There's a lot that happens before your skis or snowboard hit the snow on a vacation. Undertaking a ski or snowboard trip can involve a tacit agreement in dealing with unforeseen struggles and logistical challenges, but we are here to help you plan ahead!
From forgetting gear to transporting heavy bags, and the ever-present threat of "bad weather," it's the skiing and snowboarding itself that makes the hassle of travel well worth it. Once the wind is in your hair and you’re blissfully swooping down slopes, the travel troubles melt faster than whipped cream in hot chocolate.
We are determined to facilitate smooth sailing for all the avid fans of Utah’s glorious powder snow. For example, check out our Ultimate Packing List for Ski and Snowboard Trips. We’re also pretty darn proud of the new improvements and upgrades at the Salt Lake City International Airport. The new terminal was specifically built with skiers and snowboarders in mind (learn more here).
Lastly, we’ve got a comprehensive list of travel pitfalls to help you avoid succumbing to the struggle. With a little bit of forethought and the following tips, your ski or snowboard trip to Utah (or anywhere beyond The Greatest Snow on Earth) will be flawless...
1. Ski Utah's Lift Ticket Reservation Guide
Our Lift Ticket Reservation Blog will provide a comprehensive guide to all ticketing policies for Ski Utah resorts. Check back soon, as we’ll be releasing that any day now!
2. Go for the 4WD
In terms of transit, go for a large AWD rental vehicle. Don’t skimp! Many a hapless tourist to Utah has chosen to save a few bucks with a compact 2WD car. Know that most standard rental cars do not have great tires so check to make sure they are suitable or opt for an upgrade with snow tires. Having a car without AWD or 4WD will become rapidly challenging as you attempt to navigate steep, slippery canyon roads once the snow begins to fall. You can endanger yourself and all the other motorists on the road by trying to squeak by with a 2WD vehicle. After all, you came for the powder snow, right?
Also, do not leave the rental car parking lot without making sure your vehicle is equipped with an ice scraper! Most rental car companies will provide them for free. More driving tips for Utah's canyon roads can be found here.
3. Hitch a Ride
If you’re not keen to drive in a blizzard—which is understandable and often the correct choice—there are plenty of local transit options or car services. In Utah, Uber also offers an UberSki option, where vehicles equipped with ski racks or ample storage can be selected from the menu of different driving services within the app. We also recommend Canyon Transportation or Snow Country Limousine, which both offer airport and resort transfers. Our guide to riding the UTA Ski Bus can be found here.
4. Know Your Deets
While most ski trips are without incident, it's always a good idea to stay prepared with your insurance card and any pertinent medical details or allergies handy. Should you have the misfortune to have an accident, it’ll be necessary to have this stuff accessible. My pops worked for 24 years in the Snowbird Medical Clinic. They treated far more visitors than locals in the clinic and he attributed it to fatigue, altitude, and the fact that many guests aren’t in the habit of skiing or shredding all day and push themselves too hard.
5. Travel Insurance
If you're heading out on a big ski trip, it could be time to bite the bullet and purchase travel insurance. Having encountered a situation with a friend in Austria that required a helicopter ride to the nearest local hospital, I will never ever plan another ski trip without this affordable protection. Take the time to dive into the details to ensure you understand the nitty-gritty and check to see if medical evacuation is also covered. Some travel insurance packages will also reimburse you if your luggage goes missing and you are forced to pay for rental equipment! As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry in a situation such as this.
Most likely you will be heading to a destination with a high elevation. Hydrate as best you can and avoid alcohol on the plane. It’s exceptionally difficult to refuse free alcohol, I know, but I cannot BELIEVE how much abstinence helped me to avoid crushing jet lag when I literally skied around the globe, crossing 23,684 miles and all the time zones. It was hard. It was also worth it. Hydrate as often as you can to avoid headaches and fatigue, especially if you plan to enjoy a few après adult beverages.
7. Hire a Ski Butler!
Skip the rental lines and work with Ski Butlers. They will come directly to your hotel or vacation rental for a personalized fitting with top-notch gear and skis. Reserve your gear and fitting time slot online to entirely avoid the early morning struggle to pick up rental gear in the morning. Even better, Ski Butlers offers full support during your stay and will also arrange to pick up your gear before you head home. Their friendly staff is fun to work with and they are there to ensure every aspect of your rental experience is conducted with safety in mind. Their personalized approach is a step above the kerfuffle that can often unfold in the rental shop.
8. Keep Your Boots Close
Pack your boots in your carry-on luggage, if possible. Even if your luggage should become lost or delayed, it won’t be a day-ender if you’ve got your boots. Because boots have such a critical impact on a skier or snowboarder’s performance, we don’t recommend placing them in your checked luggage if it can be avoided.
9. Sun Safety
As we mentioned before, skiing and snowboarding happens at high elevation. The sun’s rays, cold temps, and harsh climate take a toll on the sensitive skin of your face. Pack some sunscreen and lip balm with sun protection. My favorite is the One Love Body Soul brand, handcrafted in Maui, Hawaii. It is totally chemical free, so it feels awesome on my skin, and it is reef safe, meaning it keeps our watersheds and rivers clean and healthy. And while we're here, we'll drill it in again: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! For more health and safety tips from University of Utah Health click here.
10. Don't Shop 'Til You Drop
If you’re staying in Park City, check out Grocery Girls. Don’t miss a moment on the slopes with the help of Grocery Girls, who will stock your house or condo with groceries and snacks before you arrive.
11. Study Up
Ok, we said 10 things, but here's a bonus bit of info. If you are visiting a resort for the first time or traveling with family in tow, be sure to check out our family resort guides. These comprehensive guides contain everything you need to know from parking, where to shred or ski, and the best places to grab food. Click Here or scroll to the bottom of this article to find the resort of your choice.
The Ultimate Ski & Snowboard Trip Packing List - Forget Nothing
30-Day Ski Prep Workout - Get Pumping!
The Ultimate Break at Brian Head Resort - Plan Your Trip
The New SLC Airport Was Built for Skiers & Snowboarders - Bon Voyage
The Best Books About Skiing & Snowboarding - Bookworms Click Here
IKON-ic Utah: 5 Resorts, One Pass - Drop In
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