Dan Egan has skied on mountains from Turkey to New Zealand, Baffin Island to Chile and the tip of Argentina, Siberia to Romania, East and West Germany, all over North America, for more than 25 years. He has some firm notions about traveling to find snow you might consider in your own vacation planning.
He's on the road almost continuously between November and May, although he tries to spend a week a month at "home" by which he means anywhere in New England. There are also regular forays south of the equator during North America's summer.
"My favorite airport is Zurich, because of the Swiss train connections and total number of flights available. Plus they have showers and great services," he says. "The worst airport is JFK because of the number of delayed flights!"
Egan has been featured in 12 of Warren Miller's annual snow epics, often with his brother John, another extreme skier. His company, Ski Clinics, specializes in adventure travel for all generations of skiers and riders.
"If sentenced to ski at only one place in North America," he said, "it would be Squaw Valley."
Egan said the three oddest places he has skied are Lebanon, where "the Cedar Mountains are beautiful" but he had to sneak into the country because Americans were barred; Baffin Island, in the Canadian Arctic; and Ushuaia, above the Beagle Channel at the southernmost tip of Argentina.
"I like Europe because it's so rich in culture. People have lived and worked in the mountains for centuries."
Europe, to Egan, includes the usual places: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, and Italy; plus some of the unusual, Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Turkey, Romania, Russia, Georgia, and the UK.
"I use my own equipment and have skis stored around the world at the resorts I travel to the most. I often carry my boots on the flight but rather more to reduce the weight of my check in luggage than fear of losing them," he said.
Egan stashes a set in South America (plus boots), another in Europe, and a third "out West. I have a quiver at home, race skis, all terrain, carvers. Sometimes I travel with my newest."
Egan continued, "Demo skis are a great option for ski travelers and I strongly recommend that skiers traveling without skis know their boot sole length, the off-piste DIN settings for their bindings, and have a working knowledge of rental bindings to insure best performance and safety in the backcountry.
"Changes in the technology of skis has made the backcountry more accessible than ever, so more and more people are there having fun," Egan said. "But that has lead to an increase in accidents. One of the things that has not grown proportionally with the equipment is etiquette."