Jared and I are mountain people. We have been a few times in the past and claim the mountains as our happy place. It’s the place we can go repeatedly and never tire of. For one reason or another we’ve held off on going since the kids were young. We decided this was the year they were old enough to enjoy and remember it. About 6 months ago we started the process of planning. We have some friends who go skiing every year and they helped remind us of the process and get prepared. It’s so helpful to have experienced people help you navigate through adventures. They helped us “first timers” learn the basic foundation for what we needed to create a fun vacation for our family.
Back when we began getting ready for the trip I started a checklist of supplies and to do’s in order to keep me organized and also for when we go again. I thought it might be a nice resource for anyone else dreaming of a ski destination to reference.
The main categories to consider are transportation, food, lodging, ski equipment, ski tickets, and gear.
Transportation– You will need a vehicle in good condition and ideally with two wheel or four wheel drive. The road trip alone is hard on a vehicle so make sure you service your vehicle and it can handle long distance travel. Mountain driving is very different. It requires a lot steep terrain so it is a burden on any vehicle to bear.
Food- We took a cooler and packed our own food for the road trip. Once we arrived, we went to the market and bought groceries to make breakfasts and a few evening meals at our destination. We also bought lunch items to pack in the cooler so we could have lunch each day at the ski resort. We enjoyed some local eateries for a few meals as well.
Lodging– We booked our rental online ahead of time. This is an important step to lock in early. Our friends were more experienced with our trip so they chose our lodging and we split the cost with them. Now that we have the trip under our belt I feel more exciting to look at offerings and take on this task next time.
Ski Equipment– It’s also best to reserve your ski rental equipment early. This is something I would have not realized if our friends hadn’t warned us. It makes the process of checking out equipment so much faster and seamless. The rental company can organize your gear ahead of time based on your family’s sizing information and have everything ready to check out rather than waiting in lines forever. You can google ski rental equipment in the area of your location and there will typically be a few businesses to choose from.
Ski Tickets– It’s probably possible to reserve these ahead of time as well, but we just purchased them in line at the resort each day. You can get discounts if you purchase a few days together rather than day by day. We also put our children in ski lessons the first day so they could have a professional introduction to the new activity.
Gear– This is the fun stuff! It seems overwhelming at first to think of all the gear you need on the mountain, but once you break it down it’s not so bad. We didn’t have everything we needed and it starts adding up to purchase it all at once for each family member so we chose to ask around and borrow a lot of our goods this first time around. My idea is to build on our collection each year until we have all of our own gear. It’s best to think in terms of layers this way you can take away or add to depending on the weather forecast. Each person will need a set of long johns and wool socks for the first layer. Next you will probably want to have sweats and a sweatshirt along with a second layer of socks and some liner gloves. Lastly, you will need a quality water resistant coat, pant, boot, and glove. You will also need a scarf/neck warmer, hat/helmet, and sunglasses/goggles. I always make sure to put sunscreen on everyone before we leave for the slopes and the only thing I take with us in my pocket is chapstick and my phone. Jared likes to carry a backpack with water canteens and a small first aid kit. A backpack also helps for when you may want to shred layers or vice versa!
I hope this article is a helpful tool for getting you started off smart for a ski trip. If you have any good tips or resources please share in the comments! I love hearing of ideas and products. As I said one of my funnest parts is planning the gear and my favorite place to buy outdoor gear is www.huckberry.com. I’d love to start a conversation about great ski destinations as well! My dream is to go to a new location and have a new experience each year!! We stayed in Pagosa Springs, Colorado this time and skied at Wolf Creek Pass. It was a perfect place for families.