5 Tips to Maximize Every Minute of Your Next Ski Vacation

Skier going down a mountain


Whether you’re a lifelong skier or just getting into winter sports, there’s a lot of planning and coordination that goes into a mountain vacation. In addition to sorting out the usual details associated with a getaway, like accommodation, travel, and meals, you’ve got to contend with lift tickets, equipment, and lessons (not just for beginners). While it might seem overwhelming, with these insider tips you’ll be able to make the most of your time on the snow with minimal planning headaches.

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Order Lift Tickets Online Ahead of Time

Ski lift on mountain


If you’re trying to catch first chair (or just avoid waiting in line) buying lift tickets in advance online is a must. Not only will you skip out on the rush to the ticket counter, but you’ll also save money. Sites like liftopia.com and ski.com offer easy access to discounted tickets for resorts around the world. Generally, the farther out you buy, the bigger your savings, though many resorts offer discounts even up until a day or two in advance—great news for procrastinators.

02 of 05

Book Ski-In, Ski-Out Accommodation

Ski chalet


Choosing where to hang your hat for a mountain vacation is about three things: location, location, location. Ski-in, ski-out digs are what you want. Though certainly pricier than alternative lodging, the ability to step into your skis or snowboard and ride straight to the chairlift is worth it. All the time you would have spent commuting to the mountain and changing in the lodge you can now spend making turns. If weather shifts during the day, simply pop by your accommodation between runs to switch up layers. And skipping the parking lot chaos means more time for aprés ski! If resort lodging isn’t your thing, check vacation rentals by owner on Airbnb and VRBO for a more unique, personalized experience.

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Plan Each Run Confidently with Garmin’s fēnix 6

Garmin watch


Pulling out a foldable trail map on the chairlift isn’t just a newbie move, it’s not practical when the wind kicks up and snow is falling. Instead, use the rugged Garmin fēnix 6 Sapphire Edition fitness watch. Preloaded with ski maps, including difficulty ratings, for more than 2,000 resorts around the world, the fēnix 6 will ensure you’re on the right routes all day. It also tracks your runs, descent, and speed, and visually maps your track so you can easily find your way back. With a Pulse Ox sensor that uses light beams at your wrist to gauge how you’re adjusting to altitude changes, and a Body Battery Energy Monitor to alert you when you could use a rest at the lodge, the fēnix 6 is one piece of gear you’ll want with you on the mountain. You’ll find it just as essential back at home, thanks to Sapphire’s activity-tracking metrics, sleep monitor and music-streaming capabilities. Bonus: It has a battery life of five days and active GPS time per charge of six hours.

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Tap into Local Knowledge on Day One

Skiers walking up a mountain

 Flo Maderebner

Whether you’re visiting a resort for the first time or making an annual powder pilgrimage, calling on someone who spends every day at the mountain will help you find the best snow on any given day. Many resorts have a complimentary group ski guide experience, but if you’re looking to find hidden gems in the terrain, it’s worth hiring your own. Pro tip: Consider contacting a local mom and pop ski shop to inquire about locals looking to earn a bit of extra beer money. Invest in a guide for your first day and use all you learn over the following few days. Just be sure to keep the secret spots to yourself!

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05 of 05

From Gear to Fitness, Be Prepared

Ski equipment


Nothing puts a damper on things quite like a busted edge, poorly fitting boots, or thighs burning out before lunch. So, get your gear—and yourself—in shape well in advance. Think of your ski trip the same way you would an athletic event: you’ve got to prepare your body and ensure you have the right equipment. Try your boots on if you haven’t worn them yet this season and make sure everything’s feeling snug (but not too tight!). Drop your skis or snowboard off for tuning at your local shop well before your trip. Check the weather up until your departure day and pack accordingly—remember the old Scandinavian saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” 

Now the more challenging part: tuning your body up too. In addition to daily stretching for mobility, add in a bit of core and lower bodywork. Lunges, situps, planks, and squats are a great place to start. By strengthening your quadriceps, you’re contributing to the stability of your knees—something your body will appreciate after a week of powder laps. See you on the mountain!

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