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Find those free guides

Most ski resorts offer free mountain host tours run by volunteers who know the area well. They’ll lead a group of intermediate or advanced skiers around the mountain daily – sometimes twice daily – and it’s a great chance to get a local’s take on just about anything: the best runs for views, good après spots and restaurant recommendations. It’s not a lesson, but their advice is valuable.

Carry-on ski boots

Rent gear at your destination, but bring your own ski or snowboard boots as rentals are often ill–fitting. And pack them in your carry-on. Travelling without checked bags makes it easier to rebook when flights go haywire in winter weather. Yes, they are bulky, but since ski trips are basically spent in long underwear, which doesn’t take up a lot of room, carry-on is doable. If you do check your bag, those boots help hold a bottle of wine quite securely.

Zippered change purse

Your travel wallet is too big for your ski coat, so store it in the room safe. Use a zippered change purse big enough to hold your room card, a credit card, cash, and – most importantly – your health and travel-insurance cards. If you end up on a ski-patrol toboggan on your way to the ER, they won’t stop by your hotel first.

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Protect your face

Goggles don’t cover everything. Make sure to slather on intense moisturizer and SPF 50 before heading out every day. Your skin takes a beating shushing down those snowy, sunny slopes. And snow bunnies take note: bring waterproof mascara.

Pack your own spa

You’ve tossed a bathing suit into your carry-on for the outdoor hot-tub (probably the best part of après-ski), but also find room for a Ziploc baggie of Epsom salts. Now you can turn that hotel soaker tub into a mini-spa to relax those tired, aching muscles.

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