On Wednesday we lose 2 members of the Ski Independence team as they pack up their bags and make their way to Utah to lead the Daily Mail Ski and Snowboard Magazine reader trip.  Starting in Park City and visiting Deer Valley, Snowbird and Canyons along the way, Annika our Groups Manager and Eve one of our Reservation Consultants, along with  Henry Druce and Dave Watts, editors of the magazine and British Ex-Olympic skier Martin Bell, will spend 8 days skiing 6 of Utah's 14 resorts. Following on from yesterday's blog 'Where do Ski Independence Staff Ski' below you will find the rest of the team's ski plans this winter.

Michael, Managing Director Wish me luck as I’m braving our first ski holiday at the end of February with my wife and two young sons (4 and 2) to Le Village, Les Arcs 1950 in France. Gone will be first lift on a powder day and long lunches to be replaced by a mad dash to make ski school on time and a rediscovery of just how painful snow plough is on the legs when undertaken all afternoon! But we’ll have the satisfaction of seeing our eldest skiing on snow for the first time and we couldn’t have chosen a better resort than Le Village at Les Arcs 1950. It’s been designed around family holidays with a super safe pedestrian main street where ski school meets, some great restaurants and shops and even better it’s 100% ski-in/ski-out. The apartments there are stylish and spacious and we’ll be very grateful for the extra space and flexibility a sitting room and kitchen will give us. I wonder if I should start negotiations now with the grandparents about babysitting for a long weekend in March? [caption id="attachment_3041" align="aligncenter" width="347"] Le Village, Les Arcs 1950[/caption] Jon, Overseas Manager I’d been planning to go and see my brother who lives in Zermatt for a while, and then realised that it’s actually been four years since my last visit…not too sure what I was thinking there; free accommodation in one of Europe’s top resorts, and an easy flight and transfer from Edinburgh?! Anyway, the huge snow they’ve already had this season was a good catalyst so I started putting together plans for a long weekend in March, and before I knew it Gareth, Andy and an ex-Ski-I colleague were in on the act…not sure that my brother and his two bedroom apartment know what they’re letting themselves in for to be honest… After that it’s California for a contracting conference in April where we work hard to get the best deals for Ski Independence clients for the following season, and we’ll hopefully get a few days’ skiing in too. Really looking forward to visiting Mammoth for the first time, and then the conference itself is in Squaw Valley so no doubt ski there too, and maybe get a look in at Northstar, Kirkwood or Heavenly as well – the Lake Tahoe area boasts the highest concentration of ski resorts in North America, and with famed spring skiing and views over the lake it’s a hard destination to beat, particularly at that time of year. Dave, Reservations Consultant I have a couple of nice trips to look forward to over the next couple of months, and they can’t come round soon enough!! My first wee trip is in February out to Banff, Lake Louise & Jasper with my colleagues Gordon & Gareth. I have never visited either of these resorts and having  worked with them for a number of years now I feel like I know them already, so this is a great opportunity to finally experience these popular ski areas & towns first hand. It’s also going to be great meeting up with our suppliers (who have become good friends with the Ski Independence team), and my good friend Angela who now works & lives in Jasper. My next stop is in March, and is my annual winter trip to Mayrhofen in Austria. I spent many years working there before I started with Skiindi, and I always feel so welcome every time I head back there.  Queue the title song from ‘Cheers’ now.  The Zillertal Valley has some fantastic skiing/boarding terrain to offer, and mixed with a traditional town and friendly locals, it is tough to beat. I normally head over for the ‘Snowbombing’ festival at the end of the season. It’s not that I’m getting older (I can just hear a ‘Yea right’ from my colleagues), but after my 7th trip to the epic festival last year, I think it’s time for a more chilled visit. Bring on Canada & Austria and the epic snow this season!! [caption id="attachment_3037" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Snowbombing in Mayrhofen[/caption] Suzanna, Accounts I decided to escape the winter blues and jetted off to Les Gets last weekend! Admittedly, the 6am flight is not ideal, but  with a very short transfer from Geneva I was on the slopes by lunch time. The conditions are great there at the moment, blue skies and the best snow in 20 years (locals opinion), and of course Portes Du Soleil being one of the largest ski area in Europe, you’ll never get bored. All afternoon skiing on Saturday –  a few beer stops - 5 course dinner with Claire our Product Manager, skiing on Sunday morning and a late afternoon flight back to Edinburgh...it all seemed like a dream on Monday morning when I was back in the office! Luckily I have a few more trips planned to Les Gets (longer trips), just hope the snow will stay as great as it is now! [caption id="attachment_3035" align="aligncenter" width="302"] Suzanna in Les Gets last winter[/caption] Claire, Product Manager Europe I’ve been lucky enough to ski in Courchevel and Megève already this season and I’m hoping to squeeze in at least another trip to Europe before the end of the season to make the most of the amazing conditions there just now. As for where I’ll be going, that’s still to be decided, but I do like the idea of either heading back to the Southern Alps (Alpe d’Huez/Vaujany) to catch up with friends from previous seasons or if it’s just a short break / ski weekend I can wangle, it will be within spitting distance of Geneva. And fingers crossed the snow in Scotland improves too – I’d really like to do a ski touring course here before bigger adventures next season perhaps! Annika, Groups Manager I’ll be heading out to Utah at the beginning of February on a ‘work’ trip leading the Daily Mail Ski & Snowboard Magazine reader trip along with my colleague Eve as well as Henry Druce and Dave Watts the Editors of the Magazine and British Ex-Olympic skier Martin Bell. We’ve been organising the reader trips for more than 8  years now; they are always great fun; everyone can sign up and it’s a great way to ski with like minded skiers. We’ll be staying at the Park City Peaks Hotel in Park City and we’ll ski 6 different resorts in 8 days.  Not only is Utah known for its epic powder record, it’s also a great destination to ski a number of resorts just a short 45 minutes drive away – we’ll be skiing Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, The Canyons, Alta, Snowbird and Solitude. I’ve never skied any of the Utah resorts so I’m very excited to tick off 6 resorts in one go! In March I’ll be going to Aspen on a family holiday. Aspen is one of my favourite resorts – again you have access to four different mountain – Ajax, Aspen Highlands (my favourite) Buttermilk and Snowmass, all within a 6 mile radius and easily accessed by the complimentary ski shuttle bus. There will be 6 of us plus a wee 2 year hold so we’ve decided to stay at the lovely ‘The Gant’ self catering Condos – they are conveniently located in Aspen town and the complimentary ‘Gant Van’ will take you everywhere within Aspen’s city limits. I’m already looking forward to some superb skiing, lazy on-mountain lunches at Cloud 9 on Highlands and who knows this year I may even hike the bowl….! [caption id="attachment_3036" align="aligncenter" width="336"] The 2011 Daily Mail readers trip organised by Ski Independence[/caption]   Andy, Reservations Consultant I’ll be heading over to Zermatt with a few friends on a bit of a lads trip. It’s a great resort and can be pretty lively and with good conditions a trip over for a cheap Italian lunch in Cervinia may be on the cards. I’ll be going on the Monster ski trip in late March too which is in Tignes. The charity trip consists of skiing the vertical descent of Everest every day so this area is ideal to clock up the distance. Apart from that if the snow comes back to the hills in Scotland I’d love to get a few turns up in the Cairngorms.