From the experts effortlessly carving up black runs, to the first-timers mastering the art of snowplowing, the slopes are attracting more Americans each year. With airlines announcing new routes across the country, connecting the sunshine states of Florida and Texas to the world’s most renowned ski destinations, even beach bums are trading in their flip-flops and surfboards for boots and skis.
However, with the amount of gear needed and logistics involved, planning a ski getaway can often feel a lot more intimidating than it needs to be – particularly for those coming from warmer climates. Yes, a ski vacation does involve some careful organizing, but with these easy tips, you’ll be in the mountains in no time. Here’s how skiers and snowboarders can plan for a hassle-free trip this season.
Trim your travel
First things first, sort out how you are going to get there. Look into cutting your travel journey in half by opting for direct flights to world-class ski destinations. JetBlue recently announced a new service to Steamboat Springs, with inaugural flights from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
Some flights even take you straight into resorts – Aspen/Pitkin County Airport is located within four miles of Aspen’s world-class skiing, and six miles from the Snowmass Village. Finding these handy routes will save on having to hire a car or the hassle of bundling your gear onto public transport.
That being said, places like Vail, Salt Lake City, and Lake Tahoe all have well running local transport. As long as you set up travel to and from the airport then there really isn’t any need to waste money on hiring a car. Colorado Mountain Express and Vans to Vail are both examples of inexpensive shuttle services which will get you from arrivals to the slopes in no time. Parking in many of these resorts is often next to impossible, and therefore having a car will only be a nuisance.
There are even ski shipping services to simplify the way you travel. Ship Skis transports your skis and snowboards to and from your destination, allowing you to enjoy a hassle-free travel experience to practically anywhere in the world. What’s more, with airlines often guilty of mishandling baggage, these door-to-door services will ensure your precious skis arrive safe and sound.
Avoiding the holiday rush will also make travel a whole lot easier, plus it will mean emptier slopes. Try and plan a mid-week vacation, or an off-peak weekend, and don’t even think about Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, or Christmas as everything will be packed!
Rent, don’t buy
For those of you from sunnier climates, there really isn’t much point in splashing out on expensive gear, especially as it will probably spend the rest of the year taking up unnecessary space in the garage. Renting equipment is relatively inexpensive and it saves the hassle of hauling it all from home. Complete beginners can even find standard learn-to-ski packages that include all gear rental, lessons and lift passes. For the more adept skiers, if you’re going to buy, just buy boots.
There are now even plenty of places to rent outdoor apparel, such as Kit Lender. Kit Lender ships the latest outdoor gear, apparel and accessories directly to you, wherever and whenever adventure strikes. Using sites like Kit Lender to pre-book rentals will supply you with better quality than most local renting shops in mountain towns and will significantly shave down costs.
Finding ski clothing rentals at your ski area, even at the base of the mountain, is almost impossible to find. If you do come across the rare rental shop, prices will be through the roof – and there’s no guarantee that they will have your size or style.
Book in advance
Book absolutely everything in advance – it will save stress and cash. With fresh snow and clear skies finally in sight, the last thing you want to be doing on arrival is trekking into rental shops to sort out gear, passes and lessons. You can now pre-organize, reserve and even pay for pretty much everything online. Services, such as Ski Butlers, allow you to book equipment online and have it delivered directly to you upon arrival.
It’s quite simple, the further in advance you book, the cheaper the trip will be. Booking flights and accommodation ahead of time can easily save you more than $2000, according to Zrankings. Scoping out accommodation and lodging months before you set off will also present a wider variety of options, and you may even find bargain deals.
Don’t let the misconceptions of expensive and stressful ski vacations get to your head. With these simple tips, you’ll notice an immediate cut in prices, experience a painless travel journey to and from the mountains and have easy access to top-notch, slope-side gear.