Scratching your head with an empty suitcase in front of you? Trying to compile a checklist of things to take care of before you hit the slopes? No worries.
Whether your new to the sports of skiing and snowboarding or just need a refresher before you arrive, this essential guide will prep you for your day on the mountain.
What to Pack/What to Wear
Easily the most frequent FAQ among newcomers to the sport is “what should I be wearing on the mountain?” As with most mountain resorts, the weather at Aspen-Snowmass is dynamic. It can be driving snow when the lifts open, followed by warm sun after lunch. Be prepare for unexpected temperature swings and changing weather by packing (and wearing) these essentials:
- Warm layers – The key to adapting with the conditions is to wear layers. Start with a base layer of thermal underwear and a moisture-wicking long-sleeved shirt (ideally polypropylene). Add a layer of wool or fleece over the base layer, followed by a water- and wind-resistant parka and ski/snow pants. Avoid cotton, which absorbs moisture and will keep you cold.
- Thin socks – For proper fit inside your boots, bring thin, high-performance synthetic socks. Avoid cotton socks.
- Hat, gloves & neck-gator
- Goggles/eye protection – The sun is especially bright at high-elevations, and a good pair of goggles will not only protect your eyes, but help you read the snowy terrain better.
- Helmet – If you don’t own one, they are available for rent. Since they are well insulated to keep your head warm, you can leave your winter hat at the hotel.
- Ski/Snowboard Boots – Also available for rent; if you are bringing your own and flying to get here, consider carrying them onto the plane due to the space they would take up in your suitcase
- Skis & poles/snowboard – Also available for rent.
What to Bring Along
You may want to bring along the following items for your day on the mountain.
- Smart phone – It’s probably a no-brainer to bring your cell phone — selfie anyone? — but with Aspen-Snowmass’ Livepass app, you can follow trail maps, track your skiing stats, access web cams and get up-to-date snow conditions while you’re on the mountain.
- Sun protection – At altitude, your skin is more prone to sunburn due to the thin air. Protect it with SPF 30 sunscreen and keep your lips protected with lip balm.
- Snacks – Protein bars, dried fruit, trial mix and other pocket-sized noshes can go a long way to sustaining your endurance on the slopes.
To lighten your load for the flight here — or on the drive up — considering renting essential gear such as skis/snowboard, poles, boots and helmet. If your gear is a bit “over-the-hill,” renting is also a great way to try out the newest technology before buying new equipment.
Aspen-Snowmass’ premier rental outlet — Four Mountain Sports — offers 9 locations including one at the base of each of the four mountains. A standard ski rental package bundles skis with poles and boots. A standard snowboard package includes the board and boots. Visit Four Mountain Sports’ website to learn more.
To save on time, come in the day before you plan to hit the mountain to get fitted. It will help ensure that you can catch fresh tracks when the lifts open the next day.
And to save money, reserve your rentals online seven days or more in advance.
There are a variety of ways you can purchase lift tickets at Aspen-Snowmass, but hands-down the best route is online, where purchases made seven days in advance offer big savings.
But you can also purchase and pick-up your lift tickets at any of the four-mountain ticket office locations:
- Snowmass – 3 ticket office locations: Snowmass Base Village, Snowmass Village Mall and Two Creeks
- Aspen Mountain – 2 ticket office locations: Gondola Plaza and base of Shadow Mountain lift
- Aspen Highlands – 1 ticket office location: Highlands Village
- Buttermilk – 2 ticket office locations: Buttermilk Main (base of Summit Express Lift) and base of Tiehack
Each Aspen/Snowmass lift ticket comes on an Radio Frequency Card (RF Card) which lets you attach your lift ticket to a credit card account so you can pay for on-mountain treats and meals while leaving your wallet behind. You can also connect it to Aspen/Snowmass’ mobile app and track skier days and stats, and their reloadable for additional days.