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A Quick and Dirty Guide to Skiing in Northern California

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California takes its fair share of heat when it comes to skiing: not enough powder, heavy, moisture-filled Sierra snow, it’s a long drive to get to the slopes from most major cities. Knock it all you want, we say; meanwhile, we’ll be out there carving it up. Skiing in northern California means world-class terrain, props as the birthplace of extreme skiing, and some of the best spring conditions around. When it comes to NorCal skiing and snowboarding, most San Francisco enthusiasts head right to Lake Tahoe. From the Bay Area, it’s about a three-hour drive to the aquamarine alpine lake, which straddles both California and Nevada and is home to 15 downhill resorts. Lake Tahoe’s beauty is so staggering, sometimes you have to take a break from ripping it up to soak it all in. Travis Wise But there’s a vastly different feel to the areas of Big Blue: The North Shore exudes a more upscale vibe, while the South Shore beckons with a rocking party scene, thanks to the casinos and clubs around the Nevada border. And don’t forget about Mammoth Mountain, the aptly named resort that’s a bit further away in the town of Mammoth Lakes, but boasts…

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Carving it up at Jack Frost Mountain in the Poconos

The 5 Best Ski Mountains in the Poconos

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As Colorado and other western states bask in the glory of snow-filled powder days on the slopes, the eastern states sit by watching, waiting patiently for our turn to play. El Niño has blessed the East Coast with unseasonably warm November and December temperatures, which is great for all outdoor activities…except for skiing and snowboarding. Now’s the time to prep for that first big storm, whether you’re waiting patiently or doing a snow dance in your living room. So whether you plan to make a day trip or a weekend out of it, make sure you hit one of these five Poconos ski mountains when the flakes (hopefully) begin to accumulate. 1. Blue Mountain Blue Mountain offers 6 terrain parks for every skill level. Jeshua Nace Blue Mountain , located in Palmerton, PA, boasts a 1,082-foot vertical drop from summit to base—the highest of any ski mountain in Pennsylvania. Only 90 minutes from Philadelphia, Blue Mountain is definitely the best all-around ski mountain in the Poconos. The location is close enough for a day trip, plus they offer half-day passes and night skiing to boot. With 39 trails of all levels of difficulty and 16 lifts, including a high-speed 6-person lift, this mountain is a go-to…

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Mastering the Early Morning Ski Start

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Science has yet to comb the human genome to discover what rare strand of DNA is responsible for morning people, but rest assured if you aren’t one of them, you aren’t alone. If you count yourself among those who rage against the coming morning just to stumble out the door, into the car, and come to your senses on the road, then this guide is for you. If you’re one of those disturbingly perky, joyful individuals that considers "sleeping in" any time past 6 am, there are a few tips that might help you as well. Here are five suggestions for rising to occasion and getting to the Colorado mountains in good style—or at least in one piece. 1. Get Organized While Your Brain is Fully Functional Humans are masters of self-deception, especially when the empty phrase "I’ll get ready in the morning” is uttered. No, you won’t. Your poor sleep-deprived brain will be straining just to remember to put pants on with the zipper in front. You’re asking a lot to expect it to also organize your gear, find your pass, and round up food. This very phenomenon is why you will one day end up paying $26 for…

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The History of Skiing in the Poconos

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Today, the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains are known as one of the top ski destinations on the East Coast as well as a scenic outdoor escape any time of the year. But the area was first famous for something very different: Following World War II, GI’s brought their new wives to the Poconos in droves, granting the region the nickname, "Honeymoon Capital of the World." Over the last 70-plus years, the Poconos have evolved from a convenient getaway for couples to an outdoor destination, due in large part to the growth of the ski industry in the region. The Birth of Poconos Skiing Snowmaking and grooming equipment keep the resorts in the Poconos operating the entire ski season. Pocono Mountains In 1946, Big Boulder opened and became Pennsylvania’s first commercial ski area. A snowmaking device was patented here in 1950, and by 1956 the system was up and running, covering the slopes with abundant snow. This became the first commercial use of snowmaking, and today it is an essential part of keeping Poconos ski resorts open all season. With the completion of Interstate 80 in the 1950s, the region gained easier access to major metropolitan areas, fueling its popularity among honeymooners…

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The Ski Trips That Make You A Better Skier

The Ski Trips That Make You A Better Skier

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A week on the slopes – and in the bars – can be an outstanding social holiday. But what if your goal is to return home a better skier? For all their physical demands and opportunities for exhilaration, winter sports can still sometimes be seen as just an excuse to stuff yourself full of fondue and Milka. Now, as people begin planning and booking their ski holidays, if your idea of a superb trip is spending your evening chasing your pals around in a Morphsuit, no one should be trying to talk you out of it, but if you’d prefer to take your slope-riding beyond just what you do in between après-ski sessions, to the “next level” even, there are some excellent options, whatever your current ability. Laax, Switzerland If you need an indication of just how world-class Laax is when it comes to the more extreme side of snowboarding (ie busting huge airs off jumps, sending untouched powder flying), then know that Nicolas Muller, legend of the halfpipe and hero of backcountry riding, lives there permanently. This is the spot to be in if you’re looking to go beyond the groomed slopes and up the ante in the park…

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How to Get Your Kids Skiing at an Early Age

