Free shipping on all orders over $85
You qualified for Free Ground Shipping!

All orders over $85 get free Fedex Ground shipping. Checkout now to take advantage of this limited-time offer.

The Man Crates Blog

Blog - Navigation Links
  • Gifts
  • DIY Projects
  • Reviews
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Tips & Tricks

It’s All Downhill: Tips for a Better Ski Vacation

Posted by Man Crates on


Not sure if you’ve noticed, but it is snowing just about everywhere this winter—from the Sierras to the Catskills! Have you planned a proper ski trip yet? If not, we get it. An alpine ski vacation can be a daunting endeavor. It’s a lot like raising a family: Exhilarating, yet exhausting at the same time; a bit of a financial burden; and there will be moments when you wonder if all the hassles are worth it before deciding “of course they are.”At Man Crates, we know plenty about amazing gifts for men. But we also know a thing or two about hitting the slopes. So we’re here to help you limit the pain and increase the fun on your next alpine skiing adventure. Here are eight great ski vacation tips to ensure that happens.

  1. Go the condo route
    We mean no disrespect to hotels, but when it comes to planning a ski trip, an Air B&B or VRBO reservation is the better way to go. It’s more affordable, there are more options to choose from and you’ll have much more space. PRO-TIP: The more people you have, the better the place you can get. Getting a hearty mountain breakfast is crucial to the start of the ski day and that’s more easily done with your own kitchen, as is packing a lunch if you’d rather not spend $18 on a bowl of chili. Best of all, getting your own place means you won’t have to share the Jacuzzi with randos.
  2. Buy or rent a helmet
    This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are still a lot of Gary Busey-esque skiers without helmets. That’s not smart. Even if you consider yourself a safe skier, the helmet protects you from the unsafe ones out there, and trust us, there are many. Plus, snowboarders like to lie about the slopes like lazy seals for some reason, and you don’t want to trip over one of them while they are grazing. For a great helmet that also includes speakers for your iPhone, we recommend a K2 like this one. For even more protection, try ski compression shorts. You’ll feel kind of like a gladiator putting these babies on (until your friends see them and make fun of you).
    \
  3. Don’t be a hero
    Don’t be that guy or girl who goes straight to the double diamond trail named “Devil’s Crotch” or “Widowmaker.” There’s plenty of time. Start slow and ease your way up to the bigger challenges. Check the trail map and plot your course for the day. However, don’t save the toughest trail to the end of the day when your legs feel like hot knives. Find the middle ground. Also, if you’re skiing with beginners or intermediates, they will resent you forever if you take them down an expert trail they can’t handle. PRO-TIP: After falling, pretend you are just stopping to enjoy the scenery.”
  4. At least one day, be the first on the hill

    This is a tough task, but well worth it. Being among the first on the mountain in the morning to get first tracks (i.e. your skis will be leaving the first tracks) is really cool. The best trails are freshly groomed and the lift lines will be minimal for the first hour. Likewise, it’s great to be the last down the mountain as well because it makes you look like a true die-hard (even though you’ve really been at the mountain peak bar all afternoon). Just don’t wait too long at the top or you will need this Outdoor Survival Crate.

  5. Reserve skis and lessons in advance
    Make no mistake, lessons are kind of a rip-off. But, for the younger set they are imperative. Also, while the beginners are receiving their lessons, you can head off to the harder trails and crush them. Win-win! Always reserve your skis in advance so you don’t have to wait in the endless line at the lodge.
  6. Avoid all two-person chair lifts whenever possible

    Two-person chair lifts are the worst. They break down frequently and you will age four to six years in the 35 minutes it takes to rise 500 feet in altitude while freezing your face off. Stick to the high-speed quads. You will never hear anyone coming off a 2-person lift say “Well, that didn’t take long at all!”
  7. Stake out a good spot in the lodge
    When skiing with friends, there will always be one person that likes to chill in the lobby with a hot cocoa or a hot toddy most of the day. Make this person feel useful by having him/her save a nice table (preferably by the fire) for the group. It’s a tough task, but someone’s got to do it and you’d return the favor, right?
  8. Do aprés ski right

