Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Nothing to do until Ski Season? How about these suggestions!

Not sure what to do with yourself until ski season starts up again? If you’re already counting the days until next winter, these activities can help you kill time til you can bring out your skis again:

Get in shape
It’s a great time to bring out the Crossfit videos and start getting in shape for the slopes.  Since skiing is a sport that requires lots of endurance and balance, waiting until a month or two before your trip can be detrimental.  Plus you don't want to be sore when that first day comes, or you’ll be spending half of your day sulking in the lodge.

Water skiing
There may be no snow or huge drops in altitude, but water skiing offers the same adrenaline rush as snow skiing.  It’s also a perfect way to keep your balance in check during off-season.

Go climbing
You won’t find snow at the top of the mountains, but the breathtaking view at the top guarantees you the same high you get when cruising down the slopes.

There may be no skis and snow on beneath your feet, but you’re still letting gravity lead you down the mountain and on to the ground. And you may be surprised to learn  some ski resorts offer ziplining right there, at the same place that will be covered with fresh powder in a few months.

Enjoy a gondola ride
One of the best things about getting a bird’s eye view from a ski resort in the summer is having a different look at the scenery. What you're use to seeing covered in snow, now has foliage and color (and maybe even some wildlife!). But the views are just as good without the snow as it is with.  It gives you something to appreciate during the warm summer months.

Don't have to go too far for a summer job
Saving up for the next ski holiday?  Earn the dough for it.  Many ski bums turn to manual labor to earn and save up for the next ski trip. A lot of ski resorts these days have other programs available during the non-winter months. Various resorts bring everything from rock climbing to disc golf to ropes courses on their grounds - see what job openings those activities have to offer!

Chase the snow

If all the activities above still don't satisfy your appetite for the snow, altitude and speed... you can always go the extra mile (or extra couple hundred of miles) and see how skiing in South America compares. Planning a ski trip to the southern hemisphere may not be for everyone, but those who are ready for that adventure, are never disappointed.

Or if you just want to get right to planning for your next trip, there's no shame in that. In fact, the best selection of flights and accommodations are available now! And some resort partners even have special offers that include free nights, resort food & beverage credits, free room upgrades & more! It's never too early to start planning. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

How to Dress for a Ski Adventure

An adventure at any of your favorite ski vacation destinations will always be better when you and your family are properly dressed for the venue and the activities you plan to engage in. It’s not enough to bring the warmest clothes you own, clothing that’s too warm may actually do more harm than good and can make you feel cold instead of warm.  You see, skiing requires a lot of movements and make you sweat. Moisture from sweat will eventually make you feel cold and uneasy. This is where careful planning and selection of wardrobe comes in to play.

If you’re planning a ski vacation for this winter, here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding on what to pack (or what you should buy if new apparel is necessary):

Be conscious of the expected weather and how altitude will affect the temperature. For some it might be beneficial to have ski clothing that covers a wide range of temperatures and activity levels. What you are wearing when first leaving the lodge may be of little to no use once you get to the top of that mountain. Take note that steeps, powders, and moguls tend to be colder than many other parts of the ski resort. Higher altitudes are usually colder and temperatures are at least 5 degrees colder with every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Summits at most western ski vacation resorts are often times 15 degrees colder than the base of the lift.

Go for wicking fabrics. Clothes with wicking materials keep moisture off your body rather than trapping it against your skin.  As much as possible, avoid cotton clothes as these tend to trap moisture. Wear light to medium-weight zip turtlenecks and long thermal underwear beneath other layers of your ski attire.

Layer your clothes wisely. Make sure you have an insulating layer in between the wicking layer and moisture-repelling layer. Wool and fleece are examples of good insulators and are preferred by most skiers because these feel warm even when wet and does not trap moisture.

Be mindful of your extremities. Wear ski hats that cover the ears and can be secured properly in case of extreme weather. Use a fleece balaclava as a mask, scarf or under-hat layer and protect your hands with well-insulated gloves. Use glove liners under mittens when necessary and put on goggles to protect your eyes from extreme cold and possible injuries.

Keep your feet warm by wearing a good pair of ski sport socks preferably made from wool materials. Wool socks help prevent boot bruises and help you get a more precise boot-fit, enabling you to ski more accurately. 

The start of ski season is closer than you think! By keeping these tips in mind as you ski-shop and prepare, that's one more way to make sure you have the best possible ski trip!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sad it's not ski season? Try water-skiing!

Just because there’s warm weather doesn’t mean you can’t ski… well you may have to make some adjustments. The biggest difference is the kind of skiing I’m talking about – it’s on the water. Water skiing has some similarities to the snowsport we all know and love. It doesn’t mean everyone can jump right up on the water skis and be a pro from the start, but the learning curve should be better than it is for a non-skiier.

Instead of skiing on hills covered with snow, you are skimming over a body of water with your ski. And rather than speeding downhill using your momentum, you are on a relatively flat surface (not perfectly flat but as compared to a ski slope) and pulled by a boat.

The origin of this sport goes back to 1922. Ralph Samuelson thought that if you can ski on snow, you could also ski on water. So he and his brother worked on that idea and in early July of that year Samuelson was able to stand up on two skis while being pulled by a boat his brother was driving.

Just like in skiing, a water skier should also have strong upper and lower body strength, endurance, and good balance. Similarly, both sports also involve edge control which requires similar hip movements and compression of the lower body.

Over the years water skiing has also introduced the use of new equipment that’s similar to ski and snowboard gear. For instance, hardshell boots and bindings have been brought to water skis to allow for increased control over the board, prevent ankle injuries and keep feet in place.

