Why has Morningstar relocated to Bend, Oregon, after doing business for 28 years in Arizona?
Good question! A few years ago, Dan the Ski Man, Pres. of Morningstar, lost his wife of 36 years. While visiting his daughter’s family and grandson Seneca, he met a most lovely, wonderful widow named Deb. After a fairy tale romance they got married in December 2012. Skiman was happy to move to the Northwest but wanted to live close to skiing. Bachelor is the bomb for skiing up here, so Deb agreed and we decided to check out Bend. We did a short skiing honeymoon ( indeed, Deb is the perfect wife for me!) at Mt. Bachelor, fell in love with it, done. We found a rather beat up 33 year old log house, bought it, and spent 5 months making it liveable. This will be our first ski season running Morningstar from Oregon instead of Tucson. We have no idea what that will look like, but, as with most fairy tales, we are hoping this one will have a happy ending! Skiman
Is Morningstar Ski Tours still going to offer the same kinds of ski tours all over the world?
Yep. Our move to Bend, Oregon has not changed Skiman’s passion or vision for skiing and world travel. As you can see from our site, we have hit the ground running. We have an extensive line up for our European Alps fest 2014 with FIVE possible segments to choose from! That goes along with a pretty good listing of domestic tours, including a snow cat week in Idaho and a repeat of our Grand Canyon float trip. The move has not slowed us down or changed anything. We may live in a new place, but our hearts are still passionate about ski and travel with our friends. Skiman
It seems that your European tour is a big deal. You guys have done 18 consecuetive trips to the Alps and have taken thousands of people with you. Just how did that all get started?
Now THERE is a story! 18 years ago, Lynn and I went to a ski wholesaler expo. There, we met this friendly fella from Italy who told us how amazing the skiing was in Italy. When we saw what was being offered for great prices we were interested. I remember sitting outside that night musing over whether we could get anyone to go to Italy to ski. I typed up a letter (this was before personal computers), turned on the answering machine, and left with the kids and our dog for our planned 4 week camping trip. I was stunned when I checked my phone messages after being in the wilds for a week. There were over 60 people who wanted to go! The number ended up being 270 and the Euro fun began in a big way. Our second year, we had 400 skiers! Since then, we have gone to every major resort in the Alps and most of the cities in Europe. Our Alps trips now usually have around 40 to 50 skiers per week. Every European Alps ski tours holds a warm place in Skiman’s heart. Skiing in the Alps has redefined skiing for me. I love it over there. Skiman
How is the snow in Europe? I hear it is not as good as American western resorts.
That is a good question and references an oft-heard remark. I have been skiing over 46 years and have skied just about everywhere. I have skied @200 days in every major resort in the Alps . As to snow quality, I find the same situation in Europe as in America. It is all about luck. I have had some of the best powder days of my life in Europe and the snow on those days was absolutely as good as anything in Utah or Colorado. I have had some terrible snow-condition days in Europe as well… too icy, too slushy, not enough coverage, etc. But, with that being said, I have had the exact same good and bad snow days in America as well! I have had more great days than I can count, but I have had my share of bad ones. The bad ones seem to be evenly dispersed over all the continents I have skied. Throw the dice when it comes to snow conditions. You get what you get, no matter where you are skiing. Excellent snow is a short-lived commodity. Wherever you find it, enjoy it! You won’t have it every ski day, that is for sure. Skiman
What is your favorite resort in the U.S?
Taking all things into consideration, my favorite resort is Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I think that is the case because it is the closest thing we have to the European Alps. Huge vert, big long terrain with no rollers, uncrowded, usually good snow… these are the things that make it great. A close second is Big Sky, Montana. That place is a lot like the Hole on every level. It is almost a tie, but the Hobacks on a pow day settled it for me. Jackson just kills it. Skiman
What level of skier is the average person on a Morningstar ski tour?
Most of our skiers are upper intermediate level, I would say. But on any given trip, there is always more than a handful of very strong expert skiers who are as good as anyone I see on the slopes. One very cool part of our tours is that if you are new and on your own, you can ALWAYS find someone to ski with. Our skiers are the friendliest skiers around and they always welcome newcomers with open arms. Wehen you join a Morningstar tour, you may come as a stranger, but you will leave as a friend. And you will have a whole bunch of new people you will love to ski with. Skiman
I am traveling alone but would love to not have to pay the single supplement upgrade. Is there a way for Morningstar to get a room mate for me?
Yes, we do that all the time. We cannot guarantee it, but we are usually successful at getting those who want a roommate a match. Skiman
What is the advantage to hooking up with a group for a ski trip? Why is it better than just going it on my own?
Valid question. The main advantages are related to cost and friendship. Usually, we can offer savings to our skiers because we get discounted rates on rooms and lift passes and, sometimes, air. Also, it is nice to not have to hassle with the details. We do all the organizing. You show up and everything is done. If something goes wrong, you are NEVER on your own to work things out! Skiman is on EVERY one of his trips and if something comes up unexpectedly, he is there to try to work things out. It is also nice knowing that if you get injured, you are not alone in a strange place trying to get back home. Over the years we have had skiers injured and the groups have always rallied to help that person in any way. Finally, I think the best reason to book with us is a social one; you get to meet great people and make new friends! Read the testimonials on our site. Over and over, they will say that they have made lifelong friends thru Morningstar! It is so much more fun skiing with a bunch of friends, old or new. It just rocks and that is what we are all about…. Fun, skiing, and friendship. Skiman