Purgatory Resort - Eric Berry
No matter how much my friends and I love spending time on the slopes, it can be challenging to get the gang back together. We’re all eager to leave the city behind and spend as much time as we can in the mountains, but as we’re getting older, everyone is developing their own responsibilities and routines.
Some of us are starting families, and we have spouses and children and pets to consider in our weekend plans. Others are buying houses and adding lawn care, home improvements and routine maintenance to our list of responsibilities. Some of us are pursuing promotions with long hours at work, while others are going back to grad school, starting businesses or chasing side hustles. We’ve all got a lot going on, and it’s hard to make weekend ski trips with friends a priority.
But time and again, we find a way to get everyone together and hit the road on Friday afternoon for another great weekend skiing in Colorado. How do we do it?
Here’s my advice for wrangling your friends into a great weekend in Colorado.
- Plan ahead. It’s mid-February now, which means we’ve got the amazing Colorado spring skiing season ahead of us, and it’s not too late to make it happen. If you’re eyeing a weekend trip for this season, it’s time to get it on the books, rent a place, and put in everyone’s vacation requests. Even better? Start planning next season. You might need to get next winter’s ski weekends on the books before this one is over to get everyone’s schedule aligned and have first dibs on the vacation rentals.
- Speaking of vacation rentals, the key to any good friend’s weekend ski trip is where you stay. No matter your budget, whether you’re car camping in the ski area parking lot or opting for a luxury getaway, having the whole group on the same page about the lodging accommodations is essential. Get together to discuss the options and tally the final RSVP list. My advice? Opt for a place to stay that’s close to where you’ll be skiing - a ski-in/ski-out place or somewhere on the shuttle bus route is your best bet. It can be tempting to cut costs and rent a place further out, but you’ll regret the decision when you’re carting gear and people to and from the car for a long drive to the base of the mountain. And if you can, book a place with a hot tub. Trust me.
- I know it can be tough to trade in your precious PTO, but leaving Denver for the mountains on Friday is the best way to start a ski weekend. If you can take the whole day off, it’s smooth sailing. You can leave in the morning, make it to your destination before the Friday evening crowd, and even get some afternoon or evening skiing in. Taking off the second half of the workday and heading up in the early afternoon is also a good strategy. Leaving work at 5pm and scrambling to get on the road will work too. But I don’t recommend waiting until Saturday morning to start your ski weekend. You don’t want to spend any of your prime skiing hours in the car.
- Include non-skiing activities in your itinerary. No matter how gung-ho your group is about hitting the slopes, by the end of the third day, you’ll be ready to give your ski legs a break. Luckily, Colorado ski areas offer a wealth of activities to break up your time, including tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing, mountain coasters and unique dining experiences. If you have non-skiing friends or spouses in the group, they’ll have plenty to keep them occupied all weekend.
There are plenty of tips out there for how to plan a great Colorado ski weekend with your friends, but the truth is that there’s no wrong way to do it. The most important thing is that you do it! After all, these will be the memories you look back on when you’re old and gray (and hopefully still shredding).
Kathryn Robinson is a native Floridian who transplanted to Colorado for graduate school and never looked back. She learned to ski for the first time in her early twenties and now she counts down the days until winter. When she’s not on the slopes, she’s working full-time in Denver, hiking, kayaking, or playing with her dog Riley.