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Slopeside meltdowns, freezing tears on frigid lift rides, urgent bathroom breaks the minute you’ve gotten all geared up: Hitting the slopes with your little ones can be a big-time challenge, not to mention a big hit to the wallet. But the benefits—getting your kiddos passionate about skiing and riding and creating a whole new level of outdoor fun for the whole fam—are well worth the hassle. To help you navigate the pitfalls of hitting the mountain with the six and under crew—without having a meltdown yourself—we’ve pulled together a list of helpful tips and handy tricks that will pave the way for less stressful, more fun outings (trust us, it will happen). It just takes some determination, patience, and, sometimes, the promise of apres. Take a deep breath, you’ve got this. 1. Learn how to ski swap, save big-time on cash. Don’t buy brand-new gear if you don’t need to. Kids outgrow everything so quickly and you can find great used gear for really cheap at swaps that pop up all over the place at schools, gear shops, through friends’ kids’ old stuff, and online. Not only are these swaps a great way to save money, but they won’t break…

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Here’s Why You Should Take A Resistance Band On Your Next Ski Trip

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Keep your band handy to warm up your legs on the mountain. Skiing is a sport that treads the fine line between pure exhilaration and outright terror, and the only thing keeping you on the right side of that line is your own ability to stay upright at speed. To do that, you need hard-earned skill and your muscles to be ready for the demands of the slopes, which is why it’s essential to warm up before you start skiing. We asked Team GB freestyle skier and PT Rowan Cheshire what she does before a day on the mountain and she was good enough to provide this ten-minute warm-up you can do before skiing. Cheshire takes a resistance band with her to help with the warm-up, so if you have a spare pocket in your ski pants, you know exactly what to stuff in it. Ten-Minute Ski Warm-Up As with all sports, the benefits of a warm-up are well known and widely ignored by people who just want to get into the thick of the action, but here’s a reminder of why you should warm up. “You need to get the muscles moving and the blood flowing around the body,”…

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Flying High: How to Learn Awesome Ski Tricks (Hint: Start Indoors)

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Walking into Snogression in Salt Lake City is like entering an oversized playground. This elaborate, yet informal facility is a mishmash of Olympic-grade trampolines, foam pits, crash pads, and a large ramp that sends jumpers flying into an extra-large foam pit. Built in a warehouse in the industrial district west of Salt Lake’s I-15, the space feels feel gritty and raw, yet an impressive level of attention to detail ensures every element comes together with safety and functionality. Snogression does cater to fearless kids and experienced pros—but a large segment of its clientele also includes strong skiers and riders whose in-air abilities aren't exactly impressive. (Including the author of this story, who routinely panics and bails from jumps mid-takeoff, flopping into the landing zone in a heap of flail.) Fortunately, Snogression offers on-staff coaches who help visitors up their game either in single sessions or over the course of weeks and months. A sit-down with one of these coaches, Peter Fitts, yielded a solid game plan for those aspiring to airtime and, dare we say, learn some awesome ski tricks. The full scene: multiple trampolines for maximum fun Snogression So, what’s your skiing/coaching background, and in your professional opinion, do you think grown-ups without a park…

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How to Prep Your Gear for Ski Season: 6 Pro Tips

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As ski season approaches, you may be more than ready to hit the slopes—but is your gear? For some pro tips on prepping your equipment, RootsRated spoke with Zach Yates, gear guru and repair shop manager at Footloose Sports, a popular ski shop in Mammoth, California. The bottom line, Yates says: “You want everything as predictable as possible,” in order to prevent injury and set yourself up for a kick-ass season on the slopes. Here, Yates' tips on how to make that happen. 1. Start with your skis. First things first: Make like the Karate Kid and start waxing. You’ll be waxing off first—as in, removing that grubby layer of wax you (hopefully) rubbed on at the end of last season to prevent oxidation and damage to the base of the ski. Then, grab some new wax—it’s designated for various temperatures, depending on where you’ll be skiing—and don’t skimp on applying it. “You can never overwax a ski—the more wax the better,” Yates says. “For World Cup racers, their skis are prepped 20-30 times before they hit the snow. And beginners will sometimes say, 'I don’t want a lot of wax, because I don’t want to go too fast,' but…

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8 Reasons Why You Should Strongly Consider Making France Your Next Ski Vacation

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France as a whole features a preeminence of food, wine, and beautiful surroundings, so it’s no surprise that these crucial cultural elements also hold a pivotal place in the French Alps. Add to the towering peaks with a vertical drop that can only be described as dizzying, seemingly endless terrain, surprisingly affordable lift tickets, and horizons offering Dr. Seuss-like craggy summits in the background with ancient churches and castles (yes, castles) in the foreground, and you’ve got a ski vacation straight out of a fairy tale. 1. History of Winter Sports La Clusaz, which opened in 1907, is one of the world’s oldest continuously operating ski resorts. Patrick Nouhailler The country’s most expansive ski region, the Rhone-Alpes, has been embraced as a winter sports wonderland for more than 100 years. La Clusaz is one of the world’s oldest continuous resorts, in operation since 1907. Chamonix, arguably France’s most renowned resort, hosted the very first Winter Olympic Games in 1924. Grenoble followed in 1968 and Albertville in 1992. In 1947, a guy named Francois Salomon transformed his saw blade metalworking shop in Annecy, France, into what has become one of the most universally renowned, respected, and innovative ski, boot, and binding…

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