Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Learn to ski & snowboard - January 2014

Friends shouldn't teach friends to ski! It's a recipe for trouble... teaching your friend to ski or snowboard can send your relationship downhill, fast! Haven't you seen the boyfriend teaching his gal to ski and she's crying? How about the snowboarder dude watching his buddy flounder and fall on the bunny slopes without a clue about what to do?

The best-friend thing to do is to get your friend into a proper lesson, therefore reducing the risk of injury, shortening their learning curve, and improving their enjoyment of the snow sport. Side benefit for friends -  keeping your friendship intact. January  2014 is "Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month", now in year 6 thanks to the National Ski Areas Association, the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the National Ski Patrol. Ski resorts across the country are offering great incentives for discounted first time ski and snowboard packages, plus lift ticket deals and rewards for sharing skiing and snowboarding with friends.
Throughout New England ski resorts and the Western Rocky mountains are many Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month ski and snowboard lesson specials. If you introduce a friend to snowsports - or two or three, you can enter to win prizes as the ambassador at Bring a Friend that brings new friends to the sport.

So don't break your friendship with a bad intro to the sport you love, bring a friend to a ski or snowboard lesson in January and you will both win. Meet up for apres ski stories and hot tubs, still friends, after their lesson and your laps on the high speed quad! For more ski resorts with Bring a Friend deals in January, check out www.SkiAndSnowboardMonth.org
For tips on what to pack for skiing and how to dress properly for a day of skiing, see our Family Ski Trips guide to skiing and snowboarding!

Happy Trails in 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A few of my favorite ski things!

Our Family Ski Vacation and Luxury Skiing Vacation blogs have moved, follow us at Luxury Ski Vacations and Family Ski Vacations! Thanks!

Like Oprah has her favorite things, here are my must-haves, winter warmers, ski niceties on the mountain, to enhance your ski day, ski vacation and vertical time!

Skiing comfort starts from the inside out. I love Hot Chillys as a base layer bottom -  great technical fabric with a seamless finish. SmartWool ski socks are a favorite too. Make sure your layers are smooth from your long undies to outer layers, no gaps or wrinkles - which get worse throughout the ski day. I just discovered adea, a Shrewsbury Mass company, they make beautiful base layer tops with Italian style and quality. Their tops are silky soft, but offer moisture wicking and  UV protection, and the microfiber doesn't pill, fade or lose its shape. The base layers are super light, perfect for travel as they are stylish enough to wear to après ski, and you can hand-wash them and they dry in an hour (read: less packing).

My Sugarloaf friend Julie Swain invented the warmest bra on the planet, really! I challenge you to find a warmer boulder holder on the mountain than this Polartec fleece bra. Leave it to a Loafer to come up with this, but its wicked warm, 100% fleece, soft and fuzzy on your skin too. You can find the Fleece Sports Bra on Amazon or Etsy.

For the cheap but thoughtful date, I still swear by disposable pocket hand warmers and toe warmers. HotHands  fire up heat inside your gloves and boots for 8 hours, great ski value at a buck a pair, even cheaper by the case, saving you potentially costly trips inside the lodge between runs. I admit I have a pack a day habit.

The Serius Snowdana is my security blanket neck warmer, it looks as stylish as possible and provides important face protection, lightweight cover from the wind and cold, and SPF. It's easy to wash and pack. 

For your ski man:
The Ski Bumper is a magnetic strip that you place on your car to keep your gear upright when you are unloading and packing. Haven't we all watched our skis slide along our car, scratching the paint job before hitting the ground?  Bo from Colorado's ski Bumper is $16, magnetic, totally detachable and eliminates that problem. All about the snow Bo also invented the Prep Pad for $13 for you to stand on in the parking lot while putting on your skis boots- keeping your ski sox, boots and your car carpet clean - priceless.  

For the Kids in your ski car:
My kids loved skiing Legos and wicky stix, bendable ski figures that take up minimal room in the car, ski bag, condo, but allow the kids to use their big imagination. My ski kids are grown up now but they would have loved Shredz, pose-able snowboarding action figures with their own detachable helmet, snowboard, and ID card. Shredz start at $10. You can takethe snowboard action toys inside or out on the snow, and they have free ride dud handles like Brody, Chase, Luke, and Shane.

Enjoy your family skiing, stay warm stay happy & healthy! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Early December snow, ski fests and ski racing wins!

Our Luxury & Family Ski Vacation blogs have moved, follow us at Family Ski Trips and Luxury Ski Vacations! Thanks!

What a great early December ski weekend across the US, with snow, unseasonable cold, and victory for our US Ski Team.

In New England skiing, 210 Santas took to the ski slopes at Sunday River Maine, part of the 14th annual Santa Sunday - a local fundraiser that brings out skiing and riding Santas dressed all jolly and jovial. The Santas ski free with a donation to the local rotary, and get a 2nd free lift to use before Christmas after they participate in an 11am photo shoot. If you have never seen 200 Santas schussing the snowy slopes... well, it's a White Christmas sight! Sunday River also launched their new T72 Trail this weekend, the longest jumpline in the East. This terrain park trail is the brainchild of Simon Dumont, X-Games freeskier from Sunday River, who is on his way to compete in the first ever skiing halfpipe at Sochi Olympics 2014.

Out West, snow and cold swept through Colorado, Utah and Montana. The US Ski Team men made a brilliant showing at Beaver Creek's Audi Birds of Prey World Cup - with Ted Ligety winning the GS, and teammate Bode Miller a second behind for silver.

In Utah, a snowy Deer Valley Celebrity Classic brought snow and celebs like Dr Oz sporting cool OSBE Italian made ski helmets. Sponsors of this great Celebrity Skifest, televised on CBS, include Montage Deer Valley, Paul Mitchell, OSBE and Southwest Airlines. Highlights include watching TV stars on skis and witnessing the brother rivalry of  Phil and Steve Mahre in the race gates.

Meanwhile, in beautiful Lake Louise Canada, US Ski Team sweetheart Lindsey Vonn was back in the gates, just weeks after re-injuring her knee at Copper Colorado, and 10 months after her huge Schladming Austria crash. Vonn managed to place 5th in Super GS in at Lake Louise, she's vowing that she's back and better and gunning for Gold at Sochi!

The US women's ski team is bound for St Moritz Switzerland, while the men's alpine World Cup tour heads to Val D'Isère France next. The Road to Russia, and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics looms ever closer...game on!

Stay tuned to Family Ski Trips and Luxury Ski Trips for all the ski resort and ski racing news you can use!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Sunday River Snowmaker's DNA...

Our Family Ski Vacation and Luxury Skiing Vacation blogs have moved, follow us at Luxury Ski Vacations and Family Ski Vacations! Thanks!

Words from Sunday River's snowmakers:

"It's a sickness. Anyone who makes snow is ill..."
"It takes a lot of Red Bull."
"There's always Plan B"
"If we're shut down, the mountain is shut down."
"We call it the war zone."
"This is not a job for the weak of mind or the weak of the body"
"It's part of our DNA."

"That's why this is the best mountain in America, we don't give up."
"I don't know why I am drinking coffee, I am going home to have a beer" at 6am...

See more of Man vs. Weather in Rory Strunk's video featuring Sunday River's snowmakers.... and the legendary White Heat trail turning white with 10 millions gallons of water in a 24 hour, 3 shift snowmaking day.