Getting folks to the mountain (either through bribes, bullying, guilt tripping, blackmail or other magic) is no small feat. However, ensuring that they have a great time and make it to the end of the day in one piece is another story all together.
As an avid snowboarder, carpooler and all around going-places type of person, I often find myself headed up to Vermont with new friends and folks that are new to the sport. After a number of successful Shredshare carpool trips to Killington this year, I've begun to identify a few best practices that have helped ensure successful trips and a great experiences for everyone in the group. This list will grow, so be sure to come back for updates. And if you have some best practices that you want to share with us, send us a note!
1) Take note of each person's ability level. A great way to find out is simply to ask and to ask with a smile. Be sure to ask before you get on the first chair and be sure to assure the person that no matter their ability level, they are welcome and wanted within the group.
2) As the leader, your the head and the tail. A great way to ensure that your entire group has a good time is take on the onus of keeping the group together. We all know how easy it is to lose folks throughout the course of the day. As the leader, you can mitigate that by dropping, first so that folks know what direction to go in. Then, by stopping mid way to let everyone go by and for you to keep count. At that point you'd sit tight till the last member of your group passes by and then you'd join the rest of the group at the next break point on the trail. No persons left behind!
3) Establish the rout and destination for every run. Mountains are big and those trail maps are confusing. As the leader of your group, one great tactic is to establish where you want to end up and how you will get there, before you head down. After getting of the lift and while folks are strapping in, be sure that your group understands where the natural break points are on the trail and where your destination is. We recommend picking major merges or junctions to take breaks (be sure to stick to the sides of the trail and look up hill!) and a specific lift line or lodge at the bottom of runs to regroup.
4) Create a suggested schedule. Outlining and communicating a optional schedule for the group is a great fall-back plan should anyone get lost. We recommend designating a meeting point at the beginning of the day (near a lift ticket booth or major lift works well) for everyone to meet and head up together. We also recommend that you designate a lunch spot for folks to find each other, relax and regroup for the second half of the day. And lastly, designating a meeting point and time, at the end of the day, is a great way to get some apres ski action going and to make sure everyone is safe, healthy and accounted for.
So that's all for now but we'll be adding to this list and would love you're feedback too! If you have suggestions for keeping folks together on the hill or any ideas on ensuring good ski and snowboard carpool experiences, hit us up!