Smart Financial Planning

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Editor Iain
Iain MacMillan, editor Ski Canada

Well, it’s that time of the year again when the keenest of us are champing at the bit and poring over all the new gear and gadgets that are showing up in ski shops, online and, of course, in the pages of the annual Ski Canada Buyer’s Guide. At our house, we’re already into discussions over where the big holiday is going to be this winter.

Let’s face it, most of us have a limited amount of money and vacation time to spend on our sport. Some big decisions need to be made, like which child won’t go to university and what else from the non-skiing part of our lives will be sacrificed so that our ski dreams can become reality. So for 2014, what’s it going to be: New skis and boots? New duds? A call-in-sick extended-weekend road trip? Or are you planning on heading to the airport with buddies for this winter’s big adventure?

Technical Editor Marty McLennan can help wear down your credit card. He’s exhaustively summarized his annual pilgrimage to the world’s biggest ski show, ISPO in Munich: the 2014 Buyer’s Guide that begins on page 50 this issue. Starting on page 26, Test Editor Ron Betts had some help from ski testers Ian March, D’Arcy Sego and Erin Keam this year in Fernie to present the first two categories of nine: Expert All-Mountain and Slalom. Ian Merringer got rubbed out in the Laurentians (page 88), Leslie Woit tested late-season/early-season blower in Chile (page 92) and after a third successful Ski Canada Annual Readers’ Trip to Switzerland, I narrowed down 100 best anecdotes into something more readable starting on page 78.

There’s a world of destination-distraction waiting for your wallet this winter. Vermont, for instance, has woken up to the massive number of central and eastern Canadians who think nothing of a five- or 10-hour road trip to go skiing, as well as the fact that we pretty much all have passports and the days of a US$.62 Canadian dollar holding us back are long-forgotten.

Meanwhile, Quebec is pushing back, reminding us of its unique gastronomy and culture, improvements to infrastructure and more options to bring travel time down whether we’re driving or flying to la belle province. For those who want lots of sun with their powder, Air Canada will offer new non-stop winter service on Saturdays between Toronto and Colorado’s epicentre of skiing: Eagle County Airport. And skier hubs like Denver, Salt Lake, Reno, even San Francisco and L.A. continue to offer a different ski holiday for Canadians who are ready to try something new.

Although the number of Albertans was up, last winter’s Readers’ Trip to Champéry, Switzerland, drew only one (of almost 50) away from “The Greatest Place on Earth.” B.C.’s Rob Appleby, a regular at Whistler on weekends and the Interior for holidays, said afterward, “It was my first time skiing the Alps—but definitely not my last.”

I caught up with a couple of old workmates the other day who moved to Vancouver long ago and somehow they’d both managed to quit the sport. Indeed, it amazes me how anyone in Lotus Land cannot be a skier—or even ski less in B.C. than people in Alberta or Ontario. If you’re reading this, you’re obviously not one of them, but surely you must know others from Vancouver or Kelowna or Victoria who waste away winter weekends not skiing or snowboarding.

The city mountains around Vancouver are akin to what Ontario skiers drive two or three hours to get to, and Sun Peaks or the Okanagan is about half the drive of what some from Southern Ontario drive in a Quebec City area or Vermont roadtrip. Yes, I’m envious. And as a Ski Canada reader-keener, you need to proselytize and spread the skier gospel: save money on something—and spend more on skiing!


Shameless plug: If I piqued your interest with my earlier mention of the annual Readers’ Trip, there’s still time to consider joining us at Club Med’s Rio Soleil in St. Moritz this January. I know it’s one of the world’s most expensive resorts, but we’ve cooked up a Ski Canada readers’ deal with sponsors Club Med and Switzerland Tourism that might be too good to resist. The $2,860 price tag includes: airfare and transfers, all taxes and made-up airline charges, four-star accommodation and Club Med membership, all gourmet meals (lunches can be taken at two on-mountain huts, and dinners at three dining rooms), all-day and night premium-alcohol drinks (watch out, the Krupa cousins have already signed back on) and snacks, a six-day lift pass at two-time Olympic host St. Moritz, five-days of group lessons or guiding, full access to the Wellness Centre and pool, Club Med evening joie de vivre, an 82.1917 per cent daily chance you’ll have sun (Swiss measured), plus a corpulent swag bag including Danish wool and leather après-ski footwear from Glerups, a sweet Team Ski Canada tuque from JYTTE and an even sweeter sample bag from one of Switzerland’s classic old family chocolatiers, Frey. James at Simply Swiss/The Vacation Station can tell you more: or 855/308-3297.

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Iain MacMillan
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