A lot of the questions we get at Snomie.com are asking what sort of tips and advice we can give for planning a snow trip, so here’s a quick checklist of the steps you need to take when planning a trip.
I did cover this a little bit in a previous ‘Snomie Q & A’ video, but here’s a more detailed written checklist for those who wanted something to reference or print out.
For short stays at a snow resort, you don’t typically need to book really far in advance. The exception is if you’re planning to visit on a major holiday date. Always, always book far in advance if you are visiting during a holiday period.
I recommend Hotwire.com for booking last minute deals, you can get some really good last minute hotel deals there.
For long stays at a snow resort, you’ll be renting a room or a house, which means you really need to get your accommodation sorted early. Look at local newspaper classifieds for the ski town, as well as online listings at Craigslist.com if you’re in N. America.
6 months in advance is ideal for organizing longer stays, unless you’re willing to pay higher rental prices.
You’ll want to organize this in advance, but not 12 months in advance. The best deals usually appear 2 to 6 months before the flight date.
I’ve mentioned this before, but definitely sign up for any newsletter from airlines that you like to travel on and watch the ‘special deals’ page of their website.
Also, make sure you check the baggage allowances of your flights, some flights have cheap extra baggage for snowboard/ski bags, but others make you pay a high price.
You can find all baggage allowances here: http://snowtravelhelp.com/travel/airlinebaggageallowance
A good website for buying flight tickets is Hipmunk.com, and I also recommend checking directly on each airlines website. Also, if you use an iPhone or Android phone, download the free TripIt app to help you simplify your flight itinerary.
3) Ground Transport
You need to make sure to book some sort of transport to get you to the resort. Every resort usually has some sort of bus or shuttle service, and you usually need to book 1-2 days in advance.
You can usually find this on their website under ‘Transportation’.
If you’re just visiting another country, this is usually pretty easy to sort out, but do check the requirements for your country to make sure you meet them.
If you’re working, get this sorted early! Work visas for many countries are limited, especially working holiday visas, so you want to get this sorted as early as you can.
I’ve written up a whole visa database to quick reference at http://snowtravelhelp.com/visa
5) Lift Tickets & Season Passes
If you’re coming for a short stay, you don’t have to get these far in advance, but do look at the deals section on each resorts website in case there are any good ticket plus accommodation deals.
If you’re coming for a long stay, you’ll require a season pass. Resorts start releasing these from about March onward and you typically want to get these as early as you can to take advantage of early buyers discounts.
6) Travel Insurance
Get this if you’re travelling to another country! Hospital bills are insanely expensive in another country. A 2 minute trip inside an ambulance could cost you hundreds, don’t risk it and make sure you get travel insurance.
I’ve written a whole guide to picking travel insurance here: Travel Insurance Guide
Always arrive before the season begins if you are looking for a job at a ski resort. All resorts will have an employment link usually at the bottom of their website somewhere which lists all their job information and hiring info.
As you’ve probably realized, I’m slowly putting all the above info together on our second website, Snowtravelhelp.com. Right now out resort list is a little small with only a few Canadian and US resorts, but hopefully in a few months it’ll be more complete.
I hope this checklist was helpful to you! Let me know if I missed anything and I’ll add it to the list