Winter Vacation Planning Tips

Insider Tips for Planning a Ski & Snowboard Trip

Are you planning a winter getaway this year?  We're not referring to a "winter escape" to Hawaii or Costa Rica (sounds nice though), we're talking skiing and snowboarding.  There"s nothing like that cold fresh air, crisp powder in your face or flying down freshly groomed corduroy to get your senses tingling and muscles burning.

Here are some ideas from the crew at Cracks & Racks to help you plan and make the most from your trip.

Check These Websites for Great Deals While Planning

If you're still in the planning phase of your trip, check out websites like, or  These are valuable resources that can help you find a package deal to a number of destinations that may include lift tickets, ski rentals, and transportation to and from the airports to your lodging.  If you're making plans on short notice, you can also find special last minute deals.

Buy Lift Tickets Ahead of Time

Skip the lines at the ticket counter on your first day of riding and buy your lift tickets in advance of your arrival.  If you book through a website like, your package may already include lift tickets.  Many resorts have advanced sales and offer price breaks when purchasing multi-day tickets in advance.

A website like partners directly with ski resorts to bring you lift ticket deals you won't find anywhere else. Book online and save up to 80%!

Rent Skis - Buy Boots

Traveling with skis is costly and with ski & snowboard technology changing every year, renting skis & boards makes more sense than purchasing.  Instead, purchasing a pair of well fitted boots will be the best investment and last the longest.  Renting boards allows you to get the latest equipment, matched to current conditions.  Local ski shops can be very helpful getting you the right gear for your level of skiing or riding.  You can swap gear too, which is especially nice when the skinny cruising skis you were on yesterday aren't the best choice for the 8" of new snow that fell overnight.

When you're renting gear, head over to the ski shop in the evening, before your first day on the mountain, if possible.  That way, you won't spend valuable time in the shop the morning of your first ski day.  Even better, contact a company like D2D Ski RentalsBlackTie Ski Rentals and Ski Butlers will come right to your hotel or condo delivering the latest gear, having you ready to hit the slopes first thing in the morning.

Make Dinner Reservations in Advance

If you want to head out on the town at night for a steak dinner and a bottle of wine, you'd best have a reservation.  If your plans are during the high season, around the holidays, you"ll want to make reservations well in advance of your arrival, unless you prefer eating at 9:30 at night.  If you"re staying at a hotel, call ahead and speak with the concierge and ask them to make some reservations for you.

If you"re still looking for a place to eat, check out  You'll find even the highest rated restaurants here, and with smartphone apps, getting a last minute reservation is possible.

Grab a Local Newspaper

Once you've reached your destination, the local newspaper is the best resource for learning about upcoming events you may want to check out like live music shows, or movie listings, or special events, which are typical in resort destination communities.  You can learn a little bit about the community and pick up some great ideas for after ski activities.  Plus, you can catch up on the latest gossip around town, which can help start some pretty interesting chairlift conversations.

If you're interested in live music, make sure you check in advance of your arrival for ticket availability.  Contact the venue box office prior to your arrival.

Try Something Besides Skiing or Snowboarding

Not a skier or boarder or maybe you just want to take a day off from skiing to rest.  Fortunately, there are a bunch of other fun activities besides skiing & snowboarding at most destinations.  Cross Country skiing and snowshoeing are fun and inexpensive and allow you to soak up some fresh air, see some countryside and get away from the crowds.  Fly fishing is a year-round sport and you'll likely have the river to yourself during the winter while you chase trout.  Ice skating and sledding are fun for all ages, although sledding on the ski area is absolutely forbidden.  Soaking up the warmth in the hot tub or local hot springs can be a great way to spend some time too.

Contact the local chamber of commerce where you are visiting for ideas and the names of reputable outfitters to help you with your alternative activities.

Take it Easy on Your First Day

Enduring an entire week of skiing will be easier if you don't wreck yourself the first day.  We understand the thrill and anticipation of getting out skiing, especially on the first day, but remember, skiing can take a toll on your body and you're going to get sore if you haven't skied since last season, or done ski conditioning prior to your arrival.  Our best advice is to stay hydrated, eat well, get plenty of rest and don't overdo it on the alcohol, especially at altitude!

We hope you found this article helpful for planning your next winter getaway and hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip.

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