Bill Pennington, who claims to have performed the pack/unpack/pack operation maybe 150 times with his wife and three kids, offers up a handful of tips. I read this story with great interest since our family is planning to go to the snow several times this winter.
Here are few tips pulled from Pennington's article.
- Train each person to be responsible for his snow gear. Give each member of the family a bag for their ski clothes and a list of what they need to bring: boots, hat, goggles, gloves, sunglasses, helmet, and so on. "The key to this is getting young children — and doddering adults — accustomed to the idea that all the ski/snowboard-specific items go in this one bag," Pennington advises. (I have always packed for my kids who are now ages 5 and 6, but when we head for the snow next weekend I'm going to put them on the task of packing their own gear. Creating a list seems like a tedious, time-intensive task but I'm willing to try. We'll see how it goes.)
- Rent equipment--boots, poles, and skis--before you leave so you avoid lines at the resort. (This seems like wise advice if you're down-hill skiing. The cross-country ski resorts typically don't have any lines.)
- Bring two sets of gloves "because the ones used for skiing might get wet and need to be dried by the radiator or fireplace. You will be happy to have additional warm gloves for walking around at night," Pennington writes. (We just spent nearly $200 on outfitting the kids in snow gear so I'm not sure I'm ready to pop for a second pair of gloves.)
- Stuff instant oatmeal in your suitcase. "With a dozen instant oatmeal packets, which cost about $4, you can feed the whole family a breakfast on Saturday morning and be on the slopes while everyone else is still ordering in the hotel restaurant," Pennington writes. "Use the coffee maker that probably comes with your room to heat up the water for the oatmeal, bring along some paper bowls and plastic spoons, and everyone gets a nice hot meal that will last until lunch....Yes, it’s not fine cuisine, but who cares if it means you get four runs on unoccupied trails before the hefty morning lift lines build." (This is one tip I definitely won't be following...instant oatmeal is the equivalent of wallpaper paste. It seems easy enough to set the alarm for 7 a.m. and eat a quick breakfast at the hotel, which in many cases is free and included in the rate, and then hit the slopes.)