One of my absolute favorite things to do during the winter season is ski. I’ve been on a pair of skis since I was at least 6 but when horseback riding required me to relocate for 3 months to Florida (Jan-March) to compete, I had to put all other sports on hold. It wasn’t until I quit competing at a National level that I decided to return to the mountain and get myself back into the groove of skiing, before I lost the little foundation I had under my belt.
Over the last 5 years of continuous ski trips, I’ve become so hooked on the sport & very thankful I’ve kept it up. It’s seriously something I get butterflies thinking about! Each year I feel like I get better, working on maintaining “tight skis” and strategically gliding down the slopes. Needless to say I’ve already mapped out my available weekends to escape to the mountains!
For those of you that are ski enthusiasts, learning the sport, or planning to go on a few ski trips this winter, here are some ways you can prepare for upcoming season & help ensure you’re ready to hit the slopes!
SEASONAL RENTALS & MOUNTAIN PASSES
If you’re someone who’s aiming to ski more than three weekends this season, then you might want to consider seasonal rentals from your local sporting goods store. The same goes for seasonal passes for the mountains. When you rent or purchase at the mountain, you’re often paying $100+ more on-site than you would if you rented from home or purchased passes online. It’s crazy how much the mark-up is!
For example, last year at Stratton – daily rental for skis, boots, & poles averaged to about $125 per day, $250+ for the weekend plus tax. This year I decided to rent locally from a sporting goods store in NJ for the season and was BLOWN AWAY with the amount of money I ended up saving. I paid $250 total for skis, boots, and poles to use from now through the beginning of April 2019; and at the end of the season, I have the option to buy what I’ve rented for a discounted price!
The same goes for seasonal mountain passes. You can buy a seasonal pass that guarantees you access to multiple mountains, not just one at a time. Most mountains are joint-owned which enables you to have more flexibility with choosing several ski destinations to enjoy for the entire season.
Alterra Mountain Company’s 2018-2019 Ikon Pass unites 12 destinations & 11 destination partners, offering both skiers and riders access to nearly 50,000 skiable acres across the continent – not just limited to the Northeast mountain ranges!
Destinations include: Steamboat, Winter Park, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Big Bear Mountain, Stratton, Tremblant, Blue Mountain, Deer Valley, Aspen Snowmass, Copper Mountain, Eldora Mountain, Jackson Hole, Big Sky, Killington, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Loon Mountain, Alta Ski Area, & Snowbird.
SKI GEAR INVESTMENT(S)
I have a theory that I fall at least one time during every ski trip – and funny enough, it’s often on the bunny hill slope LOL! That being said, you should always anticipate taking a tumble. If you’re familiar with the Northeast, then you know how icy it can get and the consequences that can follow when falling. That’s why it’s important to make sure you always wear a helmet (no matter what your level/skill is) and always ensure your ski/snow gear fits properly before taking on the mountain. Failure to do so can result in dangerous, sometimes fatal accidents – remember what happened to Natasha Richardson?
If you’re an avid skier, then you might want to consider purchasing your own helmet and goggles. It’s also much more sanitary to have your own, in my opinion. I’ve found that borrowed helmets and goggles don’t always fit properly and the constant re-adjustments will make your experience quite frustrating, too.
SMART SKI ATTIRE
There’s NOTHING worse than feeling cold when you’re on the mountain. The higher you go up, the colder it becomes so being prepared with the right attire is CRUCIAL. I always make sure to check the forecast on the mountain each morning before heading up, assuming the temperature at the top is 10 degrees less than the temperature at the base.
Over the years I’ve learned to prefer ski jumpsuits over the jacket & pants combo because 1) they’re warmer to wear, and 2) you won’t get an unpleasant visit from ice & snow when you take a tumble. As you can see above, I’ve worn a jacket & pants ensemble before but only when my jumpsuit didn’t dry overnight. I personally like wearing something brightly colored so I’m easily spotted on the mountain when skiing with a group of friends. Plus, you’re more likely to get compliments from the chairlift staff!
My favorite ski jumpsuit is a vintage Southwestern Bogner that I’ve inherited from my mom. I’ve managed to score several vintage styles for way less than what they retail for on sites like eBay!
Underneath it all, you want to make sure you layer up with thermal gear designed to keep you warm while also wicking away moisture. You’re guaranteed to sweat, a lot, under all that ski/snow gear so you want to layer wisely with articles of clothing designed for the occasion.
My favorite brands for thermal base layers are Sweaty Betty, Helly Hansen, & Hot Chillys.
Lastly, you want to have a comfortable, durable pair of snow boots to change into after a day of skiing. Your feet are going to hurt & ache no matter what, so make sure you have something that can offer you warmth, support, and ensure your feet stay dry.
My go-to snow boots are these pairs from UGG Australia & Sorel.
Stay tuned for more ski & snow content to come as the season progresses!