An Insider’s Guide to Ski Leases: Tips and Advice

apres-ski-club     heavenly-condo-rental

Ski Leases for families and groups. The Ins and Outs of Getting Into One.

I’d like to talk to you about ski leases. Not the kind to lease ski equipment, but condo and cabin rentals for an entire ski season for ski addicts like us. I had never heard of one until the end of last season. After I learned about them, they seemed so intriguing and beneficial to my situation that I had to learn more. I finally got into one and would like to tell you about my experience with my first ski lease. By doing so, I hope that you will gain some insight into them and learn about what they are and how you too can get into one. I’ll start with my story and then provide a general description of a ski lease and then some tips from people that have lots of experience with them. Hopefully this will help you into your very own ski lease either for your family or for your group of ski and snowboarding buddies.

When I discovered ski leases I saw them as a great ski housing opportunity for me and my family. You see, I’ve come back to skiing full tilt after almost 20 years of hiatus. Back in the day, I skied every opportunity I could get and being young and without responsibilities, never had an issue finding a place to crash when up in Tahoe. Back then, the freedom of being able to drive up to Tahoe, bum around, ski lots and have really no worries about a place to stay was taken for granted.

Flash forward twenty some-odd years and is it still that way? We all know that answer to that. Marriage and kids have become the major parts of the equation. Since the kids are now old enough to ski all day without a meltdown, we can go up quite a lot. However now when we go its not just me and my buds anymore. Can you imagine going up to Tahoe with my wife and three kids to just show up at someone’s place ready to crash there? It just doesn’t work that way anymore.

What is a family to do? Buying a ski house is out of the question right now. We could book a hotel stay, but that gets very expensive especially for those of us with a ski season pass with the goal of getting in as many ski days as possible. How about day trips? We had to go that route towards the end of last season because we were spending an ungodly amount of money on hotel stays. I’m sure I’m in a similar boat with many of you out there. The solution for someone like us was the seasonal ski lease.

What is it? Basically it is a rental of a condo or cabin in Tahoe for the ski season. If you know you’re going to Tahoe often for skiing then renting a condo/cabin for the ski season is a great alternative to paying for hotels/other lodging each time you go up. It can be more cost effective but also more convenient because you can leave your ski gear and clothing at your ski lease cabin and not worry about having a place to stay and the chore of having to pack for every ski trip. Combined with a season pass to your favorite ski resort, the major expenses are covered and you’ll only have the cost of meals and gas to worry about. If you’re a ski nut like me and aren’t yet in a similar situation, I can’t express how priceless it is to have peace of mind, comfort, and the convenience of having a ski season pass and a place to stay anytime during the season taken care of.

If you’re ready to take the plunge into a ski lease, how do you get into one of these great deals? Through my research, I’ve discovered three ways.

(1) – you can deal directly with the owner of a property and lease the place for you and your family or group for friends for the season. If that is too costly, then you could ask families/friends that you know if they’d want to go in with you and share the cost of the lease.

(2) – you could contact a local professional that brokers these kinds of deals. I haven’t had much luck finding these professionals though. From what I’ve heard and if you can find one, they can put you in touch with owners that are looking to rent out their property. Once in touch with the owner, you could do the lease yourself or put together a group of members to split the cost. A good resource is to search for Lake Tahoe area vacation rentals available as a seasonal ski lease listed on SnowPals rentals page.

(3) – you could go to online resources and search for individuals that already have a deal in place with the owner of the property and are looking for additional “members”. For those of you that are new to this, this route is probably the easiest way to enter the ski lease world. SnowPals is a great resource for Tahoe ski leases organized by various groups and has an entire section dedicated to available Tahoe area ski lease membership opportunities. For those of you looking for ski leases in areas outside of Tahoe, you could check TGR, EpicSki forums or Craigslist for postings.

The cost per membership varies and there are so many options out there. I’ve seen listings on SnowPals for full season (typically December to April) ski lease membership for one person from $700 all the way to $2500. If you’re single and can spend just $700 for lodging for an entire season–that’s an amazing deal; let’s say you stay at the ski lease for a total of 30 nights, your cost per night would be $23.34 per night. Naturally, the more nights you stay, the more value you get from the ski lease. Signing up for ski lease membership is a great way to maximize your ski season pass since it encourages you to go up to Tahoe the night before and be close to the ski resort and can take advantage of a good night’s rest and get the chance to ski/ride fresh tracks/powder when resorts start up their lifts. Also, the value of beating the crowds and traffic to the resort is priceless; how many times have you been stuck in traffic or frustrated with locating free parking spaces? In addition, getting into a ski lease gives you the chance to expand your social circle and make new friends.

So, how did I find my ski lease? I got into mine by letting everyone I knew know that I wanted to learn about ski leases and my desire of joining one. Within a short period of time, a friend contacted me to ask if my wife and I would be willing to go in with them on a ski lease. He knew the owners of a great place in Truckee and they mentioned to him that they wanted to rent the place for the ski season. I told him absolutely and that we should jump on that. We brought our families together along with one other family and now we have a great house to stay in any time we want from Dec 14 to May 15. Each “member” in our group is a family. We each paid an equal lump sum on November 1, have no guest fees and our lump sum cost includes all utilities and snow removal. It is such a great deal. Of course, if another family is up there when we go up, we must share the space with them, but since we all know each other and our kids are all friends, other members being up there makes our stay more fun. Also a great benefit is that we take turns watching the kids so each set of parents get some down time. We also rotate turns cooking so that gives us more quality family time to enjoy our time together.

