Planning on visiting Vail this weekend? American Ski Exchange has you covered with ski, snowboard, boot, and helmet rentals of course, but that is only scratching the surface of what you will need to have your weekend go perfectly. All of the following recommendations will be dependent on time of year of your visit as well as weather conditions, but as this blogger’s grandmother would say, “Better to be safe than sorry”. Let’s first address arriving safely at Vail’s five thousand fun acres of ski territory. If you are planning on driving West from Denver consider leaving Friday night instead of Saturday morning, as the drive Westward on Interstate 70 is almost always one slowed by traffic at this peak travel time. Colorado now requires snow tires and/or chains or a four wheel drive vehicle during snowfall so be sure to check Colorado’s Department of Transportation site before you leave to be informed of what equipment is currently required and watch road signs on your way up to avoid those hefty fines.
Next up is a trinity of vital items: hydration method, sun protection, and food suitable for consumption while on the hill. A standard Nalgene-like water bottle works great while skiing, as they attach easily to the exterior to your gear and do not break or burst open. Vail Village features outdoor water fountains for refills. Many people struggle with staying hydrated enough at such a high altitude, either through ignorance or consuming too many adult beverages, don’t count yourself among them! Dehydration symptoms can include dizziness, weakness, fainting, palpitations, and a dry mouth, not ideal conditions to enjoy a day on the slopes.
At over eleven thousand feet above sea level Vail Mountain’s peak gets intense sunlight throughout skiing hours, so packing SPF 30 or higher sunblock is recommended. At such elevations ultraviolet light exposure is almost fifty percent more intense. Combined with wind, any exposed skin can quickly become uncomfortable so consider bringing a sunblock with aloe vera added. Be sure to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours to keep your skin feeling great.
Which brings us to food fit for eating on the go. Some factors to prioritize when packing a snack are ease of eating, you don’t want anything too messy or that requires silverware, so leave those leftovers at home! Also, keep in mind that Vail Mountain is located in a national forest, so any packaging should be kept to a minimum and of course brought with you until you reach a trash bin. Cliff bars and other similar granola bars work great as a midday snack, minimal meal set up and packaging are ideal. Some other good ideas are trail mix in a sandwich bag, clementines, or the old standby: sandwiches. Carbohydrates and some protein are the ideal mix for mountain snacks. As with any strenuous physical activity, eating those food groups minimize muscle damage and will keep you full of energy throughout the day.
A few last minute things to grab if you don’t have them packed already are extra socks, especially if you are riding more than one consecutive day. Really a full extra set of clothing as advisable, as any clothes you wear as a layers will be sweaty and generally smell like your workout outfit. Not great for a night out on the town! Follow these few tips, plan for your weekend to go perfectly, and you will surely enjoy your stay here in beautiful Vail!