How We Started – Escape2ski. In April 2014, Escape2ski was launched and is now one of Canada’s most trusted ski & snowboard information and travel websites. As a skier who’s been involved with skiing and ski travel in Canada and the United States since 1988, I had the idea to create a website that would provide all of the information that travellers would need to plan their next ski or snowboard vacation, all in one convenient location.
My love of skiing started at a local ski area, known as Ski Ben Eoin, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia back in 1988. I enjoyed the freedom that being on the slopes provided, hanging out with friends, being close to nature and when it snowed, enjoying the powder. At the time, I didn’t think it could get any better than this. However, one day after skiing with friends in Cape Breton, the idea of travelling to different ski areas and documenting our adventures was born. Little did I know that these trips and stories would one day become the basis for Escape2ski! For each ski area I visited, I collected a souvenir ski pin which is a tradition carried on by many individuals throughout North America and even the world. These pins are now featured on each of the mountains listed on Escape2ski and are a personal display of what I’ve accomplished in my skiing career.
Skiing, snowboarding and ski travel is an exciting way to make new friends, travel to interesting locations, and see the world from one mountaintop at a time. After a visit to Vancouver, Canada in the spring of 1988, I saw the enormous potential to expand my horizons and visit areas such as Whistler Blackcomb, the North Shore Mountains near Vancouver that are home to three lovely ski areas, Cypress Mountain Ski Area, Grouse Mountain Ski Area and Mt Seymour Ski Area. All of this would be possible if I moved to Vancouver, so I decided the time was now. After I returned home to Nova Scotia, I made the decision in August 1988 to pack my bags and head west to the land of abundant skiing options. The thrill of being in the mountains was incredible, and the opportunity to travel to different ski areas acted as a great motivational tool to work on my personal ski pin collection. With British Columbia, Alberta and Washington State offering incredible ski areas it didn’t take long to add to my collection.
Every year it was an incredible feeling to have the opportunity to ski and snowboard until June at Whistler Blackcomb and to enjoy all of the activities in Whistler Village after a day on the slopes. However, I wanted to expand my horizons even further, so I set myself a goal to try new ski areas every year. Ski travel started to become a significant part of my lifestyle. At the end of the summer when fall was in the air it was a signal to begin planning the ski itinerary for the next season on the slopes. Vancouver was the perfect hub to plan flights to many of the great ski regions in Canada, such as the interior of British Columbia that included such ski areas as Big White Ski Resort, Apex Mountain Resort, and Sun Peaks Resort. Plus, the well-known Powder Highway of British Columbia that features 8 resorts including Red Mountain Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort to name only a few. I expanded my travels to more ski regions within Canada include Banff, the Laurentians of Quebec and the Eastern Townships. Next on my list was the United States and the vast number of states that are known for their winter activities, like Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, along with the very popular states of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, California and Montana just to name a few.
For how we started and continued over the past 30 years, I’ve had the pleasure of skiing at 160 different ski areas (which are all listed on Escape2ski). A few notable personal accomplishments along the way are my 50th ski area – Diamond Peak Ski Resort on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, a place where ski and snowboard dreams are made, and the big milestone of my 100th ski area visited, Vail Mountain Resort in Colorado, definitely add this mountain to your ‘Bucket’ list.
For all of my ski adventures, my goal was to create an itinerary and book a trip that would maximize the number ski days possible. To do this, I had to visit multiple sites, and spend hours researching because I couldn’t find all the information I needed in one place. How we started and why Escape2ski was created was to offer a site with in-depth first-hand information on skiing and snowboarding, to assist fellow snow sports enthusiasts with the opportunity to create fun and memorable ski trips, to allow me to share my 3 decades of planning multi-mountain ski and snowboard travel, and to share my love of skiing.
Other Notable Highlights
- Skied 160 ski resorts in North America as of 2017/18
- Skied the Top 10 Ski Resorts in North America as identified by Ski Magazine for 2017/18
- Skied 20 of the top 20 Ski Resorts listed by both Outside Magazine and Ski Magazine for 2015
- Skied 30 of the top 30 Ski Resorts published by Ski Magazine for 2017/2018
- Skied on 4 Islands in North America – Newfoundland, Cape Breton Island, Vancouver Island and Douglas Island in Alaska
- Skied in 16 US States, including Alaska, California, Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Vermont, New York, Maine New Hampshire
- Over 1200 Lodging Nights
- Flown over 200,000 miles
- Driven over 20,000 miles
Throughout my travel with skis, I have met many incredible people who share a similar path of chasing incredible powder days, spring skiing in the sun and the après experience. For me, this is a journey with no destination in mind.
Go Have Fun on Snow!
Kindly, John K MacNeil from Escape2ski Inc.