The first snow of the season has already fallen at many resorts. If we’re lucky, once winter is in full swing it’ll all be a whirlwind of pow days, day trips, and as much time on the hill as possible. It’s certainly something to be prepared for, so here’s a checklist that will get you shreddy for opening day (yes, puns). Some of these may seem obvious, but still:
Get Your Legs Right
We’ve all felt like we wouldn’t survive after that first full day on the slopes. Muscles hurt after being engaged for eight hours–muscles we forgot we even had. And even if you’ve been doing cardio on a regular basis, snowboarding works all the little muscles in between the major muscles groups you’ve probably kept in decent shape. These are the ones that are screaming for the hot tub at the end of the day. Running stairs, box jumps, and squats are ideal for getting your legs back in shape for winter. If you want to get real crazy, try squats on an Indo Board.
Actually Put Money Aside for the Pass
Many mountain resorts will change their pricing throughout the year. Often, some’ll have a window before Thanksgiving Day to buy season passes at lower rates, saving you good money. Also, buying your pass online sometimes gives you the option to renew your existing pass. This will save you from having to stand in line to get your photo taken on opening day when all you really want to do is ride the first chair. Note for next year: President’s Day pass sales in February often allow you to buy for that season and the following one.
Make Sure Your Gear Still Works, Duh
Your snowboard gear is probably the last thing you’re thinking about during summer. It’s easy to forget you lost your gloves at the end of last season and had to borrow from a friend, or that the power strap on your boot is caput, even with the duct tape. It’s important to do an inventory of all of your gear at least six weeks before the season starts. This allows time to shop online and receive shipping before opening day. That’s probably not you, right? Or us. Know what you want and maybe peruse Craigslist to replace if you’re on a budget or hit any number of ski and snowboard swaps across the country that are supporting local race teams or helping to offer scholarships for kids to join the after-school shred squad (Hint: Google ski swap and your location).
Figure Out Your Pow Partners for the Year
Now that you’re thinking winter, get your friends thinking about it too. Ask your people where they’re planning on getting a season pass, who upgraded to an AWD vehicle (so you can bum rides), and who’s going to be game for road trips. Carpooling is key when you all have the same mission. Once you find those reliable friends, you’ll have a crew to split costs from day trip gas to renting cabins for a weekend. Plus you’ll actually, you know, get better at skiing or riding because you’ll have people to push you.
Get Your Vehicle Shred-Ready, Too
Does your vehicle need new tires or windshield wipers before the storms roll in? That’s a tough thing to figure out when you find yourself in the middle of a storm that’s nuking feet of snow all over the highway. It may not seem necessary to replace a bunch of gadgets on your car when they seem to be working fine but the conditions you’ll face are way different than your daily commute. To top it off, this is when your car needs to be running its best. Many commercial tire and oil shops will check your tires for wear and air pressure for free. It’s also important to get chains ahead of time (if you don’t use a four-wheel drive) and keep them in your trunk (double check the tire sizes on your vehicle to make sure they match your chains).