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 avid 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.