Name: Lee and John

Posts by Lee and John:

    Heaven on Earth in Purgatory, Colorado

    October 13th, 2011

    Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort is one of the favorite mountains of Alpine Ski Club & Adventure Tours.  We thought we would let you know of some of the exciting new additions to the mountain plus what to expect as added bonuses on our trips this 2011-12 ski/snowboard season.

    This Winter experience the new Purgatory Plunge Zipline. “ Soar for more than the length of a football field at 35 mph and zip over skiers chillin’ on Purgatory Beach and at Purgy’s Patio.”  What fun!  I know it’s something we’re going to try.

    The last few years, Purgatory has expanded its expert runs with gladed tree-skiing, they are now adding High Angle Grooming for those who want to experience steep runs but enjoy the corduroy.  Now Styx, Lower Hades, Catharsis and other trails will be groomed at different times throughout the season.  Only part of the run will be groomed while there will be plenty of ungroomed natural terrain for the experts.

    For beginners, specialized Volkl skis can be rented with the newest  “rocker” technology which will make turning super easy .  They also use the graduated length method in their lessons.  (John from Alpine Ski Club skied with Cliff Taylor, the inventor of GLM who personally taught Clint Eastwood and the Hollywood crowd how to ski.) Thus beginners will feel more confident and progress faster while taking lessons from the professionals.

    While we are in Durango for our Early Season Trip (Dec. 15-18), BrewSki  Demofest will bring winter sports and local craft beer together.  Snowshoes, backcountry packs and avalanche gear, alpine skis and snowboards are available to demo, then try samples of local award-winning craft beers.  Avalanche clinics will be offered throughout the weekend.  The terrain park will also be open during this trip due to new innovative techniques that Durango Mountain Resort has utilized in building terrain parks.

    Our members during the MLK Trip to Durango (Jan. 13-16) will have the added benefit of being in Durango during Winterfest.  Sponsored by Backcountry Experience, activities such as ice climbing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, etc. will be offered.

    Our special GCW/Winter Craze weekend (Feb. 3-6) will be during Durango’s Snowdown Winter Festival.  There will be over 60 different events throughout the weekend.  Events include an evening parade.  We are departing at 8 am specifically so we will arrive in time for the parade.  Some of the other events include a Ski Softball Tournament, Snowdown balloon Rally, wine tasting, beard growing contest, Snowdown Follies, Bed Race, a fireworks show and more.  And don’t forget all the special activities surrounding Superbowl.

    Looks like we will have a great season in Durango, or is it Purgatory!

     

     

    No Comments "

    Group, Corporate and Incentive Trips

    October 5th, 2011

    What can we do for team building for our staff?   How can we reward those who do an exceptional job at work?   How can we provide incentives for our employees to go above and beyond the call of duty?  How can we get to know our fellow employees better while having a fun retreat.

    What fun to go on a ski/snowboard trip! You can’t help but have a wonderful time, get to see your fellow employees in a different light and learn new skills. Good managers and business owners think about ways to increase productivity all the time.   We have lots of groups who join our regular trips and also groups who would prefer their own bus for a ski trip and prefer to customize their trip.

    Here are some suggestions:

    1. Offer a ski/snowboard trip to your employees whom you want to reward. They can pay their own package or the company can partially reimburse them. If you have enough people (you can also include family and friends), you can have your own bus, depart whenever you want and from wherever you want, and you can plan your own activities or we can plan them for you. We can also arrange for lessons, races, snowshoeing and other activities. Usually for your own bus, we suggest 40 people. However, we have provided buses for as few as 18 people  (the cost will just be higher).

    2. Offer a ski/snowboard trip as an incentive for work well done. Then we could provide a gift certificate to the employee(s) of your choice who can travel on one of our trips that we already have listed. We have trips going almost every weekend from Thanksgiving until April 5th.

    3. Offer a team building day trip. We can arrange the trip to Sunrise or Snowbowl in Arizona. Leave early morning and return at a time of your choosing.  The day could be strictly skiing/snowboarding/tobogganing and a group lunch; you could do a fun obstacle course or scavenger hunt; you could have a “fun” lecture on what you learned from the activity you chose; and much more.

