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Let’s be real: Skiing is great, but it’s a lot of work — and we don’t just mean shredding down the slopes. Proper ski clothing is expensive; skis, boots and poles are a pain to lug around; and all those après-ski Champagne cocktails can really add up. But planning a ski vacation doesn’t have to induce a massive stress headache. Armed with the right gear, technology and a perfect place to stay, getting fresh pow is easier than ever.
Whether you’re trying to squeeze in more ski vacations this season or are already planning for next winter, these are a few great ways to improve your next ski trip.
Rent Your Clothes
Ski rentals are a de facto part of life for all the but the most hardcore ski bums. But for the same reasons people don’t like to travel with their own skis (expensive baggage fees; heavy and cumbersome to carry), it may make sense to rent ski clothing, too.
Powfitter, a Rent the Runway-style start-up, offers short-term rentals of quality ski clothing. Two East Coasters — sick of lugging bulky clothing on their weekend trips — started the service, which provides gear from brands such as Smith, Trew and the North Face. You can rent single pieces (jackets, snow pants) or the Alpine bundle, which includes goggles and gloves. If you’re skiing in the US, Powfitter ships your new duds directly to your hotel, including a postage-paid label to return items when you’re done: no valuable luggage real estate necessary.
Book an All-Inclusive
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the all-inclusive is a stalwart of the travel industry for a good reason: It’s easy. Generally, the term “all-inclusive” conjures images of palm trees, Piña Coladas and powdery sands, but soon your idea of an all-inclusive might include a different kind of powder.
Club Med, which has dominated the all-inclusive throughout Europe and parts of the Caribbean for more than 50 years, runs 18 Alpine ski resorts, the newest of which, Club Med Les Arcs Panorama opened in France in December. An all-inclusive vacation at a ski-in, ski-out resort takes much of the pain out of skiing: You submit your sizes and experience level to the resort before checking in, and your gear magically appears in your locker at the resort’s ski room. Lessons and lift tickets, two of the most expensive parts of skiing, are already rolled into your room rate.
The concept hasn’t completely taken off in the US yet, but if you’re looking to simplify your ski trip, all-inclusives are among the best option.
Download the Latest Apps
Apps and services can make finding ski buddies — and getting off-piste — easier than ever.
If you’re looking to explore new runs, check out Skadi. Think: Waze for your day on the slopes. You input your level and any waypoints you want to check out, and the app uses audio to guide you down the mountain. For tracking runs, Ski Tracks, a Strava-style app, uses GPS to track runs and speed, but can be of limited use in areas with poor cell reception. If you’re skiing with a big crew, download SkiLynx, which lets you see in real-time what run or lift your friends and family members are on.
If you’re an advanced skier and are looking toward your next adventure, enlist Heli, a start-up founded by friends who were sick of lift lines and straight-forward runs and wanted more. Heli matches skiers with helicopter operators who can drop you off for a day of unadulterated pure powder with nary a soul in sight.
Upgrade Your Gear
If you do splurge on ski clothes, invest in gear that could literally save your life.
Helly Hansen, the long-revered Norwegian brand that’s popular among serious shredders, introduced the LifePocket in 2018. Your phone dying on a run seems minor (no Instagrams from Corbet’s Couloir in Jackson Hole!), but if you’re skiing off-piste and have an accident, it could be the difference between life and death. The LifePocket is a special pouch that uses technology to regulate its temperature, thus extending the battery life of your phone in subzero temperatures.
In the same vein, the pricey HydroBot jacket, made by KJUS, uses an app to eliminate sweat. The app sends small electrical pulses through the fabric’s high-tech membrane, and the porous fabric then uses the small jolts to pump sweat and moisture away from the body. Even if you’re not stranded outside, you’ll be far more comfortable after you get off the slopes and start cooling down.
Get an AI Instructor
If you’re a confident skier who just needs a little refinement on the slopes, new technology makes it easier than ever to get coaching and feedback without shelling out for an instructor.
The endearingly-named Snowcookie is a smart tracking system that consists of three sensors that dock on your skis and torso. The sensors give you feedback on your skiing, ranging from style and turn quality to stamina, and the device even tracks your progress so you can gauge whether you’re finally ready to tackle that Black Diamond run.
A similar product, Carv, uses less clunky boot inserts and a Bluetooth tracker to evaluate your skills, but also has the added perk of providing real-time audio feedback while you’re on the slopes.
Featured photo by Willem de Meyer/Unsplash
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