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I’m no champion skier, but I can fall with the best of them — and I’ve done so all around the world. I’ll be giving you my honest opinion on some of the greatest ski destinations, and some of the most over-rated ones…but keep in mind, these are just my opinions. If my experience has taught me anything, it’s that you can have the worst time at the best place — and vice versa!

If I happen to stay with a host I always order online gift baskets as a thank you gift. Gift baskets always go over so well especially those that are filled to overflowing to yummy gourmet treats. If I don’t know the hosts that well I go will a gift basket that has both sweet and savory items. I figure they will find at least some treats that tickle their fancy. If my hosts go out of their way , I might splurge and send a wine gift basket. Anyway, a thank you plus gift is always the way to go, especially if you might want to come back again.

The gift basket thank you really does work. A perfect example is when I stayed at the vacation home of a maritime lawyer who happened to be the brother of a woman I was dating. Apparently he is a big shot lawyer who represents USA merchant mariners, seamen, or dockworkers who are seriously injured on the job. He represented a couple of seamen who were involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and won them some incredible settlements. If you are not familiar with this area of law, maritime attorneys primary focus on issues pertaining not only to maritime law, often referred to as admiralty law, but also to the Jones Act. If you are a seamen and get seriously injured you should consider hiring a maritime lawyer. Not only will a maritime attorney hold the employer and any other relevant parties accountable for your sustained injuries (if the case warrants it), but also will help navigate you through the difficult times of recovery while fighting for the compensation you deserve in both the short-term and long-term. Anyway, this lawyer’s house was fabulous and perfectly located. I sent a really great thank you gift basket and received a note back saying I was invited to use the place again. And I definitely will!

I’ll be starting off with some bigger-name resorts, mainly around my current stomping grounds (the Denver and Lake Tahoe areas), and plan on working my way through Utah, New England, and hopefully international ski destinations (eventually, with luck).

I don’t intend to spend much time on Vail, Aspen, or Telluride — there’s plenty of stuff already out there about these places, and I don’t really encourage visiting any of them unless you feel you absolutely must. Why? Well, when I want to ski, I prefer to avoid crowds — especially when they’re made up of pretentious people and/or party players in the Spring Break mode. I also like to keep my expenses down (I can grit my teeth and pay $7 for a beer without it ruining my night, but $15 and up just seems like extortion.

I’m keeping out of the whole “skiier versus snowboarder” debate for my reviews; I’ll certainly note when I’ve heard that there are good facilities for boarders and freestylers, but I can’t testify firsthand. I definitely won’t be able to tell you the best places to put on headphones, crank up the tunes and tune out the views, and amuse yourself by plowing at full speed through a bunch of people who are just learning how to enjoy themselves on the slopes.

Nor will I be able to give you too much info on the various nighttime activities at any given resort. To me that’s probably the least important aspect of a ski trip. Still, I enjoy restaurants and bars as much as the next guy, and I’ll definitely clue you in on the general feel of the nightlife and the prices you can expect.

When I travel if I stay with a host I always bring online gift baskets. They always go over so well.

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