VIP Ski/Snowboard Checklist

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Skiing and snowboarding are perfect ways for everyone to get out in the fresh air, learn new skills, stay healthy, and make memories that can last a lifetime. Plus, it’s just fun! An exciting change from the daily routine. It puts you outside where you can enjoy nature and the winter landscape.  A beginner can enjoy skiing right from the start, experiencing the same challenges and rewards as the accomplished skier.

Did you know that most skiers or snowboarders began skiing before the age of seventeen and start through a beginner package or school skiing program?  Pennsylvania ski areas have kids and beginner packages for you.

Whether this is your first trip or your hundredth trip, it’s always helpful to have a rundown of what items you may want to pack so you can feel like a VIP at any ski area. Bookmark this page, because you'll want to refer back to it to make sure you've thought of everything you might want to bring. We even have trip-specific resources at the end.  Been asking yourself What to pack? what should you prepare before you travel?  Follow these quick steps, and get a printable packing list, travel tips, information, and things to do before your trip:

Getting Prepared



    • Clothing – It isn’t necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on new clothes. When first learning, borrow from a friend or improvise with winter clothing already in your closet. Adopt the fashion concept of layering: silk, flannel, and wool are great.

      Warm Feet – To get the best fit, especially from rentals, leave the thick wool socks behind. They tend to constrict circulation and cause cold feet. The modern ski & snowboard boot is exceptionally well insulated. Try wearing one thin layer of socks instead.

    • The best way to dress for a trip to a ski area is to wear layers. This gives you more flexibility to add or remove layers, depending on the weather and your activity. Turtleneck shirts, sweaters, long underwear and footless tights work well as under-layers. Avoid wearing cotton next to your skin, it will absorb sweat and snow and make you colder. For that same reason, wool or acrylic socks are better than cotton athletic socks. Wear one, thin pair of socks. Ski and snowboard boots are designed to be warm and tight. Thick socks, or multiple layers of socks, will only give you an uncomfortable fit.

      Don’t forget your head! Eye protection against the snow-white background or snowmaking is important. Plus, a hat or helmet to keep your head warm. Water-resistant gloves or mittens are also a must.


    • SKI LESSON GUIDE Use this guide to accurately place yourself in the appropriate ski group.

      Beginner 1 First-time skier Learn about the fit and function of your skis or snowboard, how to turn & stop, and how to use a surface lift. Terrain: flat and gentle hills. Goal: gliding wedge, beginning wedge turns, able to use surface lift.

      2 Novice Learn to stop, control speed and turn better on easy beginner runs. Depending on comfort levels, work on riding a chairlift. Terrain: Easy. Goal: Wedge turns, improve control by linking wedge turns. Chairlift review and use.

      Intermediate 3 Early Intermediate At this level, you should make controlled beginner turns on the easiest runs and be comfortable riding a chairlift. You are ready to move your skills to the next level. Terrain: Mostly green runs with some easy blue. Goal: Steering the skis into a parallel match while traversing the hill. Chairlift required.

      4 Intermediate You are able to control your speed by turning with a skidded finish. Terrain: Blue. Goal: Able to steer to match a turn. Initiated with a wedge and finished with the skis parallel.

      5 Advanced Intermediate By this point you should feel comfortable on all intermediate terrain, most of the time. You will now improve your rhythm and control. Terrain: Blue trails and some Black. Goal: Wedge christie 2, matching skis before the midpoint of a turn, learning the use of ski poles in training.

      Advanced 6 Early Advanced Able to match skis soon after initiation. Open parallel turns. Looking to develop confidence on more difficult runs. Terrain: All blues and blacks if conditions are favorable. Goal: Initiating a turn in a parallel stance.

      7 Advanced You should be a strong parallel skier on all intermediate terrain no matter the conditions. You will learn how to refine the turn and adapt it to terrain and snow conditions. Terrain: All blues and blacks except for the most variable type of conditions (large bumps, ice, heavy snow). Goal: Dynamic parallel, learning short-radius parallel turns in the fall line and carving medium-radius turns across the fall line.


      Beginner Have you ever snowboarded before? No…Level 1 Goal: To develop basic balance, stopping, and turning on gentle terrain.

