Planning a ski vacation isn't quite like tossing a swim suit & flip flops into a backpack. Let's break this down so that your trip to the slopes is the best vacation you have ever had! 

Mathews Family Snowmass Backpacker Ski Trip

 Michael, Garrett(9), & Margo Mathews in Snowmass, 2017 - Marin (5) was in ski school that day


I love traveling.  Whether it's the whole family or just my wife & I, I consider everything when I plan our trips, and it's hard to get it right.  So I have prepared a simple guide to putting the puzzle pieces together 

1)     Start and finish your planning right now

It is never too early to get it done.  At Backpacker Tours we start taking reservations 11 months in advance. If you know you want to go, then get it done early.  This isn't like the fireworks stand on 4th of July when the best deals are on the last day.  Airlines & ski resorts know how many people are coming and they don't plan extra inventory.  The deals happen early and prices only increase from there.

2)      Speak to a professional

Sure, friends & family may have been skiing before, but more than likely their experiences on the slopes are limited to a few areas, with different circumstances, and perhaps different needs.  Don’t expect to get the best information about a family ski vacation from someone who just went on a college ski trip. Some people need ski school, some people don’t.  This all factors into where you stay and what resort you pick. Everyone has different needs & circumstances for their ski trip.  You don’t want to spend your hard earned vacation sitting in 45 minute lift lines or stuck at the bus stop because the “ski-in/ski-out” condo you booked turned out not to be so ski-in/ski-out.  Consult a mountain travel professional like Backpacker Tours who knows the ins & outs of winter mountain travel.  

 Backpacker Tours offers ski trip planning services at no additional cost & has been planning ski trips for Louisiana mountain travelers since 1969.  Click here for more information on how to plan the lowest price, full service ski trip available from our seasoned trip planners. 

 3)      Plan and Budget all the pieces of your trip

Again, consulting a professional will avoid problems here.  Nothing makes the music stop more than getting to the lift ticket counter and paying full retail for a family of 4, skiing for 4 days.  Plan your air, ground transfers, lodging, lifts tickets, and rentals all at the same time.  Just because you found a good deal flying into Denver doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to get pay back the difference in other ways.  Backpacker Tours is the expert at making sure that this doesn’t happen to you.

4)      Budget for & take ski/snowboard lessons

Your vacation is hard earned and well deserved.  Don’t squander it by trying to teach yourself or your family how to ski.  Sure the bunny slopes don’t look intimidating, when you get to the top and start sliding down, that changes quickly. It sure is testing on a relationship because at that point all the emotions in the relationship start flying out!  Nothing says “I want to get hurt” like attempting to learn how to ski on your own (or getting yelled at by a spouse!).  It just isn’t worth ruining your trip over.  Lessons are fun, professional, and respectable at every level.  What’s the worst that could happen if you take a couple of lessons?

 5)      Don’t buy your gear when you get there

Plan your gear ahead of time (see the gear packing list below).  Trust me, ski resorts love it when you aren’t prepared.  Once you are there you are at the mercy of the local ski shops, their prices, & their selection. 

 6)      Get physically prepared

Skiing is notorious for using muscles that you didn’t even know were in your body.  There are hundreds of resources online for getting in “ski shape.”

Get ready for high elevation.  High altitude is part of skiing.  Some areas more than others, but its good to be prepared.  Consult a physician for the best advice on preparing yourself. 


The snow is cold & your duck hunting gear is not designed for the types of mountain conditions that can move in.  Just like planning ski trips, I love to discuss gear, so if you have a question about my picks or possible alternatives to my picks, email me here.  All of my picks are available in-store or online with exception of the skis & ski boots.