% blind men and the elephantthis mode of thinking, in regard to the Alpine skiing arenas, always gets a giggle from me.
It always invokes, for me, the 5 blind men and the elephant.
Typically, the americans who thusly title such a thread have typically:
A) spent a fraction of their ski time in the alps
B) spent it at one or two resorts
C) visited during a high-vacation period
Starting with "A", the typical american ski-tourist hits the alps for an abbreviated occasion. They typical american visitor to the region hits it on a one-week or shorter holiday, and bases their judgements on that temporal snapshot.
Point "B" is especially salient when one considers that the Alpine resort network involves more than twelve times as many resorts as that of the Rockies, and it spans (at least) EIGHT individual countries. Much like the blind men and the elephant, each american skier will base her/his opinion on the entire 8-country ski arena upon her/his extremely limited experience.
Point "C", however, is most likely the factor of greatest import.
Not only do Americans typically get to the alps during American Holidays, but those holidays happen to fall during individual national holidays of different european countries.
A rule of thumb to remember, when one considers the extended winter holidays enjoyed by all european countries, underscores, perhaps, the greatest disparity between europeans and americans:
While americans live to work (as evidenced by hours annually worked by the average american), eurpoeans work to live.
Euros enjoy long holidays and they tend to play hard. Very hard. Off-piste, couloirs, cornices, cliffs, dusk-to-dawn discos, beer halls, lively pubs, apres-ski tobogganing, tubing, sledding, spas, spas and more spas, etc. Game meat is standard fare on most european resort menus, and very inexpensively, at that.
the partying experience of most of Europe's ski-culture is the equivelant of having NYC dance-clubs, replete with laser shows
outside to announce their locales, right at the foot of the mountain.
The average young euro on ski holiday will dance and otherwise party until at least sunrise; it was always common, when I'd head down to the ski jumps to practice my AM windsprints on the steps, to pass throngs of well-wishing, all-night revelers heading homw for some coffee before hitting the lift-queues.
anyone who's ever earned their daily bread by instructing at a european resort can tell you that knowing the various national holidays (all are winter-rest breaks, based upon the ancient celtic holidays or gemranic holidays - bear in mind the celts came from somewhere in modern-day russia, and populated most of europe at one time....their pre-romantic religious holidays, etc., and that of the later teutonic tribes, flourish, still, in the long winter holidays enjoyed by most of these countries.)
At our two main schools, we know that when the (notoriously frugal) danes are about to depart the krknose mountains, the (even more notoriously 'frugal') dutch will follow on their heels, and more-or-less rule the resort for three weeks or so, spending as little as possible and tipping even less, so that's a great time to hit the tyrol with your earnings from the previous holidays spent teaching the swedes, etc.
Once 'im tirol', The intelligent instructor knows to wear their 'patch' and thereby pick up , should they desire, private lessons as guests approach them on the hill or in the cafe, or, more commonly, on the sundeck.
Most notorious by absence is that most posters here, in mention of Alpine resorts and arenas, pass over Slovenia, the true gem of the eastern Alps.
Until one has enjoyed the uncrowded, craggy peaks, cat-fields and wildly long, wide, steep ungroomed vert of Kranjska Gora, their descriptions of "The Alps" are akin to a description of a wonderful dish of, say, Sauvignon-blanc poached Maine Lobster, in terms of the olfactory appeal, the presentation, the garnish, the value, etc., and even a nibble of the Tail and secondary legs, without ever trying the claws.