How To Buy The Right Snow Skiing Clothes For Your Whole Family

Planning a ski trip for your whole family can turn into a lifetime of fun memories for everyone. Skiing is a fun activity that anyone can partake in.

Not only that, but it’s an opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty the mountains have to offer. And you’re all getting exercise as well.

But skiing isn’t fun when you’re too hot, too cold, and/or wet. That’s why it’s so important to buy the right snow skiing clothes.

Here’s a guide to make sure your family has a trip filled with fun memories.

The Essentials Of Snow Skiing Clothes

Anyone who has spent any time on a mountain knows that the weather there is fickle. One moment the sun is shining and the next, the wind has picked up and it’s sleeting.

If you’re not well prepared with the right skiing essentials, you could end up spending most of your time in the lodge.

Here is a list of the snow skiing clothing you’ll need to make the most of your ski trip.

Hat Vs Helmet

While many people claim that wearing a helmet is safer, the jury is still out. In fact, some studies have shown that skiers wearing a helmet actually take more risks.

On average, helmet-wearing skiers ski three miles per hour faster than those skiers wearing a hat. And though more people than ever are choosing helmets, the rates of injury have remained the same.

Googles & Sunglasses

Sure, sunglasses are essential if cool ski gear is your aim. However, if you are looking to ensure your eyewear stays on your head, prohibits weather and wind from coming at your eyes, and helps you see the slopes more clearly, then goggles are a better choice.

Whatever you choose, make sure they fit properly. You can even buy goggles that fit around your glasses.

Snow Skiing Jacket & Pants

Both your snow skiing jacket and pants need to be weather-proof. That means, they can withstand the snow, rain, sleet, and the wind.

If you can, find a coat that has two layers so you can wear them together when it’s freezing and then it unzips to change into a lighter, spring jacket. Just make sure to leave extra room for layering.

Thermal Underwear

Thermal underwear will become your best friend when you’re skiing. Not only will they keep you warm, they will keep you dry.

Thermal underwear is thin so it allows you to move freely while you ski. And you can also use the underwear as a base. Add additional layers of clothing to help keep you warm while skiing.

Gloves Vs. Mittens

Keeping your hands warm and dry is also really important. It’s no fun to feel your extremities freezing while you try to bang out some bumps.

Some people prefer mittens because your whole hand stays together and therefore keeps itself warm. However, it’s also more difficult to grip anything while wearing mittens.

Others prefer gloves to help them grip. Then they use hand-warmers to help them stay warm.

Ski Socks

Lastly, ski socks are very much a part of skiing essentials. Your feet can and will get very cold.

Find ski socks that wick away moisture and keep your feet warm. Make sure they aren’t too itchy.

When investing in your snow skiing clothes, don’t forget to buy a good pair of ski boots. Trust me, after a long day of hitting the slopes, a good pair of boots makes a huge difference.

To learn how to buy your perfect pair of ski boots, click here.

Your Expert Guide To Buying Skis

As we go into summer, skiing may be far from your mind. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who misses ski season the moment the last lift stops on the last day.

Either way, you find yourself wondering if it’s time to buy some skis. Whether you’re just thinking about it or shopping some summer sales, we’ve got your guide to buying skis below.

Consideration #1 Ski Type

The number one thing to consider when buying skiis is the type of skiing you’ll be doing. There is no reason for someone who does no powder time to consider wide skiis.

The same goes for cross country skiis, telemarks, and trick skiis. If you’ve never skied before, talk to the ski pro about the specific mountain terrain.

You want to buy your skiis for where you’ll be skiing 80% of the time.

Consideration #2 Skill

Beginning skiers can get away with most combination skiis until they find the find their groove. Most people start out with combination skis that are mostly straight with small flutes out at the front and back.

With skiis like these, you can float over some minor powder but won’t feel like you have surfboards on your feet.

When you’re at the ski shop (yes, you should shop in person!) talk to your ski pro about your skill level. Don’t be shy if you’re new to skiing, we all were once! If you lie about your skill, you’re going to end up with skiis too big/small to control.

If you’re shopping for a new pair of skiis after a while or you don’t want to rent anymore, get the models of your last skiis. Most rental shops keep records, so call and ask them what you’ve been skiing on.

Take those model number to the store with you. If they don’t have the same model, the pro will know or look up the specific qualities of what you skied on.

