Everything you need to plan a ski trip this winter

Your guide to season passes, backcountry tips and mountains for any budget

(Katty Huertas/The Washington Post)

Summer vacation gets the most hype, but for many Americans, the winter ski trip is just as iconic. It’s the first frigid chair lift ride of the day, the Swiss Miss and mediocre burgers at the lodge for lunch.

But these days, it can feel like a gamble to pull off a ski trip between warming weather patterns impacting snow levels at mountain resorts and rising travel prices. The payoff, however, can be a memorable escape to get you through the end of winter.

Here’s our advice for planning a ski trip this year, whether you’re into leisurely coasting the blue runs, ripping through trees or skipping the slopes altogether for the resort hot tub.


Which multi-resort ski pass is best? We compared 4.

Imagine a ski season in which you hop from mountain to mountain but never have to care about the increasingly steep price of a lift ticket. Those other skiers and snowboarders griping about how a day on the slopes costs the same as a new Apple Watch? You can’t relate. The multi-mountain pass is a fairly new development, but one that can save skiers a ton of money. Which one is right for you? We took a deep powder dive into the world of ski passes to help you decipher the answer.


8 ski vacations that check every travel style

There are so many places to ski in the world, picking a destination can feel overwhelming. You could go to the resorts of Idaho, the peak of Mount Etna or the indoor slopes of Ski Dubai. Each place has its own vibe — even if you’re just comparing domestically. Experts recommend asking yourself what kind of skiing you’re looking for and whether the terrain fits your skill level. Here are the best destinations for every type of skier.


How to do a ski trip if you don’t ski

So you don’t ski but you got dragged on a ski trip with your friends. What do you do? Don’t worry; there’s much more beyond the slopes, from hot tubs to spas to sleigh rides. Use our guide to make plans while everyone is out enjoying snowy thrills. We promise there’s no need to be bored.


How to ski like a local in a mountain resort town

Reporter Natalie Compton wanted to figure out the best way to travel in a mountain town, so she went to Jackson, Wyo., with a plan to see how people who live and work there do it year-round, from backcountry skiing to “àpres” nachos. Here’s what she discovered.


Meet the avalanche dogs who save skiers’ lives

You hope you don’t need to be pulled from an avalanche, but if you do, it might be from a heroic four-legged rescuer. At a Jackson Hole, Wyo., resort, these six dogs keep the mountain safe (and entertained). Avalanche dogs are said to date back to the 1700s, when St. Bernards accompanied Swiss monks between monasteries. Today, avalanche dogs help search-and-rescue teams around the world — from the Alpine villages in France to the Annapurna mountains of Nepal.


Pink snow and private jets: Ski workers spill on rich guests’ requests

The distance from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport to the Yellowstone Club is about 50 miles. For most people, that’s an hour’s drive through a windy Montana canyon. But if you’re a member — along with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg — it can be a much quicker jaunt if you take your private jet and helicopter. Even if you can afford to ski next to them, good luck keeping up off the slopes. Helicopters from the airport are just the tip of the iceberg. Industry insiders shared their wild requests from wealthy skiers. Take it as a lesson on how not to be.


No snow? Ski resorts can now fake it in 80 degrees.

A lack of snow and abnormally mild temperatures are threatening ski resorts in the eastern United States, Europe and Asia. As natural snow becomes scarcer and temperatures creep too high for traditional snow machines, new technology is helping a growing number of ski areas adapt to the warming climate. New snow machines can make fake snow in temperatures as high as 80 degrees, but some worry the energy contributes to the very problem resorts are trying to confront.

Andrea Sachs, Hannah Sampson and Amudalat Ajasa contributed to this report.