Skiers and snowboarders riding a chairlift up a mountain.

Winter is almost here, and that means it’s almost time for ski season! Now is the perfect time to prepare for skiing and snowboarding before the slopes open. Here are some tips to help you get ready and make the most of the 2021-22 season.

Prepare in advance

Building up your strength and endurance before you hit the slopes can help you reduce your risk for injury and keep you going throughout the winter months. Check out these resources while you wait for the mountain resorts to open:

Physical Therapy

Medical Services has a team of certified physical therapists that specialize in college health. They can help treat overuse syndromes, posture issues, trauma and athletic injuries to help you make the most of ski season.

Learn more about Physical Therapy services

Training services

Work with a certified personal trainer to develop a sport-specific training regimen. Training options include personal training, partner training with a friend and adaptive training.

Explore training services

Wellness Suite

The Wellness Suite at the Rec Center offers a variety of wellness services that can help you prepare for a successful ski season, including massage, physical therapy and more.

Visit the Wellness Suite

Gear up

If you’re new to the slopes or missed out last season, you may be wondering how to prepare for changing winter weather in the mountains. Here are some essentials you may want to consider bringing with you:

  • Helmet. A properly fitted helmet can help prevent concussions and keep your head warm and dry. For extra warmth, throw on a thin hat underneath.
  • Neck gaiter. Neck covers like gaiters and balaclavas can help keep you warm and comfortable, especially in windy or snowy conditions.
  • Goggles. Protect your eyes from snow, wind and sun damage by wearing goggles. If you wear glasses, be sure to find a pair that fits over them. Sunglasses can also be a good substitute if it’s not snowing or windy out.
  • Sunscreen. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you should skip sun protection. Harmful UV rays can penetrate clouds and reflect off of the snow, which can give you an unexpected sunburn. Use an SPF of 30 or more on any areas of exposed skin and reapply every few hours for the best protection.
  • Water bottle or hydration pack. Skiing and snowboarding can be physically strenuous. Stay hydrated throughout the day by bringing a water bottle or hydration pack. If you don’t have something you can easily carry with you, try setting an alarm to remind yourself to take breaks to grab some water.
  • Layers. Layering your clothing can help you prepare for changing weather. Wear layers that you can remove if the weather warms up or add if things get chilly.
  • Synthetic fabrics. Look for clothing and gear that is waterproof or made from synthetic fabrics like polyester (wool is another good option). These types of fabrics will help keep you dry and won’t retain as much moisture throughout the day.
  • Hand or foot warmers. If your socks or gloves get wet and cold, it’s a good idea to have warmers on hand to help keep you warm. Most last a few hours and are easy to carry with you in your pocket. 

Don’t have winter gear?

Investing in gear can get expensive. If you’re missing some of the essentials, see if you can borrow or rent gear instead of buying. The Outdoor Program Equipment Rental Center has a variety of winter equipment available for rent, including avalanche probes and shovels, insulated jackets and pants, snowshoes and more.

Get back to basics

Learning to ski or snowboard is no easy feat. If you’re new to the sport or are getting back into it for the first time in a while, start with easier runs to help you learn and master basic skills and get used to your equipment. Check in with yourself to track whether or not you’ve mastered skills like making turns, stopping without your poles (for skiers), getting on and off the lift comfortably by yourself and slowing down.

Once you’ve mastered these skills, you are ready to explore other areas on the mountain. You may need to be willing to get out of your comfort zone, but be sure to keep moderation in mind. If you ride a black diamond run before you’re ready, you may put yourself and others in danger. Know your own limits on the slopes, stay in bounds and practice controlled movements.

Find your crew

Looking for someone to hit the slopes with? CU Boulder has a variety of clubs and organizations that students can join to get more involved on the mountain.

Boulder Freeride

This non-profit student organization plans and coordinates trips to a variety of ski resorts throughout the semester. 

 Great for: Skiers and riders of all levels.

 Get connected: Learn more about Boulder Freeride

Backcountry Squatters

This student organization strives to create community and support for women in the outdoors. They provide day trips, clinics, virtual hangouts and more. 

 Great for: Skiers and riders of all levels who identify as women.

​ ​Get connected: Email for more information.

Club Sport Teams: Snowboarding & Freeskiing

If you’re looking to train and compete against other skiers or riders, you may want to consider joining one of the sport club teams available at the Rec Center. 

 Great for: Skiers and riders looking to compete against other students and colleges.

​ Get connected: Learn more about Sport Clubs

Have a safe trip

Driving in traffic to and from the slopes can be tiring (we’re looking at you I-70). Avoid the traffic by taking public transportation to and from the mountains with one of these programs:

CU Boulder Ski Bus

The E-Center’s Ski Bus Program provides ticketed rides to and from ski resorts for CU Boulder students. Every bus stops at Williams Village, Kittredge and Farrand Field on campus. Tickets are available for $20 ($10 for HERD members). 

Learn more about the Ski Bus

Snowstang RTD Program

The Colorado Department of Transportation provides shuttle services to and from Loveland Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin and Steamboat Springs throughout the ski season. Tickets are available for $25 to $40 roundtrip.

Learn more about the Snowstang program