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Do as the Locals Do

December 20, 2013

I had a lot of fun sharing my tips about things to do and what not to do on your ski vacation, so I decided to share a few more tips with you.  Hopefully these suggestions will help you have the best ski trip ever, simply by getting into the mindset of a local in the mountain town you’re visiting.

Beaver Creek Colorado

Instead of spending the week corralling a big group, do as the locals do and discover the joys of skiing alone.  I’m not advocating that you leave the family at home altogether (unless that’s your plan, in which case enjoy the freedom!).  But consider going off on your own for an hour or so.  You might be surprised about how much fun it is to ski with nobody’s agenda but yours to consider.  You’ll also get a lot more skiing in than you typically do with the group.  And beyond that, you’ll probably be more attuned to your surroundings – moments spent on the chairlift quietly taking in the view cannot be undervalued.

Grouse Mountain Beaver Creek

Instead of getting injured on your last run of the day, do as the locals do and quit while you’re ahead.  I know that when you’ve only got a limited number of ski days, the temptation to stay on the hill until the lifts stop turning can be a strong one.  If you’re feeling good until the bitter end, more power to you.  But if your legs turn to jello around 3 p.m., do yourself a favor and head to apres.  Most ski injuries happen on that last run of the day, when your determination to get one more run overpowers your good judgment.  If you’re exhausted, chances are that you’re no longer in full control of your skis.  And especially at the end of the day when the routes to the base become more crowded, that’s a recipe for trouble.  

Tree Ski

Instead of zapping your legs on the first day of your trip, do as the locals do and add some ski conditioning exercises to your pre-vacation routine.  If you are hoping to make it to last chair, your odds will improve greatly if you do some work ahead of time to get yourself into skiing shape.  In this valley, every gym offers ski conditioning classes in the fall.  Though painful, these classes and similar training really help make you stronger for those first few days on the hill.  No ski conditioning classes in your town?  No problem.  Just google “ski conditioning exercises” and see what pops up.  (I just found this video that looks promising):

When in doubt, do squats. 

Instead of shelling out big bucks for a mediocre on-mountian lunch, do as the locals do and plan ahead.  I can count on one hand the number of times I ate lunch at a mid-mountain restaurant in the last few years.  And I’m not one to skip meals.  How to do it? Eat a big breakfast that will stay with you – I usually have an egg and avocado sandwich or oatmeal with flax-seed and nut butter – and pack snacks.  Those snacks can be as ambitious as a turkey sandwich in a ziplock bag or as grab-and-go as a few granola bars.  I usually throw two or three Larabars in my pocket and make it through to apres with no problem.

You can still sit on the sunny deck while you enjoy your homemade PB&J - for free!

You can still sit on the sunny deck while you enjoy your homemade PB&J – for free!

Instead of battling crowds on the slopes, do as the locals do and figure out how to avoid the lines.  This one is going to take a little reconnaissance on your part, but it will be worth it.  On every mountain I’ve skied, there are areas that are typically un-crowded and lifts that rarely have lines.  These tend to be off the beaten path, so you’ll probably need to ask around.  Ski patrollers, ski instructors and the locals sitting next to you on the chairlift should be your best resources here.  Ask nicely and they should be happy to share.  

Beaver Creek Chairlift

Ok, now it’s your turn – fellow ski-town locals, what would you add to this list?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2013 10:53 am

    Get out early (before 9)…the lines are way less, you park closer if you are driving, and then you can break early for lunch and be ahead of the lodge crowd. Especially at Vail you will stay ahead of the lines if you go early as people make there way to the back bowls and blue sky you will always be ahead of the bubble. When the lines get there start moving back ward and you will be a head of them that way too.


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