Considering a ski trip to the Alps? Here are a few suggestions from our four-week journey in Italy. They may make your trip a bit easier.

Travel light: We didn’t, and we regret it. Unless you’re going for the entire season, take one parka (possibly a shell), one pair of pants, and a variety of fast-drying layers. I took two parkas, two pairs of ski pants, etc. Unnecessary, heavy, space-consuming, and, overall, a burden. On the Ski Safari the few things we carried had to fit into a small backpack. It’s surprising how little you really need.

Rent equipment: The Alps are studded with high-end ski shops renting quality equipment at reasonable rates. Rental equipment is included in the cost of the Alpskitour and Inspired Italy packages. Most terrain we skied was groomed. The shop’s ski recommendation was perfect for terrain and conditions. Ditto with boots. I was having difficulty with the boots I brought and easily could have left them at home. I’ve always advised taking boots and renting skis, but if you don’t have foot issues, it’s fine to rent when you get there.

Wash your clothes: It’s better than carrying more than you need. Underwear and layers are easily washed in your room. One of our hotels provided free laundry service, others had free washers and dryers. 

Rely on local expertise: Unless you’re staying at a single resort, use the services of local guides. In the Aosta Valley we relied on Mauro Cevolo and Andrea Jory of Alpskitour. They organized all details, including daily decisions about which resorts would have the best conditions and the fewest people. It gave us the opportunity to explore a variety of great resorts without the hassle of figuring out how to get there and where to go once on the hill.  In the Dolomites, Tim Hudson and his partners at Inspired Italy organized every detail. 

Do not think about renting a car: For the most part, cars are unnecessary. Trains and taxis will get you where you want to go faster and more comfortably, especially if travel plans take you into cities. Trains are terrific, especially if you’re not toting too much luggage. Depending on the length of your stay and your cell phone service provider, you may want to use your mobile while traveling. It can be expensive. Our Iphones don’t use SIM cards. Next visit, I’ll take an inexpensive SIM-card compatible mobile and purchase a card when I reach my destination.

Make sure you’re covered: Medical and evacuation insurance are advised and sometimes required. Some carriers (e.g. WorldNomads) don’t write policies if you’re 75 or older. Others (e.g. Allianz) require you to sign up prior to departure. In the Aosta Valley it’s possible to pay a small surcharge for adequate coverage when purchasing lift tickets. Inspired Italy requires each participant to be covered. We purchased through Global Rescue. My 7-day policy cost $238; Pam’s was $119.

Congratulations, Lee!!!!

Lee Kneiss at Ski Santa Fe with his Panda Poles

The winner of the fantastic looking (and performing) Panda Poles picked randomly from all of you who contributed during our recent fundraiser is Lee Kneiss of Santa Fe. He’s pictured here at Ski Santa Fe with his new handcrafted bamboo poles and his hat. Enjoy the Pandas, Lee, and many thanks to Tanner Rosenthal, CEO, Panda Poles, for his ongoing support of

Cranmore’s Longest Season 

Cranmore Mountain (North Conway, N.H.) registered the longest season in its 81 years. The area was open 118 days, starting Nov 17 and closing April 8.

Solitude Has $55 Lift Ticket

The Utah resort scored 500” this season and is celebrating with $55 lift tickets for anyone showing a season pass from any other resort (including IKON and EPIC).

High Fives Foundation Raises $55,000 at Recent Squaw Event

The 5th Annual Mothership Classic raised $54,544 for individuals and Veterans with life-changing injuries. Participants got supporters to pledge 25¢ a lap. Using every type ski imaginable and dressed in vintage ski attire, they spent the day on Squaw Valley’s legendary KT-22. The organization’s Empowerment Fund has granted over $3.2 million to 236 individuals and Veterans since inception in 2009.


Very Good Idea

Indoor ski centers are getting a toehold in the United States, thanks to the efforts of Indoor Ski USA. The company distributes a variety of European-made, technologically advanced ski decks. They’re used to train competitive skiers and to prepare occasional skiers for their next holiday in the mountains. There are two facilities in the US: The Alpine Factory in Minnesota and Inside Ski near Washington, D.C. Both offer reasonably priced lesson packages. 

Nick Howe: RIP

Nick Howe

Nick, a former contributor to SKIING Magazine and correspondent for the U.S. Women’s Ski Team passed away on April 4. He was a the consummate New Englander, an Appalachian Mountain Club hut man in the White Mountains, Middlebury student and Goddard graduate, magazine contributor including Yankee, Outside and Backpacker. His book, “Not Without Peril,” published by AMC, chronicled accidents in the Presidential Range. Nick was a longtime columnist for The Conway (NH) Sun. He also was an accomplished banjo and fiddle player. A reception in Nick’s memory will be held at the Eastern Slope Branch of the New England Ski Museum in North Conway, N.H., on April 27 at 4 p.m.He was 85.

Patagonia’s 50% Off Sale

Patagonia’s online 50% off sale ends April 16. Many superb deals. Click here.

One More Run?

Many resorts are extending their seasons this year, especially in the West. Check websites to make sure lifts are running before you go.

March-April Skiing History Magazine Now Available subscribers can get the digital version free. Click here.

A Video Worth Watching

Lee Cohen started skiing Alta in the early 1980’s. Nearly four decades later, he’s established himself as one of the most influential ski photographers of his generation. His son, Sam, is a professional skier and one of Lee’s favorite photographic subjects. This 4:30 video tells the story.

One Comment

  1. Dave Irons says:

    Sorry to learn about Nick Howe. Our paths crossed on numerous occasions from ski shops in North Conway to various events on the slopes. Nick was a regular contributor to Skiing magazine for many years and a consummate professional writer. One of his most memorable pieces was in the spring issue in 1977. “He went straight in” is the story of Dick Buek, one of the most fearless downhillers ever. It was reprinted in The Ski Book, a collection of ski stories in 1983, edited by Mort Lund, Bob Gillen and Mike Bartlett. You might find the book on Amazon or Ebay or try of find the Skiing article on line. The piece is certainly worth a read as are many of Nick’s works. When it comes to our profession Nick was one of the best.

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