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Tips and Tricks for Planning the Ultimate Ski Season

While it seems like summer just ended, the truth is we are already deep into autumn. That means winter isn’t far off , which means that it is time to plan out another season: ski season. Here are some tips for planning out your ski season itinerary.

Pad Your Pass
If you plan in purchasing a resort pass this year (and you should if you’re really wanting to up your skiing ability and get the most bang for your buck), you may also want to consider padding your pass with a few days at resorts that are outside your pass. Many resorts offer what are called “transferable 4 packs” that can be bought early-on in the season and will save you considerable cash off a daily lift ticket. You or anyone in your party can use these “packs” throughout the season, so they also make great gifts.

Avis and Beacons
If you’re planning on doing any side country or backcountry skiing, brushing up with an avalanche safety course or two couldn’t hurt. These courses are put on by a variety of outdoor institutions including the Colorado Mountain Club and SheJumps ( be sure to check for regional availability). Furthermore, REI often partners with a variety of outdoor centers to put on these classes each season. Not quite ready to invest in a pricey course but wanna get your feet wet? REI also hosts free Introduction to Avalanche Safety classes that you can sign up for online if you has an REI nearby.

Note: An introductory course is just the first step in preparing yourself to ski in the backcountry. A great deal of time, practice, and coaching from more experienced backcountry skiers is highly recommended.

If you’re already an experienced backcountry skier or boarder, now is the perfect time to check your gear by making sure your beacons are still working properly. Organize or attend a “beacon games” gathering where instructors and the public can participate in mock avalanche situations, learn to use or brush up on their beacon skills, and discuss various elements of avalanche safety.

Rally the Troops
As ski season revs up, make sure all of your friends are on board. Buy passes together, attend the annual Warren Miller film, and plan trips. Having a solid group of people to ski and snowboard with all season long will ensure that you have fun, stay safe, and push your boundaries.

Get the Gear and Maintain It
If you’re a season or two into your powder career, it may be time to upgrade on your gear. More importantly, no matter how many years you’ve been riding the mountain, maintaining your equipment is key. During the months of September and October, start going through your ski and boarding gear. Assess what is still working for you and where you’d like to invest some money.

Now is also the time for getting your bindings adjusted, skis and boards waxed, as well as Nikwaxing your slope apparel.

No Train, Lots of Pain
Like any dedicated outdoorsman or woman, you’ve probably been training for ski season throughout the summer months with a weekly routine of mountain biking, climbing, peak-bagging, and yoga. However, just because the snow is here doesn’t mean you can stop cross-training for the mountain. For you weekend warriors who plan on shredding, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re keeping your cardio and strength training in place during the week. Yoga is also an excellent way to build lean muscles, strengthen, and length tendons to prevent injury on the slopes. For more specifics on how to train for the snow, check out Bode Miller’s personal workout routine.

Focus on Quality, Not Just Quantity
You’ll often here bros brag about how many days they got last year or how many they plan on crushing this coming season. While consistency is key if you want to improve your skiing and snowboarding, make sure you’re setting more performance based goals for yourself rather than just striving to hit a certain number of days.

Some goals to set for yourself may include:

-the number of powder days you hope to ski or board (weather dependent, of course)

-how many different resorts you want to visit

-how many hours/runs you want to get in during a single day

-making a smooth transition from black diamonds to double blacks

-going on your first side country or back country trip

-organizing a hut trip

-saving and training for your first heli-skiing adventure

There are a multitude of ways to push yourself beyond a mere number. Just remember, the person pushing the hardest is the person who is having the most fun on the mountain while respecting it and all of its wonders.

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