Friday, November 06, 2015

To VRBO or to not VRBO... That is the question!!!

First of all, full disclosure. I've used VRBO to book some of my own personal travel. I've used VRBO to find a lake house with killer views in Vermont and a lovely little flat in Highgate (thanks Krista) when visiting the UK, and I had great experiences with both rentals.

However. Yes, here comes the BUT.

As a ski travel advisor, I have heard more than my share of horror stories from guests visiting resorts from California to Maine.  In listening to their stories over the years I have heard three recurring issues over and over.

1) Incomplete or inaccurate check-in instructions: I had a client call me in the middle of the night while he was on a trip out West (that he did not book through me. I chided him about that later). He and his wife had been driving around for over 90 minutes in the small Colorado ski town where they had reserved a small private home through VRBO. I managed to get them back on a main drag and pointed in the right direction, but the point is they were given absolutely horrible directions by the homeowner. I've had other folks tell me about their arrival at a large private home in Utah where not only were there no keys in the lockbox at the property, there was no lockbox. The homeowner had several properties and had send the wrong instructions for the home the guests were staying in. It was the middle of the following day before it got sorted out. Not the best way to start a ski trip.

2) Financial shenanigans: I've heard plenty of tales of phantom cleaning fees that were never disclosed, security deposits not being refunded in a timely manner, and various bills for things like trash removal, firewood, and internet service showing up weeks later.

3) Problems with the home/condo: This is the BIG one. I've heard from people that have shown up to properties that had busted water heaters and water, water everywhere, no heat because the electric bill had not been paid, or completely trashed units that looked like the ski team from Enormous State University had just left ten minutes ago.

The real challenges that you as a vacationer encounter when these type of problems arise (especially #3) is that in most cases you are dealing with an owner that has ONE property and they can sometimes be impossible to reach when you are traveling.

So, you just arrived at your destination and find that the beautiful home you rented is truly beautiful, but there is no heat or hot water. What's your recourse? It's Presidents Week and the owner is not answering the phone. When you finally do reach him/her, they can't arrange to have someone come out until the following day. Then, the following day the HVAC guy that gets dispatched let's you know that it'll a couple days before he can fix it. You only rented the place for 5 nights. Yep, full-on vacation nightmare.

The final takeaway? VRBO can be a useful tool to help you plan travel, but you must, must, pay attention to what you are doing, ask the right questions, and it never hurts to get advise from your friendly ski travel professional. More about that later!

Early winter beauty in Aspen

Aspen Mountain and Snowmass Open Nov. 26
Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk Open Dec. 12

Aspen looking a Christmas card in the early November twilight!

Photo Credit: Jeremy Swanson

You can almost hear the sound of falling snow in this one.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Swanson

One man's opinion, but as a big fan of Jeremy's work, I think he's one of the BEST landscape photographers out there in ski land.

What constitutes MUST have gear for Eastern skiers?

What does every Eastern skier need to have in the car before they back out of the driveway?

Hard to argue with this list! Tip of the helmet to Connor Davis. Spot on sir, spot on!

The List

Monday, October 12, 2015

Come by and see us at the Toronto Snow Show this weekend!!!

Greetings Skiers and Riders! Come one, come all, just make sure you DO come and visit us this weekend, October 15-28,  at the Toronto Snow Show at the The International Centre  in Mississauga. We will be on hand for all 4 days, so make sure to stop by our booth on the show floor for a visit. Show hours are 3-10 PM Thursday, 12 PM-10 PM Friday, 10 AM-8 PM Saturday, and 10 AM -6 PM Sunday. You will find us at Booth #234 in the Vermont section of the show floor.

We will have multiple giveaways for you, including free stays in Banff/Lake Louise, Breckenridge, Mont Tremblant, Stowe, and Mont Sainte Anne, as well as TDS t-shirts and hats, No purchase required, just stop by and sign up to win!!!

Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or a week long family vacation, our amazing reservation staff will be able to give you LIVE price quotes all weekend, and when you walk away with your price quote, you will also be walking away with a discount code for an additional $30-$75 off your total trip price.

Here is a sneak peak at a couple of the specials we will be offering at the show. We know that some of you may be too busy to stop by over the weekend. So please consider Up to 30% off at Les Suites Tremblant, and our 4th or 5th night FREE at Chateau Mont Sainte Anne. We look forward to seeing many of you this weekend. Drive safely, and get ready to talk skiing!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Snowboarding and Its Health Benefits

Snowboarding on ski vacation destinations is not only fun and exciting but is also proven to help improve overall health and wellness. Of course, it is no longer surprising that snowboarding is a fantastic form of exercise - it is physically exhausting, but nonetheless rewarding; engaging not only the core muscles but practically all muscles in the body. It is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that is guaranteed to burn up to 450 calories per hour, making it one of the most effective natural weight loss methods. In addition, it also improves endurance.

All major muscles are worked out each time one snowboards. It charges the quads, hamstrings, and calves into action just as soon as the rider takes the snowboard. Muscles in the feet and ankle direct the board while core muscles strengthen to keep the rider’s balance. Arms and shoulders are also used to enhance balance and also to stand after each fall.

Aside from improving one’s physique, snowboarding is also known to improve one’s disposition in life. Studies reveal that this great exercise helps release “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are considered the body’s natural defense against stress; it reduces perception of pain and anxiety, and is also known to trigger affirmative feelings in the body. In a gist, snowboarding is scientifically proven to make one happy.

Like skiing, snowboarding requires a series of twists and turns as well as changes in speed and direction. This way, it helps develop flexibility and balance. Persons engage in this sport needs to watch out for sudden changes in the snow while making sure they remain upright; hence it also requires focus and concentration.

True enough, snowboarding has several health benefits. With this in mind, consider tearing up snow using that snow board on your next ski trip. It’s a workout that is not only fun but also great for the mind and body.