A SNOWSPORTS TRAVEL GUIDE
So, you're planning an extended trip to the mountains. Awesome! The progression you'll experience from consecutive days is significant! Now let's help you choose the how, what, when and where and get you the best trip ever.
Our first piece of advice: if you're looking to avoid the crowds, you might want to skip Christmas/New Year weeks, Martin Luther King and Presidents' Day weekends. They're sort of the "black-out dates" for skiing and riding. But if you do travel during these times you can expect to see a lot of special events and features at your disposal.
Choosing a resort
There are so many factors that go into choosing where you're headed. Identify a region or a few regions that you want to head to. Then look at each site to see size, prices and some more about the surrounding area. Websites like TripAdvisor, OnTheSnow.com and even review sites like Yelp can help you figure out what sort of vibe each resort provides. Is it a fun singles spot? Mostly family-oriented? Caters more to ski than snowboarders or vice-versa? All important!
Most resorts have special deals for certain dates. Lots have mid-week specials too. Look for package deals that often include rentals and lessons. Children stay and ski for free at many resorts, too.
Depending on your wish list, budget and group size, there are so many different lodging options. Most resorts have a "Lodging" option on their websites. These options can range from resort-sponsored "ski-in/ski-out" locations, to condos and apartments with full kitchens, to Bed and Breakfasts to motels. Checking out the parking and driving situations is key here. If the money you save on staying further away you end up spending on gas, parking and a locker at the lodge, it might be better to treat yourself to a ski-in/ski out location.
If you're flying, find out about transportation from the airport and in and around the resort. While some resorts are not far from the airport, some are an hour or so – or even more – away. Most resorts offer shuttles from the airport. But you'll have to think about how you'll get around once you're there. Some resorts like Breckenridge, Aspen and Park City have lifts right in town, have convenient bus routes and have several inns and hotels that offer shuttle service to the lifts and mountains. But other resorts like Jackson Hole, WY are a distance away from town, requiring a shuttle or rental car to get around or visit other resorts.
Take a Lesson
Whether you're a first-timer, a novice or advanced, you can take your skiing or riding to a new level by enrolling in a lesson program. Besides general "Beginner" and "Novice" lessons, many resort Ski and Snowboard Schools offer classes for bumps, powder and terrain parks. Some schools offer clinics just for women and seniors, and others will take you to their secret spots for tips on all-mountain skiing/riding. Save time by booking your lesson and downloading release forms online. If not a lesson, go on a free guided tour of the mountain offered by most large resorts (Mountain Host Program), or just go tear it up with your friends! Everyone gets better by riding consecutive days. This could be the trip you take it to the next level!
To get the full winter experience, book other activities like tubing, dogsledding, sleigh rides and snowmobiling. How about reserving a spa treatment or a massage to soothe your skin and muscles after a few days out in the elements? For Aprés Ski, dining and late-night scenes, locals often can be the best resource.Checking out tips on review sites like Yelp and foursquare can really make a difference.You'll need dinner reservations at major, upscale resorts. Concierges at your lodges can reserve everything for you.
Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and Snowlink.com.