What are your thoughts on seasonal forecasts?
Seasonal snow forecasts are meaningless for skiers, because 1) they’re not very accurate and 2) finding powder days and fresh snow (the goal for many skiers) comes down to the details of each storm, not a seasonal forecast.
So how far in advance should I plan my trip?
We recommend you start getting a feel for the weather pattern 10 days out, start planning trip details about 5 days out (start clearing your calendar), and lock in your plans about 2-3 days out. This is based on how accurate we feel weather forecasts are at certain lead times. Don’t forget: Start faking that you’re sick at work or school a few days out by coughing and leaving packets of Emergen-C all over your desk.
But I need to book a trip months in advance. What should I do?
We recommend booking flights on Southwest so you can change them with no penalties, and staying on top of change and cancellation policies for rental car companies and hotels, most of which allow changes up to a few days before arrival with no penalty. Also, some ski areas are offering Snow Guarantees that allow you to change your trip with no penalty. Here are examples from Copper Mountain and Winter Park.
But…but…I have NO flexibility in my trip. I have to book early and stick to it. What should I do?
We recommend booking a trip based on many factors, with snow being only one. Many times the hotel and other experiences (horse drawn sleigh rides, snow mobile rides, etc) can be just as fun and even more memorable than the skiing itself.