In our house, fall isn’t really one season, but two: “Almost Ski Season” and “Ski Season.” We spend the Almost Ski Season getting our ski bags sorted out, and generally getting our heads in the game. Here, the top six ways my family and I prepare for the ski season:
1. Just a bit more summer….
I know, I know, it’s like skier blasphemy—we spend half the year fantasizing about recreating that perfect run from the previous ski season, so why in the name of Hidden Treasure would I need more summer? Well, there is something about summer that just reinforces my longing for winter. I’ve had my fill of warm weather, and I’m ready to stash my flip-flops, and slide into my sheepskin boots. Or my cute high-heeled boots. Or the fun magenta lace-ups. When you live in snow country, your boot wardrobe is diverse. Also, historically, when we travel to a warm climate in autumn, the snow gods hear us and dump snow. So…we spent the kids’ fall break soaking up the sunshine in Florida, giving our flip flops one last big outing, and then—Boom! We came home to a solid October 26 storm. You’re welcome.
2. The October Storm
This year’s flake-fest happened exactly one day later than last year’s. Both served as opportunities to dig out the winter gear, figure out what fits, needs replacing, We pulled out jackets, pants, helmets, and boots. We determined everyone needed new jackets, Mom and Dad needed new pants, too, and the boys had plenty of pants to keep them warm on the hill and the school playground during the week. (This is key—the kids here actually wear their bib pants at school all day, to save the hassle of suiting up repeatedly for snow play.)
The Saturday after the big storm coincided with the Saturday before Halloween—and Seth had a birthday party to attend where my friend Belinda revealed her heretofore hidden (to me) face-painting skills. We went straight from there to shop for soft goods—and brought our own entertainment committee. Seth walked into Jans and Cole Sport announcing,
“I am a ZOMMMMMBIE!” and kept us giggling through what is otherwise an extremely tedious process (shopping with kids, that is.) Jackets accomplished, except for mom, but I snuck my new duds into the gear shopping day. What? What’s that?….
There’s no way to get all the gear in one day when you have kids—shopping-averse kids, at that. So, we set out to make the rounds to upsize their equipment. Lance is in an annual rental program at Utah Ski and Golf, for which we paid an up-front fee before his first season, and all we have to do is show up in the fall with the previous year’s gear, and he gets fitted into his new size at no additional charge.
While we were there, we bought him a new orange helmet to match his new blue and orange coat, plus ski gloves for Seth. Next stop: Surefoot, where. Seth is enrolled in a trade-up program, so that each time he outgrows a pair of boots, we trade in and get half of what we paid for them back in credit toward the new pair. Then we headed to Jans to enroll him into the ski program—which works similarly: you purchase the gear at full price, then receive 40 percent back toward the purchase of a new pair when the first pair is outgrown, and so on. And you know you’ve done your job indoctrinating the kids into the “play inside in your gear” habit when you find your son skiing around Jans.
5. Candy. Lots and lots of Halloween Candy. If you know me at all, you know I never ski without bribes—I mean rewards. In our house, we know that Halloween Candy isn’t going to get gobbled up in the first week of November. I like that the holiday falls conveniently close to the start of ski season, because those mini Milky Ways and Twizzlers tuck nicely into the pockets of my jacket and pants. Don’t forget to hit me up for a sweet treat when you see me on the hill!