From cultural cues, health insurance to lift line etiquette, there’s a few things to know before you hit the slopes internationally.


1. Carry-on Your Ski Boots

Let’s get this one out of the way – it’s essential your ski boots are part of your carry-on luggage. If you show up at your destination and your bags don’t, your ski boots are all that matters. Everything else can be rented or bought, but no one wants to be in any other ski boots but their own. Especially while on vacation. 

2. Travel Insurance – Just do it

Travel insurance is a relatively small investment for peace of mind knowing you’ll be taken care of in the event something happens. Otherwise, you’re potentially putting yourself (and others) in financially crippling situations. Read the fine print and make sure skiing is covered. Depending where you’re going, consider adding on evacuation insurance in the event of a disaster. No one wants to make a call home for tens of thousands of dollars…

Don’t Forget These Things When Skiing Internationally

Ushuaia, Argentina photo by Steph Jagger ( Steph has skied a whole lot of vertical feet internationally, and elbowed her way through a few lift lines. In her words, “it’s all worth it.” Photo, case in point.

3. Register With Your Government

Registering with your government is a simple and easy way to stay connected and information while you’re abroad. It is usually a free service, and enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest. 

4. Powering Up

You don’t want to miss-out on that Go-Pro legend shot because you can’t charge your camera. Look into whether you need a power adapter to charge your electronics before you takeoff.

Don’t Forget These Things When Skiing Internationally

Niseko, Japan photo by Jonathan Hartwick. East coast skier John Emberly (Instagram: @j_emberly) getting some while skiing in Japan this season.

5. Is Your Bankcard Pin Four-Digits?

If your bankcard pin is five-digits, consider changing it to four because in some countries, bank machines only accept four digits. And, remind yourself what those four digits actually are, opposed to memorizing your fingers on a pin pad. The order of numbers on pin pads can differ from country to country, and sometimes the reverse order of numbers can throw you off! (Trust me.) 

6. Lift Line Etiquette

Lift lines can be free-for-alls in some countries. This tip, in particular, is for all the Canadians reading. Put your polite, but aggressive ski pants on, or you could be standing in line all day. Seriously.

7. Avoid Going Red in the Face

Having an idea of cultural cues, customs and what’s acceptable in a foreign country can save you embarrassment and make your trip easier. (Think picture taking, hand gestures and chewing gum.) Get the basics so you can greet and thank people in local language. It’s appreciated and opens up possibility for further conversation, smiles and laughs, too.

Don’t Forget These Things When Skiing Internationally

Mt. Yotei, Japan photo by Jonathan Hartwick. Japan’s Mt Yotei sitting pretty. What are you waiting for? Go!

8. Approaches to Safety Differ Around the World

Safety is always a priority, wherever you are on your skis. But it is important to know that inbound avalanche control and safety is approached differently around the world. Warnings, directions and language when it comes to avalanche awareness aren’t necessarily universal. Spend some time researching so you can speak the local snow language. Get an understanding of mountain conditions and reports, carry appropriate safety gear and know who to call if you need help when skiing abroad.

9. Skiing at New Elevations

Depending on where you’re headed, you might be arriving jet-lagged and dizzy. Not to mention, you could be skiing at a massively different elevation than your body is used to. Take some time to acclimatize before you get rad. Listen to your body!

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Sub-Categories Europe / liftopia / More Snowsports / North America / Ski / Ski & Snowboard / Snowboard / South America / The Mountain Collective / Travel

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