Spring is in full swing, which means the spring breakers are out in full force, infiltrating beaches and ski resorts everywhere. Having lived in both Florida and now Colorado, I’ve seen both arenas of spring break. For all intents and purposes of this article, we are going to dive in to the latter, to ensure spring break skiers have the best time, without ruining the lives of locals.
Here are 8 rules for enjoying your spring break ski trip.
Rule #1 – Don’t Be an asshole
You may think because it’s your spring break that everyone around you is also on spring break. However, that is not the case. Be mindful of your surroundings and be polite to those around you, including wait staff, hotel workers and locals. Be cognizant of the fact that since you chose to spring break in Vail rather than Cancun, there is an abundance of families with small children around. Therefore, drinking a gallon of Fireball and straightlining down the mountain—where you might run into someone and injure them—is not a good idea.
#2 – Know Your Limits
Even more so than the ski tourism, Colorado now has the reputation for weed tourism. It’s legal here—and that sure is neat—but if you’re not used to indulging in edible marijuana or smoking at altitude, it’s best to pace yourself. Edibles are difficult to regulate and therefore the THC content can vary widely across the board. Check the labels and adhere to the serving sizes. It often takes awhile for these to kick in, so don’t wait ten minutes then pop 3 more because “you don’t feel anything.” Next thing you know, you’ll be tied down in a hospital bed because you tried to “fly” into oncoming traffic.
In addition, unless you’re an expert skier, know your limits on the mountain. Don’t head out to the backcountry unprepared and if you’re a beginner, don’t hit up a double black diamond run so you can post an Instagram pic of it. Consider springing for a half-day lesson if you’ve never skied before to keep yourself and those around you safe.
Rule #3 – Find Deals on Lift Tickets
Now that we’re done trashing ski tourists, let’s help you all out a bit. Skiing isn’t cheap. Once you factor in accommodations, rentals and lift tickets, you’ve severely depleted your spring break budget. Check sites like Liftopia for discounts on lift tickets and rentals. Also try and purchase lift tickets through local ski shops, Costco and even REI for a better deal than at the window. At Shell Gas Stations, skiers in Colorado and Michigan can also receive a BOGO voucher for participating resorts with the purchase of 10 gallons of gas. You can also choose more budget-friendly resorts and buy tickets online.
Rule #4 – Accommodate with Deals
Check AirBNB and VRBO for deals on accommodations. Hotels are in high demand during spring break, so you’ll be hard pressed to find something you consider “reasonable” if you’re sticking to a budget. Many resort towns aren’t known for being friendly on the wallet (lookin’ at you, Aspen), so consider finding accommodations in towns outside the resort. If you find a decently priced vacation rental, you may also have a kitchen and can cut down on the cost of food by cooking your own meals!
Rule #5 – Pack Smart
Just because it’s spring break, doesn’t mean you’ll be skiing in jean shorts and t-shirts (Texans, you know what I’m talking about). Check the weather and pack for warmer temperatures, as well as for snow. Though it will be a bit warmer than the dead of winter, snow is not unheard of even into late May. So pack your base layers and a thick coat, in addition to your spring skiing gear.
Rule #6 – Plan Around Spring Events
In spring, the resort towns are awash with free concerts, fun events and exciting festivities. Try and plan your trip around one of these events and work in some live music, food and fun into your après skiing routine.
Rule #7 – Try Local Haunts
Resort towns are teeming with the restaurants, bars and stores they want you to go spend money in. Switch it up and find out from locals where the best places to eat, drink and be merry are—then go there. You may get some weird looks at that dive bar hidden behind a trailer park and a Wal-Mart, but chances are you’ll come out with a great story and some good deals on PBR.
Rule #8 – Be Flexible
So the weather report a week ago showed sunny skies and warm temperatures, yet now there is a blizzard outside your window. In times like these, it’s important to be flexible and have a plan B. Sure, a blizzard makes great skiing conditions, but it doesn’t much lend to barhopping through the town or sipping mimosas at an outdoor brunch spot. Be ready for whatever may happen and make the most of your ski trip!
Wherever you plan to ski during spring break, remember to find those deals, don’t be “that guy” and have fun!