ski better/ snowboard better

A new year is upon us. It’s time to set some goals for the winter. As you narrow down those resolutions, some fall off the plate and some receive your full attention. We are addressing a resolution many who live on or around snow have: become a better skier or boarder.  As we wrap up January, also referred to as Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, what better time to set goals for yourself to become a better skier or rider, no matter your ability level.

If you are a skier or a snowboarder, whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned pro, I’m sure we all have little imperfections we would like to improve upon. So, make 2018 the year to seek out new skills you can learn, ways to improve, and goals you can set. Here are our top five New Year’s Resolutions – or goals as we prefer to call them – to inspire you to improve your game and become that better skier, that better rider, that better you.

  1. Ready Your Gear

While you may have spent the entire off season getting in shape and preparing both physically and mentally for the upcoming winter, ski and snowboard gear tends to sit tucked away in the closet, garage, attic, or some other dark depths of your home. It is often forgotten about over the summer and finally dusted off just before first chair of opening day. But, preparing your ski and/or snowboard gear is just as important as getting yourself in shape. What matters most is that you tune and wax your skis or snowboard at least once a season. Whether you drop off the gear at your local ski shop or tune them yourself, it will make for a much more enjoyable experience. If you are considering trying to tune your equipment at home this season, make it a goal to first either read up on how to tune your skis or snowboard, or take an in-person workshop.

The same goes for ski/snowboard jackets, pants, and gloves. These items may need re-waterproofing as the season begins. Even if your jacket and pants or gloves come with lifetime guarantees, the durable water repellent quality fades over time. Yes, even in the most technical outerwear, especially if you’re repeatedly out in stormy, wet conditions, you will eventually start to soak through. Just a couple of tips on how to prevent that:  1.) start by washing your pants and jacket at the start of the season, then 2.) apply a new waterproof coating, something like Nikwax’s outerwear cleaner and waterproofing wax.

  1. Sign Up For A Lesson

If you are a new skier or snowboarder, a straight-up lesson at the local resort can help tremendously. Check out group lessons and off-season pricing for the lowest rates. And, even if you’re an expert skier or rider, you can still learn a trick or two from specialized clinics and camps, or a private lesson. Make it a goal to take on a new challenge like how to shred steeps or powder better, or how to venture into backcountry terrain.

  1. Snag First Chair And Get More Days on the Slopes

Our personal favorite – commit to rallying out the door on powder days with the goal of edging onto first chair. By inspiring yourself to make first chair, this will also motivate you to get more days on the slopes than you may have accomplished last season.  See just how many “first chair days” you can make. As an alternate goal, sign up for a first tracks program, where you get early access to the mountain before everyone else.

  1. Ski Or Ride Someplace New

We all have our own favorite mountain that we ski or ride most of the winter. And why not? You already know your way around, maybe you’ve got a place to crash all season long, and maybe you even have a season pass. This season, though, get out of that comfort zone and push yourself to explore a new mountain, someplace you have never been. You’ll be glad you did.

If you’re lucky, the pass you chose comes with access to other mountains. For example, the Epic Pass gets you into over a dozen Vail-owned resorts. Once there, most places offer free mountain tours if you need help finding the hidden stashes. Last season, we explored the great wide open mountain of Park City and loved every minute of it. Not only did we enjoy skiing through the meadows of Park City Mountain, but experiencing Park City night life, shopping in Old Town Park City, and taking a tour of Park City’s only distillery, was a memorable experience in itself. Maybe this season, you’ll find yourself in Crested Butte, or Telluride, or maybe even Whistler, Canada. Who knows? With the right inspiration and motivation, anything is possible!

  1. Bring Someone New To Skiing / Snowboarding

And finally, what better way to motivate yourself to become a better skier or rider than to introduce a friend, spouse, or relative to the winter sport you love? Since January is officially Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, programs and lessons around the country are geared toward bringing people into the sport. Check your local mountain for specials for new skiers and riders. Most resorts offer discounted rates on lessons and gear rental for first timers.

Most importantly, whatever your own personal goals may be, as you hit the slopes this season, remember these two tips: Practice makes perfect and keep your eye on the prize. The more days you get on the mountain, the better skier or rider you will become. While doing so, never lose sight of your goals / resolutions, that is make a plan, follow through, and commit to it all season long.  Simply tell yourself, “don’t just say it – do it.”