So what are some of the pitfalls? There have to be some, right? From my research, most pitfalls come from a misunderstanding of the rules of use when in a group ski lease. If you leased the place on your own, then the rules are yours and yours alone. However, if you are going into a ski lease as part of a group, then it is important to understand the rules otherwise there could be trouble. Of course it is important to click with the other members and if you do then it is important to nail down whatever rules all the members of the ski lease decide on in a clear and concise written agreement. Here are some things to consider from my wise and experienced ski lease mates, Eric and Andy:

  • What does your membership cost include? Make sure you know up front what your membership cost includes and what other expenses (if any) you’ll be responsible for at the end of the lease (e.g. utilities, firewood, hot tub maintenance, snow removal, house cleaning services, etc.)
  • Guest fees. Some ski leases charge “guest fees” for non-members to stay overnight to cover any additional expenses for lease. Make sure you are clear about guest fees in your ski lease and the rules for them
  • Parking. What are rules for parking? Last thing you want is to go up late Friday night and not have a parking space or at least be prepared for no parking space. Consider the option to carpool or ride share to your ski cabin if you don’t have alot of people in your family and empty seats in the van/SUV.
  • Storage of your stuff. Can you store stuff at the ski cabin/ski lease and if so what are the rules and where do you store your stuff?
  • Priority for bedrooms. If it is important for you to be in a bedroom, then what are the chances that you might not get one if everyone in the membership happens to be up at the same time. Some ski leases have agreements to allocate a dedicated bedroom where it is solely yours for the entire season which is very beneficial to bringing your own bedding and store your winter clothing and gear in the closet for convenience and easy access.

So, if you go up to Tahoe a lot and need the convenience of your own home without the financial commitment, but want a more cost effective solution than hotels/motels, a ski lease is the way to go. There are so many different options available out there. A great place to start is to browse available ski lease memberships organized by families or group of skiers/snowboarders to share a ski cabin. If you’re in a different area than Tahoe, you can also try craigslist, TGR, EpicSki, SnowHeads forum and other places online in your search to join a ski lease.

Many thanks to Eric and Andy, my ski lease mates who share their many years of experience and useful advice on how best to get into a ski lease and to reap the benefits of maximizing our ski season pass, lodging cost savings and most of all, deepening our friendship with shared experiences. Also many thanks to those of you who provided me with some great stories and advice.

For rental property and ski lease tips/guide/how to, read ..

* Read advice and tips on how to draft effective rental property/lease agreements to protect your rental property.

* Looking for a good value advertising alternative to Airbnb and VRBO listings for Lake Tahoe area niche rental market that will get you results? Read this.

* Are you part of a family or group ski lease cabin share and would like to use online Calendars and Management Tools to help you coordinate, and have a central point to communicate with ski lease members? Read this.

* Looking to create a ski lease members group to share the cost of a ski house/cabin lease, have a place to store your gear and to expand your circle of ski, ride buddies? List your ski lease or if you are a property owner, advertise your vacation rental. Browse available ski leases to join. Planning a Lake Tahoe getaway or looking to lease a rental? Browse Tahoe rentals.

* New to SnowPals? Join us to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies and Tahoe ride-share contacts for powder trips to Tahoe and to powder resorts in Utah, Colorado, British Columbia, etc.

Read more about ski leases and/or list yours

Take care and enjoy!

Joe Woo is SnowPals’ Resident Ski Gear Tester & Columnist. He lives with his family in the North Bay.

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How to join SnowPals

At SnowPals we help foster friendships and encourage personal enrichment by sharing snow-sports experiences. Join SF Bay Area Professionals to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies, btw, that’s how we came up with our name: Snow (Snow-Sports) + Pals.

Founded in 1999 by a small group of friends; we are now 8,249 members and growing. Celebrating our 21st year of connecting folks to expand their circle of snow sports activity partners.

View Upcoming Bay Area & Tahoe Events: opportunities to meet in-person with skiers and boarders near you.
Read members’ introductions to get an idea who joins SnowPals.
How to join SnowPals

Connect with skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels for trips to Tahoe and to snow destinations covered by your multi-resort ski season pass especially like Epic, Ikon, Powder Alliance and the Mountain Collective Pass.

How do members connect for rides to Tahoe and other snow destinations?

SnowPals’ members only forum connects members for trips almost every day of the week since we have members who are college students, Bay Area working professionals, digital nomads, visitors on vacation to Lake Tahoe as well as retirees(who likes to ski off-peak weekdays, non-holiday periods) who engages in an active snow sports lifestyle.

Below is a screenshot of SnowPals’ members forum messages for Tahoe ride-share:

snowpals-members-forum-2020

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: I live in Monterey/Santa Cruz/Sacramento/Davis/Roseville/Stockton/Central Valley California, are there Bay Area members who can give me rides to Tahoe?

