If you think about snow sports in August, you’re either in the Southern Hemisphere or you’re a full-on snow addict. This “summer” I was both, backcountry skiing for a week near Bariloche, Argentina with the consummate pros at Sass Global Travel. While I was there, the guides and other clients shared their tips for what you can do now to prep for the coming season, even if it will be months before you get your next snow fix.
1. Do A Deal. Look over your equipment and see what needs to be replaced or upgraded. Then hit your local gear store and the Internet for deals on last year’s goods. Check your helmet; if you have compression, replace it. Need new goggles? Last year’s goggles were great. Going out of bounds? You need beacon, shovel, probe and probably an airbag backpack. Get the gear. Do it now.
2. Get High. Many ski destinations are at or over 9,000 feet above sea level—high enough to be affected by altitude sickness. If you live at sea level and plan to shred high mountains, get an edge by taking a high-elevation hike or trip pre- or early season. While you won’t hold on to all of the benefits of acclimatization, exposing yourself to thin air periodically will make your adjustment to altitude that much easier every time.
3. Do It With Friends. Sure, you could have a blast rolling up to the mountain on a solo mission, but snow sports are safer and more fun with friends. Get your friends to buy the same pass you do. Make plans to hit the mountains together. Your friends don’t shred? Make new ones in a ski or snowboard Meetup Group, and join a share house close to a mountain.
4. Get Ripped. Day one on the hill is not when you want to realize that you should be a few pounds lighter or wish your legs were stronger or that you could climb higher without getting winded. Get your cardio on, build leg strength (squats) and work your core muscles. CrossFit surfaced repeatedly as a great preparation for amping your ski and snowboard performance.
5. Get Schooled. Thinking of going out-of-bounds for untracked lines? Sign up for an avalanche safety course early in the season. You’ll have the rest of the season to use those skills and take advantage of your new knowledge. Oh yeah, and you’ll make friends who are also serious about getting the goods and doing it wisely.
6. Pass Out. Want more mountain days? Buy an unlimited pass somewhere that’s easy to get to, or a bucket list multi-area pass that makes you want to check them all off the list. There are several multi-area passes on the market now that won’t be available once the season starts. Check out Epic Pass and Mountain Collective for two of the better international passes.
7. Get Your Fix. You want snow? Go get snow already! OnTheSnow has a great roundup of mountains that open early in the season.
What do you do to get ready for snow season? Let us know in the comments section!