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Know Before You Go: An Insider’s Guide to Vacation Prep

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Not everyone lives at 8,000 feet. We’re guessing that unless you’re visiting from somewhere in Colorado, home for you is closer to sea level. Combine the high altitude of Snowmass with our fickle weather patterns and packing/preparing for your family vacation can quickly turn from exciting to daunting. We’re here to take the pressure off with this cheat sheet for everything from packing to altitude sickness. Here’s everything you need to know before you go!

Layer Up-

Thanks to our notoriously fickle weather patterns, dressing in the mountains can be a hard thing to perfect. Temperatures in Colorado can range from warm spring days, to blustery winter storms within the course of an afternoon. The right layers can make or break your day and being able to adjust on the go will make you infinitely more comfortable. Most importantly: don’t wear cotton. It will not keep you warm. So, before you start packing your suitcase here are a few essentials to consider bringing to Snowmass:

  • Wool socks, not cotton, a pair for every day of your trip
  • Base layers (like long johns)
  • Midlayer (a fleece or micro-puffy)
  • A warm and waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants, even if you aren’t skiing these are nice to have for all of the other activities in Snowmass
  • Gloves, for on and off the hill
  • A beanie (for under you helmet and out in town)
  • Sunglasses or goggles, or both!
  • Shoes or boots you can stomp around the snow in.
  • Sunscreen and Chapstick (with SPF)
  • A pack to carry sunscreen, extra water and layers with you

Last but not least, don’t forget to pack a swimsuit for a soak in the hot tub after a long day out and about. This is your basic checklist for what to pack. Having the right base layers will keep you warm and dry, but also having an insulated jacket with a layer you can take off if you warm is great whether you are skiing, or just out for a walk in the snow. Once you are in town, if you forgot anything, we have plenty of shops to keep you covered.

To Rent or Not to Rent

Now that we have covered what to wear. The next item is what gear to pack. Your suitcase is already full of layers and carting your ski gear on top of that can be a lot of work. If you are driving you can load up the car. But if you are flying and don’t want all the oversized luggage,  we recommend checking out one of our local, slopeside rental shops and let them do all the heavy lifting. All our ski shops have premium skis and boards so you can try out a brand new pair of the latest models. And if you don’t love them of the conditions change, you can swap them out until you have tried out all the best from brands this year. And best of all you can rent a helmet so you don’t have to bring yours from home (they take up a lot of space!).

Take a Deep Breath

At 8,000 feet there are lots of changes to the atmosphere, the oxygen is thinner and the sun is closer. Many first time visitors struggle with altitude sickness for the first day or two. To skip past any issues there are a couple tricks to combat the elevation. Most importantly: stay hydrated, and even start before you arrive. It is hard to remember to drink plenty of water when you are surrounded by frozen H20. But this is the best thing you can do for your body, even if you aren’t feeling any effects. And if you are still feeling short of breath you can get canned oxygen at the markets in Snowmass or order prescription oxygen delivered.

Live like a Local

Once you are in Snowmass there are plenty of local amenities to feel right at home. First things first, you need to know how to get around. The Base Village and Mall are connected by the free Skittles Gondola. And beyond the slopes all of Snowmass is connected by our shuttle system. The RFTA buses also connect Snowmass to Aspen, the other ski areas, the airport and more. So we say leave the car at home and let us drive you around! 

Next up where to shop! Clark’s Market, in the Snowmass Center, is a full sized grocery store where you can load up on fresh produce, deli counter, cooking items, snacks, sundries and more. And conveniently most of the local shuttles stop through the Center. This winter Clark’s has also opening a mini market in Base Village with plenty of grab and go items, as well as fresh donuts and coffee to start your day off right before heading to the hill. Next to Clark’s in the Center is Sundance, which provides liquor, gifts, snacks, and a pharmacy. But if you aren’t feeling like venturing out, they will deliver to you.  And if you find yourself on the Mall, the Daly Bottle also has wine, beer and nibbles to take with you.

Time to Pack Your Bags

Now that you have a packing list and a lay of the land it’s time to head to Snowmass. Hopefully we have taking some of the guesswork out of what to bring to the mountains. And with all these insider tips you will be more prepared than most. But if there is anything we missed or you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to @Snowmass on social media or send us an email. We are longtime locals and are happy to make sure you feel like you fit right in.

See you in Snowmass!

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