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Ski Report: How to Survive on a Really Busy Day

CrowdeDay1
Imagine you're driving to a ski resort. It's a stunning day, bright blue sky, blanket of fresh snow. You can't wait for that feeling of still and quiet solitude when you're atop a mountain vista, preparing to shoosh your way down the hill. Then you arrive at the parking lot and harsh reality kicks in: it's crowded. Really crowded.

If you're a skier or snowboarder in the USA, you've no doubt felt the crush of a popular mountain. Whether it's a holiday or simply any resort on the Colorado I-70 corridor on a weekend, ski resorts get jam-packed. With the long President's Day weekend coming upand a great year for snowfall, big crowds are in the forecast.

Here are six quick tips on how to survive without spending the day in line:

CrowdeDay1
Imagine you're driving to a ski resort. It's a stunning day, bright blue sky, blanket of fresh snow. You can't wait for that feeling of still and quiet solitude when you're atop a mountain vista, preparing to shoosh your way down the hill. Then you arrive at the parking lot and harsh reality kicks in: it's crowded. Really crowded.

If you're a skier or snowboarder in the USA, you've no doubt felt the crush of a popular mountain. Whether it's a holiday or simply any resort on the Colorado I-70 corridor on a weekend, ski resorts get jam-packed. With the long President's Day weekend coming upand a great year for snowfall, big crowds are in the forecast.

Here are six quick tips on how to survive without spending the day in line:

1. Rent equipment the night before -- Avoid the resort's rental bottleneck. Nearly any rental shop will let you pick up your equipment late in the afternoon before your first day of skiing or riding without charging you for an extra day. Simply call ahead to see how late they're open.

2. Go for second(ary) base -- Most of the largest ski resorts have more than one base area. Vail has Lionshead, Killington has the K-1 base, even Solitude in Utah has the Moonlight base. While a smaller lodge might not have as many full-service amenities like hotels and restaurants, you'll probably score a better parking spot, get on the mountain sooner and have an easier time getting home.

3. Look into First Tracks programs -- Top-notch ski resorts like Whistler/Blackcomb and Squaw Valley offer special "first tracks" tickets which allow you to be among a very tiny group of people who score the earliest access to the mountain. If the thought of virgin powder (or perfect untouched corduroy) makes you salivate, you've got to try this at least once. The add-on is usually inexpensive, and breakfast is often included.

4. Research the masses -- Buddy up to the Mountain Hosts who linger around the base area and ask which areas of the mountain get "tracked out" the soonest. Go there first. Then, by mid-morning, start heading toward the mountain areas that are further away... they'll usually give you more space to play with fewer people in the way. Vail's back bowls, The Canyons' Dreamcatcher chair and Snowbird's Mineral Basin will never see the throngs of families with kids that clog up the primary lifts.

5. Go stag -- Fact: the "singles" line at a chair lift almost always moves the fastest. Even if you're with three friends, if you all get in that single-file line, you'll quickly feed into groups that need an extra to fill the chair. Prime convo time with potential extreme-skiing hotties is an added bonus.

6. Pack a lunch -- Between noon and 2pm families and groups head into the lodges for lunch. So go al fresco and relive your childhood with a PB&J, a granola bar and a Capri Sun slushy! The extra runs you get in totally beat that chili in a bread bowl. 

Chris French is the president of Ski Bums, the world’s largest club for LGBT skiers and snowboarders. He lives in New York City. Visit Ski-Bums.org to learn more.




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