January 19th, 2016
Outdoor Fun 101: How to Plan a Group Ski Weekend
Even the most avid adventurer can balk at the idea of planning a weekend ski vacation…for a group. Find out how to plan this season’s most epic weekend trip, without the stress.
We've all heard the cliché, “the more the merrier.” Or better yet, “Everything is better with friends.” But, when it comes to a group ski weekend, your good intentions can be easily thwarted by frustration, cost, and bad company. Some clever planning, however, can ensure your group trip goes smoothly—and when it does, you can take all the credit. Just follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to stress-free slopes.
To start, assess your own goals for the weekend. Are you itching for an resort life only served at places such as Aspen Highlands, CO or Jackson Hole, WY? Are stellar nights of après entertainment a higher priority than a fun day on skis? Having a clear vision for your weekend trip will help you make decisions such as where and when to ski. And, if you’re planning a large group trip, making these decisions before inviting people will save time and limit disagreement.
Be careful who you invite. The best adventure buddies have similar goals and skills, and compatible communication styles. Sound complicated? Make it simple by choosing people you have successfully traveled with in the past.
Carefully communicate your expectations. If your main goal is to hit the freshly groomed runs, make sure to communicate your desire to wake early and get out on the lift. If others don’t want to join, just make plans to meet them for lunch or a post-skiing beer. The key is getting these details sorted out early so you’re not wasting precious ski time figuring out a schedule.
Make wise choices with your money. When it comes to groups, money can really mess things up. Even the most epic trip can be ruined if no one pays you back for lodging, travel, or reservation fees. If possible, avoid paying up front for the group, and ask people to chip in ahead of time instead. Otherwise, make sure you are prepared to foot the bill for some time, and clearly communicate—from the start—when you absolutely need to be paid back.
Pack for any weather. The outdoors is nothing if not unpredictable. To avoid weather-related issues, prepare for both cloudless, sunny days and blizzard conditions. You’re only going for a weekend, so a duffel bag should suffice for carrying all those layers. Don’t forget a backpack to wear while skiing should you want to bring extra layers or a lunch on the slope. Pack things like sunscreen, chapstick, and cold medicine in a separate organizer so those liquids don’t leak all over your favorite ski sweater.
Keep it simple. Embrace the adventure. Once you’ve worked through where you are going, who is coming, and what your goals are, take a break and enjoy the ride! Don’t overthink the small details you can’t control, such as weather or snow conditions. As long as you’re packed well and prepared, you’ll be fine.
Have your own strategies for successful group travel? Tell us in the comments!
Alyssa Erickson is a skier, hiker, triathlete, and all around adventure lover with a passion for writing. You can find her most days exploring the Wasatch Range with her family or inspiring families to get outdoors at http://www.KidProject.org.
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