Consideration #3 Price

Skiis range in price from the $100 range for demos and starters all the way up to $1000’s.

The best way to decide your ski price range (unless your budget decides for you) is to divide the price of the skis by how many times you ski per season.

After you get that number, think about what it would cost to rent skis that many times. The cheapest you can usually rent skiis for a day is around $50, and that varies with the ski quality.

If the price of the skiis exceeds the price of the rentals, go down a little bit in the price range.

You also have to take multiple seasons into consideration. The right pair of skis, when treated well and waxed, can easily last up to five/six years.

Yes, buying skis can be expensive, but they’re a multi-year investment. The right pair will make your ski pass feel a lot cheaper and your days on the slopes much more fun!

Buying Skis In Person

We can’t recommend going to your local ski store enough. These people work there because they love snow sports, not because they just wanted a job. They have been on the mountain, heck they were probably raised on it!

You can trust them to recommend the right pair of skis. For some boot recommendations and other advice, do some pre-store research on our blog.

See you on the slopes!

Canoe Vs Kayak: What’s The Difference?

15.69 people participated in kayaking in 2016. When deciding on buying a canoe vs kayak you need to look at the type of water you plan on going on, what region of the country you are in, how you will transport, and your lifestyle.

Both canoes and kayaks are similar in some features, yet totally different in others. We’re going to explain the differences and help you decide which one is right for you.

The Gear or Equipment

The most obvious difference between kayaking vs canoeing is the boat you’ll be in. The other obvious difference is the paddle you’ll use to maneuver each type of boat.

The Boat

Canoes are typically open topped and are designed for one or two people to sit on benches or kneeling in the boat. Most kayaks are more closed in on the top and designed for a single person. You’ll sit down in the boat with your legs out in front of you.

The Paddle

Kayaking paddles are double ended. This means you grip the bar of the paddle with both hands alternating which end goes into the water.

A canoeing paddle is single ended. You grip the shaft of the handle with one hand, and the other goes on the T end of the paddle. You alternate which side of the canoe you dip the paddle into the water on.

Additional Kayaking Equipment

Kayaks are typically used to go on the water that are running rapids or whitewater, which requires some additional equipment. A spraydeck is a skirt that goes around the waist of the kayaker and connects to the kayak covering the open space.

This prevents water from going into the kayak. Kayakers also will wear a helmet and noseplugs.

Paddle Style

To paddle a kayak you’ll have a paddle on each end of the shaft. You will keep each paddle on its respective side.

The paddles are positioned at 90-degree angles from each other. This allows for efficient paddling.

Dip the left side into the water and then the right side. You’ll propel yourself forward by alternating paddling.

For a canoe, you’ll have a single ended paddle. You’ll dip the paddle into the left side, and then take it out of the water and then paddle on the right side of the canoe.

If there are two people in the canoe you’ll need to coordinate with the other person. When both people are paddling in unison you’ll be able to efficiently gain a quick pace.

Canoe vs Kayak: Which One Should I Choose?

When deciding on buying a canoe vs kayak, take a look at the water you are planning on going on. If the water is fast moving and full of rapids, you may want to consider the kayak.

Maybe your intention is to go on less rough water, or you want to camp with a lot of gear. In this instance, you’ll want a canoe as they can carry a lot more.

Who will you be paddling with? If you are by yourself make sure you can maneuver the vessel on your own.

Most importantly look at the car your drive. You need to be able to transport your boat to and from the water.

When kayaking and canoeing season is over, check out these snowboard boots and try your hand at hitting the slopes.

The Complete Guide to Planning a Heliski Alaska Trip

There’s nothing more exciting for a diehard skier than being one of the first people to ride on complicated, untouched terrain. That’s why so many skiers choose to Heliski Alaska.

The thrill of taking a helicopter to a remote destination can be worth the trip on its own. Throw in the opportunity to ski beautiful topography and you’ve got a match made in heaven.

Most resorts give you 5,000-10,000 acres of slopes to accommodate hundreds if not thousands of riders. Heliski trips tend to drop off 5-25 people a few times a day. Not to mention you could have over 750,000 acres of terrain all to yourself.

Sites like Alaska’s Chugach Powder Guides boasts 750,000 acres of rideable terrain.

