Ski trips can provide the outdoor thrill of a lifetime, but they require meticulous planning and attentiveness to complete. Here are seven ways to make the most of your next ski trip and create an unforgettable experience.
1. Upgrade Your Gear
First and foremost, you should inspect your skiing equipment for quality. Spread all of your gear out on the floor and go through each piece one by one. Take note of any damages and determine if you need to make some upgrades. You should especially prioritize your boots, gloves and protective headgear, since they give you the most essential protection on the mountain. Few things are more dangerous in a cold environment than vulnerable extremities.
Your skis, poles and other padding should also be in optimal condition. If you notice any deterioration that could compromise your safety, it’s time to get new equipment. A set of high-quality equipment will make your trip much more comfortable.
2. Book at the Right Time
Booking at the right time is a crucial aspect of your ski trip’s success. Even the most experienced winter outdoorsmen sometimes make the mistake of booking a trip during a mountain’s busiest times. These times include:
- Christmas and New Year’s (Dec. 24 to Jan. 1)
- MLK Day weekend (third weekend of January)
- President’s Day weekend (third weekend of February)
- College Spring Break (the first two weeks of March)
Avoid these time slots as best you can and aim to book your trip in early January or early February. The slopes, lodges and other gathering places will be less crowded and still in optimal condition, affording you more time and space to enjoy the luxuries of your ski trip.
3. Stay on the Mountain
You should also focus on lodging as close to the mountain as possible, or ideally on the mountain itself. This decision will save you hours of preparation and travel throughout the week. Instead of driving to the resort, finding parking and waiting in line for rental gear, your group can be among the first people on the slopes every day.
Some resorts deliver rental gear to their on-site lodging, which can eliminate another hassle for you. However, options are limited. Only a select few manage to book their spots on the mountainside for the weekend they want. To increase your chances of getting a good location, you must begin your search well in advance. The sooner, the better.
4. Get Everyone Up to Speed
As your trip draws nearer and nearer, everyone should prepare themselves both physically and mentally. Get yourself into decent shape and recall the fundamentals of skiing. If your group has any beginners, they should watch instructional videos and get used to the feel of their equipment before they set foot on the mountain.
By getting everyone up to speed before the trip, your first day on the slopes will go much more swimmingly. Experienced skiers can thoroughly enjoy the mountain, and the beginners can start their training with more confidence. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.
5. Plan for the Right Altitude
The altitudes of popular ski resorts widely vary, so you must consider that factor when planning your trip. If you book a trip to a mountain with heights you haven’t experienced before, your group will probably suffer from altitude sickness. These are the main symptoms:
- Muscle cramps
- Shortness of breath
As a precautionary measure, plan your trip at an altitude you’ve tolerated in the past. When you begin skiing, be mindful of your energy levels and note if any symptoms occur. You should also stay thoroughly hydrated and pace yourself. Many have made the mistake of burning themselves out on the first day. It’s not a race – take your time on the slopes and enjoy yourself.
6. Hold Your Ground on the Slopes
If you want to make the most of each run, don’t be afraid to hold your ground on the slopes. Tell the lift operator if you want to ride the ski lift alone. Speak honestly with your groupmates about which slope difficulties you’re comfortable with because once you hop on the lift to the black diamond, there’s no hopping off.
Additionally, never concede your space to other skiers. You are just as entitled to a smooth descent as everyone else. You have the right of way to any skiers behind you. Ignore the speedsters, stay in your lane and remember the fundamentals of proper mountain etiquette:
- Always stay in control of your skis.
- Never stop in the middle of a slope or an area with low visibility from above.
- Look uphill before merging onto a slope.
- Use carabiners and other devices to keep your equipment on your person.
- Follow the posted signs and warnings.
7. Try Something New
Skiing is just the tip of the iceberg for your winter trip. If you find that the slopes have become too redundant, try one of these activities instead:
- Snow tubing
- Sleigh rides
- Sled dog rides
Most well-established resorts have multiple attractions to choose from. Of course, food and drink is also viable form of entertainment. Your resort should have a wide array of options in that department, but you should also take some time to explore the nearby town for unique bars and restaurants.
Execute Your Ski Trip Like a Pro
By following the above seven factors, you will be able to execute your ski trip like an experienced professional. Taking care of your equipment, observing your surroundings, and planning ahead will allow you to live in the moment and enjoy your trip that much more.