Skiing: Tips

SkiTops, the professional organization of the nation's top ski tour operators, offers helpful hints.

Air Travel

  • Delays can occur due to weather. Remember, weather-related delays often mean connecting flights are delayed as well.
  • SkiTops travel arrangers and the airlines make every attempt to fulfill seating requests but this is not always possible. Specific seat availabilities or assignments may be shifted at the last minute. Put your seating request in early.
  • Give your planner frequent flyer numbers in advance, or provide them to the ticket agent upon airport check-in. It is more difficult to obtain credit after the trip.
  • Rental Cars

  • Many skiers like to rent vehicles with front-wheel or four-wheel drive options. Ask your planner to request snow tires on rental vehicles.
  • If your clients are not used to driving in snow, ask an automobile association or driving school for key tips on handling vehicles in the snow.
  • Bus or Van Travel

  • If your clients are traveling from the airport via bus with a large group, to help assure delivery of bags to the lodge, tell clients to use the bag ID tags provided and to make sure their luggage has gotten to the bus before they board.
  • A rental car at the resort may not be necessary if there are resort-wide shuttles. Ask your tour operator about van or limo services and have them book space in advance.
  • Group leaders generally tip the bus driver. Individuals should likewise tip a van or limo driver upon arrival at their destination.
  • Lodging

  • Discuss lodging needs and budget in detail with your clients so the planner can book the one that best suits their desires.
  • Many hotels cannot guarantee check-in until mid- to late-afternoon. If a room is not ready, clients can have the hotel store their luggage and go out and explore the resort, spending the time to rent skis or arrange ski school or child care.
  • Clothing

  • Advise clients to dress in layers so that they may remove or add clothing as temperature changes.
  • Wearing one pair of warm socks allows free circulation, which means warmer feet.
  • Waterproof mittens or gloves are a must, and mittens are warmer than gloves.
  • Since a lot of body heat is lost through the head, it's a good idea to keep it covered in cold weather. Sun can burn the scalp; a cap with a visor offers dual protection of head and eyes.
  • Sun reflecting on snow magnifies its impact. Skiers should use goggles or sunglasses with UV protection and apply sunblock to face, ears, lips and all exposed skin.
  • Ski Rentals

  • Ask about renting equipment in advance to enjoy more time on the slopes.
  • Tell clients to be sure to put their correct age, weight, height and skiing ability on the rental form to assure properly adjusted bindings. Improper settings can cause injury.
  • Treating rental equipment properly and using a ski check during breaks and overnight to assure against theft is advisable.
  • If a client is unhappy with rental equipment, he or she should return to the shop as soon as possible and insist on adjustments or replacement gear.
  • Personal equipment may not be suited to all snow conditions. Many resorts rent high performance gear especially suited to such conditions as deep powder or moguls. Quality demo gear outlets are located right on the slopes at many resorts.
  • Adjusting to higher altitudes

  • Air is drier at higher altitudes and the body requires additional fluids. Visitors should drink two or three times more than usual (water or juices are best), eat more carbohydrates and use less salt.
  • To increase oxygen in the room, which aids in breathing, a window can be kept slightly open. Some hotels have humidifiers available.
  • Take it easy the first couple of days. Going all out the first day may result in being especially tired and sore for the next day or two.
  • Alcohol should be drunk in moderation. One drink equals two at lower altitudes.
  • Clients should study trail maps and start out on the easiest slopes, marked by green circles, going on to the next level only when they feel comfortable. Blue means more difficult, black means most difficult and double black diamonds are "experts only." Remember that each area grades its trails according to its own degree of overall difficulty.
  • When skiers get tired, they should take a day off from the slopes. Ski resorts offer lots of fun alternatives like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice skating and hot air ballooning.
  • Travel Insurance

  • At a minimal cost to the traveler, travel insurance provides security and peace of mind. Cancellation policies of lodging and airlines vary considerably but most vacation packages must be prepaid in advance of travel and some portions are non-refundable. If anything goes wrong and prevents traveling, insurance recovers most or all of non-refundable portions of your pre-paid package.
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