There are a wide variety of operators offering just as wide a variety of packages. Your package determines the amount of vertical, the type of terrain, the size of your helicopter, options to snowcat, and how many people you ski with.

It’s a big investment, so read on for some tips to navigate your possibilities.

Check your Calendar

Is this your first time? Arriving in February or early-March means that it’s possible to see the Northern Lights. Timing can determine whether you’ll end up with ideal snow conditions, a challenging adventure, or the most economical option. Below are the pros and cons of timing your trip to Heliski in Alaska.

Early Season Can Be Ideal

If light, dry powder is your thing, you’ll want to hit the terrain early. February and March will offer you the longest runs of the season.

You’re going to want to be sure you feel comfortable on a pair of good powder skis because you’ll be riding deep powder slopes that might end up tracked out on a typical ski area.

Late Season is Industry Season

If you’re thinking of coming in late-March or April, expect a crowd. As most of the North American ski season winds down, ski instructors, operators, and industry people show up.

This can be the busiest time as industry people love to Heliski in Alaska. With 10-50 times the acreage, heavenly powder and so many possible drops, it’s what ski instructors dreaming about as they stare off during a lesson. Timing will determine the possible drops on your trip, how many runs you take, and how much it will cost.

Have a Plan B

Whoever you decide to Heliski Alaska with, the weather is never guaranteed to be perfect. Most operators have an idea of how many down days they expect per season, even by month.

Go with an operator that has a backup plan. Catskiing and lifts may not be what you came for, but it’s better than sitting out the whole trip. Find someplace with a nearby resort just to be safe.

Shape up

You could Heliski Alaska for weeks and never touch the same terrain twice. The adrenaline of one drop can feed hours of runs in a day. If you’re out of shape, you’ll start to notice it fast. It will be hard for you to enjoy several days of runs ahead of you if you’re sore after the first day. Make sure you spend the weeks before your trip getting fit for your adventure.

Stretch it Out

Hours of runs on dense power are going to tax every muscle. Start integrating stretching into your daily routine. Whether you’re hitting the gym or spending your weekends on the slopes, commit to 20 minutes of stretching before and after every session. It sounds like a lot but you’ll be thankful to be able to bounce back after the first day that you Heliski in Alaska.

Try Strength Training

Downhill skiing uses a different muscle group than most workouts. Squats and lunges will help you work your quadriceps and protect your knees.

Your calves pick up a lot of the slack from your bent knees. Seated calf raises will help work your calves into shape.

For your upper body, think about your core. Lat pulls, bicycle crunches and back extensions will help you protect your back and strengthen up for those long runs. Don’t forget about your biceps and triceps. Keep your arms and shoulders strong for pushing off with your poles.

Find a routine that works for you and stick to it. There’s no such thing as being too prepared, whether you’re packing your bag or getting your body in shape. Try a few different workout combinations until you find the right fit.

Practice in Powder

First, get comfortable with powder skis, which are wide. They keep you balanced and on top of the snow. You’ll also be using shorter poles. The rhythm of powder skiing entails a bobbing movement to maintain momentum, different than the typical downhill runs.

Your feet will do some extra work. You want to push off with even weight and balance. They key is to stay above the snow. Practicing with small slopes can be a useful exercise. Deep powder is fun to ride on but can be a foreign experience to even highly experienced downhill skiers.

Get the right gear

Like any trip, it’s important to pack all the right gear. Once you’re out in the wild, you’ll have a tough time getting something you forgot.

Helmet

Be realistic about the adventure you’re about to embark on. The excitement about being on untouched terrain needs to come with the realization that you’re many miles from civilization.

Have a sturdy helmet. If your helmet is aging, cracked, or ill-fitting, consider replacing it.

Powder Skis

You’ll be doing long runs on deep powder. You’ll need a pair of skis you feel comfortable on. If you’re not used to the width of powder skis, rent a pair for a day and get acquainted with the different feel.

If you’re in the market for a new pair, take them out on a few runs before you head to Heliski in Alaska. Even a well-seasoned rider needs to get comfortable a new pair of skis.

Light and Warm

Again, these runs are sure to be much longer than your every day slopes. This may be what has attracted you to Heliski in Alaska in the first place.

Be sure you’ve got a compressible down jacket that’s lightweight enough to move around in but warm enough for long periods of exposure.

