Snow has officially dusted the upper slopes of Utah's Wasatch—enough to have every Salt Lake City snowmonger abuzz with excitement. At this point, you've probably addressed the basics: are you getting a season pass, touring, or embracing a hybrid blend of both? You’ll need to have updated anything remiss in your ski setup, and surely you will have shopped the fall sales at local shops and buttered up to anyone with a bro code. To fund your pass and gear updates, you will have either saved up wisely (or maybe sold an organ: pancreases are, like, half optional, anyway.)
But to truly ensure you’re prepared for ski season, you’ll need to prime yourself for the inevitable intricacies of ski life. This is your next six months, after all. So, with that, we present you a checklist for every little detail you can think of (and some that you haven't). See you on the slopes.
1. Decide you have everything you really need for the season, then read the gear-guide mags, question everything, and sell childhood treasures to fund the color-coordinated goggle and helmet that Instagram deserves to see.
2. Practice going up and down stair steps in your plastic ski boots. The slicker the steps, the better.
3. Base a post-workout meal on warm processed cheese sauce. It can be conveyed to your gullet via a white pre-frozen carbohydrate of choice. Burn a $20 bill immediately. Consider yourself prepared for the resort cafeteria experience.
4. Develop your resistance to the unexpected chairlift-bar whack to the head. Have a helpful friend volunteer to bop you on the head with a hollow metal bar at unplanned moments. Thank them for making you a stronger person.
5. Successfully zip a zipper while wearing mittens. With training, you should work up to being able to accomplish this four times within an hour.
6. Practice putting a helmet and goggles on a squirming child who also needs to blow his nose.
7. Speaking of noses, practice snot-rockets. Yes, do it away from people, and handle the shame that precedes triumph.
8. Cancel your next haircut; with a proper ice coating, you can just snap off troublesome locks mid-lift-ride. (If you’re a braid-wearing lady, zip your jacket, get your hair stuck in the zipper, tear out a bunch while un-sticking it, repeat.)
9. Weigh the merits of using your meager savings account for either snow tires or car insurance. Congratulate yourself on selecting snow tires. Cross your fingers and drive extra carefully.
10. Drop your phone in an ice bucket. Curse, fumble, pull it out, wipe it on your shirt, pray.
11. Buy an avalanche shovel you’ll use all the time—to dig your car out after the plow blocks it in.
12. Develop a sixth sense for when après-ski canyon traffic dies down. Time your nachos-and-beer consumption accordingly.
13. Watch every ski movie teaser on the Internet at work, in a tiny browser window, on the lower corner of your screen—with your headphone volume set to maximum. (But contain the “Pew! Pew! Pew!” noises inside your cranium.)
14. Look up the snow forecast every morning, wring your hands, say a prayer, apologize for not praying more often, wring your hands again, make a good-karma donation to an organization fighting climate change.
15. Re-install the ski rack on your car. Realize you forgot where you put the Allen wrench that fits the one critical connector, make a trip to the hardware store. Forget how the darned thing even fits together, drink a beer, improvise with some screws left over from your last Ikea bookshelf. Your skis probably won't blow off.
16. Prepare psychologically to look like a wind-burned, snot-crusted, hat-haired, damp-shirted version of yourself at the après bar. Decide not everyone needs a partner in life, and raise a glass to your solo future: You might be alone, but you can still carve it up like a badass, damn it.
Once you’ve thoroughly mastered each skill above, you’re set for final preparations. Start monitoring Wasatch Snow Forecast, download your Utah Avalanche Center app, and bookmark the Utah CommuterLink page for road updates and traffic cameras.
You’re now equipped with everything you could need to kick off ski season 2015-2015 on the right foot—pass, skills, plans, and all. Let the opening-day countdown commence.