    4. Offer a team building 2-3 day trip to Sunrise, Snowbowl,  Telluride or Durango.  Specific activities can be arranged which will be memorable and really help your “team” bond while having a fabulous time. We would provide a customized package for your group

    There are many other ideas that we have and would like to share with you. If you are interested in discussing or brainstorming with us, please let us know. We can be reached at 602-992-9394, you can respond to this blog, or email us at leeandjohn@alpineskier.com.
    We specialize in customizing trips to suit your needs.
    Lee and John

    No Comments "

    Why Use Alpine Ski Club & Adventure Tours for your Trips

    September 26th, 2011

    We have been taking people on ski and snowboard trips and having fun since 1969. Our motto is to provide fun, affordable, hassle-free trips to people of all ages.

    We have over 5,000 members and 2,500 people traveled with us last year. We have quite a few people who join us for 4-5 trips during the ski season. The majority of our business is done through referrals and repeat customers….so we must be doing something right.

    What do we provide? Our regular ski package includes lodging, lift tickets, transportation on a luxury coach with restroom and DVD player, drinks on the bus, sandwich on the way home, and a knowledgeable trip captain to provide information, advice, and answer questions.

    The only other expense is food. You can dine at one of the many fabulous restaurants or buy your own food at grocery stores in Telluride since most of our rooms have kitchens or kitchenettes. Durango properties do not have kitchens but they do have a breakfast and the Rio Grande includes a Happy Hour too.  If you require ski or snowboard rentals, many of the ski shops provide our members with discounts.  See the discount page of our website.

    Our buses are 56 passenger buses and most of them fill up. For overnight trips, we have room for one suitcase or duffel bag (airplane size) plus a ski or snowboard bag and boot-bag. In the bus, you can bring a bag to put over or under your seat. Unfortunately, we don’t have room for coolers so if you must bring a cooler,  it must fit under your seat. We leave early so we can get to our destination when it’s still light and the restaurants are still open.

    We have a quick stop on the way up in Flagstaff to  pick up food for lunch. After lunch, we usually watch movies and relax until we get to our destination. Soft drinks and water are provided on the bus.

    Each trip has a Trip Captain in charge. Some of our Trip Captains have been with us for over 25 years. We are so lucky to have them. You’ll see why when you join us for one of our trips.

    It is very important for you to let your trip captain know if you have any questions or concerns. They are there for you but they cannot read minds. We also like to stick to our itinerary. We leave when we say we are going to leave and do what we say we’re going to do. It is important to us to provide each member with a stress-free vacation. We strive to fill every trip with wonderful memories.

    No Comments "

    Our Wonderful Summer Skiing Adventure in Chile, 2011

    August 17th, 2011

    Since so many people are asking about our Chile Trip,  we thought we would put it in a blog.  How long does it take to get there?  How does it compare to skiing in the United States?  Where do you stay? Why ski in Termas de Chillan and not Portillo?  Here goes.

    We find that this trip is well worth the effort to get there as the expression goes that the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. The actual travel time from Phoenix to Las Trancas, Chile (close to the ski center of Termas de Chillan)  was around 24 hours, including a few hours wait at the airport.  We took the following modes of transportation to get there:  one plane from Phoenix to Atlanta and another plane from Atlanta to Santiago (Delta Airlines works well for us);  Santiagovision shuttle to bus terminal to take the bus to Chillan (we took the train back); and a 4-wheel drive vehicle taking us from Chillan to Las Trancas, more specifically to Shangri La and MI Lodge (Mision Imposible Lodge) , named so appropriately.   Each leg of our trip took us closer and closer to our amazing adventure as our group bonded, discovered what we all had in common, and mingled with the locals to really get into the flavor of Chile.

    Our favorite word to get the most of the experience is “mingle” and it really paid off.  We practiced our Spanish and amazed ourselves at how well we could communicate in another language, learn about the South American culture and get the feel of the land.  When we reached Chillan, we met Pancho and Rosemarie, who were our drivers for the last few years and also met a new driver, Caesar.  Amid hugs and holas in Chillan, we finally left for MI Lodge, where we were staying for the next 6 nights.

