I’ve picked up a few things here and there as it relates to skiing. I wanted to capture them as I remembered.
If you ski with kids, bring snacks and water. There is a lot of rest time on the chair lifts, but kids aren’t the best at knowing when they need calories and when they need water. I learned this after many short days where friend’s kids would melt down at 200p because they were low on one or the other. Doesn’t matter if the parents don’t do this, I always do (maybe selfishly) so that we can ski out the day without fuss.
You want to be a little cold in the parking lot. This relates to dress and layering. These days I have a good sense of what to wear and plus I take a backpack with stuff or room to shed gear. But the rule is that you want to be a little cool in the parking lot. Then once you start skiing and heat your body up you will be all good. If you are warm when you step out of the truck, you are going to be hot on the hill.
Good goggles make better skiers. Or at least safer skiers. If you have old goggles, toss them and learn to see again. It will change everything.
Always buy online and in advance. I learned this one from Matt at Colorado Ski Authority several years ago. I met him on a chairlift at Steamboat and chatted with him for a while. The highest price you can pay for a lift ticket is at the window. The only place these days where you can pay less is if you either buy online through the resort or find other discounts. As an example, look at the discount lift tickets in Colorado this year. You can save $160 on a 3-day ski pass to Breckenridge, just from buying from the Breck website at least a week in advance. I’ll be straight, I don’t understand the economics of that, but Ski Authority has it right there. Don’t ever walk up to the window and pay for a ticket unless you don’t have a choice.
Don’t eat on the mountain. I mean I do sometimes, but the food is just okay and is not great at all for the price. I’m not cheap, but I hate getting ripped off, so I try to bring something or just snack throughout the day. If you do eat, try to avoid the regular lunch hour. That just adds lines and slows you down.
Don’t ski to the base. I used to say this because of the crowds. Now I say it because of the scanning. Resorts have scanners now which adds just a tiny little layer of slowness to the process. Then you add tons of people down there, and it’s a logjam. Stay mid-mountain and above or any area of the resort where they aren’t scanning. You’ll get to ski more.
Remember you are surrounded by people. They are skiing at both faster and slower speeds than you. They are coming from all angles. They are sometimes stopped in bad spots. Keep your eyes open and head on a swivel. 7 years ago I saw two people carted off the slopes from the base because someone came in too fast and just mowed this couple down who were just standing there. They had helmets, but it didn’t matter. People are moving very fast. It’s fun, but you have to be careful.
Keep your boots in the car. Obviously if you are driving. Sometimes people have roof boxes and put the boots up there. Then they are ice cold when you get to the hill.
Poles are worthless. Don’t spend any money on poles. Buy used or cheap. It doesn’t matter.
Demo skis mean you can demo others. If you get a demo package, you can come back in and trade them out for a different pair as often as you like. This is a great thing to do if you are looking to buy skis soon.
Book ski rentals online. Same as above with the lift tickets. Nearly every rental shop has an online option. Use it. It’s easier to fill out the form on a computer than hand-writing them in the store. Plus you will get 10-20% off. For Colorado, here is a ski rental calculator to find the cheapest places to rent wherever you go.
Book lodging very far in advance. Ski resorts can handle way more skiers in a day than the area can hold at night. Lodging goes fast and the worst of it lingers. Just use AirBnB or VRBO if you need a place. Most all condos and lodges have their stuff on there. It’s the easiest place to find everything.
Carry skis on shoulder and poles in hand. Don’t get fancy with this. This is the best way to do it. Trust me. I have tried them all.
Most injuries happen on the last run. You are tired. The sun is at a weird angle and it makes it hard to see. You are relaxed and not paying as much attention. Remember this.
Don’t use ear buds to listen to music.
Wear a helmet.
Buy all of your gear in the off season.
Don’t fart in the gondola. I know there are windows.
Don’t take your boots off until the last run has been skied for the day. It feels too good to have them off. You won’t want to put them back on.
As easy as skiing is for you, it’s likely harder for people who don’t ski much. I am bad at this. I ski the same stuff all day with a buddy and he’s beat and I’m not. And I push him to do more or go harder than he wants to. I’m learning, but I do forget. A LOT.
Alcohol is more potent at altitude.
Much of altitude sickness is dehydration. Not all of it, but drink a ton of water and don’t stop until you are back to the low country.
The snow at Tahoe is very different. They call is Sierra cement and you will have a ski drop below the surface and you can’t pull it back out. While one is on top. And you are going 30mph. Approach with caution your first time.
The Moose Cafe near Park City has the best bacon on the planet. Yes, it is in a gas station. Yes, just off the side of the highway. But it was chipoltle bacon and I’ve never seen its equal.
Deer Valley only sells 2000 tickets/day. Can be cool. Can suck if you are left on the outside because someone didn’t buy in advance, Nathan.