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What we wish we had been told when we started snow sports…

Updated: May 7


Ski boots that fit well (i.e., are extremely snug everywhere, but not painful) will dramatically improve your skiing and make it much more enjoyable. To get well-fitting boots, you must work with a reputable local boot-fitter (see below). And get them to make you custom footbeds: these are both cheap and generally critical to a good fit. Buying boots online, or renting boots, rarely ends well. Corollary: when you head out for a ski trip, always carry your boots in your carry-on.

Skis make far less of a difference (within reason) than ski boots. You may wish to buy your own skis if:

·         You ski locally. Local ski hills have long rental lines and high rental prices.

·         Or you ski more than 2 weeks per year.

Demo skis before purchase, also to determine the optimal length in that model.

And if you wish to ship your skis, this ShipSkis link gives Club members a 10% discount.

Ski poles: consider composite poles with a strap safety-release system.

Gear reviews: Blister is the standard go-to.


The Club does not endorse any particular shop, but many members have had excellent experiences with the shops below

Local shops

Pro-Fit (Leesburg, VA). The owner, Brian Deely, is a highly respected boot-fitter.

Ski Center Ltd (Gaithersburg, MD). The owner, Brian Beaumont, is another highly respected boot-fitter.

REI (multiple locations). Quick & convenient ski tuning. Become a member and you will get free machine waxes.

Alpine Ski Shop (Fairfax, VA) and Sun & Ski Sports (Falls Church, VA, and Gaithersburg, MD) are particularly good for ski wear.

Online shops

Two extremely reputable online shops: Powder 7 and Ski Essentials. They have great end-of-season sales. If you buy both skis and bindings, they typically mount the bindings for free—but then take the skis to a local shop to fine-tune the settings & test the release system.


In the U.S., you will generally want to buy, several months in advance, an Epic Pass or Ikon Pass.  Each comes in several different varieties, each allowing you to ski at a different set of resorts, for a given (possibly unlimited) number of days, possibly with blackout dates. They generally go on sale the April before the ski season starts; their price increases over time, often around Memorial Day and Labor Day; and they go off-sale in early December. All other lift-ticket options will prove far more expensive.

In Canada, other than at Whistler, and in Europe you may instead wish to investigate local ski areas’ multi-day lift-ticket options.


There are 3 main options for day trips: Whitetail has the best terrain, Liberty the best snow, and Roundtop the fewest crowds (all on the Epic Pass).

Further afield, Seven Springs, Blue Knob, Wisp, and Timberline often have better snow conditions.


Blue Ridge Ski Council. Paid-up Club members are automatically registered as members of this Council. Most local ski clubs advertise their trips on the Council website, and you can join any advertised trip without paying other clubs’ membership dues.

Best Snow. For each ski area, summarizes the typical best months, and how the current season is progressing.

Open Snow. Best ski-area weather forecasts. Great if you are determined to ski powder, and are flexible in your plans.


If you are seriously determined to improve your skiing, consider a multi-day ski-school program with a fixed instructor and group of students. You will need to book this in advance, and plan your trip around the program. Many ski areas offer such programs at some point in the season (for instance, Alta, Taos, Tremblant, and Whistler).

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