The term “bucket list” has become a mainstay of the lexicon, describing ambitious things you need to do before you, well, kick the bucket. Skiing and snowboarding provide a lot of different options for setting goals for the season. Goals are very personal and bucket lists will vary from person to person, but here are a few ideas to get you thinking about your own bucket list.
Last season, we gave you these 7 bucket list ideas. Below are a few more. Consider giving these a shot this winter!
1. Take an Avalanche Class
Understanding how to be safe in the backcountry is a critical step to expanding your horizons as a skier. Taking an avalanche course opens the door to numerous other bucket list ideas, including cat skiing, hut trips, backcountry, and greater exploration of the snowy landscape in winter.
Avalanche classes will teach you the fundamentals of slope safety, including weather, wind, types of snow, slope angles, slope aspect, snow stability, terrain assessment, and backcountry rescue. These classes are usually two or three days and include some classroom time and some practice in the field. Courses are available in numerous states, including Utah, New Hampshire, California, and others.
2. Shred in a Different Country
Have you ever needed your passport to go skiing? If not, dig out that little blue booklet and head for the border! Canada is obviously the most proximate country, with lots of options in Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia. Other well-traveled international destinations include Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile (in the Northern Hemisphere summer, of course). Japan seems to be the trendy international country for many US skiers, with a buzz around the bountiful snowfall on the north island of Hokkaido.
Many season passes and multi-mountain tickets now include privileges in other countries, including the Mountain Collective (Whistler-Blackcomb, Lake Louise-Sunshine Village, Thredbo) and the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus (Cardrona [NZ], Tomamu, Alts Bandai, and Nekoma [Japan]).
3. Ski an Iconic Run
Corbet’s. Tucks. KT-22. Goat. Famous for their challenge, views, and iconic status, these ski runs are made for serious snowboarding and skiing. Some iconic trails require a hike, some are ultra-steep, some have great views, and some are really, really long. There are many famous ski runs all around the world.
Every ski area has its own iconic run – find the one at your home hill and give it a go this winter. But be prepared: make sure the conditions are good, that your legs are in shape, and that you go with a buddy. While this is a bucket list, you don’t actually want to kick the bucket while attempting to accomplish the task.
4. Take a Hut Trip
If you’ve never been on a hut trip, you are really missing out on a special winter experience. Snowboarding, skiing, or snowshoeing gives you access to numerous backcountry huts or yurts where you can spend a night warming your feet by the fire after a day of touring or making turns in untracked snow. Huts typically have bunks for sleeping, firewood for the wood stove, battery powered lights or lanterns, a small kitchen for cooking meals, and even wifi – so all you have to bring is a sleeping bag and your own food.
Be sure you have accomplished Bucket List #1 before heading out on a hut trip. Some well-known hut systems are the 10th Mountain Division huts in Colorado, Rendezvous Huts in Washington, the Catamount Trail in Vermont, and the Boundary Waters area of Minnesota. The websites for these hut systems have lots of information about how to plan your trip, and many offer guided trips as well. Gazing at the infinite firmament of the millions of stars in the Milky Way on a clear, crisp, cold winter night is something you won’t ever forget.
5. Learn to Wax and Tune your Skis/Board
Getting to know your equipment is part of becoming better at any activity, be it surfing, mountain biking, or snowboarding. Indulge your DIY instincts and learn how to wax the bases and sharpen the edges of your own skis or board. You can buy some basic ski tuning equipment to assist you, or you can just use some stuff lying around your house, like two chairs for a bench. To wax your boards, you’ll need an iron – but not an iron that you will ever use on your clothes again!
Waxing your equipment keeps it sliding efficiently on the snow and is something that should be done every couple of weeks during the season. Some local ski shops have clinics on how to wax and tune your own skis, so check around. Of course, articles online like this one from Brave Ski Mom, or YouTube videos, are a good resource to learn the basics.
6. Indulge in Après Ski
A bucket list doesn’t always have to involve hard work – sit back and enjoy a drink after a long day on the slopes at one of the many famous après ski spots worldwide. Every ski area has a bar to grab a cold beer or a fancy cocktail, and the plethora of places to imbibe with friends speaks to how deep seated après ski is to the culture of mountain sports. Depending on your tastes, numerous lists exist to guide you, from super posh exclusivity to dirt bag spots to grab a cocktail and re-live the highlights of the ski day. Bottoms up!
What are your goals for the season? What’s on your bucket list? Get out and explore, try something new, be adventurous, and then cross it off your list. The best thing about a bucket list? It keeps changing and evolving – as you improve, your boundaries expand to encompass more interesting and more challenging objectives. So get out there and tackle some accomplishments on your bucket list this winter.
Thanks Dave for the robust list of activities! One thing on my bucket list- ski mountaineering on some big peaks!
Ted, thanks for reading and for the robust idea of ski mountaineering. Which peaks are you thinking about?
I just climbed Pico de Orizaba in Mexico a couple weeks ago and we saw a guy who brought skis and was able to climb and descend 2,000+ ft so that looked pretty cool.
Realistically, I think I need to up my avy awareness as you mentioned in the post and then maybe start with some of the peaks like Mt Tallac around Tahoe.