    Now remember, we had been traveling for over 24 hours and couldn’t wait to reach our destination.  At close to 8 pm, our shuttles all arrived at MI Lodge, we took off our shoes, were given slippers to use while we were at the lodge, and we all toasted our arrival with a welcome Pisco Sour.  If you haven’t tried one, we strongly suggest it.  Delicious…and addicting.  It is made with lemon and pisco.  Potent and good!   We felt very relaxed, to say the least.  Also at the Lodge we were welcomed by Maylis and Bertrand, owners of MI Lodge, Cecile, Hector, chef Nicholas and the rest of the staff. The lounge, bar and dining area was one big cozy room where everyone got together to share stories and meet each other.  As soon as we went down for our “Happy Hour,” we were greeted by two families who were at the Lodge with us last year.  It was like “old home week.”  Even though their first language was Spanish, we were still able to communicate.  Thanks to my Spanish lessons this year, I’m now able to at least get myself understood.

    Breakfasts and dinners came with our package.  Our French chef was Parisian-trained and the food was deliciously prepared in the Franco-Chillean style.    Umm umm good!  We also had people with special dietary restrictions and every night Nicholas prepared  delectable alternatives to cater to each one of them.     After a delicious chicken dinner, .everyone complimented the chef on the wonderful French/Chillian food and we were ready for bed. We wanted to get plenty of sleep so we could tackle the slopes the next morning.    Needless to say, we slept well our first night in Chile.

    What a winter wonderland.  Snow…snow….and more snow…and it’s August.  The day was amazing….sun…and lots of powder.  The day couldn’t have been any better!  We skied and skied and skied.  No line ups.  One lift to the top of the mountain and that was fine.  Lots of runs we can ski both on piste and off piste.  In other words, we could drop down anywhere we wanted.    Everyone had someone to ski with.  What a fabulous congenial group!  There is a group of “expert” skiers and then us others who liked to ski but were not quite up to the off piste experiences of the others.

    Everyone is having a wonderful time. I still have trouble believing that we are skiing in the middle of our summer.   Our first day was perfect!  Sun, no wind and lots and lots of snow.  We tackled Tres Marias the first day, the longest run at Termas de Chillan at 8 km from top to bottom.  The more advanced skiers explored the mountain on and off piste.  We all found powder wherever we were.  The smiles on everyone’s faces could be seen throughout the day.  We really were lucky that we picked the place in Chile with the most snow.  That’s why this is our fifth year here.  Lunch was a barbeque outdoors overlooking the mountains and glacier upon which we were actually skiing.  We ran into the Canadian Olympic Team who were practicing on the slopes of Termas de Chillan.  We also talked to the Carabinerros (police officers) who were training on the Termas de Chillan slopes.   After a full day of skiing, we were picked up and taken back to the Lodge.  We met in the hot tubs, which were huge wine barrels converted into hot tubs.  How relaxing!  After showering, we met in the Lounge, enjoyed our cocktails, which our creative bartender concocted for us, and then we were ready for our glorious dinner.     In the evening we spoke to people from Australia, Santiago, Brazil, Peru, Germany and other places from around the world.  You would think we all knew each other before the trip.  I guess it’s our common interest of skiing and snowboarding and love of adventure that drew us all together.

    That night and the next day it snowed and snowed and snowed.  We went to the Ski Center, as Termas de Chillan is called, only to find that the top lifts were not open due to the strong winds.  What were we to do?  Four of us decided to go back to MI Lodge and the other seven decided to brave the weather and ski anyway.  For those of us who went back to the Lodge, we still wanted to do something active, so we hired a guide and some snowshoes and off we went.  The whole adventure was three hours.  We walked out to the Eco Park with two athletic guides.  There we manned our snowshoes and spent the next few hours traversing the terrain as snow fell around us.  What fun!  We went up hills, down hills, around hills and had a blast!  It was a first for many of us, and certainly not the last time to go snowshoeing.  It was also great exercise.  We were able to observe scenery that we would never have seen otherwise.  The rest of the group returned back to the Lodge at 5 pm.  They also had a blast!  Even though just the bottom of the mountain was open, they spent the day skiing the trees and leaving no niche or cranny unskied.  One thing about our group is that they are open to adventures.     Dinner again was amazing.     I love how everyone mingles and shares their ski adventures.   Then off to bed.