      Snowboarded once or twice? Yes…Level 2 Goal: To develop confidence on a snowboard. Can slide in a straight run or sideslip with both feet in; cannot turn or stop.

      Are you tentative on a snowboard? Yes, all the time…Level 3 Goal: To make skidded turns and stops in control .

      Yes, but starting to link turns…Level 4 Goal: To further refine making rounded turns in control in both directions.

      Intermediate Do you link turns on a snowboard? Yes, but not all the time…Level 5 Goal: To control speed by turn shape, slowing down and maintaining speed, and using your edges more effectively. You may also be able to ride in a half pipe and do tricks in a park.

      Yes, all the time, non-aggressive…Level 6 Goal: To gain confidence and become a smoother, more stylish rider. You will continue to sharpen your skills in edging, and pressure control while maintaining good rhythm and flow. You will be introduced to 'carving', which is the entry into the world of expert snowboarding .

      Yes, all the time, aggressive…Level 7 Goal: To work on dynamic steering and carving through the arc of long, medium, and short radius turns. You will learn specific skills to ride in moguls and how to handle different pitches and snow conditions. You will work on advanced carving, controlling speed and turn shape with a smooth and continual flow. You will focus on technique and gain confidence in all conditions.

      Advanced Do you ride a snowboard confidently? Yes, but non-aggressive…Level 8

      Yes, aggressive…Level 9 Goal: When you are accepted into these levels you will refine and perfect the Six Basic Elements of Expert Snowboarding. With a precise teaching method, plus a serious commitment from you to practice and to continue your snowboard education, you will finally join the ranks of truly expert riders.

Where to Go

    • Trail Maps are a great way to find out about the options and services available. At any ski area the first thing you should do is look over the Lessons and Trail Map information. Both will help you get accustomed to where to go and what to do on your first visit.


What to Expect at the Resort

    • Please Help Make Safety A Top Priority! Nothing ruins a great day of fun as much as an accident that didn't have to happen. Ultimately, safe skiing and snowboarding on the mountain is each person's responsibility. It is important to remember that there are elements of risk in mountain activities that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. To fully enjoy skiing or riding, you must know and be willing to accept the limits of your ability. Following "Your Responsibility Code" will help all skiers and snowboarders have a safer mountain experience and avoid personal time with the Patrol. The National Ski Areas Association established "Your Responsibility Code" in 1966 as a code of ethics for all skiers on the mountain. Today, the code reflects not only skier safety, but snowboarder and lift safety as well. The points listed in the “Your Responsibility Code” are the rules of the road when you are on the mountain. So, whether you ski with one board or two, or use other specialized equipment, always show courtesy to others so that your paths don't cross.

    • If Mother Nature can't get it done, ski areas CAN! Almost all U.S ski areas have snowmaking systems that produce machine made snow by adding water to the atmosphere. That means ski areas will have snow even when you can’t see it in your back yard.

    • Ski area grooming staff work each night until the wee hours of the morning to make sure the snow on the slopes is fresh and ready each day for skiers and snowboarders.

    • The difficulty of a ski trail is indicated by easily recognizable symbols: Green circle – easiest, Blue square – more difficult, Black diamond – most difficult. Skiers/riders who get onto terrain above their ability may want to stop a passing skier and ask him to notify the Patrol. If worse comes to worse, it’s perfectly acceptable to take your equipment off and walk down the trail. But, for the safety of other’s, try to stay as close to the edge of the trail as possible.


While There

    • Everyone learns at different paces. Both skiing and snowboarding take specialized skills that improve with practice, over time. Ultimately, your expectation's should focus on the fun and excitement of the overall experience.

    • Once at the ski area, your first step is to check in. Many ski areas have people available to answer questions and help you find your way. These people are called Ambassadors.

      For more info:

    • Ski and Snowboard instructors are enthusiastic staff dedicated to helping guests master new skills. Their unique approach to teaching, guiding, and coaching has been designed to help you have the best time possible. Lessons are available at scheduled and arranged times to help fit your schedule.

    • No one looks as awkward as they feel. Relax, smile, and enjoy.

    • Every smart skier & snowboarder knows that sometimes the “last run” is best left for the next time. When enthusiasm has surpassed energy at the end of the day, quit.

Post Trip


Don't forget to share your experience — we'll be glad to extend our checklist.

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