A: Yes, if you live along the route to North Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada ski resorts, you can find rides since members stop along the route for a pitstop/to pick-up passengers on the way to Tahoe or other high Sierra resorts.

Q: Do you have ski/snowboard families? We are a skiing/snowboarding family and would like to meet other families who frequent Tahoe often to share snow sports experiences to give kids opportunities to meet new ski/ride friends to make the experience more fun.

A: Yes, many of our members have kids and would like to connect with other families to enjoy snow-sports together; often-times members collaborate to share a ski cabin to reduce their ski cabin lease expenses. Some parents enrolled their kids in resort based ski, snowboarding race training team programs. Many of our members got married over the years and became parents so naturally they would like to connect with other like-minded parents.

Q: I mainly do backcountry skiing/boarding, are there backcountry skiers/riders in the group?

A: Yes, we have many members who are backcountry skiers at various levels from beginners to expert touring level.

Q: I want to find folks for Nordic skiing/cross-country skiing and snowshoeing; are there members who engage in Nordic type snow sports?

A: Yes, we have members who cross train and who enjoys Nordic skiing/snowshoeing; a favorite destination is Lake Tahoe area’s backcountry trails, in addition, many often go to Yosemite National Park to not only engage in snow sports but to engage in winter snow photography and to enjoy off the beaten path Nordic skiing adventures.

Q: What’s the best way to meet people?

A: Make a point to attend our meetups to meet skiers, snowboarders in person to quickly establish rapport and plan Tahoe trips. Nothing beats in-person socializing which instantly creates rapport and connect by way of sharing similar interests and activities.

Screenshot of Tahoe Ride-share Contacts Preferences:

tahoe-rideshare-contacts

After college, it’s likely that our circle of friends become smaller and smaller with each passing year as family and work responsibilities require a bulk of our personal time, so at SnowPals, we would like to help expand your circle of snow-sports buddies so you can go on more powder ski and snowboarding trips than you have done in previous years.

At SnowPals, we help to expand your FUN horizon by connecting with SF Bay Area professionals of all ages/skill levels, college students and even retirees for Tahoe ski, ride trips and POWDER trips to snowy destinations world-wide. Network, connect and socialize with our active and friendly members.

Before the ski season starts (in October), join our pre-snow season ski-and-ride movie screenings, ski/board festivals, connect for ride-shares and join winter ski leases to make the most of your ski pass.

Our members often extend group activities into the summer seasons. We encourage an active lifestyle of not only snow-sports but the entire gamut of outdoor recreational activities, in the off-season, members often engage in various activities from active travel adventures to tropical R & R destination vacations or travel to bucket list destinations, or locally connect for nature hikes, surfing, sky-diving, rock climbing, mountain biking, wake boarding among other outdoor activities.

Over the years, we’ve noticed that ..

Ski and snowboard friendships often last a lifetime as they are built on a core shared interest.

“Create ski and snowboarding memories today so when in later years, you’ll reminisce about moments that will likely to triggered joyful smiles. That is in two words: ‘truly priceless’ 😉 “- SnowPals

What adventure(s) have you checked off your bucket list this year?

* To get an idea of folks who join SnowPals, the following are excerpts of members’ intros:

“I am an intermediate snowboarder who enjoys park and free riding. 19/20 will be my 2nd full season. I have a season pass for Heavenly and Sierra and looking to ride up with people who enjoy snowsports. I live in San Jose.” – Mike

“Hi Skiers and Snowboarders!

I’ve been snowsporting in Tahoe my whole life and would like to move there someday. My boyfriend Aaron and I are from Los Gatos, and we have both Ikon and Epic passes but love to visit smaller resorts as well. I also love going to ski movie premieres to get pumped up for the season. We can cook pretty well so you definitely want us in your ski lease. Can’t wait to meet you!” – Anna

“Hi, I am from Chicago, moved here in 2018 from DC and spent many excellent weekends at Kirkwood last season. Typically overstoked Midwesterner, have AWD car, Epic local pass. Mostly a weekend warrior to save vacation days, open to ski lease options, and living in Oakland. In warmer weather I’m climbing in Yosemite and elsewhere. Looking for folks excited to hit the slopes all day long!

Looking to connect with others who have Epic Local- Kirkwood is my favorite, but also open to Northstar/Heavenly.” – Josh from Oakland.

Hi my name is Claire and I’m based in SF. I have the Ikon pass, and am interested in finding people to carpool with to Squaw Alpine.

I like to Ski and do Cross-country skiing too.”