    Friday was another day of snow.  We started off the day with a delicious breakfast.  Then I practiced my Spanish with 5 adorable children from 5-8 years old. We did numbers, days of the month and seasons.  They were so cute. I felt like Julie Andrews in the movie “The Sound of Music” except the children were my teachers instead of the other way around.

    Only the bottom lift was open due to the windy day.  It didn’t stop six of our Alpine Ski Club Members.  Off they went to the mountain.  Open for new experiences and adventure, they rented skis and skins and climbed up the mountain for a day of Alpine Touring (AT).  It was a first for many of them.  Bruce,   one of our members who has done this before, was a big help.  It was an experience that our members won’t forget. While they were forging up the mountain, four of us went to the Eco-Park to go ziplining and surpass obstacles such as a suspended bridge, walking across a wire suspended way above the ground, walking from block of wood to another block of wood that was suspended in the air by cables that rocked precariously as we crossed.  What a challenge!  What fun!  We did the circuit twice since we were having such a good time.  Again, we were wet through and through by the time we finished.  After the adventure, we had a wonderful lunch at a true Chilean Restaurant called Parador, Jamon, Pan Y Vino. Rosemarie, our wonderful driver, joined us and helped us decide what to order to complete our Chilean meal.  Then we went for massages  and returned to MI Lodge all rested and fulfilled.  Dinner was a wonderful meal of pumpkin soup, pasta with shrimp and then crepes de leche for dessert.  Oh, I forgot to mention my Pisco Wina which was like a pisco sour but with kiwi and pineapple juices.  This was followed by the wonderful wine that Adelina’s friend Scott sent for her to share with the group.  I don’t want to forget the Snow Pub.  Half the group decided to partake in the fun at the local bar.  The trouble with that was that the action didn’t get started until around 11:30 pm (23:30 hrs) and they kept going until around 4 pm in the morning.  Well, our group had an amazing time but petered out by 2 am. They came back with fun stories to share around the breakfast table.

    The last day,  at Termas de Chillan, we  were up bright and early and at 8:30 am and we all left for the slopes figuring we’d have a glorious day no matter what the weather was like. We were right.  As we got on the  main lift for the top of the mountain, we were told that we had to get off at mid-way due to some high winds on the very top.  That was okay as we still had over three times the ski area of Vail to ride below us.     We were determined to try as many runs as we could.  We spent the rest of the day in   powder.  Chilean powder is like none other.  You should have seen the smiles on our faces!  We loved it!    We all met up for an outdoor lunch at the mid-way cafeteria.  The tepanyaki was delicious.     Of course the cervesa and vino completed our meal very satisfactorily.  Of course, no vacation is complete without shopping.  We skied down to the Grand Hotel, shopped a bit, then skied the rest of the way down to meet our drivers.  The evening was our last night at MI Lodge in Las Trancas.  Our new German friends from White Hearts  put together a video for Alpine Ski Club.  Check out their video on our facebook page. We were so impressed!!! What wonderful people they are!  I can’t wait to show it to all of you!

    We thought that our adventures in Las Trancas were over, but that did not happen.   We were planning on leaving early to give us enough time to go to the market in Chillan.  We were right on time until we left the lodge.  The rain and snow from the previous night played havoc with the road.   The train was to leave Chillan at 1 pm.  We planned to leave Las Trancas at 9:30 am and arrive at the market in Chillan at 11:00 am.  Then we would have one hour at the market to shop prior to leaving Chillan.  Then it happened.  We got stuck.  We tried digging out the vehicles and pushing them.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, we were on our way.   We ended up getting to the train station with 5 minutes to spare.  Whew!  Just made it!  And off we went to Santiago.

