With it’s amazing powder, steep turns, and gorgeous views, we all love the ski resort. Or at least, we would if we didn’t get cold, wet, or have uncomfortable feet. This is the plight for skiers the world over… all too often we get too excited about the fun we’re gonna have over the amount of fun we could TRULY have if we invested just a bit more thought into how we approach our time on the ski hill.
That’s where this article comes into play. Here, I’ll provide you with 3 sure-fire ways to improve your experience next time you hit the ski slopes. These will be child’s play tips for anyone with at least 1 season under their belt, however it may be wise to review the basics ~ especially if you’re new to the slopes!
Tip #1 – Get a better pair of boots. Like… one’s that actually fit!
This one is actually the perfect place to start because this is an area in which I overlooked myself. As it turns out I’d been wearing a boot 2 sizes too large for around 7 seasons. When I first got the boots I hadn’t noticed anything major, however this last season I had noticeable slippage, lack of comfort, and overall poor ski control. The wear in period and the largeness had put me in a place where the boots were actually doing more harm than good.
After visiting a local ski shop, I found this out. I hadn’t tried on a new pair of boots since 2011, so it only makes sense that boot technology had changed…. but it really hasn’t. Sure, better materials and manufacturing methods can be used today but that doesn’t mean the basics have changed. Ski boots still have a specific size to form around your ankle and length, they still buckle in the same manner, and they still have flex ratings.
In order to give you optimal ski edge control and balance, boots are designed to cup your ankle and heel. You foot should feel snug and gripped, however it should NOT feel as though you are being pinched. If you get a boot that is too tight, you will get uncomfortable during the lift lines, sitting on the lift, and the skiing itself. This will cause you to head in to the lodge too often, so you will be losing time on the hill gripping and ripping!
Tip #2 – Wear actual ski socks.
Not unlike hockey skates, your ski boots are going to rise significantly higher on your calf than your everyday shoes and boots. Meaning, if you decide to just throw on the boots wearing the same socks you wear when running in your tennis shoes, you’re gonna have a bad time. Your feet will end up becoming raw, cold, sweaty, and a downright pain.
To keep your feet cozy and comfy, many brands have gone out of their way to design/develop amazing ski socks. Brands like darn tough, wigwam, and smartwool are all know for their quality and resilience to wear and tear. Take these, and add onto the fact that they’ve got high-rise socks padded in the appropriate ways to counteract the pressure of the ski boot pressure points and you’ll find that you got yourself a pair of winners. Don’t let angry feet ruin your day on the ski hill, lord knows it cost an arm and a leg to begin with.
Tip #3 Layer – Layer – Layer
My worst experience I’ve ever had skiing was at Arapahoe Basin. It was a February ski day – overcast and cold, in the low teens I think. We were on the front end of another storm system moving in and wanted to get in skiing before the ‘white-out’ conditions occurred. So we made a few runs then jumped back on the lift.
As soon as we were about 1/2 the way up the lift it stopped – due to wind gusts. Meaning, you can imagine what we were exposed to. Sitting high about the ground, no trees to buffer us, my father and I sat in the blowing wind for the next 30 mins. Needless to say the lack of movement and strong winds chilled us to the bone.
For this reason, I’ve made a point of bringing at least 1 extra pair of layers on every ski adventure I have. While it may get excessively warm on some days, it’s still nice to be comfy when it’s still cold first thing in the morning. I recommend you do the same.
So there you have it, three quick ways to set yourself up for a more comfortable day at the ski resort.
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Love ya fam – get out there and have an ADVENTURE!