Ski Trip Planning 101

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Professional skier and PROBAR athlete Griffin Post knows a thing or two about ski trip planning. He's traveled around the world in search of the the perfect turn while filming with Teton Gravity Research. Here is some advice to take into account when planning your next ski trip.

All trips are not created equal. This may seem obvious but beyond airlines, weather and the mood or your guide, there’s a lot that can effect whether your ski trip is the adventure of a lifetime or another story that starts out, “It was good, but…” Sure, every trip has a number of variables that are beyond one’s control, but there are several ways to curve the odds in your favor before you even leave home. A little planning and decision-making on the front end can save a lot of potential headaches when it comes time to shred. While there’s no way to guarantee the trip you anticipate all fall and winter delivers, at least you can minimize the odds you’ll be kicking yourself in the butt once the time comes. Here’s what I’ve learned over a decade of having “epics”—for both the right and wrong reasons.

Choose Your Crew

This may sound secondary to location, but your company will have a far larger impact on your trip than where you end up going. It sounds obvious, but make sure everyone is on the same page from the get-go. Are you looking for bluebird every day or are you okay with storm skiing? Do you want to ride lifts or tour every day? Are a few beers at après sufficient or do you want to take it deep every night? Have you budgeted $1,000 or $5,000 for the trip? The more common goals you have with your crew the better, and the first chairlift ride isn’t the time to figure out what the rest of your group is after.

Choose Your Destination and timing.

This might be the most difficult part of the planning process, particularly when you get to the next step. Weather is fickle, but through a little research it’s pretty easy to get a good idea of where to go based on what you’re looking for. Deep powder? Japan in January. Epic big mountain lines? Alaska in April. Lift service powder with a base? Jackson in February. Partying and skiing? Tahoe in March (hopefully). There’s never a guarantee, but it’s easy to stack the odds in your favor through twenty minutes of Googling.

Buy the ticket

“Buy the f$%king ticket,” notes Kelly Cordes, paraphrasing Jim Donini and Jack Tackle’s first step to planning an expedition. If you want to go on a ski trip, go on a ski trip. There will be a lot of excuses to not pull the trigger once the time draws closer, so eliminate any opportunity for back peddling by giving your credit card a workout early. Plus, many guiding services offer discounts for early bookings and plane tickets are much cheaper when you don’t buy them a week in advance (or so I hear).

There’s no exact science to trip planning, but there are some pretty well proven theories based on others’ mistakes (myself included). Don’t end up bummed out because you got lazy on a Google search or weren’t honest about your expectations up front. While there’s no guarantee that every trip will meet everyone’s expectations, every time, a little homework and commitment upfront can minimize frustrations later and at least guarantee, one way or another, you have something to look forward to.

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