Seven Days of Fun at the Mountain
Now that you’re gaining mastery in skiing or snowboarding, spend a week at a resort to fine tune your skills and add other winter activities to ratchet up the fun meter.
Choosing a resort
Go online. Websites like skisnowboard.com give subjective reviews and comparative information for all major resorts in North America. Expand your horizons – pick resorts you haven’t visited. Then browse individual resort sites to find a good package deal. Everything from air and lodging to lessons and lift tickets is cheaper online. Children stay and ski for free at many resorts.
Lodge (hotel) room vs. condo. Condos are usually more spacious, allowing one or more families to stay together, and are good opportunities to save on meals. If you’re not into cooking on vacation, the lodge is a good option. Ask about breakfast, hair dryers, hot tub and spa services, laundry facilities, kids programs and on-site ski/snowboard storage. Schlepping equipment is not fun, especially for kids.
Ski-in/ski-out vs. the village. Some properties sit right on the mountain – convenient for slope access but not for restaurants and shops that are found mostly in the village. Ask about distances for walking and shuttles. If you must walk in your ski boots, buy a pair of Cat Tracks. These slip-on rubber soles will protect your boots on pavement and keep you from sliding on ice.
Find out about transportation – from the airport and in and around the resort. Some resorts like Jackson Hole, WY are a distance away from town, requiring a shuttle or rental car if you want to stay at one place and visit the other. Self-contained resorts like Vail, CO have excellent free transportation systems, so you never need a car. If you choose to stay in town, most inns and hotels offer shuttle service to the mountain.
To get the full winter experience, book other activities like dogsledding, sleigh rides and snowmobiling. Reserve a spa treatment for the fourth day. After three days on the mountain, you’ll need a soothing break about that time. For the hot après ski, dining and late-night scenes, locals often can be the best resource. You’ll need dinner reservations at major resorts. Concierges at upscale lodges can reserve everything for you.
Take your skiing or riding to a new level by enrolling in a specialty program, such as lessons for bumps, racing and powder. Some schools offer classes just for women and seniors, and others will take you to their secret stashes for tips on all-mountain skiing/riding. Save time by booking your lesson and downloading release forms online. If you aren’t into taking a lesson, go on a free guided tour of the mountain offered by most large resorts.
If you don’t want to schlep your own equipment on a plane, book demos directly on the resort’s website or separately at rentskis.com for pickup at certain shops. Or sign up on skibutlers.com for a technician to deliver equipment right to your room. Reserving ahead saves tons of time. You can also ship your own stuff ahead of your arrival.
Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and snowlink.com.