“Hi, I grew up in SF, am 24, and recently got into skiing. I am hoping to go up more this season and am looking for a group or ski buddies to go with! 🙂 ” – Harmony

“Hello, I’m frequently driving back and forth from South Lake Tahoe to the Peninsula close to the weekends. I ferry my 6 year old daughter back and forth so we can ski together, but she’s with her dad during the school week. So, sometimes she’ll be in the car and sometimes it’s just me. I have a ski lease now, but hope to relocate to the area. I only travel during low traffic times. Hoping to connect with some weekly carpoolers!” – Ellen

“Hi All! I just moved out to San Francisco after spending some time in Chicago and New York, I currently am on Volunteer Ski Patrol at Squaw Valley So I’m up most weekends and looking to offer rideshare or catch a carpool with others. Myself and some of my family and friends are currently starting a new ski lease in Homewood and we’re hoping to use it to make some new friends! I’m 26 and work as a Programmer.” – Brian

“I am an intermediate skier living in the East Bay. “I’d like to go ski more often than I used to. Willing to team up with others to share rides to Tahoe. I have flexible schedule and can go most days during the week. I am professional in the tech field. Prefer to go Kirkwood, Heavenly & Northstar.” – John

“Hi, I’m from the UK working as a doctor at UCSF and looking to do as many day trips/weekend trips as possible. I’m mainly looking for a ride, but if friends happen, it was meant to be! I am clean and travel without skis.” – V.

“I love skiing (resort and backcountry) and all sorts of climbing — rock and ice, especially alpine routes. Most of my climbing was up in the OR + WA Cascades, so I’d love someone to show me around the Sierra climbing and backcountry skiing. For 2018-19, I have an Ikon Pass and looking to connect for rides to IKON resorts.” – Alex

Hello POWDER LOVERS, I’m Brian, 47, and I love to Snowboard, advance level, Surf, watch the SF Giants, and go to Happy Hour. I’m married with two great kids (in the middle school range). My wife is from Canada, and she’s realized her dream of making me a devout snow monkey. We bought season passes for the first time this year, so I’m aiming to put as many miles on my Epic Pass as I can. The kids play sports so our Tahoe trips are tag team with one schlepping kids while the other ski’s/boards. I drive our Subaru Outback when I go and like not needing chains. I’m interested in carpooling with anyone else who wants to day trip. I typically go to Kirkwood from San Mateo on weekends, and some weekdays.” – Brian

“Hello! I’m AJ, a PhD student at UC Berkeley who loves XC skiing. I also like snowshoeing. I’m hoping to get out to Tahoe on the weekends, and maybe even for longer during the holidays. Here for good company, new friends, ride shares, ski buddies, and also lodging-sharing.”

“Hi everyone! I’ve lived in in SF for about 3 and a half years and am hoping to get up to Tahoe as much as possible on the weekends for some riding (intermediate/advance) this year. I would definitely be interested in ride-sharing with anyone who has space in their vehicle (I don’t have one). I’ve got the Ikon Base Pass so I will likely mostly be going to Squaw/Alpine, but open to other locations on Blackout Dates.” – Mike

“Hey, I live in Menlo Park, moved here from Toronto, Canada 1.5 years ago. Interested in carpooling up to Kirkwood, Heavenly, Northstar. Epic Local Pass holder. Preference is to drive up Friday nights. I have an AWD SUV with chains, can comfortably take 3 plus gear. I don’t have a ski lease so very interested in exchanging driving for a guest stay nights at a lease. I am planning on getting into the backcountry scene as I accumulate the required gear.” – Andrew

– “Hi, I have been in the Bay Area for awhile (since 2000), married with kids, but still like to go snowboarding / skiing when I can. I have used the ski bus a number of times in the past, but this year I have an Ikon pass so have to focus on ride-sharing to Squaw Valley as often as possible. Either me driving up and taking a passenger, or joining in with someone who is already driving up. I’m the “quiet / dependable” engineer type. If I say I’ll be ready to go at 4 am I’ll be there on time and ready to go. Cheers!”- Eric

“I’m super excited since I just relocated to Petaluma which is a bit closer drive to Tahoe and one of my fav most beautiful places to snowboard. I’m mainly interested the Tahoe rideshare because I don’t have a 4 wheel drive vehicle and don’t trust driving in storms. I am flexible on resort we go to and am interested in crashing at a ski lease as a guest for only a couple of nights if available. I usually can take off Fridays so we can leave early in the AM. I’m also able to meet up somewhere in East Bay or Sacramento and then we carpool from there. Super excited to shred some gnar!” – Megan

“Hello there! I moved here from Illinois last year and tried snowboarding for the first time last season. Fell in love with the sport and bought a pass to Sierra at Tahoe as well as an Epic Local for the upcoming season! Along with a ton of awesome gear so I don’t have to stand in long rental lines anymore. I’m interested in finding people who plan on getting out to Tahoe pretty much every weekend this season. I was told I should come here, so here I am!” – Marcus

“New to the Bay Area and pretty clueless about the various Tahoe resorts. I had a great ski group back East and I definitely miss them. Have Epic Pass and opened to Tahoe trips. Originally from South Carolina have been a Bay Area Resident as of August 2018.” – Matt

“Hello, A little bit about myself: single mom with 2 kids. We live in Scotts Valley. I work in Tech in Menlo Park so lots of commuting and computer hours.

I have been a skier since I was about 8. Last season we were at Heavenly quite a lot and spent $$$ on ski school and accommodations. I did find the ski school absolutely fantastic though and one of my friends recommended their ski team.

