Buy a Back-Up Pass

Even you already have your perfect Ikon, Epic or Mountain Collective pass, it’s worth checking out resort-specific and regional passes to give you extra days. 

I’m an Ikon guy because I ski a lot at Stratton in VT and Snowbird UT.  But this season, I also got an Epic Northeast pass.  Why?  Because Epic offers a stripped-down pass that includes several areas within 30-40 minutes of where I live.  And for a super reasonable price, it’s a great deal enabling me to ski three top Vermont resorts, all nearby.   Another example is Brighton, Utah, which offers a resort-specific pass that adds days to your Ikon Pass.

So check your ski map and see if it makes sense to add an “other” pass to your ski season.  And don’t delay, because when pass sales end, they’re gone.  

Start Walking

“Age creep” is a problem for all of us senior skiers.  

Hip problems caused me to stop running over the past year, but walking is an amazing replacement.  I get in thousands of steps, see the sights, and sleep better, too. In just 30-40 minutes a day you’ll be amazed at your results, including increased stamina, so you’ll be more fit for ski season. 

Take a Group Lesson

Find two or three friends with a similar proficiency, and get everyone on board for one group private lesson during one of your first ski weekends.  Ski instructors like me “take lessons” at the beginning of every season because it truly helps us to dial-in the key tips and exercises that make a difference for our own performance on skis. 

With a few friends, and a 2-3 hour private, you’ll all get some useful tips from your instructor, get feedback and some practice, all of which will get you sliding in your best way.  Everyone’s got to re-learn a bit of their technique, and this makes it easy to lock-in the right ideas and leave behind the other stuff. 

Most ski areas will allow 3 or 4 adults in the same group as a private lesson, which helps spread the cost.

Remember the Little Things

Zero in on the little things that will make your season easier and more fun. Four suggestions:

Hands get cold? Buy a box of hand-warmers now, before you need them. You’ll have plenty for the season and you’ll also save money by buying in bulk instead of individually when you are already at a ski resort.

Check your goggles.  Are they scratched enough that vision is impaired a bit?  Did they fog up last season, which means they will fog up even more this season? Then get rid of them, and buy a new, decent brand, even an inexpensive one. 

Feet cold?  Now’s the time to explore boot heaters, since they often sell out early.  Or, try a “boot glove”, which I compare to the wetsuit that scuba divers use.  It’s simply a stretchy, neoprene wrap that covers the toes and top of boot, with a Velcro fastener behind the heel.  I’ve been using them on super cold days for seven years and can tell you that they work. 

Here’s a tip – pre-heat your boots on cold days: Put 1 or 2 hand warmers in each boot when you start getting ready in the morning, and by the time you put on boots they’ll be toasty warm.  The Boot Glove won’t warm up cold boots, but they help a lot to keep warm boots.

Seasonal Ski Check

More resorts are offering an all-season ski check or locker, which will relieve you of having to carry skis/poles to and from the parking lot.  Of course, this only works if you are skiing the same area all season, as ski instructors do.  Even if your season is several different resorts, overnight ski-check is worth the money so you don’t have to lug your skis and poles to and from the parking lot, shuttle bus, or even a base area hotel.

8 Comments

  1. Very good list. thanks for this.

    • Hi Richard,
      What else is there? We’ve all got our little “hacks” to make things easier, smoother, better – let me know!

  2. Buy an Indy Pass and support the small hills who still care about casual and day skiers. Shorter lines, friendlier people, and more of your money stays local as opposed to being collected by a large conglomerate.

    My 2 cents

  3. Dee Carpenter says:

    I turn 62 in Nov., last year I took my first 2 lessons at Keystone, loved it but need more practice, heading to Copper Mountain early Dec for a couple more lessons. My goal is to be able to ski down greens at a leisurely pace,,, any suggestions on best mountains w/ low grade trails but a decent length? (Hope this makes sense, I’m a newbie) TY

    • Hi Dee,
      You are doing it right! A couple lessons at beginning of season are the best thing you can do. And be demanding with your instructors! If she/he explains something & you don’t get it, ask for a re-phrasing…instructors sometimes use explanations that work for some, but not everyone.

  4. Elaine Okimura says:

    As a 30+ years ski instructor I agree with your suggestions to start the year off right, especially a short lesson. We all will have things crept in or forgotten from last season.

    I also strongly support the Boot Gloves as an inexpensive means of keeping your feet warm, even on long, windy below days. I have used the electronic boot heaters but they are more problematic with a customized footbed, hence my preference.

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