The ski season has started. Instagram is covered with the white stuff. Do you have your passes? Do you know where your gear is? Have your legs done anything more than walk around the office in the past six months?
These tips will help you prepare so your first day at the resort isn’t all yard sales and cursing.
Track Down Your Gear
Time to find your gear. Pull everything out and confirm it’s all in working order and fits like it did last season. Jacket? Check. Ski boots? Check? Goggles? Check.
If credit card statements are showing a few extra trips to craft breweries over the summer, some gear might not fit like it used to. Or maybe you lent something to your buddy Tim and never got it back. Now’s the time to find out, not the morning of your ski trip.
Creating a checklist in a service like in Evernote or Google Docs will make packing for the mountain a breeze.
Treat Your Feet
Ski boots have a bad rap for being torture devices but it doesn’t have to be like that. Visit a boot fitter with new or old boots and have them adjusted to exactly what you need. While they may not be as comfortable as snowboard boots, they can be comfier than bear traps. When you’re checking out your boots, make sure all the buckles work and that the toe and heel pieces fit in your bindings.
Tune Up Those Skis
Skis get thrashed every season. That’s what they’re meant for. So don’t forget to take them in for a tune-up before hitting the hill. A ski shop will sharpen the edges, remove rust, fill any holes from rocks you may or may not have hit, and apply a fresh coat of wax (most waxes are only good for a few days of skiing). Afterward, check over your bindings and all the screws. Make sure everything is tight.
Adjust the DIN setting; it might be set low for storage or just bumped since last season. Flying down a black diamond with your DIN set to 2 might cause premature ejection and a visit to your doctor. (Don’ know what we’re talking about? Head here.)
Consider Buying New Goggles
A small hole in a base layer or gloves that aren’t quite waterproof won’t kill you, but goggles you can’t see through will make for a terrible day. Consider investing in a new pair of goggles this season.
New models boast better peripheral and they tend to fog less. Many, like the Spy Legacy goggles, have easy systems to swap lenses depending on the light and conditions. Don’t suffer through flat light with dark lenses — throw on a yellow or a Happy lens from Spy for different light and you’ll actually be able to see those
Check the Brain Bucket
You might be a good skier, but many of the people on the hill are not. A collision with an out-of-control newbie or little bobble straight into the tree and you could have a concussion. If crashed at any point last season and thought, “I’m glad I’m wearing a helmet,” it might need to be replaced.
Helmets these days are lightweight, come in any color, and fit with most goggles. Accessorize with GoPro mounts, headphone ear flaps, and sun visors.
Configure Your Rack
All this talk about skis but how do we get them up to the mountain? If you’ve got a ski rack, it’s a good time to collect all the pieces and get it configured on the car.
Wash Your Wool
The secret to staying warm and comfortable is a good base layer. Double-check your clothing for holes. If your clothes still have a scent from last season, wash them up with Nikwax Basewash or Wool Wash.
If you need a warmer option, Icebreaker Bodyfit merino wool base layers will keep you toasty, wicking moisture and keeping the smell away with Merino’s natural odor resistance. If you need to get loads of sweat wicked as fast as possible, try something like the Patagonia Capilene base layers; the polyester dries very quickly and is smooth to layer over.
Wash Your Jacket and Pants Too
Waterproof jackets and pants need to be cleaned regularly to work properly. If the durable water repellency (DWR) coating on the outside wears off, water won’t bead and your jacket will be soaked, reducing breathability. When the jacket doesn’t breath, it will feel like wearing a plastic bag. What’s worse, dirt and oils from your skin work their way into the layers of the jacket, tearing it apart.
Clean your jacket regularly with something like Nikwax Tech Wash. Most of the time it just needs a turn in the washing machine and a cycle in the dryer. If water is still soaking into the outer fabric, it’s time for a re-proof with Nikwax TX.Direct spray.
Buy Cheap Passes
You can stand in line and spend extra money to buy your lift passes at the resort if you want, however, most offer deals if you buy passes early or in packs of four or six. Sometimes you can get them cheaper through a grocery store or gas station by purchasing certain items. A little research about the resort and you’re going to can save you good bucks.
Websites like Liftopia also provide discounted passes if you buy ahead of time and book during slower times, like the middle of the week.
Don’t Skip Leg Day
Walking to the pub after work and skiing all day are not the same leg workout. If you’ve already been doing at least 15 to 20 minutes of cycling, running, or exercising three times per week, then you’ll have a good base to build on for skiing. If you haven’t, jump to it. Your body will thank you after.
Need a place to start? Redbull knows a thing or two about skiing and the right exercises. The big-name brand suggests working on your core and legs with squats, squat jumps, wall squats, lunges, and planks.