Need a Lift?
When you go skiing how do you get to the mountains? If you can take a bus or train to the mountain, that's great! Unfortunately, for many of us there simply isn't any public transit to the closest ski resort. Speaking for myself, every time I go skiing I drive to the local ski area. Since driving is my only practical option - I carpool to the mountain.
Driving with your skiing and snowboarding friends has several advantages over going solo. Carpooling reduces the carbon footprint of driving to the mountains by increasing Passenger Miles per Gallon. To calculate 'Passenger MPG' multiply your actual miles per gallon by the number of passengers in your car, truck or van. The higher your Passenger M.P.G., the lower the carbon footprint for your ski trip. Of course, you also can split gas costs among all the passengers too.
Carpooling also has advantages in the ski resort parking lot. Carpools of 4 or more get free premier parking at Keystone Resort and discounted lift tickets at Arapahoe Basin. Both Kirkwood and Northstar at Tahoe has a dedicated rideshare board on their website to help organize carpools. Call your preferred ski area to see if they are offering any carpool incentives.
Piling your friends into the ski car adds weight over tires for traction, just put the driver with the best snow skills at the wheel. But, perhaps the most popular reason for carpooling is the conversation. Few things compare to planning your day en route to the ski area and reliving triumphs and crashes on the way home. It's also handy to have a choice of drivers just in case any of the crashes injure more than your pride.
Finding a carpool can be as easy as calling up your friends and hashing out a weekend plan. For those who don't know many skiers and snowboarders living nearby try your local ski clubs. Ski clubs arrange group trips to regional ski resorts and can be a great way to meet people who ski frequently. Several dedicated ski and snowboard carpool websites are listed below. Your favorite skiing or snowboarding website may have a carpool discussion forum which can be effective for arranging trips. Fans of Craigslist.org may already know of the Rideshare board in the Community section.
Carpools like most other plans are tentative. Sometimes you lose a passenger or gain one on the way to the mountain. On the road to my local ski area is a spot known as the 'Hitching Post' where skiers and boarders wait for a ride. Whenever I have a spare seat I will stop to pick up anyone holding skis or a snowboard with their thumb out. I wouldn't recommend this for every driver, but I've had many good conversations and made quite a few friends by offering a lift to a grateful skier and vice versa.
SkiCarpool.org - for Colorado ski areas
RideBuzz.org - ski
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