How to Plan Your First Ski Trip

If you’re looking for a fun winter getaway, look no further than a ski trip. Skiing is one of the few activities that is exclusively for winter, so you should enjoy it while it’s in season. Plus, you can account for different skill and adventure levels, making it fun for the whole family. If you’re planning your first trip, we’re here to help you know how to have the best ski trip you can.

Know Your Group

When planning your first ski trip, make sure to keep in mind the ages and adventurous tendencies of your group. If you’ll have mostly adults and older teens, a destination with more challenging options will probably work. If your group has more children or older skiers, a resort with easier slopes and options for activities that don’t involve skiing is a good bet.

Plan Ahead

While you could probably plan a ski trip last-minute, it’s better to set it up at least a month ahead of time—especially for your first trip. This way, you can make sure to have your plans for food, travel, lodging, and equipment rental done on time. Plus, you can generally find early bird discounts for equipment rental or lodging depending on the resort you are looking at.


Ski trips can run on the expensive side. Because of this, it’s good to have an idea of how much you can spend before looking into destinations. Ski lift daily passes can run upwards of $100, and equipment rental is generally around the same price. On top of that, you need to cover travel and lodgings, which adds up if you go far away. Another important piece of your budget is meals, both while you travel and once you arrive. Fortunately, there are ways to help offset those costs.


Most ski lodges and resorts offer bundles for your equipment rental and lodging. Some include discounted airplane tickets and other resort activities. Bundles are also a good option because it takes some of the stress of planning the trip off your shoulders. Because they are a single cost for everything, or almost everything, you need on your trip, they make the planning process much simpler.

Get the Right Equipment

Make sure you have the right equipment for your skiing experience. As mentioned above, you can generally rent equipment—like skis and ski boots—from your ski resort. You should also have goggles or sunglasses that block UV rays. You will also need helmets for everyone. These can usually be rented, but you should call your destination ahead of time to verify that they have helmets and that the helmet sizes will work. You can also invest in your own helmets ahead of time. This can be helpful when you’re bringing children, because getting to choose their helmet color, if possible, might make the more apprehensive kids excited to ski.

Dress for the Occasion

There are several other articles of clothing you will need to stay adequately warm. You’re going to be outside in the snow for most of the day, so you need to be prepared. You’ll need warm hats or earmuffs (that won’t come off while you’re skiing) and gloves or mittens. It’s a good idea to bring a backup of these for each person skiing, so if they get wet you have something to change into and keep going. Circle scarves or turtlenecks are safer on the slopes than regular scarves. Wear warm socks, but don’t layer these—too many socks can make it difficult to get your boots on and off. Bring layers, like warm sweatshirts that fit under your coat, in case of warmer weather. Also, since you can’t always keep all your skin covered, bring Vaseline to prevent chapped faces.


While you may stay in a hotel or lodge that provides your meals, this isn’t guaranteed. Make sure to check the website or call to find out about meal options—if your room has a minifridge you can stop at a grocery store on your way to the destination and get basics for your stay. If your meals are included in the cost, you will still want snacks for the slopes. Stock up on granola bars or other sturdy foods you can eat with gloves on. There’s nothing like fuzzies in trail mix or smushed fruit in a pocket to discourage a hungry skier.

Accept the Weather

Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can run amok when the weather is involved. While most ski resorts will have snow machines, there’s no way to accurately predict the weather far enough out to plan around it. You should be mentally, if not physically, prepared for unusual warm that melts snow, unusually late snowfall, or dangerously cold temperatures. Because of this, it’s a good idea to have other options for activities that don’t require snow. You can see if your resort offers other, non-skiing activities, such as ice skating or sledding, or see what attractions are nearby.

Transportation to the Mountain

You’ve reserved your rooms, gathered your clothes and equipment, decided to rent the rest and take ski lessons, and booked your flight. Now, the only thing left is to get to the mountain. Depending on your location, the airport can be anywhere between a quick shuttle ride or a couple of hours away. If you’re interested in having the option of easily heading to the nearest town during your stay, or if the resort doesn’t have shuttle services from the airport, you should look into local car and van rental companies, like Rugged Van Rentals. Being able to drive to the nearest town also gives you more options for activities and gives you an easy way to get anything you may have forgotten to pack.

If your ski destination is in Colorado, we have a van for you. Seating a variety of group sizes with their gear and able to handle any road and weather conditions, you’ll be prepared for anything. Feel free to contact us with any questions. We hope to help you get the most out of your first ski vacation.