    Again Marcelo from Santiagovision met us in Santiago with a luxury bus for the eleven of us.  As soon as we arrived at the station, a Chilean fellow came up to us and said hola. It was Jorge, the fellow that has helped us out for all five years at the station.  Again, he helped us out and after loading all our skis and bags onto his trolley, we helped him wheel our luggage to the bus.  That night we were too tired to adventure too far from the hotel.  John and I met our friends from Santiago that we met at MI Lodge five years ago for a delicious Chillean dinner.  The others went for Chinese/Japanese cuisine across the street from our hotel.

    We were ready for more adventures.  The next day, six of our members had planned for a day of cat skiing.  At one time they didn’t know if they there would be enough snow but they did.  Beautiful light powder snow.  They were taken up where others had not skied before and all day made fresh tracks through the pristine terrain.  After four runs, they were having such a good time, they took one more double black run.   That proved more harrowing than the rest of the day,  but they all made it and had lots of good stories to tell about their adventure with Ski Arpa.  The rest of the group spent the day at the beach of Vina del Mar and at an organic wine vineyard tasting wine and guessing the type of wine we were drinking.

    Each year we tailor our trip to our participants.  Some of their comments are as follows:

    “We really want to thank you for putting together such a fabulous trip.  Great skiing, great group.  We know that all your hard work at putting this together were worth it and appreciated.”  Jim & Martha  

    “The trip to Chile far exceeded my expectations and experience. Great job on organizing and making the adventure memory worthy.  The country, skiing, lodge, people, travel, meals, sightseeing and genuine hospitality were fantastic making me want to stay longer!  Thanks again for a wonderful time.”  Penny  

    We had such a good time that we have already set our dates to return for our 6th year  on August 4-13, 2012.

    2 Comments "

    Gearing up for the 2011-12 Ski/Snowboard Season

    June 15th, 2011

    It is hot and it’s going to get hotter and humid and the last thing most people think of now is skiing and snowboarding. Correct? Not. Well, if you’re thinking of snow, then come and join us in Chile. Otherwise, what we’re doing now is reviewing all of last year’s trips, reading over the questionnaires which we sent out after each ski trip and working at figuring out the trips that our members would like to go on next season.

    Challenge 1:
    Our challenges are to keep the prices down so we can offer trips at affordable prices. One member said to us “thanks for keeping the prices so affordable. If you didn’t do that , we wouldn’t be able to go on a ski vacation this year.” This is so important to us. Keeping the prices as low as possible, finding accommodations that you will all like and providing fun, hassle-free trips “. There is so much more we want to do for you, and we try to do our best while keeping prices down.

    Challenge 2:
    Another challenge is to have a good blend of trips. Each year we have tried to offer some trips that are different but then find out that we don’t have many people sign up for them…until the last minute. Unfortunately, we can’t wait until the last minute. Our lodging companies need to know how many rooms we need so they can sell them if we’re not going to use them. They like at least 30 days prior to a trip for us to tell them what we need. Most of our trips fill up but the occasional trip that doesn’t, we vacillate between our decision to go or not to go. It’s a tough decision to be in. We don’t want to disappoint our members and usually end up going if we have 20 or more members…even if it means taking a loss. Our members are too important to us.

    Challenge 3:
    You’ll notice that we say our members are like our extended family. We mean it. We have made many wonderful friends from our members. A great number of our “guests” are repeats. We love hearing from people who have gone on our trips and have only positive things to say about us. We work hard at pleasing our members. That’s why we always ask for your comments during and after our trips. We don’t know what you think unless you tell us.

    Challenge 4:
    Our trip captains are trained to give the ultimate in customer service. However, they can’t read minds (if you know how they can do that, please let us know), nor do they have eyes in the back of their heads so they can’t see everything that is happening. That means that you’ll have to let them know if there is anything they can do for you. That is what they are there for.

