7 Ski Vacation Mistakes That Are Simple to Solve

Ski vacations are an exciting adventure and we all want to make the most of them. In today’s world, people are staying home because of COVID so when the time is right and we’re able to confidently return to the slopes, we all want that ski vacation to be EPIC. >>>>>> Here are some easy ways to solve the simple ski vacation mistakes that we’ve all made.

Mistake #1: Packing Errors

Packing Too Much

People argue that the real beginning to the ski vacation is when we start packing for it. We’re excited to think of what the time will be like and with that anticipation comes the potential of packing too much.

Courtesy of abc.net.au

Make a list and stick to it. Double check two things: Equipment & Clothing. I usually pack my ski equipment first. A simple equipment checklist as a starting point can help avoid the nasty realization half way into day one that we’ve missed something.

I lay it out on the floor before assembling it in my double ski bag or duffle. Usually, an extra pair of gloves, socks and t-necks goes a long way. Packing a t-neck for each day and 14 pairs of socks is probably overboard – just saying.

Packing List; Equipment Checklist; Planning Your Next Ski Vacation article

Mistake #2: Equipment Failure

Cinderella, Cinderella – does your ski boot fit?

Probably one the most important pieces of equipment that can make or break our ski vacation is our BOOTS. Renting boots is an thought but perhaps not the best option. Choosing and fitting the best ski boots for YOU is a good start.

Take the time to ask our local ski shop for the best advise. It’s all about what type of skiing will we be doing and at what level we’re at. If we’re just starting out > a 30 minute boot fitting can start you off on the right foot (literally). If we’re a seasoned pro looking to update our boots > it could take up to 1-2 hours to get us properly fitted.

Take the time, your feet will thank you. Conversely, if we have improperly fitted boots, a ski vacation can be miserable.

I found the best season I ever had was after taking the time to book a pre-season appointment at my favorite ski shop to have the best orthotic footbeds setup along with a professional boot fitting. After 80+ days that season, my feet were very happy.

Andrew Elsdon

Missing Vital Pieces of Equipment

Boots as mentioned are critical, but there are several other pieces that are vital to our ski vacation success.

Boots, socks, gloves (+extra gloves), properly fitted goggles, sunblock (yes, sunblock), and last but not least – a properly fitted helmet are all part of the equipment/clothing list.

If you forget these items, it’s solvable by visiting the resort’s local ski shop. Always fun to visit, but not if we have to purchase 2 pairs of leather gloves (@$120 each); 1 high-end junior helmet ($245); 4 pairs of ski socks (@$45 each); and 2 pairs of long johns for Mr. & Mrs ($120 each)… Ski vacation budget officially blown.

Pack it or buy it, it’s simple a choice.

Packing List; Equipment Checklist

Mistake #3: Going Too Big Too Soon

Getting Lost in the Shuffle

Ok, here’s an interesting option when it comes to ski vacations. One mistake we’ve all seen at the resort is a family looking for services they can’t easily find. Perhaps we’ve witnessed a skier or skiers on the slopes lost on the back bowls not knowing how to return to the front side.

Sometimes the best ski vacations are experienced (especially for the first time) at a resort that is manageable and easy to tour around. Many US and European resorts are very different than our local ski ‘hill’. Travelling up the mountain via a gondola, 2 chair rides, and a t-bar to the top of the mountain can be overwhelming.

Photo by Toa Heftiba

Imagine vacationing at a resort that is ski-in/ski-out, includes easy-to-find signage and is clear about where to ski for the day? Sometimes it can be easy to get caught in the shuffle of a large resort or ski area that spans over several different ski resorts.

Skiing in Zermatt Switzerland and ending up in Cervinia Italy without the proper ski lift pass can be a problem.

Photo by Samuel Ferrara

Reading the Signs

Understanding the signs and how to get around the mountain makes our ski vacation SO much easier. Reading a resort map and knowing what lifts get us where is key.

Read the Signs

“If we go to this peak, we’ll need to take this chair over to that run which will bring us back to the chalet by the end of the day. Let’s meet at the top of this chair at 3:30pm so we can all ski down together at the end of the day..”

Happy Family Ski Vacationers

Mistake #4: Avoiding the Ski School

Mountain Orientation

Ok, this is a huge mistake. A ski lesson from a seasoned pro has so many benefits. Sometimes, it’s not just about improving the skiing. It can be about having fun and touring the resort to become familiar with our surroundings.

I was introduced to a Spanish speaking family from Mexico City on a ski vacation at Mont Ste Anne, Quebec, Canada. As their assigned instructor, I could clearly see that the parents were nervous and the kids were completely disengaged saying: “Why do we need to take a lesson” (¿Por qué necesitamos tomar una lección”).