So here we are, I have signed both kids up for Heavenly’s Comet program and so looking forward to it and connecting with SnowPals who have kids who are in similar resort programs.

Thanks and looking forward to a great season.” – Mercedes

“Hello there! I moved from France to the Bay Area a couple of years ago but finally decided to get a season pass this year (Epic Local for Kirkwood, Heavenly and North Star) I don’t have a FWD car so I’m looking for ski buddies who would be willing to share the ride, ideally super early Sat mornings, but could also make it work some Fridays. I am an intermediate / advanced skier, perfectly comfortable skiing on my own but I would love connecting with people of similar level – powder is always more fun with friends!” – Laura

“Hi, I’m a Montana-native, newly transplanted to the Bay Area. Driving three hours (each way) alone is a bummer, so let’s ride together. I like to Ski, Snowboard and do Back-country skiing or snowboarding” – Adam

“Long time advanced level snowboarder. I prefer weekdays as Friday to Sunday are too crowded. I have the epic Tahoe local pass. I go to Northstar, heavenly and Kirkwood. Interested in finding snow board buddies and interested in a ski lease.” – Patricia

Hello there, I grew up snowboarding in Colorado and have been in the Bay Area for the last year. I am trying the Ikon pass this year so hoping to get a few trips to Squaw. I like to Snowboard (Advance level), Cross-country skiing, Snowmobiling, Snow shoeing and Ice skating” – Ellen

“Always looking for a ride up to the mountain. Kirkwood, Heavenly, Northstar. Epic Local Pass holder. My family owns a cabin about an hour away (depending on conditions). I like to leave the Bay Area Thursday evenings, stay at the cabin, ski Fridays and Saturdays and be home by Sundays. Can definitely host at the cabin. Rustic, but sleeps 3 comfortably. Can meet at any BART station for ride share.” – Josh

“Hi! I live in Sausalito, expert skier ( I lived in Vail for 3 seasons and taught 6-12 yr olds in ski school), and i purchased the Epic Pass this season— will be going to Vail for a week, Mar 9-16, but looking to utilize Epic Pass more this season, Locally~! Looking for other advanced/expert skiers to carve some turns with in Tahoe, at any of the Epic Pass accepted resorts. Also looking for ride shares to Tahoe, and occasional places to stay/share. I work for myself, so driving schedule is VERY flexible—-prefer to NOT be stuck in traffic, and weekdays are fine with me. I have an AWD Cayenne that fits 4 -5 people and equipment, or am happy to pitch in, if someone else can drive. Im also single, successful professional, i own my own company, and am hoping to meet other singles (men) that are active and enjoy the sports I am passionate about—- which include skiing and road biking/cycling:) Lets go skiing!!” – Janna

“Hi, I’m from Sonoma and work as a Chef. Been skiing Tahoe my whole life; have a family cabin on Donner. Currently living in Sonoma and ski primarily midweek, storm chaser looking to connect with same, all business; got a Sugar Bowl pass.” – Brannon

Read additional feedback from folks who’ve joined SnowPals.


Why are new members required to send in a self-intro as part of SnowPals’ new member application?

Although internet interactions are quick and easy, they tend to be very one dimensional, unlike meeting someone face-to-face where you can immediately relate with and can readily establish rapport with; hence, to offset this, we need a catalyst in the form of a self-introduction whereby new members send in a self-intro as part of their membership application to facilitate social connections. Reading a person’s self-intro helps members to get to know more about the new member and to learn more about what his/her snow sports interests which helps to serve as conversation starter and can result in cultivating new friendships, or, at the very least to connect for Tahoe ride-sharing to share carpool trip expenses and to help reduce our carbon footprint impact to our natural environment for our benefit and for our future generations.

How do I join? Is there a membership fee?

Unlike traditional ski and snowboard clubs with yearly recurring membership fees, join us with a one-time fee of $20.

This one-time fee helps us pay for web hosting, backend technical website services, time invested in marketing and growing the club, club management and various time consuming backend work such as facilitating Bay Area-Tahoe ride shares and organizing social events.

Our members range from newbies to experts in snow sports. Members ages vary from 18 to well into the 70s (single people and married and separated couples with and without kids).

Membership perks:

✔ Access to our Tahoe ridesharing/carpool members network of 8,249 members. We’re a free alternative to fee-based Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services. Expand your circle of ski and ride buddies for resort skiing and riding or opt for the backcountry and have the safety of a wing man and woman to stay safe.
✔ Participate in fun and engaging social events
✔ We often hold giveaway raffles for swag and lift tickets at our events and online
✔ In the off-season, we may facilitate connections for outdoor activities such as hiking, road cycling, mountain biking, wakeboarding, surfing, etc. to encourage an active lifestyle.

New Member Sign-Up

To become a member of SnowPals, submit this application and pay a one-time $20 membership fee payment using the PayPal payment button below. The fee is nonrefundable, however, your membership is transferable to another person if you so choose within 14 days of payment. Please note that, in accordance with our Privacy Policy, your personal info will not be given or sold to anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

➡ Next step: once you have submitted the above membership form, next, submit the one time $20 membership payment.

