Anyone who has kids knows how difficult it is to get the family together for a day on the mountain. After breakfast, the search begins for lift tickets, the long underwear you're sure you left at home, credit cards, cash, gloves - even your ski boots. Can you imagine going through this every day of your vacation? Take a few tips from the pros and get organized.
Professional ski instructors, ski patrollers, and others who spend their days on the mountain, have to think ahead. They'll typically change their clothes four times a day, carry a variety of specialized equipment, and ride a two mile-long chairlift to their "office," hours before you've ordered morning room service. Try following these simple suggestions to prevent leaving valuable items behind:
Buy a backpack: Buy yourself a lightweight backpack and store essential items together - items like your wallet, cell phone, car keys, credit cards, sunglasses, gloves, a hat, and other items you can't survive without. Whenever you take something out of your backpack, return it as soon as you're done using it. When you get home from your ski trip, leave everything in the backpack. That way, you won't have to waste time rounding everything up again.
Buy multiples of simple items: Nothing can slow you down more in the morning than looking for small items like your Chapstick, lip gloss, sunscreen or handkerchief. Why not buy several? Experienced snow pros will buy small quantities of lip gloss or Chapstick at Costco and keep one in their pocket, the car, and in their ski bag. Look for sales at the end of ski season so you have more than one pair, if you're constantly misplacing your sunglasses. The same goes for goggles. Keep one pair in your ski bag and another in the trunk of your car and you'll never be without them on a snowy day.
Rent a locker: Consider renting a locker at the base of the mountain, if you tend to ski at the same resort. Professionals who work for resorts usually have a locker to store their uniform and incidentals. You can do the same thing. By keeping your hats, goggles, gloves, and other necessities in your locker, you'll never have to worry about leaving them at home. If the cost of a locker rental is prohibitive, consider sharing a locker with a friend. Just don't "borrow" their gear.
Check your gear before your ski day: When you're paying $70 a day for a lift ticket, you don't want to consume half the morning fiddling with your bindings. Instead, check out your skis, boots, bindings and other snow gear before you arrive at the mountain.
Snow pros will spend a Saturday in the garage tuning and waxing their skis, checking the fit of their boots and even try on their ski clothes well before the first snow flake flies. If you run into problems, you'll have plenty of time to fix them without cutting into your ski day.
Keep everything in the same place: Nothing can spoil a ski trip faster than realizing you left your credit card or car keys back in the car or in your hotel room after you've reached the top of the mountain. To avoid making this kind of mistake, always keep your personal items in the same pocket of the same parka or pair of pants.
It sounds foolish (and possibly a bit anal?) but this simple tip will save you time. A quick pat-down of your pockets before you push off will guarantee that you have everything you need for the day. You don't even need to take off your gloves.
Don't mix your valuables: Avoid putting your credit cards or cash in the same pocket where you keep your handkerchief or Kleenex. Thousands of people lose their valuables every year because they accidentally dropped their credit cards onto the snow when fumbling for something to wipe their runny nose.
Instead, keep wedding rings, cash, credit cards, and hotel keys all in one pocket - preferably in an inside pocket of your fleece liner. Avoid keeping your valuables in your outer shell or parka. Thieves prey on valuables left in parkas at lunch or when you've ducked into the restroom.
Remember to put everything back where it belongs at the end of the day (or the end of your ski trip). If your kids want to borrow your Chapstick, give them a couple of bucks and tell them to buy their own.