After 1-1/2 hours of ‘touring‘ the mountain, they were SO appreciative and happy about the experience. “We would have never seen the resort from that vantage point if you didn’t show us – Thank you” (Nunca hubiéramos visto el resort desde ese punto de vista si no nos lo mostraras – Muchas Gracias”)

Andrew Elsdon

Ski Ability & Fun Factor

A ski lesson has the ability to accelerate the learning curve; build confidence, double check equipment; provide a resort orientation; develop a goal to shoot for during the ski vacation; and so much more.

Monica Cost (Ski Instructor) and friends

Mistake #5: Nutrition

First things first – a disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist but I do know how I feel when I make the following mistakes on or before a ski vacation.


Our bodies need water to survive and our cells, tissue and organs need it to properly function. Our bodies use water to lubricate joints, remove waste, and maintain body temperature. Being dehydrated on the slopes is not good.

I remember my coach monitoring the colour of our urine in the snow and evaluating how hydrated or dehydrated we were throughout the day o skiing. Yikes!?

Plain water seems to be the best option for staying hydrated while other drinks and foods can help. Fruit, vegetable juice, herbal teas and more can provide what we don’t consume in plain water.

Drinking caffeine in the morning seems like a regular choice, but be aware that caffeine can cause us to urinate more often and have affects on our hydrated levels in the body.

Apres alcohol can cause dehydration to the body, so stock up on keeping our bodies hydrated throughout the day. Starting the morning off with a glass of water seems vital after losing water throughout the night.

Signs of Dehydration
  • Urine is dark yellow or amber = dehydrated
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headaches
  • Confusion, dizziness or lightheaded


  • Carry a reusable water bottle
  • Drink water before, during, and after workout
  • Drink water at the restaurant

Nutrition / Fuel & Fresh Air Burn Rate

Thousands of articles have been written about proper fuel for our bodies, especially for skiers.

Just the fact that we’re outside in the fresh air exerting ourselves on the slopes burns calories and hydration in our bodies. Going from the office to a ski slope tends to change the amount of fuel we burn during the day (do ya think?)

Taking in more water and the right foods can combat that use of energy during the day on the slopes.

Mistake #6: Fitness

We’re all aware of busy lifestyles in today’s world and it’s a challenge to get to the gym. It’s very possible in a short period of time to get ourselves fit to ski. If we all take the time to properly set some time aside to get in better shape, the ski vacation will be so much more enjoyable. 

The last thing we want is to be struggling on the slopes. Being in a little better shape will give us more time on the slope and reduce the risk of injury. 

We often forget how demanding skiing can be on our bodies. Spending 4-6 hours on the slopes plus requires energy and fuel. We must also consider altitude and the fact that it takes more energy to do the same thing at lower altitude (sea level).

Endurance / Strength / Flexibility

Anything that can help us with endurance, strength and flexibility will potentially improve our time on the slopes during this well deserved ski vacation.

Subscribe to SkiChatter to receive notice of an exclusive upcoming article on “Pre-Season Fitness Prep” by one of Canada’s top ski trainers – Fred Lepine.

Mistake #7: Over Indulge Après

Do as I say, not as I do!

Imagine if we gave permission to our teen agers the night before a big soccer tournament to eat a really big meal late at night and add a second helping of that chocolate cake? People would think we’re mad !

Imagine again if we were to tell that same teenager not to drink any water the day before and to make sure not to stretch before the big day? Again, we would think of this as madness !

Wait a minute… Hold the presses!! “We’re On Vacation damn it !!!” Right?

Après much?

Simple Solutions

With a little discipline we can keep the over indulgence to a minimum and 10x our ski vacation.

There we are getting up early with the family, making our way to the airport, travelling all day and arriving at the resort where our anticipation is very high. It’s time to unpack and grab some social time.

The accommodations are perfect and despite the bed being top notch, it can be unfamiliar which could cause unrest or a sleepless first night.

Taking into consideration that after all that travelling and probably having a cocktail on the flight that probably caused some dehydration, it all adds up to our first day on the slopes to be a little bit of a potential struggle.

It’s the Perfect Storm to Over Indulge

Think about it : we’re excited the explore the entire ski resort and all the runs it has to offer. We want to push ourselves to maximize our vacation. It’s a time to indulge in some resort gourmet cuisine, get a taste of the local wines, experience the local night life, meet some new people, check out the Apres ski bars, take in all the extra-curricular activities and so much more. Yes, it’s a perfect storm to over indulge.

– Yes, Enjoy Après activities (Skiboot Bar, Apres swim, stationary bike, etc)
– Moderate alcohol and stay hydrated
– Early (healthy) dinner
– Early to bed (8 hours sleep)
– Early start (no crowds, fresh POW)


  1. Packing
  2. Equipment
  3. Going Too Big Too Soon
  4. Avoiding Ski School
  5. Nutrition
  6. Fitness
  7. Over Indulgence

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