Extra Gloves

You want to keep your hands warm and dry for movement. An extra pair of gloves will come in handy, not only for long rides but in case your gloves don’t dry between rides.

Boot Dryers

You might be used to keeping your boots next to the fire overnight to let them dry out. But after a long day and a couple of runs, that might not be enough. It’s becoming more common for people to look into a boot dryer when they Heliski in Alaska.

Get what you need

Not every skier wants an extreme experience. You may be arriving in a helicopter but that doesn’t mean can’t have a gentle and fun ride.

Deciding to Heliski in Alaska can ignite the fire missing in the humdrum of your everyday life. It can just as well be the vacation you need after a high-intensity holiday season or end-of-quarter at work.

Choose your timing depending on the conditions. Remember that early season is the best time to get more gentle powder skiing in.

How intense are you?

Are you accounting for just a single day to Heliski in Alaska as part of a larger trip or are you and a group of friends getting together for a week of high-intensity skiing?

Packages to Heliski in Alaska can vary widely in price. If you’re going to put together 5 close friends for a week, you can go in on a single helicopter and have a lot of control over what you do and where you go.

Otherwise, one day in an open group can feed your hunger for adventure. If this is your first chance to Heliski in Alaska, going with a group can answer a lot of questions.

You’ll save money and leave with an idea as to what it could mean to take it up a notch for next time. Take some pictures to make your friends jealous enough to go in on a trip with you next time!

Size Matters

Choosing to Heliski in Alaska is for the most adventurous few. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get relatively crowded. Your helicopter size will determine how many people you’re traveling with. It can even dictate which kind of terrain you’re going to hit.

A smaller group means less time waiting and more time skiing.

Which isn’t to say a smaller group is better. A smaller group can be more expensive. It also limits the number of people you’re going to be able to network with.

If this is your first chance to Heliski in Alaska, consider a cheaper, larger helicopter to travel with. You’ll be able to get to know other skiers, pick up tips and even meet future travel partners.

Rest and Relaxation

Typically the more you pay, the better your accommodations. More luxurious lounges will offer you high-end dining, large rooms, and a quiet environment.

If this is going to be a trip that’s more about relaxing, you may want to consider one of the higher end options.

For the more rugged types, there are plenty of lodges where you can get your minimum needs met and prepare yourself

Bang for Your Buck

Most operators will give you some idea of how much vertical you’re going to get. Comparing group size, the number of drops and vertical promised by operators gives you a pretty concrete measure of value.

Five days of deep powder skiing can be taxing on the body. It’s hard to know how in shape you are until you hit the snow.

More than likely, operators will allow you to purchase vertical on a day to day basis. It might cost a little more but the flexibility might suit you perfectly.

Keep an eye on the bill as you rack up extravert. The last thing you want to leave your trip with is a sour face from an unexpected bill.

Packages can range from $300-$1500 a night. Choose wisely by calling up operators and going through your options

Safety First

Remember that you’re skiing untracked snow out in the wilderness. Safety conditions on the ground will vary from day to day but that doesn’t mean you can’t be cautious.

Thankfully operators take this seriously and demand their staff takes a variety of different training courses.

Training to be a guide is rigorous and the job attracts the best of the best, a skier needs to remain practical. You can always check the credentials of your guides.

The choice to Heliski in Alaska comes with the assurance that weather patterns create stable and predictable terrain in the steepest places. However, the possibility of an avalanche is completely natural.

Be sure that any guides you work with have avalanche qualifications. Ask your operator whether their guides are fully qualified as UIAGM mountain guides.

If they bristle at this, look at another operator. Your safety comes over their hurt feelings.

Helicopter operators know the high costs of maintenance and repair as well as the high risk of what they do.

Heliski in Alaska is an Adventure of a Lifetime

A Heliski in Alaska trip will be one of the most memorable trips you take in your life. You’ll see terrain and ranges that are unseen and untouched by anyone except the most daring travelers and mountaineers. The added excitement of riding the terrain is a rush that most people don’t feel in their lifetime.

Every great adventure comes with preparation and research. Once you’ve gotten in shape, gotten your gear together and finished researching, you won’t be able to think of anything else. Don’t forget to pack your GoPro so you can make everyone jealous when you get back!

Leave a comment below with any questions or recommendations. There’s a lot to navigate and it need not be stressful. A trip to Heliski in Alaska is the adventure of a lifetime!