- 22 Resorts
- Consistent Snow
- Diverse destinations
- Resorts open before those of many other states
- Home to Vail, Beaver Creek, Copper Mountain
Enter your start location for step by step directions:
Packing for you and your family for your upcoming ski vacation can be daunting. There is so much to remember as you prepare to venture off into a chilly and snowy climate to which you may not be accustomed. Keep it simple and stick with the basics, such as your clothing and accessories.
Chad Fleischer is used to helping people with what they need and he knows from experience. Chad has traveled the world for more than 25 years as a former member of the U.S. Ski Team and a two-time Olympian. Now, Chad owns Fleischer Sport at the base of Steamboat Ski Resort in Colo. His popular store offers everything from ski and snowboard rentals to clothing, helmets, gloves and everything in between. He is also a dad with two young boys, who hit the slopes often.
1. Leave the Skis
While Fleischer may have had to travel with many pairs of skis during his days in competition, his number one advice now is to leave your skis or snowboard at home. “If you don’t ski more than 20 days a year, there is no reason to own your own skis,” says Fleischer.
It’s because of the conditions. Fleischer says you may need different skis for different conditions. “Powder skis for powder days, carving skis for the groomers, and an all-mountain or fat ski for the crud and bumps.”
That is why he says to rent from a local shop. He adds that poles are easy, too, as most rental shops throw in the ski poles with any pair of rental skis.
The benefits add up, as well. Your local rental shop will make sure you have the skis or board you need for the type of conditions that day. The equipment will be tuned up and properly waxed, and more than likely stored right there at the shop overnight. That means no schlepping a bunch of equipment around with you back to the condo. Plus, you don’t have to haul a bunch of gear on an airplane and pay extra airline fees for bulky baggage.
2. Buy & Bring Boots
Chad’s bottom line advice is to invest in ski boots and not skis. “When you travel, take your ski (or snowboard) boots on the airplane with you so if your luggage is lost, you still have your ski boots and you’ll be comfy and happy. I never check my boots because your ski boots are your connection to the snow, and it is your most important piece of equipment.”
3. Clothing Can Go Either Way
As for apparel, everyone is happy to help as most resorts have plenty of stores full of winter wear available at the base area, from the basics to Bogner, Prana to Patagonia, Alp-n-Rock to Icebreaker. Clothing shops offer it all if you want to outfit the family from head to toe and buy it upon arrival.
That includes good socks and warm gloves. Always dress in layers with clothing that will wick away the moisture and keep you toasty. Don’t forget sunscreen and lip balm, which you’ll need in a dry winter climate. Plan on a few snacks and treats for your pockets, too. This goes for the kids as well. Fruit leathers, cheese sticks or a few crackers are great for an instant snack.
Many ski towns also have second-hand sports stores with clothing and gear, which is another option for a cost-conscious family. Load up on used clothing for you and the kids and then sell it back at the end of your trip. It’s just one more option to keeping it simple on your next family ski vacation.