How to Get Ready for the Opening Day of Ski Season

Ski expert Zach C. offers five unskippable steps to get you ready to hit the mountain on opening day.

Photo by Quenten Janssen
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It is without a doubt one of every skier’s favorite times of the year. The snow has been falling, the mountain is ready, and you are getting absolutely stoked to get out and rip it tomorrow morning on opening day. But before you can show off those new tricks you’ve been practicing on the trampoline all summer, there are a few things that you need to get ready and good to go before clicking in. Here are the steps that will make sure your first day is spent getting out there and getting at it, rather than spend opening day in the parking lot.

Step 1: Get that season pass good to go!

A photograph of a Snowbird season pass with a boy smiling in his photo
Photo by Zach Conradson

One of the first things I like to do when opening day is coming back is go back through my email or contact my mountain and make sure that all of my pass info is up to date and fleshed out. If you are using the Ikon or Epic Pass, you can do this by going to either of their websites and logging into your account.

Both Epic and Ikon are mailing their passes out to passholders this winter in order to minimize exposure and contact in response to Covid-19, so make sure you keep an eye on your mailbox! This season is going to be a wild one with Covid-19 changing the entire process of which you can actually go out and onto the hill. Both Ikon and Epic are instituting a reservation policy (depending on which mountain you are skiing at), which will require guests to choose which days they want to ride in advance. While both passholders and single-day tickets are required to reserve their days online, passholders have early access to the reservation system, so make sure you get those days locked in beforehand! The best way to make these reservations is to go to your home mountain’s website and follow the instructions they will have laid out on their page, as the reservation system varies from mountain to mountain depending on which pass you have.

Step 2: Check your apparel’s status!

Three skiers carry their skis over their shoulders as they walk along a snowy road
Photo by Curt Nichols

Now that we have our pass lined up and our dates set, let's move on to the fun part of getting all our gear good to go. If you finished up last season and hid that gear away for the summer, bust out that treasure map and get it all out!

Normally, I will take all of my stuff out a week before I plan on skiing to ensure that I have time to repair or replace anything that may have changed over the summer (looking at you everchanging waistline). Make sure that all of your outerwear still fits. Try on those pants, your jacket, and gloves to make sure that everything still fits nice and comfortably. Get that helmet and goggles on and snugged up, especially if you had any changes to your glasses if you wear them. Once you are all dressed up and feeling good, take all those clothes off and put them in your ski bag or backpack so they are in one place that you can grab and head out the door on the big day.

Step 3: Get your boots and bindings all squared away!

Two pairs of skis and two pairs of poles sit on the snowy ground with mountains in the background
Photo by Samuel Ferrara

At this point, we are going to make sure that our boots, skis, and poles are going to be in tip top shape for our first day! Head on into the garage and dust those puppies off and bring them to a nice flat area to work on them. What I like to do first is put my boots in my bindings to make sure that they are still teched for the skis you are going to ride. Any minor adjustments can be made using a flathead screwdriver to move them to where they fit best. You can also use a phillips screwdriver to adjust the DIN on your skis to match your current weight. After making sure your boots fit your skis nicely, take them inside to get them warm and pliable, which is normally after an hour or so. Get those ski socks on and try on your boots, making sure to tighten them to where you normally have them while you are skiing.

Once they are snug, crack a beer and take a couple laps around the house or give the neighbors a mountain footwear fashion show. This will let you know if your feet changed at all and if you need to make any adjustments to your boots before you get out there, so you don’t get halfway through the day before your feet are screaming at you to free them from a prison. If you are satisfied with this feel take them off and put them by your ski bag inside so they are ready to go when you are.

Step 4: Wax up those skis!

This is a great way to not only get your skis ready for the first day, but also to check the bases for any damage that may need to be repaired before the season starts. Consider investing in a waxing iron, scraper, and board so you can do it yourself instead of having to take them to a shop. You can find these at Amazon or any online sports shop, and will help you keep your skis in tip top shape. For a reference on how to wax your skis check out this Curated article on how to wax your skis like a pro!

If you would rather have someone else tech your skis out, you can take them to any sports shop near the mountain for a tune up. This normally includes a wax, binding adjustment, edge sharpening, and any minor repairs to the bases such as P-Tex. If you are going to go this route, it's recommended to do it a week before you plan on skiing. This is because ski shops complete these on a first-come, first-serve basis, and if the season is coming up they may be a little busy. So just bring them there early enough for them to turn them around in time for you to get on the mountain!

Step 5: Get stoked!

A group of men hoist up a fifth man who has his hands in the air
Photo by Zach C.

Now we have all of our gear tuned up, checked out, and ready for opening day! Do one last check to make sure all your outerwear is in your ski bag, your season pass is all lined up and your reservation is made, and your skis are anxiously waiting to get loaded into the rack and on the mountain. Always keep in mind that if you have any trouble with your gear, many rental shops at the resort can do quick fixes and a hot wax if they aren’t super busy (a six pack also never hurts when you need those guys to help you out).

All we have to do now is hop in the car, crank up the Marshall Tucker Band or any pump up music we need, and get our gear on and go rip it. Check with patrol at the bottom to see what runs have opened up and how conditions are. While it might be tempting to get off the groomers and into the powder, there may be rocks and stumps lurking below that will make you regret getting too far out there. Yet hopefully the snow has been falling for a while, and the mountain is already opened out so we can get back to shredding our favorite runs! See you on opening day!

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Written By
Hey there! I have been skiing since I could walk, and grew up skiing in the mountains of Lake Tahoe where I was born. After coaching and teaching skiing for 4 years, I went to school in Salt Lake City (sko Utes!) and now live in Colorado. ​ Typically I am on the hunt for deep powder, fun cliffs, and...

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