I love skiing in the US. There, I've said it. The European Alps have their charm and Japan has neck-deep powder and vending machines filled with hot coffee in a can, but American resorts lead the way on service, innovation and free stuff.
Who can resist complimentary hot chocolate-chip cookies fresh from the oven and distributed by men in chef whites each afternoon at Beaver Creek?
Need to transport your skis from Aspen Mountain to Buttermilk, Highlands or Snowmass? Hand them over to the ski valet at the bottom of the mountain and they will show up at your mountain of choice before you do the next day.
Deer Valley "hosts" in deep-green jackets welcome skiers kerbside in Utah and help carry your gear to the lift-pass desk. Buses from Sun Valley, Elkhorn Springs and Ketchum to Dollar Mountain and Bald Mountain in Idaho are free and Winter Park in Colorado has free chocolate and marshmallow "s'mores" around the fire for children from 4pm each day.
Free is not a word our resorts are familiar with, but it is amazing what the average skier will do just to get a free sticker. Some complimentary loving could go a long way for customer loyalty Down Under.
I live for the day Thredbo and Perisher offer a combined season pass or Snow Australia offers a four-resort NSW season pass and Falls Creek and Hotham extend their collective lift pass to include five days a year at Mount Buller or even three days in New Zealand. The Mountain Collective pass in the US offers six ski resorts with two days at Aspen, Mammoth, Jackson Hole, Squaw Valley, Alta and Whistler.
I am also hoping in 2013 that the ski resort marketers come up with something fresh that leads rather than mimics the world. Whistler Blackcomb’s XXS video of a ‘mini Whistler shot on tilt shift’ went viral, so did their ‘Sh*&t skiers say’ video. Here's hoping marketers don't do an Australian video version of the already overdone Harlem Shake - that would just be cringe-worthy.
We may not have Valentine's Day skiing, but we still have singles looking for love at the snow. How wonderful would it be to have speed chairlift dating similar to Mount Hood in Oregon?
Free wi-fi may be more difficult in our remote mountain regions, but how about phone charger banks so skiers and boarders can charge their smartphones mid-mountain without having to return to their lodgings?
More charged smartphones means more social media posts. How about a Christmas in July, with presents of free lift passes given away online? Snow beaches with fire pits akin to those at the Canyons in Utah, complete with deckchairs on sunny days, would certainly create a sense of community.
So, too, would half-price lifts and lessons for the first-time skiing friend you have brought to the mountain. Killington in Vermont gives veteran skiers a free lift pass if they bring a beginner for the day and Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine offers season pass holders four $50 lift passes for friends each season.
With this weekend marking the official start to the 2013 season, I for one am hoping for Australian resorts to turn the ski world upside down and lead the way.
What would you like to see Australian ski resorts do this winter? What do you love about overseas skiing and snowboarding that you'd like to see here? Share your ideas and post a comment on the blog below, you never know who is reading.
We are back for season 2013 with another year of Instagram hashtags. Simply tag your instagram #misssnowitall and share the snow love. We'll publish our favourites each week right here and our guest judge will choose a winner that will go into the final gallery at the end of the season when you get to choose the winner. There will be weekly prizes and an overall winner's prize too. So get instagramming and check back next week to see if you've made it on the blog. Check out the gallery at the top of this page for this week's top five.