AFAIC, "the genuine experience" is a matter of perception. Perception, as we all know, is unique to each individual. quote]
My story is similar. My dad put me on skis at 3 on our local hill which has all of 200 vertical ft. As ten yr old, he took me to Vail for the first time. I have been fortunate enough to have skied all over the country since then. In fact Saturday, my dad, brother and I will be going to Vail for our 24th consecutive year together! I have stayed in the finest hotels and slept in my car in pursuit of "the genuine experience."
What I have come to is this. As long as I am standing on skis making turns in snow, with my family and friends, I coundn't care less if I am doing it on 3500ft of vertical or 200.
I am excited to be going back to Vail again. I know that with my dad and brother, we will ski from the first chair to the last for 5 stragiht days. But I also know that each night when I talk to my kids they will make sure I still want to take them skiing next Sunday. And although we will get to our hill 2 hrs after it opens and probably only stay for a few hrs and take 2 lunch breaks, I am not sure what I am more excited about.