I hate the cold and never participated in any winter sports besides building a snowman. Even then I would run inside, take a hot shower, make some hot cocoa, and sit with a book by the fireplace. My husband has been talking about going on a ski vacation for the past six years. I explained that between an old right knee surgery and having Raynaud’s phenomenon, I wasn’t exactly thrilled on sliding down a mountain in the freezing cold. Alas, Jason’s birthday is in the beginning of January. I strive to make him a happy husband. One of the reasons why I married him is because he pushes me to do new things and to break through the barriers I often place on myself. Although I am a little scared to ski, I try not to let fear and apprehension be a limiting factor in my life. (I was afraid of dogs, remember?) So, I booked Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort on Groupon and told him we are going skiing for his birthday. He went to his parent’s house and collected his ski gear from their basement. I, on the other hand, didn’t even have a waterproof jacket. Here is some information I compiled while preparing for our trip…
I will be renting my skis, boots, poles, and helmet. Jason has his skis and boots, and will be renting poles and a helmet. We are purchasing ski goggles on Amazon. They have many different types and styles of gear, way outside my scope of skiing knowledge, but we did consider renting skis and poles in our home state, and transporting the equipment up to Lake Placid. We opted against that decision since I am a beginner, and I rather use the gear that they provide me should anything malfunction. For those that have some experience, you may find it more financially beneficial to rent gear locally and transport to your destination, or purchase your own gear. They also have websites where they can ship your gear straight to your hotel.
This is the most important for me since I don’t tolerate the cold well. Start with a base layer. I love Under Armour’s ColdGear. I have a mock long sleeved waterproof base layer that will wick away sweat and keep me warm. The next layer is a fleece layer, to provide extra warmth. Then, you want a waterproof jacket, or shell. My in-laws purchased me the Columbia Bugaboo jacket (pictured below), which has a fleece layer and a waterproof shell. It is incredibly warm and my new favorite winter jacket.
On your bottom half, you either want a snow bib or snow pants. Make sure they have insulation and are waterproof. My sister-in-law purchased the Columbia Bugaboo snow pants for me for Christmas. They are super comfortable. You must not forget your ski gloves. You want them to have a drawstring so you could pull them tightly around your wrist to not allow snow inside. I found an inexpensive pair at BJs, and they provide the warmth and are waterproof.
Wool socks that are breathable, warm and odor fighting are imperative for skiing. They are around $17, but will be well worth keeping my feet warm on the slopes. Don’t forget to protect your neck. A balaclava ski mask protects your neck and most of your face. Some people buy a wool buff or neck gaiter. I am opting for more coverage, so I will be wearing a balaclava.
Trails, Lifts & Lessons
Know the mountain in which you are skiing. I look at trails and conditions, and research what days and times are available to take ski lessons. Lessons are highly recommended for beginners. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing and genuinely concerned for my safety, so I want a professional to show me the basics. Lift tickets can also generally be purchased online. Check websites often to stay updated.
You better believe I will be bringing hand and foot warmers. Keeping warm is my number one priority. I am also bringing Gu Energy Gel, mini Clif bars, sunscreen, and pocket tissues. These will be kept in my Bugaboo’s pockets while we are on the mountain.
God willing, I will ski and have a wonderful time. YOLO, right? If skiing isn’t my thing, we have Plan B. Lake Placid offers a plethora of activities including snow shoeing, ice skating, bob sledding, and tubing. We have been researching some activities at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, too.
We picked Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort since it has great amenities (indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, steam baths) and boutique shopping adjacent to the hotel. It will be nice after a day of activity to relax. Golden Arrow is right on Mirror Lake, which offers dog sledding. I love dogs, so this will hopefully be checked off my Plan B list.
I have also scoped out some places for grub and brewskis. The Lake Placid Pub and Brewery is on our must-go list.
What is your advice for a first-time skier? For someone who has never ventured to Lake Placid? Provide some of your own tidbits in the comments below.
I have a feeling this trip will be unforgettable, hopefully in a good way!