* Please note: our club/group’s name was changed from Ski Pals to Snow Pals to be inclusive of all snow sports (ski, snowboard, Alpine skiing, kite-skiing, riding, cross-country, telemark, backcountry, ice skating, snowshoeing, sledding, tubing, ice hockey, snowmobiling, etc).

** In addition to Tahoe trips, join us to plan POWDER Destination Trips to:

1) Mammoth Mountain Trips (in Central Sierra Nevada)

2) Utah

3) Colorado

4) British Columbia Trips / Whistler Blackcomb

5) Hakuba, Niseko also known as the Japanese Alps

6) Other international ski and ride trips to Europe, South America, Australia (endless winter skiing and riding) covered by your multi-resort pass

If you are a holder of a multi-resort season pass like EPIC PASS, IKON PASS AND MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE PASS, POWDER ALLIANCE PASS, ETC, join us to make the most of your ski pass to chase POWder at resorts worldwide.

Trip dates and lodging are opened to discussion and planning by all club/group members; you can propose a trip and if folks are interested, can join in.

SnowPals-ski-ride-snowsports-activity-partners

♥ Got family and friends who like to ski or snowboard? Please tell them about SnowPals.org – “Join SnowPals to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies, connect for Tahoe ride-sharing (share trip expenses) and help reduce your carbon foot print impact, hence helping to preserve our our environment for us and for future generations.”

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SkiDuck seeks advance level skiers, boarders to teach urban youth: free skiing and riding at Squaw Valley

SkiDUCK-logo

Our featured snow-sports nonprofit for September 2019 is SkiDuck, a nonprofit organization, whose mission is full of heart; since 2010, they offer a free program to bring disadvantaged and financially underprivileged youth to the snow to teach them the joys of skiing and snowboarding.

“SkiDUCK (Skiing and snowboarding for Disabled and Underprivileged Children and older Kids) is a volunteer-based non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled and underprivileged children by bringing them to the snow to share the joys of skiing and snowboarding! (Launched in Lake Tahoe and growing to other ski communities to serve local disadvantaged youth!)

SkiDuck is ENTIRELY volunteer-based (NO paid salaries!) so ALL donations received go directly to support children’s ski and snowboard programs!

SkiDUCK TURNS 9 and is seeking volunteers to teach DISADVANTAGED kids how to ski and snowboard. If you are an advanced level skier or snowboarder, you will most likely have the skills to teach so please submit the volunteer form below if you are interested.

No instructor certifications required since we are teaching the bare basics.

“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

“Each season SkiDUCK provides around 1,000 youth (ages 7-18) with nearly 2,000 FREE days of skiing and snowboarding; including free lift tickets, rentals and lessons!

Our home-base is Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in beautiful North Lake Tahoe, CA.

And we’re so fortunate to also have the support of several other Lake Tahoe area resorts as well as partnerships with resorts in several other states!

We’re committed to partnering with local organizations with similar goals of serving underprivileged youth. If your community or organization is interested in partnering with SkiDUCK to establish a program to introduce disadvantaged youth to the slopes, give us a QUACK!” – SkiDUCK

We provide free lift pass / equipment use / instruction to mostly Stockton middle school and high school students.

Our schedule for this season are non-holiday Sundays.

Jan 26

Feb 2, 9, 23

Mar 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Apr 5, 19, 26

SkiDUCK provides free lift pass / equipment use / instruction to mostly Stockton middle school and high school students.

Thank you perks for volunteering:

We can provide Squaw lift ticket comps in return for your volunteer service. We need beginner level instructors for snowboard and skiing. Group lesson is 1.5 to 2 hours in the morning. As a thank you, we will comp you a lift ticket for the day. If you already have a season pass, we can comp a friend or family member of your choosing.

We also need someone to help us find and book a bus suitable for trips to Squaw Valley from the Stockton area.

Interested in volunteering?

Submit your volunteer form and waiver at https://skiduck.org/participant-forms

Please bring a signed Liability Waiver to your first on-slope event of the season and give to the SkiDUCK Resort Lead. (We don’t want any kids or volunteers sitting on the sidelines due to paperwork!)

Also, please be sure to print a copy of the Event Day Itinerary for Squaw Valley resort you’ll be visiting to see the start time and day’s schedule.

After submitting the Liability Waiver, please contact a SkiDUCK representative by emailing to follow-up.

Thanks so much,

Clint Lunde
Executive Director
SkiDUCK (Skiing and snowboarding for Disadvantaged and Underprivileged Children and older Kids)
www.SkiDUCK.org | Facebook.com/SkiDUCK | First Season Kick-off Video | Season Wrap-up Video | 775-287-6464

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

SkiDUCK is an IRS-approved 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
(Federal Tax EIN: 27-0798499)

All contributions are fully tax-deductible.

By phone: 775-287-6464

Reno Nevada Address:SkiDUCK
152 Mule Creek Circle
Reno NV 89511

Redmond Washington Address:SkiDUCK
3834 175th Ave NE
Suite C506
Redmond WA 98052

To donate funds, go to https://skiduck.org/donate

To donate skis, snowboards, boots, gloves, winter clothing, ski/snowboard helmets to SkiDuck, email for drop-off information.

