What a Beginner Skier or Snowboarder Needs to Know: A Snowsports Glossary
By Kristen Lummis
When You Arrive
Ski Area/Ski Resort – What’s the difference? Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably although “resorts” tend to be a bit larger and sometimes are closely linked to a community or town.
Whether you call a venue an area or a resort or simply a mountain, you’re going to have fun!
Wondering where to get more information on the mountain you’ll be visiting? Start with the ski resort or ski area website.
Base Area – No, it’s not the first step toward climbing Mt Everest. This term refers to a collection of lodges, children’s centers, equipment rental shops, the ski and ride school, restaurants and chairlifts or magic carpets.
Larger resorts sometimes have more than one base area. Smaller resorts may simply have a lodge and a lift. Either way, the base area is usually where you’ll purchase lift tickets, get rental gear, join a lesson and have lunch.
Look for a base area map on the resort website. You also can pick up a hard copy at the venue when you arrive.
Parking – You have to get to the venue somehow before you can start skiing or snowboarding, you have to get to the mountain. It’s most likely that you will drive your car although some venues have public transportation.
If you are arriving by car, look for parking information and directions on the resort website. In most cases, parking is free but some larger resorts charge. Remote parking is usually free or costs less than close-in parking.
Check the website for pricing so that you’re not surprised when you arrive.
Some resorts and ski areas have unloading zones at the base area near the lifts. Pull up, place your skis, poles or snowboard on a rack and drop off your kids or friends. Park your car and either walk back or catch a shuttle, depending upon the resort.
Shuttles – Larger resorts often have shuttles to bring you from the parking lots to the base area. If this is the case where you’re going, follow signs to the parking lots and then proceed to a shuttle stop where you’ll catch a bus to the ski area base and the lifts. If you are a first-timer you won’t have to worry about carrying equipment as you will be renting. Check the website for parking and shuttle information.
Buses –Some ski towns, big and small, offer free or inexpensive bus service to nearby venues although this tends to be more the case out west or in New England. Taking a bus has many advantages: you don’t have to look for or pay for parking and the bus will usually drop you off close to the chairlifts.
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