Your generally good article by Irwin Curtin about skiing in the West has several large holes in it ["Getting a Lift," Dec. 7]. Ignoring Brian Head in Utah, which happens to be the closest Utah resort to Southern California, is one thing.
Another is that other than a brief explanation of Mammoth Mountain buying Snow Summit and Big Bear Mountain, it ignores the local resorts. If this article were written for the New York Times, it might make sense, but you are not selling papers to New York. Most of your customers live in Southern California and ski locally. This article does not relate to most of the skiers I know.
Cash in hand
Regarding "Getting Cash Abroad" by Catharine Hamm, Dec. 7: I'd like to add some of my experience about acquiring funds here and abroad for a trip to Europe. I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but before we went to Italy, I went to Wells Fargo and purchased 1,200 euros. On the phone with Wells Fargo, it quoted me a very low exchange rate. And I needed euros to pay for rent as soon as I got to Italy. So I purchased the euros at $1.40 each, plus a small bank fee. That was not what it quoted me on the phone, but I went ahead anyway. My logic was that I would pay a premium here or in Europe. Wrong.
Before we left for Italy, I opened an investment checking account with Schwab, where I have my retirement funds. They issued me a debit/credit card (with a chip). When I got the card, I went to a local ATM to make sure it worked. It did not. Schwab sent me a card that I tested and did work. The lesson here is to be sure to test cards before traveling. One important note is that Schwab does not charge an ATM fee, and any ATM fees you are charged by the bank that owns the ATM will be refunded to you by Schwab.
When we got to Europe and needed additional funds, I got them from the ATMs. Schwab gave me the prevailing rate: $1.28 per euro. Lesson learned: I could have set my daily maximum withdrawal limit with Schwab at 1,200 euros per day, gone to Europe and taken the funds out at any ATM the day of arrival and saved $144 (the 12 cents/euro difference for 1,200 euros), not a trivial amount.
I always carry $500 in travelers checks when I leave L.A. They still can be used in many places.
Thank you for this supremely delicious piece ["Opening New Worlds" by Peter Mandel, Nov. 30]. I inhaled it slowly, word by word, with breakfast and a cup of coffee. I read lines from the poetry selections out loud and thought of my travel experience in Iran in October, before which almost everyone asked, "Why would you go there?" I am keeping this article for future reference. It's a perfect gift from kindred souls.