There are also different kinds of water skiing to choose from. “Combination pairs” are the most common and easiest for beginners to learn. Moreover, you can also choose “slalom skis” if you want to ride on just one ski (similar to snowboarder). It is also good for making sharp turns. When first learning the slalom skis, boards typically have wider tails and flatter bottoms to make it easier to get up and stay straight. The third type is called “trick skis”. They are used for jumping, spinning, and doing various tricks. Trick skis are short, wide and do not have fins for easier turns and slides. “Jump skis” are long and light and allow you to jump on ramps and across long distances.

But before skimming on the water, you should learn some hand signals to communicate with the people in the boat. A thumbs down means you want to slow down, while a thumbs up means you want some boost. In case a skier falls, a red flag will be held up in the boat to warn others to stay clear until the skier and rope are recovered.

Don’t let the heat put a damper on your love for skiing and try this summer alternative until it's time for you ski vacation! Water skiing will surely quench your thirst for a summer skiing adventure.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Ski Trip Reflections: 5 Common Myths About Skiing

During your ski trip, you might have overheard from fellow skiers a few bits of misinformation that you may have initially believed. Today, we will demystify 5 common myths that we hear about skiing.

Powder skiing without fat skis? Impossible!
Many skiers are quite dependent on thicker skis and can't imagine skiing deep powder with skis less than 100 mm underfoot. Believe it or not, thicker skis were not always the trend and straight skis were manageable for powder skiing using different techniques.

Moreover, some would agree that fat skis have taken the special quality out of really deep-powder days. Floating on top of 6 inches of powder with fat skis feels like on the top of 20 inches.

Moguls prevent skiing smoothly
The fear of moguls push ski resorts to spend millions each year just to flatten those bumps. However, with little knowledge and techniques, skiers can use bumps to their advantage… The rounded backs of moguls are perfect for making turns. A curving sideslip around the mogul can be used to scrub speed. The back of a big bump can even be used to slowdown while continuing down the slope.

Wear helmets for invincibility
Ski helmets are made for safety. Unfortunately, cases of skiing fatalities have not significantly dropped despite the use of helmets. Still, the use of helmet on your ski vacation is highly recommended to reduce or mitigate the severity of some head injuries.

The thicker the socks, the warmer it gets
It’s a classic mistake to double up on socks (especially cotton ones). Sweat caused by doubling your socks leads to cold feet. Thus, in your ski vacation, a pair of thin and breathable socks would be a better choice. Thick socks make ski boots too tight, reducing circulation.

You'll break your leg
Leg fractures were the typical ski injury a long time ago. However, changing technology in skis and bindings minimized the possibility of getting leg-bone injury. Unfortunately, cases of tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee have become dominant. So during your ski vacation, stay safe.

Do you agree with this list? What other common myths of skiing have you heard or were told on a recent ski trip? Let us know by posting on the comment section below.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What happens with ski vacation destinations during the summer?

So what happens to ski vacation destinations when the summer sun starts melting the snow up?  Closing may be an option for some resorts, but for others, summer’s an opportunity to welcome another type of crowd – the nature loving ones. 

Many ski destinations have expanded their summer offerings to lure nature enthusiasts and those who’d like to skip the cookie cutter beach vacations.  Here are some things you can expect at a ski resorts on warmer days:

Mountain bike trails
As the cold season makes way for warmer days ahead, snow melts to reveal breathtaking drops, terrains and gardens that will make fat-tire happy mountain bike enthusiasts happy.  Many resorts offer bike trails with a scenic view of the mountain and lots of fresh air, once the ski season ends and the ice has melted.  You can bring your own bike, or you can rent from one of the resorts’ shops.

Zip lines
If you’re craving an adrenaline rush, a thrilling ride from the snow-less mountain down to the bottom of the mountain via a zipline can be an exhilarating experience.  Many resorts are taking on this thrill activity, offering not only heart pumping action, but also exceptional views along the way.  

Scenic tour via chair lift or gondolas
If ziplining is not your cup of tea, but you would still appreciate an eagle’s eye view of breathtaking mountain scenery, a chair lift or gondola tour can be a more fitting choice.  Yes, the mountains look just as good without the fresh coat of snow most ski enthusiasts would greatly appreciate.  Some resorts will even welcome guests with a lunch al fresco at the end of the tour. 

Hiking trails
Many ski resorts allow people to take advantage of what the area has to offer, more naturally - venture their trails without the snowsuits needed!  Lots of opportunities for hiking give picturesque views along the way.  In ski/snowboard season, stopping to take in those views, much less take a picture of them, can be rather difficult... Summer makes the perfect time for that. Just like the slopes themselves, the hiking trails can be used by beginners to more advanced hikers with steep climbs and rocky terrains.

White water rafting   
Nothing says sweet-summertime more than a thrilling white water rafting adventure with your family and friends. Ski resorts, such as those in Vail offer many rafting trip options, from full or half day to short trips from beginners and intermediate rafters. Just call the resort operator to make your reservations or visit their main website.

Cultural events and activities
Ski resorts, host many cultural activities that involve arts, crafts, and a good deal of food and wine that can bring out some new experiences you would have never tried otherwise.  Beaver Creek in Colorado plays host to a non-stop array of festivals, from art and music to BBQ’s.  Watch out for the Thursday Night Rodeo series, where one can get a taste of calf scramble and bronco riding.  

For many ski vacation destinations, the fun never really ends even when winter is long gone. But that doesn't mean you can't start looking into plans for your next ski vacation this upcoming season - it's never too early!