Sometimes a ski vacation can be painful. Follow this expert advice to avoid any unpleasant turns.
1. Getting in shape
"Take yoga classes before you go: Yoga works the whole body, stretches muscles, and gets you used to balancing. You don't want to wake up after your first day and be too sore to ski." Troy Hawks, editor, National Ski Areas Association Journal
"Most airlines let you travel with a ski bag as one of your checked bags. Just be aware of the weight allowance." Mike Douglas, Salomon International Ski Team
3. Car rentals
"If you're renting a car, call ahead to reserve a four-wheel drive or snow tires. Don't settle for chains. There's no worse nightmare than dealing with chains." Phil McNichol, head men's coach, U.S. Ski Team
"I never ski the first day. Your body is tired, so you're at greater risk of injury. Go for a walk or run instead. It'll help you adjust to the climate and altitude." Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso (giant slalom, 2006)
5. Selecting skis
"Call a ski shop near the resort and reserve demos. They're high-end skis that won't make you look like a gaper, the way most rentals do." Jonny Moseley, Olympic gold medalist (moguls, 1998) and Ski Channel advisor
"Ski socks are way better than standard cotton socks. They allow more blood flow, have cushioning where boots can accommodate it, and are warmer. And before you put them on, spray your feet with antiperspirant. Your feet will be drier and warmer." Dee Byrne, director, Vail Snowsports School
"For the sport of alpine ski racing, helmets are required at every level of competition, and that's trickling down. Skiers without helmets are in the minority." Andy LeRoy, head alpine coach, University of Denver
8. Scoping out the mountain
"Most resorts offer tours at the beginning of the day. Take one that's geared to your level. It'll help you pick out the runs you'll really enjoy. Besides, tours are a great way to meet people." Tom West, president and CEO, U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum
"Don't end the day with a difficult run. Not only will you have already peaked, but the conditions change. In late afternoon, the light gets flat, the temperatures go down, and everyone else is tired. Statistics show that most accidents occur late in the day." Tim White, executive director, National Ski Patrol
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