#1 Have all your essential gear ready to go.Alright, this may seem obvious, but trust me: it's been done before. You get suited up; snow pants, base layer, jacket, hat, goggles, grab your skis and poles. But what's missing? Oh yeah, those special, foot-torture-chambers you need to click into your skis. Was it a subconscious decision, and you just really didn't want to put ski boots on? Maybe. But the reality is: you're not skiing and everyone else is. The night before Day 1 almost feels like Christmas Eve, so use that anxious energy and get everything together. Lay out your go-to base layers, snow pants, jacket, put your boots in an obvious place, and even throw your skis and poles in the truck the night before. Make it impossible for you to forget anything.
#2 Get those legs warmed up!
I have this wonderful visual of last year's opening day at Grand Targhee: it snowed a foot overnight and I showed up with a huge crew to sample the goods, bright and early. About a dozen of us unloaded at the top of Dreamcatcher, pointed it, and the next thing I knew half our party-wave launched of the cat track only to tomahawk down their first "turn". Whether it snows a foot overnight or not, this isn't your January cold smoke, or your April hero-snow. This is thick heavy November quicksand. So get those legs going before you click in and point 'em. Do some squats, box jumps, anything necessary to make sure your legs don't go into total shock once you make that first turn down hill.
#3 Put down the beer for a day or two. Or at least downgrade from crushing 6-packs every night.There's nothing like that first boot pack to remind you how much you've been drinking during the off-season. Give your body a chance to get back in shape and designate some alcohol-free days (AFD) in the name of skiing. You're not in your mid-season prime and you know it. So slow down and prepare for what's going to be a long winter.
#4 Repair. Tune. Wax.Think about what you skied on last. If you're the type who refuses to let winter go, it was probably something slushy mixed with a considerable amount of sand, dirt, or straight pavement. Head over to your local shop (the tune shop at Sego HQ is open for business!) and get a solid tune and wax job for a fresh start. Your skis will thank you.
#5 Bring the right gear.
First days and resort openings come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you're touring up the pass or risking your life on the ribbon of death, you're going to want to be comfortable. If you're riding the resort, go with your tried-and-true base layer and shell combo and throw an extra layer or pair of warm pair of gloves in your pack. If you're going for your first hike of the season, no matter how cold it may be that morning, dress light and be prepared to sweat—a lot. If you're going out of bounds, you'll also want your beacon, shovel, probe, and of all the other elements required for a safe backcountry experience.
Regardless of how you plan to spend Day 1—lapping the park or getting face shots—make sure you've got your shit together. Then go have some fun.
See you on the mountain,