2020 may have been the year of social distancing, face masks, and adjustment. 2021 is going to be the year that we take advantage of it. Skiing parks and resorts are selling their tickets NOW! When the weather forecast calls for lots of SNOW, I can’t wait to hit the slopes! Pro tip: a Thursday off work is the perfect day to ski and board since it’s cheaper and less crowded than the weekends.
Skiing gives you that surreal feeling of falling while being in control. Being given that power can bring you to a place that not very many instances in life can give. The challenges that present themselves, the different iterations of irregularities on the mountainside.
Going skiing is not as complicated as you might think. We’ll give you some preparation cheats and tricks so you can have the best skiing experience. We keep things simple!
This guide will include some details on local ski resorts Whitetail, Liberty, and Wisp Resort at Deep Creek, to serve as a reference point for what to expect from any resort.
In addition, we will include tiered information in some categories: info meant for people who want to try it out with little pressure and commitment just to see how they feel about it, and info meant for people who plan on skiing more consistently.
Once you get through learning the basics, remember to have fun!
Skiing during COVID-19
If you’re concerned about COVID-19, rest assured that ski parks are right there with you. Parks and resorts have adopted new policies across the board. Universally, parks seem to have cut their capacity limits so that guests can easily maintain physical social distance. Face coverings are required. There are policies for refunds in the event of closures such as any due to COVID-19. Whitetail and Liberty Mountain explain their policies here. Wisp Resort in Maryland has a Caring Clean policy they have installed. Here is a letter from their manager that goes into detail about what’s changed for COVID-19.
Skiing Ticket Info and Dates to Know
Early passes are generally rolling out now. These passes typically give access perks such as early access. Lift tickets for non-pass holders will be available later in the season around early December. Subscribe to your chosen resort’s email list to keep updated.
Wisp Resort at Deep Creek
- 4 steps to your Epic Pass
- Projected open date: December 18th.
- Lift Tickets for Non-Pass Holders: on sale starting December 8th.
- Reservations go live on November 6th. You get early access before everything opens to the public in December.
- Whitetail also has an Epic Pass that grants you early access to their resort
- Lift tickets will be available on December 8th
- Make reservations between November 6th and December 7th
What to Wear Skiing
For the Consistent Skier:
This is often the first question winter sports newbies ask. Layers, layers and more layers. Start with a moisture wicking base layer, then add neck gaiter, goggles, jacket, HELMET, gloves, warm socks, and snow pants. Oh yeah – and a sense of adventure! Note about the socks: You do not want thick, long socks because these can interfere with how the ski gear fits on you. Make sure you have long pants that stick into your shoes to keep the snow out.
There is no need to go high-end. I snicker at the people decked out in Arc’teryx or Patagonia without skills to back up their duds. Do not, I repeat, do not wear jeans. If you arrive wearing jeans, I will pretend I don’t know you and I promise you will be miserable. Jeans get wet and cold fast; it doesn’t matter how good you are, there are these things called snow pants, wear them!
For the Casual/Beginner Skier:
Purchase a cheap rainwear suit if you’re not sure how much you’ll be skiing and don’t want to invest quite yet.
Ski or board, ski or board?
That is the question. Do you want your feet stuck to two sticks that can and do sometimes go in opposite directions, or both feet strapped to one board going down the mountain sideways? I grew up skiing and in college, switched to boarding and have never looked back. My husband is an avid skier and thinks I’m crazy to prefer snowboarding. A lesson can help you decide which works best for you. (Want more info? Check out our Girl’s Guide to Snowboarding!)
If you’re a beginner and don’t know, don’t worry! The people at the rental kiosks can help you figure out what is best for you. Including the type of skis or the type of board you get.
Get the Gear
I advise first timers to stick with rental equipment. If you’re hooked after a few lessons, then go for it- buy your own gear! There are plenty of great pre-owned markets for gear and apparel as well as last year’s models at a reduced price.
A great time to buy is during the end of season sales. I bought my first snowboard used on eBay and still have it. If you have money to burn you can buy all new gear and equipment at your local ski shop, but remember skis and snowboards can be all-mountain or terrain specific. Are you going to be out west where there is tons of powder and deep snow, or in more icy conditions locally? It makes a difference.
If you have gear that has been collecting dust and cobwebs, bust it out! Take it to your local ski shop or resort to have it tuned. They’ll wax it, maybe laugh at how ancient it is, and get you ready to hit the snow.
Stretch and Take Care of Your Body
This is your reminder to make sure you warm up AND stretch before you get going on your skis.
A Skiing Lesson Never Hurts
Before we hit the slopes together, I’ll say “Girl, you know you’re taking a lesson first, right?” Helping friends new to skiing or snowboarding, NEVER ends well. They repeatedly fall and take two hours to make it down the bunny slope once, wearing my patience thin, which is never a good thing. Hey, I’m no instructor. Let’s leave your first time on the slopes to pros paid to teach who have far more patience! I will happily join you after your lesson, once you have the basics down and are totally stoked.
YouTube videos are a great way to polish up on your knowledge. This channel is one of the best resources for beginners.
Where to go, where to go?
We are lucky living in the DMV where there are many choices only a few hours away like Snowshoe, WV; Seven Springs, P;, Blue Knob, PA; Wisp, MD; and the Poconos. For an even closer experience try Liberty, Deep Creek, or Whitetail. If you think you’ll be going often, consider buying an Advantage Card, which provides discounted lift tickets and rentals with every sixth trip free (at Liberty, Whitetail, and Roundtop). If you have the time and the money, I recommend going out West to Utah, Colorado, or Wyoming which are pretty sick. Go for at least a week as the terrain is massive, you could spend all week on the snow and never hit the same run twice. Take a lesson out there too, as there is always something new to learn or difficult terrain to conquer – make that mountain your bitch.
So you’re experienced?
If you’re an old pro who hasn’t hit the powder in a while then GET OUT THERE! There is no time like the present to dust off your gear and get it tuned. It’s like riding a bike. You’ll be surprised how fast it comes back to you and how amazing you’ll feel! It doesn’t get better than the sun shining, the wind blowing, being surrounded by trees on a white pillow of snow going as fast or slow as you want, where you want, and as many times as you want!
I LOVE IT and so will you!
At the end of the day, I’ll meet you at the lodge bar for a cold brew next to a cozy fire. Cheers!