Families making their second journey may have memories of a different nature. The first trip may have felt like an expedition up Mt. Everest, complete with a treacherous drive, a difficult schlep of equipment from the parking lot with mom and dad playing Sherpa, and the smaller team members breaking down in tears several times over the weekend due to lost mittens and cold fingers, or an overcrowded lesson or simply a high-stress vibe coming off of a harried mom or dad.
The experience getting to your resort and in the process and procedures to get your family through the resort village, the rental shop and off to the ski school can be really great or painful. It all depends on where you’re skiing and what you know in advance. So how can you minimize the stress and maximize the fun factor if you’re new to skiing or new to the area?
First, tap your social network for insider tips. Select your resort, your lodging, your ski instructor and even your departure time and route based on recommendations from those who’ve already blazed the trail.
Getting to the hill
Caltrans has a great resource called the Caltrans Highway Information Network. It provides road information and even winter driving tips.
Motorists may telephone - 800.427.7623 for up-to-the-minute information in California and Western Nevada (Lake Tahoe/Reno Area). The network is updated as conditions change, and is voice-activated for safety and convenience. Of course, the information is also available online. So... bookmark this link and know before you go.
Once you arrive, make getting to the slopes easy on you and your kids:
- Eliminate a hike through the parking lot or the wait for a shuttle bus. Use your resort's courtesy drop off to deposit kids, skis, boards and one parent. The other can then park the car and make his or her way to a pre-arranged meeting spot without having to carry anything.
- If you do walk, don't wear your ski boots! Walk in comfortable shoes and utilize the resort’s lockers to store them during the day. This isn't just for comfort... your street shoes may prevent a slip and fall accident.
- If you’re arranging a private lesson, leverage your instructor’s focus on customer service. Instructors love making every process easier for clients. I regularly meet clients at the courtesy drop off, ready to be their Sherpa, resort tour guide, rental equipment advisor, and escort through what can be a busy village.
- Lastly, take note of where you parked your car, and if you're thinking of skiing in Tahoe, consider leaving a broom or a shovel in the trunk. (see photo!)
The next few postings will focus on:
- How to manage the hand-off of your kids to their instructor in such a way that the kids aren't stressed, you're not stressed, and you've set your kids and their coach up for success.
- How to extend the fun from the lesson into your own free-skiing with your children
- Do's and Don'ts when your goal is to turn your little one into a little ripper who loves the mountains more than you do.