Top 10 tips for a ski or snowboard trip
1. Don’t travel with your own gear.
Unless you ski frequently and have the latest gear, it might be a better option to rent gear for that trip. That way you can demo the latest and greatest. If you are flying then renting is almost always a better option. The cost of flying with your gear can be very expensive up to $150 each way. The boots make the experience and your own boots will make any ski feel good.It is easy for you to bring them on as a carry-on. So if you saved yourself $300 on that airline fees you can spend 6 days demoing new gear (at $50 per day). You will then have the best skis for the conditions and area.
2. Bring layers
Layers are the best way to dress for winter conditions. I always have a waterproof and windproof shell, then an insulating layer such as a down sweater and then a wicking layer. If it is colder or warmer you can then adjust from there by adding or subtracting layers. Make sure that your winter gear is waterproof. I have seen unprepared people wear cotton and fleece as an outer layer in a blizzard. While you can spray waterproofing spray on these materials it is not nearly as good as having the correct gear.
3. Keep your group small
Small groups are almost always easier to manage; It is easier to hookup for lunch or ski runs together. Hopefully, you have people of similar abilities that can ski together or are willing to make turns and meet up at the end of the run. While going on a large trip can be fun I have found that smaller groups tend to work out better for everyone.
4. Sometimes smaller is better (resort)
Skiing a mega resort such as Vail, Aspen or Heavenly is a great experience, every once in a while give the little guys a try. There are some great resorts that are smaller and more intimate. Such as Diamond Peak, Homewood or Wolf Creek just to name a couple. These resorts may not have the amenities that the mega resorts have but they also don’t have the lines or prices that the mega resorts have as well. Places like Homewood have some of the best tree and powder skiing around and there can be hardly anyone to ski it. Those resorts do not have to be the whole trip but a day or two of the little guys is always nice to throw in the mix. Like I said before, there are few if any lift lines to worry about if that isn’t reason enough to give the little guys a try.
5. Tune your gear
If you are going to bring your own gear make sure that it is ready to go. It is always frustrating to get to the resort and find out that your skis were borrowed by someone and the bindings were readjusted or that you have a base patch that needs to be done because you hit a big rock. Taking the extra time to check your gear and have it ready to roll will help you enjoy your trip.
6. Pack the night before you leave
This goes with number 5 pack the night before your trip. Check to make sure you have everything that you will need. Make sure your clothing still fits and your gear is in one spot. Having to run around your garage to find things at the last moment ensures that you will forget something important like your boots or other key items.
7. Take a lesson
While friends say they can teach you how to ski or board. Take a lesson from a professional, that is what they are trained to do and it will cut down your learning time significantly. If you know how to ski or board and your friends are taking a beginning lesson, take a lesson that will help improve your skills, such as mogul skiing or learn how to ride the park.
8. Bring tire chains
This may seem obvious, but the weather can change very quickly in the mountains. Be prepared for any weather. Having chains for your car is not only smart but it may be the law in your area. Make sure that you have practiced putting on your chains. Learning how to put on chains for the first time in the cold snowy side of the road is no fun. If you are renting a car make sure you rent a four wheel drive vehicle. If the conditions are bad enough they may even require that the 4×4 has chains. In my personal opinion if I have to put chains on a 4×4 then I should just sit by a fire, read a book and drink a glass of hot chocolate, but that is just me.
9. Drink lots of water
At altitude, you will get dehydrated very quickly. Skiing and snowboarding is very demanding and you will work up a thirst as you exercise. Take brakes and bring water with you, there are collapsible water bottles that can stash in your pocket. Or if you want, take a backpack with a bladder and it can not only hold your water but the other essentials you will need. Having a snack available at a moment’s notice is always handy. You can always have extra gloves or items to keep you warm in there as well.
Sunscreen is your friend!!! Use it frequently and pick a high SPF. At altitude the sun is even more intense, you will feel cold because of the temperature but the sun’s rays will give you a sun burn very quickly. Remember to reapply after lunch. Something to remember is to bring some sort of eye protection. I have seen people go snow blind without sunglasses or goggles. This may be a temporary situation but why risk the eye damage?
11. Most of All Have Fun!!
Get out there and make some great memories. Skiing and Snowboarding are fun, enjoy your time in the great outdoors.