photo by CC user andreweick on Flickr

Want to embrace winter instead of hiding from it? By learning how to plan a ski trip, you can finally put years of animosity surrounding the calendar’s chilliest season behind you.

Here’s what you need to watch for as you plot out a vacation to a winter wonderland near you…

1) Take care of transportation and accommodation logistics

photo by CC user atsushikase on Flickr

Given that many of your contemporaries had already booked their ski vacation months ago, take care of your flights and hotel/resort bookings first to ensure that you and your travel companions are not left out in the cold.

Don’t lose heart though, as promotions are often available outside the peak season (aka the holiday season). Ski and stay packages are among the most desirable, as these will allow you to stay on the mountain after the day has concluded.

The après ski scene in resort villages is almost always tight, and with the ability to ski to the lift right from your room in the morning, going with on mountain accommodation is the way the go, despite the added costs.

2) Choose the right clothing

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When going on a ski trip to a major resort, remember that there will be large elevation changes between the base and the summit.

This means that there will be big swings in temperature and in weather conditions; as such, you will need to be prepared. It is vital that you bring clothing that will protect you from the wind, cold and the snow.

A thermal balaclava that fits underneath your helmet will keep head and face warm on windy chair lifts, thermal long socks will stave off the icy feet that many wearers of cotton socks suffer from after a few runs, and a 30L backpack by MUSTO will give you a place to store valuables.

By choosing the right ski clothing and accessories, you’ll have an enjoyable weekend on the slopes instead of one marked by pain and frustration.

3) Reserve your lift tickets online

photo by CC user Johnycanal on wikivoyage

Don’t waste valuable skiing time waiting in line for a lift ticket … it’s 2016, after all! Many resorts offer you the option to buy your lift ticket on the web prior to arriving for your ski weekend; all you have to do is show up at the will call window, pick them up, and off you go.

Additionally, many hills offer discounts for buying via the internet versus in-person, so purchasing your passes this way also makes financial sense.

4) Rent your gear at the resort if you are a first-timer

photo by CC user 26786061@N00 on Flickr

If you are new to skiing, don’t shell out countless hundreds of dollars on the top of the line gear, only to find out that hurling yourself down a mountain isn’t your thing.

Besides, many expensive skis are made extra-stiff for advanced athletes that push their gear to the limit; by renting, experienced shop techs will fit you with gear that is far more responsive to the needs of a novice, ensuring a much more positive experience than those in the former situation.

This post was sponsored by MUSTO