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By now, summer is a fond memory and excited thoughts about days on the mountain keep us up at night. If you’re like me, the second that last leaf of fall falls, you’re ready to be at Whiteface Mountain, soaring down the Olympic slopes and finding secret powder stashes. 

A skier in a blue coat and orange pants skis downhill during a snow storm.

Does that sound good? Are you ready!? If not, that’s totally fine. There’s still time to prepare! Here’s all you need to do.

Get your gear ready

Making sure your gear is all set is a great first step! Clean skis, sharpen edges, and wax! Sure, you can do all the tuning, detuning, and everything at home, but you can also take your skis to shops in the area. It’s worth spending the money to get it done right. You can get the tuning done right at the mountain, or head over to nearby Lake Placid. Your options in the Olympic mountain town are: Lake Placid Ski & Board, Cunningham’s Ski Barn, Placid Planet Bicycles, and High Peaks Cyclery. If you need new gear for the season, make sure you shop around for the best fit for your style. (Remember: you don’t want loose boots!)

A man works on tuning a ski in a repair shop.

Prepare your body

That first run of the season is the best. After that, it’s all downhill. (Just kidding!) The next day, though, your muscles might be screaming “take me back to the beach so I can relax!" Give them a fighting chance by starting to prepare now. Some of your ski muscles sit dormant all summer long, so before winter rolls around, try doing some basic exercises before you hit the slopes. Aerobics, lunges, sit ups, planks, squats, and even certain yoga poses can help your body shift from beach bum to slope hero! Cardio workouts will also be a major help, and they don’t need to be done at home. Get outdoors for a trail run or hike.

Trees covered in snow line a trail which two people are skiing down.

Prepare your mind, too!

Obviously being physically ready for the season is important, but being mentally prepared is right up there, too! You don’t want any mental barriers on your big day! I’ve found one of my biggest hurdles is stepping outside my comfort zone. Sure, I’ve been skiing since the mid-90s, but sometimes I still find myself at a headwall, questioning my choices. Set yourself some progress goals to work toward this season, and stop worrying about the yard sales and monster wipe outs from previous years. Interestingly, you don’t have to wait until the snow falls to start practicing this. Create confidence by exploring new things. Maybe you are afraid of heights. Visit High Falls Gorge to stand above the roaring Ausable River and face your fears. (Please note: High Falls Gorge is closed in November, so plan ahead.)

A skier at the top of a drop off, preparing to ski down.

Get your passes or tickets early

It goes without saying, tickets are an important (arguably one of the most important) part to a successful day on the slopes. Don’t be left out in the cold; get your tickets or season passes in advance! Walk-up tickets are not guaranteed, so purchasing ahead of time ensures you a spot on the gondola. Tickets can be purchased online directly from Whiteface Mountain. It can’t get any easier!

A skier jumping in the air and touching the back of their skis.

Find your people

I get it, you’re popular and your friend circle is huge. But you want to make sure your ski group meshes with your style! I’m not saying to ignore your high flying terrain park friends if you’re more of a blue square cruiser. I’m just saying if your ski buddy has the same pace as you, the experience will be much more enjoyable! You want to be comfortable. My suggestion: take a run with everyone, but don’t push yourself beyond your limits just to try to keep up with someone else. After all, you can always ride the lifts together, or meet up for a lunch break or an après beer. Why not gather at the new Legacy Lodge for great views and to swap smiles and stories!

A group of skiers stands on the deck of a ledge looking out at mountain views.

Snow long, for now

Whenever opening day hits, be sure you’re ready! First chair has your name on it. Whiteface isn’t just for skiers; even if you’re a snowboarder, the mountain is waiting for you! And all the amazing people who make winter amazing are ready to make this season one for the record books. If you’re planning a ski trip way in advance, chances are you’ll want to spend a few days here. Book a room so you can get a good night’s rest as you drift off into sweet ski dreams before you next day on the mountain.


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