beginner to expert are available to traverse and explore. With a wide variety of terrain and a ski season that lasts from November to March, North Carolina is an ideal spot for a ski getaway.
Northern New Mexico
Sharing the Rocky Mountains with well-known Colorado ski towns, the ski regions of New Mexico are sometimes overlooked. For this winter's ski vacation, try Taos Ski Valley, Red River Ski Area and Angel Fire Resort, all located within a short drive of one another in northern New Mexico. These ski resorts offer good snow, breathtaking views and enough diverse terrain to satisfy both novice and expert skiers (around 240 slopes). After a long day on the mountain, hungry skiers should sample the region's locally grown chilies and handmade tortillas or ride the chairlift to the Summit restaurant in Angel Fire for lunch.
New Hampshire - White Mountains
From downhill adventure to cross-country excitement, New Hampshire boasts an outstanding array of skiing possibilities. For some of the best skiing in the state, visit the White Mountain region. This area contains a multitude of wonderful downhill resorts, some of which include Attitash, Bretton Woods Mountain Resort, Waterville Valley Resort, Wildcat Mountain, Cannon Mountain and Loon Mountain. Between these six resorts there are nearly 370 trails to enjoy. If barreling down a black diamond or blue square doesn't fit your pace, try cross-country skiing. There are numerous cross-country skiing facilities around the White Mountains, one of the most unique being in Jackson village. The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, a not-for-profit group in Jackson village, maintains more than 156km of cross-country trails. These trails range from race courses to ones that explore the forest. For beginners, lessons are also available at the Jackson X-C Base Lodge.
Located in Northwestern New York, Buffalo is close to Canada, Niagara Falls and several ski resorts, making it a great place to spend a winter getaway. Like to cross-country ski? Visit Bryncliff Resort, home to more than 12 miles of groomed and marked trails. Five of the miles are lit for night skiing, the most extensive cross-country night skiing area in the state. For vacationers who prefer the thrill of downhill skiing, Holiday Valley, located about an hour outside of Buffalo, is home to 56 slopes and 13 lifts. The area also has boutiques and restaurants, great for downtime between or after skiing. Need to take a break from the slopes for a day? Visit the majestic falls of Niagara. Whether on the US or Canadian side, this natural wonder is an absolute must-see.
3) ORBITZ SUN & SKI SALE
For travelers seeking to book their fall, winter or spring ski vacation right away, attractive savings for select destinations are available between now and December 9, 2007 with the Orbitz Sun & Ski Sale. Using the promotional codes below, travelers can book their 2007 ski getaway and save up to $150.
Save $150 - Use promo code SUNANDSKI150 to save $150 instantly on 5+ night qualifying hotel stays or vacation packages (flight + hotel).
Save $75 - Use promo code SUNANDSKI75 to save $75 instantly on 3+ night qualifying hotel stays or vacation packages (flight + hotel).
Booking and Travel Period - Book between now and December 9, 2007 to travel anytime between now and March 31, 2008.
Sun & Ski Sale Link -http://www.orbitz.com/App/PerformMDLPDealsContent?deal_id=07oct01sunski&cnt=PRO
Terms and conditions for the sale can be found at: http://www.orbitz.com/Marketing/Images/promo_code_sunski_100107.html
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