Recreational Skiing FAQ
When is ski season?
Winter may only be three calendar months, but ski season lasts considerably longer.
Ski resorts are at higher elevations (so they can make use of that real mountain snow).
Due to those higher elevations, ski resorts typically get snow sooner than their valley-dwelling neighbors and keep it around longer.
So, at many resorts, ski season starts in October or November and runs through April or May, giving skiers a solid five to six months of quality skiing.
Is skiing hard?
Skiing has a learning curve, to be sure, but that’s what bunny slopes are built for.
When it comes down to it, skiing consists of simple, repetitive actions.
While getting those actions down can be a bit of a challenge (especially on a literal slippery slope), they are well within the grasp of most people.
The average beginner skier can ski the easiest runs in just one lesson.
What should you wear skiing?
Like any activity done outdoors in the winter months, skiing demands layers. Though, unlike those other activities, you are highly unlikely to take any of those layers off while you ski.
From a purely logistical perspective (don’t take this as fashion advice!), you should wear the following things (from top to bottom) when skiing:
- A sweat-wicking base layer
- A warm, easy-to-remove mid-layer
- A waterproof outer layer
- Warm non-cotton socks
- Ski gloves
- Neck gaiter (no scarves!)
- Thin, beanie-style hat
As for your base layer, since you won’t be shedding layers as you go (most likely), you’ll need help to stay dry inside your clothes.
Your mid-layer keeps you warm. (This is the first layer you should shuck if you do get overly warm on the slopes.)
And your outer layer keeps you from getting wet from the snow.
When dressing to ski, the key thing to remember is it’s as much about staying dry inside your clothes as outside your clothes. (We’re talking about sweat!)
It’s also about staying safe on the slopes, and having no dangling parts that can catch on things, which is why scarves are a big no-no.
As for helmets, while they are not typically required at resorts, they are essential for safety.
Unfortunately, helmets don’t come standard with most ski rentals. So, you can either bring your own or rent one separately.
What should you bring skiing?
Yes, it will be cold and you probably won’t feel like drinking it, but you can get dehydrated while skiing, regardless of the low temperatures outside.
Unless you want to be running back into the lodge every hour for a drink, bring a water bottle or wear a hydration pack.
How much is skiing?
If you’re new to skiing, you should be forewarned it is a fairly costly pastime.
Not only will you need appropriate clothing that keeps you warm and dry on the slopes, but you’ll need a fair amount of equipment – skis, poles, boots and helmet.
Renting all necessary equipment (without a helmet) will cost you at least $25/day at ski areas, but can cost as much as $75 at many resorts.
And that’s only your equipment.
To access the slopes, you will also need a lift pass.
Lift passes at ski resorts vary wildly in price depending on the popularity of the resort.
You can find a handful of lesser-known ski ranges with daily lift passes for under $30, but at famous resorts like Vail and Telluride, you’re looking at daily lift pass prices of $200 or more!
What are appropriate ages for skiing?
Most beginner classes at ski resorts and ski schools accept children as young as three years old.
So, we’ll trust their expertise and say:
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