    The only thing better than finally taking off your boots at the end of the day is getting your aprés ski on with some adult beverages that you have rightly earned by proving you can survive in high altitudes. Actually, nothing beats the boot removal part, but go along with us. Research the local bar scene for the best happy hours or just make your own drinks back at the condo. Here’s a hot toddy recipe to get you started:

    Bourbon Hot Toddie

    What to use
    3/4 cup water or ginger ale
    2 cloves
    1 Lemon twist
    2 tsp. sugar
    1/4 oz. lemon juice
    2 oz. bourbon
    1 cinnamon stick

    How to use it all
    Boil the water or heat up the ginger ale and pour into a mug with the bourbon. Stir in the the sugar and lemon juice. Add the cinnamon and cloves to spice it up. Garnish with a lemon twist.

You’re now ready to conquer winter, get to it friend.


Smash & Grab Meet & Greet: Kammok

By definition, an adventure is an exciting or very unusual experience. This leaves things pretty wide open to interpretation. An adventure could be swimming in the Antarctic or running high-elevation trails or drinking a Sourtoe Cocktail (it exists). Some adventures are more fun than others (toe), but they all have one thing in common: They [...] Read More

Nick Offerman and Man Crates: A Partnership Forged in Woodworking Heaven

To create a thing with one’s hands—to experience the satisfaction of making something tangible. This is one of life’s great pleasures. Nick Offerman is known to many as Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, but known to Man Crates as the skilled creator of handmade wood projects and founder of Offerman Woodshop. He understands the [...] Read More

Smash & Grab Meet & Greet: Kuju Coffee

Science tells us that coffee is very good for us: Studies have shown that it improves different aspects of brain function, including memory, mood, energy levels and general cognitive function. And since science is never wrong, it’s clear that increased coffee consumption is the right way to go. But in a time when everything seems [...] Read More

The Simple Solution for New Year’s Resolutions

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the holidays. You plowed through Christmas like a champ, eating and drinking everything delicious—and a few frightening things. Hopefully, you lasted through New Year’s Eve without getting locked in a Taco Bell bathroom or telling EVERYONE “I love you, man.” Yes, it’s a new year. And like so many other [...] Read More

New Year, New Man: The 10 Commandments of Cleaning

2017 is freshly upon us, which means it’s time to usher in winter cleaning—the cooler, lesser-known cousin of spring cleaning. Trust us, it feels good to start the year with a sparkling closet/garage/man cave/actual cave. We could give you a list of “hacks” or something similar, but keeping things clean is a lifestyle, not a [...] Read More

The Forgotten Men of December

We all know a guy who has to deal with the dreaded holiday-overlap birthday every year. Birthday gifts meld into Christmas gifts. New Year’s parties serve as birthday parties. Friends and family completely spacing on their big day because of all the other big days going on. It’s tough being sandwiched between two prominent [...] Read More

How to Have a Happy, Not Hypey, New Year’s Eve

Look, as wonderful as it is, New Year’s Eve parties can come with a bit of baggage. We all want it to be fun and memorable, but there’s always a degree of FOMO and pressure to make it “THE BEST NEW YEAR’S EVER!” Just relax. Forget all the hype and follow our awesome tips for [...] Read More

O Hungry Night: Holiday Entertaining Recipes

It has been said the Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Mostly accurate. It’s a time of gathering with loved ones to exchange gifts, share stories and get your paws on lots of really good food. Unless it’s Aunt Gert’s turn to cook. Then, it’s also a time to recover from food [...] Read More

Holiday Hacks: A Guide to Christmas Spirit, Without the Hard Work

Christmas is a time of giving, but it’s also a time of doing. Hang the lights, shop for presents, cook massive meals, wrap aforementioned presents, sit in Santa’s lap, etc. The key to surviving is thinking smarter, not harder. Man Crates does gifts for men without all the fluff, which makes us a prime candidate [...] Read More

Let's keep in touch!

Sign up for our newsletter to receive exclusive offers and savings