Air Travel Sucks for Skiers. Here’s How to Stay Sane.

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You’re not alone for those who preserve listening to about nightmare winter air journey this season. Certain, ski holidays have all the time offered the potential for missed flight connections climate delays, or shedding treasured time sitting on the de-icing pad as a result of the snowstorms that we like to chase have a naughty behavior of disrupting itineraries, however that doesn’t imply it’s essential keep near dwelling.

Over my twenty-year profession as a ski and out of doors journalist, I’ve logged loads of flights and sufficient accompanying mishaps to have discovered a factor or two about the right way to disaster-proof a winter itinerary. Though I haven’t discovered a approach to keep off storms, I’ve found an array of methods that reduce the prospect of flight interruptions and associated angst. To you, fellow vacationers, I disclose them right here.

A skier rips down a run in Mt. Rose
Views like this make coping with air journey price it. (Photograph: Courtesy of Jamie Aranoff)

How can I ensure my flight isn’t canceled due to the climate? 

When you can’t management the climate, reserving journey on the biggest obtainable plane, could permit you and your crew to punch by storms that usually sideline smaller vessels.

I used to disregard particulars about plane tools after I searched potential itineraries, focusing as a substitute on layover instances and costs. However then a late-November snowstorm throughout the Nice Lakes demonstrated how influential airplane measurement will be in protecting you shifting—or protecting you stalled. My flight on the mid-sized Embraer 175 made it out of Inexperienced Bay on that weather-blighted day, however passengers booked on smaller Canadair Regional jets sat stranded until the storm cleared 24 hours later.

That’s price remembering everytime you’re weighing the distinction between flying instantly right into a ski resort (similar to Steamboat) or taking floor transportation from the closest main metropolis. If tiny planes are your solely possibility into the resort airport, it’s possible you’ll be higher off taking an even bigger airplane to the town and finishing the journey through a shuttle van, which is usually extra prone to make the journey by snowy, stormy situations. (When that occurs, be able to double your driver’s tip. They’ve absolutely earned it.)

More to help you plan your dream trip: The Best Ski-Travel Planning Tips of the Year

What resorts are the best to fly into?

It’s exhausting to beat Salt Lake Metropolis for flight entry. With a new airport that can obtain full buildout in late 2026, this hub sits some 30 to 40 minutes from resorts in Little and Massive Cottonwood Canyons however at a decrease elevation that always geese space storms. And no record could be full with out the airport we like to hate, Denver. And whereas it is probably not recognized for its outstandingly fast safety traces it does function a hub for United and a gateway to all the enjoyable that awaits in Colorado.

Additionally situated in a comparatively balmy valley, Montrose, Colorado simply completed a two-year enlargement that doubled the airport’s measurement and added flights on Delta and Southwest, broadening entry to Telluride (a 90-minute drive South).

By winter ’24-25, Steamboat expects to finish expansions to Yampa Valley Regional Airport that can accommodate larger planes in any respect gates (see the advantages of flying on bigger plane, above).

And keep watch over Provo, the closest airport to Sundance Mountain Resort. Having already constructed a brand new terminal that serves Allegiant Air and Breeze Airways, the airport is now pursuing further enlargement plans supposed to draw a bigger provider.

Looking at an airplane at a gate at sunrise
Usually the larger the airplane the higher probability of navigating climate. (Photograph: Courtesy of Jamie Aranoff)

Which airline is most dependable in winter?

All of them expertise snafus. What’s secret’s that you simply choose one airline and guide instantly with it (reasonably than by a third-party agent that stitches collectively flights with a number of airways). If delays hijack your itinerary, not one of the firms concerned in your multiple-player plans will step ahead to say you as their accountability, whereas your reserving airline will work to reconstruct your journey.

How can I preserve my baggage unlost?

In a really perfect situation, you’d examine nothing. Stash your ski boots and helmet in a carry-on and hire skis by an organization similar to Black Tie, which shares fashions which are in all probability newer and better-maintained than those you personal.

However for those who examine luggage, get a baggage tracker (like an Apple AirTag or Eufy SmartTrack). With baggage handlers among the many short-staffed segments of air journey, baggage is extra prone to go lacking, with fewer detectives on the case to relocate wayward possessions.

Make sure that any bag you examine is wildly coloured or patterned (many ski luggage look the identical) so it’s simpler for airline workers to determine and find. That paid off for me one December in Denver, when an enormous snowstorm turned the airport into an enormous warehouse of stalled luggage. An agent provided to get me on the following departing flight, however provided that she may shortly spot and gather my checked duffel. As a result of it was brilliant orange—as a substitute of yet one more black bag in a sea of lookalikes—I used to be shortly rerouted whereas different passengers waited for hours as bar-code scanners slowly sorted the mess.

Further reading: The Travel Hack That Keeps Ski Racing Families On the Slopes

What if my flight is canceled or delayed?

Rebook utilizing the airline’s app each time doable. However act quick: Different vacationers (and their brokers) are concurrently grabbing up options, so don’t dither. Verify the primary acceptable itinerary you discover, or threat watching flights disappear out of your record of choices.

Then, head for an airport lounge. Now that flight delays have develop into de rigeur, having lounge entry has develop into an more and more invaluable approach to protect your consolation and serenity by interruptions.

The brand new Chase Sapphire Lounge at Boston Logan Airport serves complimentary made-to-order meals (I like to recommend the saffron risotto), affords non-public showers, and therapeutic massage chairs, and pours every part from craft beer to espresso. Cardmembers may even carry two visitors—a notable perk since American Categorical lately curtailed complimentary visitor entry to its Centurion lounges.

And for those who’re not in search of a lounge, there’s no higher time and place to start out researching your subsequent ski journey (simply don’t miss that subsequent flight)!

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