    Challenge 5:
    Occasionally things won’t happen how we want them to. It happens…that’s life. The challenge is making lemonade out of lemons. We had a bus breakdown on the Indian Reservation. Instead of wallowing in pity, our members mingled, played cards, and got to know each other. Then the store owner came out, brought drinks for everyone, and invited us to join them to play volleyball. We had seniors and teenagers, and all ages playing volleyball. Then after that they brought out a basketball and we all played. Many new friendships were formed that trip. We finally reached our destination in the middle of the night and came back with many fun stories to tell.

    Challenges make life interesting. All we can do is do our best. We appreciate all your feedback on how much you all enjoy the trips. Because of all of you and all of your comments, we will continue to provide a level of trips that we hope you will all enjoy and tell all your friends.

    Thanks for all of you who are already Alpine Ski Club members, all our friends and acquaintances who have not yet been on one of our trips, and all of you who have just found out about us.

    1 Comment "

    Preparing for our Adventure in Chile

    May 25th, 2011

    Alpine Ski Club and Adventure Tours 2010-2011 Ski Season is almost over. You notice that I said “almost.” That’s because we have one more trip of the season. That’s our trip to Chile to ski the first week of August. This is what makes Alpine Ski Club truly an adventure touring company.

    Our first 10 people reserved the trip by the deadline and were able to take advantage of our amazing low priced package. If you view other touring companies, their cost without airfare is what we’re charging for our whole package. We work hard at keeping our prices as low as possible for our members. However, if you have airline or credit card award points, we can still get you a great price for everything but airfare.

    Chile just had another snowfall and the ski season hasn’t even started yet. With two new lifts at Termas de Chillan, there will be even more terrain open. As it is, it is over 5 times the size of Vail.

    MI Lodge, where we’ve stayed for the last 4 years has attained the international rating of Superior Lodge. I can’t tell you the feeling it is coming in for a fabulous franco-chillean meal (yes, breakfast and dinner are included) and seeing people from all around the world. This year I took some Spanish lessons. At MI Lodge, the languages spoken are Spanish and French and be prepared to hear many more languages as their guests are from all around the world. Spanish is the main language in Chile and I’m determined to communicate in Spanish…although many Chilleans can understand and speak English.

    This is our 5th year travelling to Chile to ski in August and each year we add new things to our itinerary. We already have people committed to the trip in 2012 so if you’re at all interested, please remember to book early. We’d hate to disappoint you as several people were this year as they called us after the airfare was released.

    3 Comments "

    Welcome to Alpine Ski Club and Adventure Tour’s Blog

    May 1st, 2011

    Hi Alpine Ski Club Members and Friends:

    We are starting a blog to keep you updated on Alpine Ski Club and Adventure Tours.  We are a tour operator and trip wholesaler who offer trips to our members and corporate groups.  This will be our 42nd year of offering trips.  Most of our trips include transportation, 3 nights lodging and 3 day lift ticket.We also include a sandwich on the way home.   Our goal is to provide fun, affordable, hassle-free vacations for people of all ages.  We want those who go on our trips to come back and tell us that they had an amazing time and couldn’t believe how we are able to offer trips at such a low price.

    A lot of our popularity is because of our wonderful trip captains.  When we run  a trip, each bus has a trip captain in charge.  In addition to taking care of those on our buses, they also make sure that those who drive or fly up are well taken care of.  Yes,  if you want to drive or fly to your destination, we will take care of your package  of lodging and lift tickets as well.

    Tonight we had our trip captain end of the year party.  We have 18 amazing  trip  captains.  Many have been with us for over 15 years and some as long as 28 years.  They are the best group that I have had the pleasure to know.  In addition to answering questions and keeping our members informed of what to expect, they really care about our members.  We are lucky to have them as part of our team.  Many have significant others who act as their “sherpas” (helpers.) I hope you have the pleasure of meeting these wonderful people.

    This summer we will be working on our trips for next year.  We are always open to suggestions.  Telluride is our main mountain yet we also have many winter trips to Durango.  Another annual trip is to Chile, which will be August 1st – 11th this summer (Winter for them).  Of course, Sunrise is a weekly day trip and other trips to Taos, Utah and Vail will be offered next season.  We’ll be looking into other destinations as well.

    We love questions and welcome phone calls or emails.  Also check out our facebook fan page.

    4 Comments "