By JAMES WILKINSON
With cheap lift passes, a high Australian Dollar and better flights connections, the United States ski town of Vail should see record visitor numbers from Australia for the upcoming northern hemisphere winter.
Vail, which counts Australia as one of its top international markets, has been boosted by the news this week that American Airlines will operate flights from Dallas-Fort Worth that are perfectly timed to connect with the Qantas service from Sydney.
“Australia is a top overseas market for Vail and Beaver Creek,” said Vail Mountain’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Adam Sutner. “We’re grateful for the loyalty and commitment of our Australian guests and [the new schedule] is another reason for Australians to choose Vail and Beaver Creek when skiing in the States.”
Qantas flight QF 7 lands from Sydney in Dallas at 1:50pm and connects to American Airlines’ Vail/Eagle Airport flight AA 2207, which departs at 4:25pm. On the return, Australians can get a day’s skiing in before hopping on American’s AA2291 flight to Los Angeles at 6:40pm, one that connects to Qantas services back to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
The enhanced schedule, however, is just one way Vail is tempting Australians to skip the local skifields this winter and book a US holiday at the end of the year. Vail’s ‘Epic Pass’ offers unlimited skiing for an entire season at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and the Arapahoe Basin for USD$659.
According to the latest statistics from Visit USA, as revealed at the 2012 International Pow Wow in Los Angeles recently, Australian travellers are spending on average 25 days in the United States and visiting 2.5 states.
With a high Australian Dollar, flights to Los Angeles hovering around the AUD$1200 mark and ski passes lasting five months for just $659, the United States should, this northern hemisphere winter, record its best season from Australia ever.