Purchase merchandise at https://www.cafepress.com/skiducks which will also help fund their program.

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Survival Guide & Tips: Skiing with Kids

skiing-with-kids-tahoe

By Joe Woo, Snowpals’ Resident Ski Gear Tester & Columnist. 

Skiing with kids. It seems like a simple thing. But let me tell you. If you haven’t done it before and aren’t prepared for it, it can ruin a great time on the slopes. However, with the right preparation, it can be more fun skiing with them than skiing without them. For those of you toying with the idea of finally bringing the kids up or maybe you’re considering bringing up a nephew or niece…read this. What I’ll do first is share some of my kid skiing experience and what we do to make it lots of fun.

For me, skiing pre-kids was easy. I never thought about anyone else. I never considered having to ski with anyone. If anyone I was skiing with slowed me down or was having a bad time, I could separate from them and meet up with them later. That was no big deal. When you add kids to the mix, things really change. The main thing is that you can’t just dump the kids and continue skiing when they’re cramping your style. When you’re on the mountain with your kids, you’re stuck with them for better or for worse. What is a parent to do?

Over the last two seasons I’ve come up with a pretty good system for skiing with kids. My wife and I came up with it using trial and error to finally dial in something that works for our family. It was a lot of effort using trial and error and lots of frustration but it was worth it. Why go through all the effort? Why not just dump the kids in ski school for the day so that I could ski without them?

Cost is an obvious issue, but more importantly skiing with my kids is fun. It is more fun than skiing without them because when they’re having fun, there is nothing better than skiing together, laughing together and watching them learn, grow and overcome all the little challenges of skiing. The look on their face when they accomplish something they didn’t think they could is priceless and worth more than anything in the world. When it is good, skiing with them is better than any skiing I could do on my own.

So, what’s the issue? Those fun times were rare and didn’t happen often. When they did happen, they were priceless, however it seemed like the bad times outweighed the good times. Finding a way to make those fun times happen more was something I had to do.

So, how do you do that? What I discovered through two years of trial and error is CCSF. What does this mean? Confidence, Comfort, and Sated (not hungry) equals Fun. If you can get the Confidence, Comfort and Sate (not hungry) issues right that will equal Fun for your family. Lets look closer at each element.

Confidence

Confidence is a very important thing for anyone. It is especially important for kids to have when skiing. I’ll go so far as to say that confidence is so important that I believe it is the foundation to successful family skiing. Without confidence, the kids will never want to ski, will dread skiing and will make your time on the mountain miserable. You should do everything in your power to build your kids confidence in skiing.

How do you do that? For us we decided to always try and put our kids in skiing situations that we knew they could be successful. We never made them do anything we knew they would fail at. They quickly built confidence the second day they ever skied. The thing that built confidence the most was succeeding in tasks when they were scared of doing something even though I knew they could do it. These were the cases where I pushed them hard because I knew they could do it, but they needed to realize they could do it and when they did it you could see the confidence grow.

For example, my 5 year old son refused to ski without being between my legs and me holding him down the bunny slope. I knew he would crash at first if he tried skiing by himself as this was his first time on skis. After about 5 runs between my legs I started to stop actively holding him and he would ski holding me. Then after a few runs of doing that we would stop halfway down the hill, put his skis in pizza and let him go so that he was standing still on the hill in pizza. Then I would go about 10 feet in front of him and tell him to slide to me. At first it was a struggle because he didn’t want me to let go of him. He would cry when I would let go. I just wanted him to slide to me in pizza. He didn’t have to stop. I would catch him. But he was scared to do it, but I knew he could do it and he finally did through the cries and tears. Once he realized he had actually done it, he did it again.

At first it was 10 feet, then 20 feet and I would stop him. If he veered off course I would slide over to catch him. Then I told him to stop by himself and he just did it. He was amazed that he could stop by himself and the rest is history. He skied the rest of the day by himself without ever turning. Just pizza strait down the hill with his arms held in front of him like he was ready to do some serious karate chops. His way to balance I guess. The next day he was turning back and fourth and excited about skiing.

My daughter was the same progression at the same time. Soon they got bored of the slope and asked to do another lift. We moved onto another beginner lift with slightly steeper terrain and a longer run. That was last year at Diamond Peak. They gained so much confidence at Diamond Peak, Mt. Rose and Squaw Valley. I continued to teach them parallel skiing and my daughter is no longer in pizza. My son is in an advanced pizza today, but is almost ready for parallel skiing.

Today my younger son is six and my daughter is eight and both are happily skiing black diamonds off Red Dog, KT-22, Headwall and other lifts at Squaw Valley. My older son is actually skiing (as opposed to just surviving down) West Face, Tower 16 and the various terrains off Silverado chair! It is amazing what a little confidence can do. My kids are testament to that without ever having professional ski lessons. Whatever you do, make sure the kids gain lots of confidence. I truly believe it is the foundation to successful family skiing.

