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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.