An overhead shot of children lined up in a ski school and their instructor stares off into the distance
There’s no better way to ruin a trip than to put utterly unprepared people on the slopes, especially youngsters.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

6 Ski Essentials You Absolutely Need To Plan For

Choose Your Instructor

If bouncing down moguls does not rattle you and you do not think twice about detouring through off slope, tree lined trails and backcountry skiing, then you do not need any instruction. The rest of us, though, should probably consider it. Many have not skied for years or have neophytes in our groups. One thing is for sure, there is no better way to ruin a trip than to put unprepared people on the slopes, especially youngsters.

Some resorts, such as Utah’s Park City Mountain Resort, incorporate instruction right into the ordinary experience of enjoying the mountain. You can also always check with a local ski shop and ask for recommendations. Those wanting a refresher can probably get away with a half day group class. Newer to the sport? You should definitely consider one on one instruction, preferably for at least a full day.

A shot from below of a pair of skiers on a lift, their skis making two Vs.The price of lift passes may seem shocking, but you’ll find plenty of options to whittle down their cost.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Plan Your Passes and Routes

There is one essential piece of ski equipment that newcomers can easily overlook: the lift pass. The cost of actually getting up the mountain may shock you the first time you see it. For example, the cost of a single day pass at Aspen Snowmass (one of the most popular resorts in Colorado) can run close to $200 for an adult. Fortunately, you will find plenty of options to whittle down that price tag. Buying early helps, as does getting a package deal when you book your resort and (potentially) picking them up in a local ski store. If you plan to hit multiple slopes for multiple days, consider purchasing a Mountain Collective, Ikon, or Epic pass. Though seemingly pricey, these passes offer great bang for your buck, providing you access to multiple resorts across North America and sometimes offering heavily discounted children’s passes.

Also, before you ride the lift up, plan out a couple of skill appropriate runs down the mountain first. This can be as easy as chatting with a fellow skier over your map or scouting it out in advance at The last thing you want is to accidentally end up peering down a trail named, say, Devil’s Fiddle or Lower Organ Grinder or Steeper Than Hell (all real monikers, by the way) and discover it is the only way down the mountain.

A woman in teal and pink snowshoeing down a wooded path.Most ski resorts offer plenty of addition activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, tubing, snowshoeing, and more.Photo Credit: Getty Images / VisualCommunications

Consider Off-Slope Recreation

Sometimes winter vacationers can get so focused on the skiing that they forget how much wonderful stuff happens off of the slopes. That is why it makes sense for you to plan what activities you want to do when you are not on the mountain. Make no mistake, most resorts offer plenty of alternatives such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, tubing, snowshoeing and the like. Some mountain towns also have great gourmet scenes, posh spas and awesome entertainment.

Like everything else in your ski trip, enjoying the times when you are not skiing is all about understanding your options and planning out your ski essentials. A little proper preparation can make for a truly memorable ski trip.

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