Prepare to Ski

10 Questions to Ask Yourself

To prepare is defined as putting oneself or things “in proper condition or readiness.” Dictionary.com. If there is one sport that requires good preparation it is has to be alpine skiing. Other than snow covered mountains there is nothing more important than being prepared for a day on the hill.  The first step to ski preparation is identifying what type of skier you are.  The second step is to acquire the appropriate gear, apparel and accessories. Ben Franklin QuoteIf there is one thing you should not do it’s going on a shopping spree without having thought about things beforehand. To help build your “Ski Identity” we’ve included the following 10 core questions.  The answers will point you towards the gear, apparel and accessories most appropriate for “you” as a skier.  We suggest you compare your answers to our upcoming post “Downhill Skiing Checklist.”

1. What is your Skiing ability?

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Avoid the ego trap of categorizing yourself up. For example, first-timers or those new to the sport no matter what age or athletic ability are beginners.

2. What is your height and weight?

Helps determine the optimal length and ski stiffness.

3. When did you ski last?

  • Never
  • 1-3 years
  • 4-5 years
  • 6+ years

Gear, apparel and accessories have changed so much in just the past ten years that you may want to consider upgrading if it’s been a while.

4. How many days will you ski each season?

  • 1-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-9
  • 10+

You may be surprised to know that most skiers are on the snow less than 10 days each season.  So, be realistic.  

5. In which US region(s) will you be skiing most often?

  • Northeast
  • Mid-Atlantic
  • Northwest
  • West
  • Midwest

Knowing where you’ll ski matters.  For example, northeast skiers need warm apparel and skis made for packed powder, rain and ice no matter how gorgeous a thin shell jacket and pair of fat skis made for the sun and deep powder of the west may look. Don’t let your purchasing decisions be swayed too much by that rogue trip across country. You can always rent at the destination.

6. What type of terrain do you expect to ski?

  • Groomers (trails groomed flat by a snowcat)
  • Moguls (bumps)
  • Off-piste (off-trail)
  • Glades (trees)
  • Backcountry
  • Trick Park

This will impact the type, shape, flexibility and size skis you’ll need.

7. Where will you boot up?

  • Car/Parking lot
  • Lodge
  • Ski-on Ski-off (i.e. mountainside condo)

Ski-on ski-off accommodations make the experience hugely easier and some of the hardcore from yesteryear still boot up in their car, but in reality most skiers boot up in a lodge these days.

8. How long will your ski trips usually last?

  • Day Skiing
  • Weekend Trips
  • Extended Trips

Remember that the longer the trip the more you’ll need to bring and the more you’ll need to haul.

9. What type(s) of transportation will you mostly rely upon for your ski trips?

  • Car
  • Bus
  • Train
  • Airplane

The different modes of transportation bring their own nuances regarding what you should bring and how you’ll get it there.  Don’t underestimate the task of getting to and from the mountain.

10. Who will be coming along on your ski trip?

  • No one
  • Friends
  • Family

Skiing alone or with friends is fun, but skiing with family can be an entirely different experience, especially with children.  Skiing with family is often the most rewarding type of ski trip, but the challenges involved can become massive hurdles, especially with children.  Look for our soon to be released article “Skiing with Children.”

Related Articles

How to Buy Skis: Tips from an Insider

How to Buy Ski Boots: Tips from an Insider

Getting Ready for the Ski Season

How to Store Ski Gear in the Off-Season

Skiing in the 21st Century