Hitting the Slopes
Unlike a beach vacation, where all you need to focus on is sucking in your gut while strolling the shore, ski vacations require more plotting and planning than most first-daughter weddings.
You must remember to pack:
- Long underwear
- Lip balm
- Gloves and glove liners
- Heavyweight, midweight, and lightweight socks as well as sock liners
- Knit caps
- Capilene baselayer t-shirts, heavy weight T-shirts, and in-between baselayer and heavy weight T-shirts
- Boots for skiing, boarding, apre ski, and walking to and from the lodge
- Fleece jacket and vest
- Winter parka
Of course, you don't want to forget your poles, skis, and boards, and depending on your extreme sports-gene, maybe even an avalanche beacon and snow shovel.
All of this blueprinting tends to bury one of the most important, but least considered, ski vacation aspects: driving in snow. So in keeping with the vacation theme, here's a checklist of things to consider when negotiating snow-packed roads:
- If you're from the East bear in mind that most Western states, due to environmental concerns, do not salt roads. Only plows and sand are used. So don't be surprised after a snowfall to find snow-packed conditions, even on major interstates.
- Don't be fooled into false security with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Slow down to conditions. This is a common and costly winter mistake, especially with four-wheel rental car drivers.
- After a powdery snowfall, be especially aware of passing trucks on interstates causing temporary white- outs. When this occurs slow down, but DO NOT STOP. You must remember that you are on an interstate.
- Leave large gaps between you and the vehicle behind you. This way you'll have more reaction time should the vehicle in front begin sliding.
- If you see taillights reflecting off the road at night, chances are strong you're driving on black ice, one of the most dangerous road conditions. If this occurs immediately reduce your speed.
- Avoid sharp turns or sudden stops.
- When stopping, pump your brakes. Slamming your brakes causes skidding and loss of control.
- If you're renting a car, make sure it contains an ice scraper before driving off.
- If you become stranded in a blizzard, stay with your car. If you must run the engine to remain warm, be sure to occasionally check that the exhaust pipe is clear of drifting snow.
Ski Specific Road Tips
- Be aware of Sunday mass exoduses. Every major resort from Hunter Mountain in New York to Killington in Vermont to Park City in Utah experiences Sunday evening gridlock. For instance, Colorado's Interstate 70 is especially troublesome. Under normal conditions a drive from Vail to Denver takes 90 minutes. On Sundays, during the height of the ski season, the drive can take three to four hours, or longer if snowing. So plan accordingly, especially if you have a flight to catch.
- To avoid crowds on the roads and on the slopes consider a ski vacation in early December or early January.
- Double-check ski racks. Many boards and skis have been destroyed by this oversight.
Other Topics in This Section
- Tent or RV Camping
- How To Pull A Trailer
- Pre-trip Maintenance
- How To Map Your Route
- Planning Your Getaway
- RV Handling & Driving Tips
- Finding a Place to Park Your RV
- Getting Off the Beaten Path
- Roadside Attractions: Stopping Along the Way
- How To Reach Your Destination Safely
- How To Buy a Sailboat
- How To Buy a Power Boat
- Vintage Cars and Rallies
- Should You Join a Car Club?
- Fun with ATVs
- Saving Money on the Road
- How to Plan a Road Trip
- Stocking Your RV
- Top Ten Seasonal Scenic Drives
- Traveling With Your Pet
- National Parks
- Hitting the Slopes
- Preparing An Emergency Kit
- Preparing A First-aid Kit
- Crossing the Border
- Gambling Getaways
- Paper Maps and Online Guides
- Guide to GPS
- Wireless Maps on Cell Phones
- Beach Excursion
- Avoiding Road Construction
- Sample Trip Itineraries
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