Advantages A variety of experiences
Disadvantages You get very tired
|Where did you book|
|How often have you booked through them|
|Value for Money|
|How good were the guides?||Good|
|How satisfied were you with the Hotel/Appartement||Satisfied|
|Quality of the tour in general||Good|
Want a holiday where you can ski, sunbathe and get your fill of theme parks all in one holiday, then why not try Virgin’s Ski and Sun package based in California.We went last Easter (when Easter was very late) and had a two week holiday, the first week in Los Angeles and the second week based at Mammoth Mountain.
We flew from Heathrow and arrived in L.A. late afternoon on the same day. We then picked up a rental car (included in the package) and drove to our hotel base in L.A. about 45 mins from the airport. This was my first experience of driving an automatic car and the freeways are an experience in themselves. Make sure you have a detailed map of the L.A. area, you will need it!. Eventually we arrived safely at our hotel and tried to stay awake for a bit longer, we had already been awake for 24 hours, taking into account the time difference but felt we needed to stay awake a bit longer otherwise we would have woken up at 3.00 am in the morning.During the next six days we visited Disneyland 3 times, went to Sea World in San Diego (approx 100 miles South of L.A.), did a coach tour of Hollywood and its surrounds, spent one day in Universal Studios and spent some time on the beach. As you can imagine we were absolutely knackered but as it was our first time in the USA and we had promised our kids 8 and 11 we would visit all the sights we felt we had to do everything.
The hotel itself had a small outside pool and provided breakfast; it was adequate and provided us with what we needed although a few more facilities would have been useful.Having had such a restful!! Week we then set off on a 400+ mile journey to Mammoth Mountain which is in the north of California. The journey took about 8 hrs and was quite pleasant. We passed through lots of different types of scenery and the time went quickly as we were listening to a Harry Potter tape.
We had chosen to ski at Mammoth because it is one of the highest resorts in America and they carry on skiing there up till the middle of June. The resort has lots of different types of accommodation but again we were staying in a fairly basic hotel with access to a swimming pool.Like most American resorts there is very little doorstep skiing and we had to drive or take a bus 10 mins to the slopes each morning. This was not really a problem although we are used to coming down to our accommodation during the middle of the day.
Mammoth is seen as one of America’s biggest resorts and it is quite adequate for a weeks skiing but it is nowhere near the size of some of the linked resorts in Europe (eg Portes du Soleil). The slopes are much better prepared, much wider but generally shorter. The lift attendants are completely different from Europe, they were helpful and polite. All the lifts were chairs and many of them didn’t have a safety bar!.Although it was the end of April there was still plenty of snow and conditions were excellent, surprisingly it was often very cold. Altitude was a bit of a problem initially but we soon got used to it.There is also an excellent ski school, good child care facilities and a snowboard park.
At the end of the week, we drove the 400 miles back to L.A and caught a flight leaving late afternoon and arriving in London at about lunchtime.We were thoroughly exhausted but had packed a fantastic variety of experiences into a relatively short time. We were glad to go back to work for a rest
Would I do it again, probably yes, but I would spend less time in LA visiting theme parks and I would try to arrange my own accommodation. There were some wonderful condominiums in Mammoth at a reasonable price.Virgin provided excellent service throughout and their reps were generally helpful, although as always they try to get you to go on their trips. There were a variety of hotel packages available as well as different combinations of resorts. We went for the cheapest. One final piece of advice take plenty to read. American television is just so bad, the most interesting channel was ‘the weather channel’.
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