Ski Challenges to Get You Out of Your Comfort Zone

©istockphoto/simonkrFrom Jackson Hole to Whistler, it’s dumping snow. The Rockies are receiving unprecedented amounts of snowfall much to the glee of skiers and boarders. What better time to test your limits and challenge your abilities in new and exciting ways? Here are some ideas if this season is all about going harder and having more fun.

Make it the “Season of Many Mountains”
Perhaps you only make it to one or two of the same mountains each season and you’re interested in seeing more. While financing a multi-mountain adventure can be pricey, planning can ensure that you ski many mountains without breaking your bank. Check for deals online, crash on couches, and chase powder for a season. Some mountains to consider include Purgatory Resort in Durango, Colorado Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming, and Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish, Montana.

Hone Your Avalanche Skills
The record snowfall in areas means that avalanches are a concern both in and out-of-bounds. Even if you are an avid backcountry skier with tons of avalanche knowledge, it never hurts to sharpen your skills. Attend an avalanche clinic, test your beacons, and be extra alert when skiing steep and deep terrain. The more knowledge and experience you acquire, the harder you can safely push yourself on snow. For lady shredders, be sure to check out locally hosted SheJumps avi clinics for some excellent training with an all-girls group.

Skip the Lift
There are several resorts that allow for uphill travel if you want the safety of inbound skiing but the cardiovascular challenge that uphill presents. If you’re looking for a great little hole-in-the-wall mountain, Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado just recently opened uphill access this season, so check their website for the details. After all, sometimes there’s nothing better than skinning to the top of something and blasting down.

Put Away the Technology and Just Ski
In the age of GoPro edits, minute-to-minute Instagram updates, and selfie-sticks, it can be tempting to constantly document your adventures. While sharing your love of winter with the world is a personal choice, it can often be a challenge to leave the cellphone in your pocket and just soak up the resort or backcountry camera free.

Unless you’re Jimmy Chin, who should never be without a camera because his photographs are pure magic, consider leaving the devices at home for the day, the entire week, or even your whole trip. Make some memories that are solely for you and the people you’re sharing them with. Find other ways to document your adventures, such as writing them down in a journal or painting your favorite line of the season from memory.

More importantly, value the experience and fun of skiing over the numbers. Instead of tracking how much vertical you got, keep track of the laughs you had on the mountain. Take a break from ripping to check out a cool ski-in mountain bar like the one at Copper Mountain Resort just below the American Flyer lift; it’s about the size of a train car, serves piping hot waffles, with walls literally covered in dollar bills (tips from patrons). You can’t find gems like that unless you stop to smell the roses…or waffles, in this case.

One of the biggest challenges of our age is to slow down, look around, and breathe. Perhaps this is just the challenge you’re looking for this season.