As a working stiff, racking up a lot of ski days can be challenging. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you’re obsessed with ripping turns, then decide what counts as a day (e.g., number of runs, vertical, or whatever) and figure out how to max your days this season. Here we offer some creative tips to help you strive for your personal best.
1. Buy a Season Pass
Let’s face it: you’re bound to hit the slopes more if you don’t have to worry about buying a lift ticket every time you go. Colorado boasts a bevy of great pass options. Don’t even think of saying you don’t know how to choose; we did the homework for you a couple of months back. Read up on Colorado ski pass options and buy the right one for you. But do it soon. They won’t be on sale for much longer, and prices go up the longer you wait.
2. Make Sure Your Boots Fit
Nothing squashes your ability to ski back-to-back days more than painful boots. (Well, work can get in the way, too—more on that below.) So do yourself a favor and get a professional fit. Larry’s Bootfitting in Boulder does a bang-up job: They’ll help you choose the right size, fine-tune the fit with custom foot beds and other adjustments, and make tweaks mid-season. Heed their advice. Those boots that feel too small will pack out in no time.
3. Get in Shape
You know that feeling when you have an awesome day on the slopes, then can barely walk the next day (let alone ski or snowboard)? You need legs of steel to be able to crush it day after day. Plus, being in shape helps prevent injury. If you haven’t already, start doing lunges, squats, dead lifts, step-ups, box jumps, and other strength-building and plyometric exercises. Not sure where to start? Consider a ski conditioning class at a local gym. Alpine Training Center has a great program that will make you beg for mercy.
4. Start Your Season Now
In case you didn’t notice, it just dumped big time in the mountains, which bodes well for a stellar early season. The lifts are already running at Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Loveland, and Wolf Creek. Breckenridge and Copper are up next on November 13, followed by many more resorts in the next couple of weeks. Ski season 2015-2016 is upon us: Time to get after it.
5. Find Somewhere to Crash
It goes without saying that I-70 traffic sucks, potentially putting a huge damper on your motivation. The best solution is to find a place to stay in the mountains. If you have a ski rental for the season , you’re set. If not, do whatever it takes to find a place to crash. This can include begging for couch (or closet) space at someone’s rental, buttering up friends who live in ski towns (bottles of booze work well as bribes), or scouring the internet for lodging deals. Vail on Sale lists last-minute deals in the Vail Valley. For Breckenridge, check Breck on Sale . Summit Mountain Rentals lets you bid on last-minute lodging. If all else fails, you can always try sleeping in your car: not ideal, but one way to guarantee an early (if a bit cold) start.
6. Ask for a Flex Schedule
Pesky 9-to-5 jobs make it tough to get out on weekdays. Why not ask for a flex schedule? If you’re good at what you do and kick serious butt at the office, your boss might consider cutting you some slack for ski season. Ask if you can work four 10s and take Fridays off, or nine nines and take every other Friday off. If that doesn’t fly, plead for a powder policy that lets you use a sick day if there’s an epic dump. If you don’t ask, you won’t get, after all: The worst that can happen is you get denied. But if the boss says no go, be careful if you call in sick for a powder day (use sunscreen and stay off social media).
7. Hit Eldora Before Work
Who says a workday can’t also be a powder day? Eldora is close enough that you can get in a few turns in the morning and still be at work before lunch. To prep for this, consider picking up an Eldora 4 Pass ($189 while they last). Or head to Harpo’s Sports Bar and Grille on Fridays from 3-6 pm to score one for $169 (for a limited time).
8. Do Nothing But Shred on Weekends
If you really want to maximize your days on the mountain, you have to commit. But monogamy can be a beautiful thing. Cancel all other plans, skip concerts and parties, avoid family engagements, and tell everyone you’ll see them next spring. (Or invite them to join you on the slopes.)
9. Disregard the Weather
Commitment means heading out in any kind of weather—bluebird, blizzard, bare-skin warning (aka really effing cold), blowing a gale. Some days you won’t be able to see a foot in front of your face. Other days you’ll have to stop every other run for a hot toddy. On the best days, you’ll shred run after run with a goofy grin on your face and, later, a sunburn to boot. If you head out no matter what, you’ll encounter a huge variety of snow conditions, which will undoubtedly make you a better skier or rider. So dress warmly, suck it up, and get out there.
10. Stretch Your Season into Late Spring
When all the other resorts close, Arapahoe Basin keeps on delivering. In epic snow years, this high-altitude area has been known to push its season to July 4. Even so, don’t let a lack of lifts screech your season to a halt. Spring is prime backcountry time, with more stable snow and less avalanche danger (but don’t get complacent; solid avalanche training and snow safety is still essential.).
One final piece of advice: Don’t get too hung up on the actual numbers. Obsessing over ski days can be an amusing pastime, but it shouldn’t stress you out. The minute you start to beat yourself up over missing a day, stop counting. After all, quality counts over quantity, especially when it comes to spending time on the slopes.