When the weather forecast calls for lots of SNOW, I can’t wait to hit the slopes! My excitement is often met with proverbial “cold weather” groans which I happily ignore, because this year, YOU’RE hitting the slopes with me. A Thursday off work is the perfect day to ski and board since it’s cheaper and less crowded than the weekends.
Sweet – so let’s make sure you know what you are getting into!
What to Wear
This is often the first question winter sports newbies ask. Layers, layers and more layers. Start with a moisture wicking base layer, then add neck gaiter, goggles, jacket, HELMET, gloves, warm wool socks, and snow pants. Oh yeah – and a sense of adventure! There is no need to go high-end. I snicker at the people decked out in Arc’teryx or Patagonia without skills to back up their duds. Do not, I repeat, do not wear jeans. If you arrive wearing jeans, I will pretend I don’t know you and I promise you will be miserable. Jeans get wet and cold fast; it doesn’t matter how good you are, there are these things called snow pants, wear them!
Ski or board, ski or board?
That is the question. Do you want your feet stuck to two sticks that can and do sometimes go in opposite directions, or both feet strapped to one board going down the mountain sideways? I grew up skiing and in college, switched to boarding and have never looked back. My husband is an avid skier and thinks I’m crazy to prefer snowboarding. A lesson can help you decide which works best for you. (Want more info? Check out our Girl’s Guide to Snowboarding!)
Get the Gear
I advise first timers to stick with rental equipment. If you’re hooked after a few lessons, then go for it- buy your own gear! There are plenty of great pre-owned markets for gear and apparel as well as last year’s models at a reduced price. A great time to buy is during end of season sales. I bought my first snowboard used on eBay and still have it. If you have money to burn you can buy all new gear and equipment at your local ski shop, but remember skis and snowboards can be all mountain or terrain specific. Are you going to be out west where there is tons of powder and deep snow, or in more icy conditions locally? It makes a difference. If you have gear that has been collecting dust and cobwebs, bust it out! Take it to your local ski shop or resort to have it tuned. They’ll wax it, maybe laugh at how ancient it is, and get you ready to hit the snow.
A Lesson Never Hurts
Before we hit the slopes together, I’ll say “Girl, you know you’re taking a lesson first, right?” Helping friends new to skiing or snowboarding, NEVER ends well. They repeatedly fall and take two hours to make it down the bunny slope once, wearing my patience thin, which is never a good thing. Hey, I’m no instructor. Let’s leave your first time on the slopes to pros paid to teach who have far more patience! I will happily join you after your lesson, once you have the basics down and are totally stoked.
Where to go, where to go?
We are lucky living in the DMV where there are many choices only a few hours away like Snowshoe, WV; Seven Springs, P;, Blue Knob, PA; Wisp, MD; and the Poconos. For an even closer experience try Liberty, Deep Creek or Whitetail. If you think you’ll be going often, consider buying an Advantage Card, which provides discounted lift tickets and rentals with every sixth trip free (at Liberty, Whitetail, and Roundtop). If you have the time and the money, I recommend going out West to Utah, Colorado, or Wyoming which are pretty sick. Go for at least a week as the terrain is massive, you could spend all week on the snow and never hit the same run twice. Take a lesson out there too, as there is always something new to learn or difficult terrain to conquer – make that mountain your bitch.
So you’re experienced?
If you’re an old pro who hasn’t hit the powder in a while then GET OUT THERE! There is no time like the present to dust off your gear and get it tuned. It’s like riding a bike. You’ll be surprised how fast it comes back to you and how amazing you’ll feel! It doesn’t get better than the sun shining, the wind blowing, being surrounded by trees on a white pillow of snow going as fast or slow as you want, where you want, and as many times as you want!
I LOVE IT and so will you!
At the end of the day, I’ll meet you at the lodge bar for a cold brew next to a cozy fire. Cheers!