Comfort

Now your kids are confident skiers. Is that it? Not really. No matter how confident they are, if they are not comfortable, they will complain and ruin your day. Kids are not mature enough to overcome the little issues so they don’t ruin the big things like a fun day of skiing. Our kids are pretty tough and the last thing we do is baby them, but every kid has a limit to what comfort they’re willing to give up on to have fun on the slopes.

It is important that you take the time to learn what your kids comfort limits are and make sure those needs are satisfied. My kids don’t complain that much about their comfort. I think it is because I’ve invested in making sure they stay warm and dry no matter the conditions. They have top of the line ski pants, jackets, gloves, base and mid layers. They have great helmets and goggles. Goggles were an issue and I finally got them decent stuff that doesn’t fog and they can clean easily. Another important piece of equipment was the neck gator. It seals out the cold air getting in from the neck. The kids rarely complain about being cold or wet and it is one less issue we have to worry about.

Sate

Kids don’t do well when they’re hungry. Instead you sould make it a priority to make sure they’re sated and not hungry. This one is really simple. Kids start getting moody and melting down when they get hungry. It is amazing. They are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Feed your kids periodically and your chances are better at having a great day. We discovered that if we have a big breakfast, lunch around 12:30 or 1, 2:30 heavy snack and small snacks on the lifts in between, we avoid the hunger meltdown altogether. Now I always have a large Hershey bar in my pocket and on every other lift ride, I’ll give each kid one piece to eat. This system has worked great this season.

Skiing with your kids can be fun and very rewarding. Just remember that kids have unique needs that you have to consider. The best way I know is to remember CCSF. Confidence, Comfort and Sated equals Fun. Try is next time you’re out with the kids. Good luck!

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More skiing with kids tips for parents..

From Jeremy Feinberg, a Ski Instructor at Kirkwood for 6 years plus, a certified PSIA Level 2 instructor, training for Level 3; he teaches skill levels that range from first timers to expert; he coaches a Progression team that skis 99% of the legal terrain at Kirkwood.

As someone who makes their living teaching children how to ski I can say that there are some good things in this survival guide; a comfortable and well fed child is one who is set up for success, and depending on the child, confidence can be a limiting factor, however in the 1+ page of text there was very little emphasis on skill development and no mention at all of the physical and cognitive limitations that change as a child grows.

That being said, a few things to keep in mind include: 

It’s hard to learn new skills when people are on terrain that is at the edge of their comfort level, dial it back, gain ownership over the movements and then take it to the steeper snow.

Confidence can be a good thing, but you can have too much of a good thing… your child needs to ski in control and not be a menace or hazard.

Leash and harness systems enable parents to get younger kids on the snow but can reinforce bad habits, however the harnesses themselves can be useful for picking up kids from the snow and helping them on to the lift.

The Edgy Wedgie can be a useful teaching tool, try it for a run or two, take if off and see if the child can stop without it… use it for a few runs, not a few days or seasons.  

If its your child’s first time skiing, start on a small hill below the lift, 30-50 feet long and almost flat with a flat runout at the bottom, or a gradual uphill if you can find it, learn to stop there, then head to the chair.

Some children perform at a higher level with their parents around, some excel within their peer group under the tutelage of an experienced coach, it helps to know which group your child falls into

The pace of skill development as detailed in the Survival Guide sounds about right, just keep in mind that today I had a 6 year old girl first time skier (along with a five year old girl with separation anxiety issues whose mother checked her out after lunch) who was able to stop within the first hour, we were on the chairlift before lunch and making turns.  By the time her parents picked her up (1/2 hour early) she had taken several runs through the trees. Tomorrow after a brief warm up she will be ready for the lower intermediate lift.  Her older brother who was on a snowboard was unwilling to follow us through the woods.    Her parents were impressed by her success and gave me a generous tip.

If you want to get your child out of the wedge and making turns that have a least some parallel at the end of each turn, and you want that to happen quickly, ski school is the place for your child, especially on the weekdays when group sizes are small and only experienced and highly certified instructors are getting any work.  

Please don’t be that person who has their child skiing advanced terrain in a power wedge, if you are going to ski with your child and teach them how to ski, make the day about them, you need to be there to support them and help them along the way.  

Recognize the limitations of your own teaching abilities and don’t let your child (or yourself) get stuck in the skill rut; if you have any questions about how this can manifest one can use the intermediate rut as an example: go to most ski resorts and watch the way people on the intermediate runs ski, particularly how they initiate their turns.  What you will see in most cases are varying degrees of stem (wedge or pizza) to start the turn.  People make this movement because they are not comfortable performing a movement that ski instructors call crossover.

Crossover is the movement that separates advanced skiers from people that ski advanced terrain, it is defined my crossing your center of mass over your skis, down the hill into the new turn (basically throwing one’s body down the hill, swooping your skis underneath the body to catch the center of mass)  

Crossover one example of a movement that can define a skill rut, it’s difficult to teach and limits a person’s ability to explore and enjoy the mountain.

**On a related note** Teaching the spouse or significant other how to ski is tough, I call it the relationship tester, put that person in a group or private lesson, meet up for lunch and ski together in the afternoon, at their pace, where the instructor said would be a good place to ski.  Your romantic relationship is one of equals, the student/teacher relationship is not, things can get ugly quick.

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