Q: What if I don't have a board or skis?
A: Your snowboard & boots or skis, boots & poles are included in instructional programs. For the Alpine Jrs. Advanced and Snowdrifters programs our local shops can provide these to you at a discount.
Q: What shops participate in the program?
A: See our list of Shops
Q: What if I have my own gear?
A: You're welcome to bring it along. If you're skiing, take your gear to your favorite ski shop and get it safety-checked for your skill level, current height and weight, and tuned before the start of the season
Q: If I need rental equipment, can I rent it on at the resort?
A: Yes, renting gear at the resort is convenient. However it does take time out of the beginning and end of your ski day. Renting locally will give you more time on the slopes, give you the option of selecting more advanced equipment, and may be cheaper. If you plan on using equipment for four or more days you should look into renting for the season or purchasing gear.
Q: Should my child wear a helmet?
A: Skiers and boarders who choose to wear a helmet must ensure that it is designed and certified for the sport, fits properly, and is worn properly. Children and some adults who wear helmets sometimes feel that they can take more risks because the helmet will protect them. Please understand that wearing a helmet does not make you indestructible and wearing a helmet does not give permission to ski or board in a manner that increases risk to others or yourself.
Q: What should I wear?
A: Visit our Equipment Checklist page. The most important thing to remember is to bring appropriate clothing for the expected weather. Temperatures in the Sierra can range from below 0° to 45° in January and February, and 20° to 50° in March and April. Sierra weather can and does change rapidly. Watch the weather forecast the night before and bring suitable clothing plus clothing that will be appropriate if the weather changes.
Q: Should I bring a lock for my board/skis?
A: Yes. Unfortunately not everyone is as honest as you are. Bring a lock and use it. The $15 - $25 you spend is worth it! Some of the resorts we visit also have complimentary ski & board check facilities to mind your skis.
Q: Should I wear wrist guards?
A: For skiers, no. For boarders, YES. Wearing wrist guards can significantly reduce the risk of wrist injuries, especially for beginning and novice boarders.
Q: Are parents allowed to ride up on the bus?
A: Yes. We encourage parents to come and watch our program first-hand. We charge a discounted transportation fee, and if you want to ski or board, we offer discounted lift tickets too.
Q: Who are the supervisors taking care of my kids?
A: Supervisors come from all walks of life. Many are former ski/snowboard instructors as well as professionals who have worked in our program for between 7 and 35 years. They enjoy working with kids, and are passionate about sharing their enjoyment of the sport with others.
Q: I would like to become a supervisor. How can I do this?
A: We would love for you to see how we operate first-hand. We encourage parents to take an active part in the program from helping out at the bus pick-up and drop-off sites, to becoming a fully qualified supervisor. Our training program for supervisors pairs you with a senior member of staff for the first year. If you make it through this first year and think you can handle a busload of kids, we will then place you on a list from which we select our best candidates. Please call Director Dave Ross for more information.
Q: I have a season ticket? Can I use it with your program?
A: Yes. With the exception of our instruction programs, you can use your season pass. We will credit you the difference in price for not needing a lift ticket.
Q: Do I have to take a lesson?
A: We encourage all beginners as well as intermediate boarders & skiers to take lessons on each trip. Members who are accompanied by their parents throughout the day are not required to take instruction. However, for the small difference in price you will find it’s worth the extra investment as it makes your child's experience significantly better. Besides, it gives you a couple of hours to board or ski on your own.
Q: Are there lockers in where I can leave a bag/backpack for the day?
A: Yes. But, for efficiency it's best to plan on leaving your bags on the bus and retrieving the items at lunchtime. We highly recommend that you eat lunch on the mountain with your friends and leave all bulky items on the bus.
Q: What happens if I forget to bring money for lunch?
A: Contact one of the supervisors who will assure the situation is taken care of for the day. Whether its forgotten lunch money, a lost glove, or some other crisis, our goal is to do whatever is necessary to ensure your day is successful and stress free. Our supervisors are capable of dealing with any situation that arises.
Q: Can I ski or board alone?
A: No. Our program works on the buddy system. All participants are required to ski with a buddy or supervisor throughout the day.
Q: What do I do if I get separated on the hill from my buddy or lesson? How do they get back together?
A: Each morning before departing the bus, we review the safety procedures and the steps to follow if you get separated from your buddy or group, or need to contact a supervisor. Also, before we allow you to ski without a supervisor every member must show that they know and understand these procedures.
Q: What happens if am hurt during the day?
A: Our supervisors carry two-way radios that give us direct access to ski patrol, and ski patrol has direct access to our staff. In addition, we check in regularly with ski patrol throughout the day. If you are injured, our supervisors will be notified and will be in first aid when you arrive, or soon after. They will be with you during your treatment (if any) and contact your parents to tell them about your condition and and keep them updated. Your signed medical release (required of all participants) gives us the authority to act on your behalf in the absence of your parents. Because of our training and experience you are actually in better hands with us than if you were skiing or riding with family or friends.
Q: Should I bring lunch or buy lunch?
A: You can do either, but on your first trip we highly recommend buying lunch. If you bring a lunch, you will have to take it on the hill, which will be inconvenient. The areas we visit have a variety of food services. Purchasing will cost about $9 to $15 for a typical lunch with snack.
Q: Can I wear a backpack while skiing/boarding?
A: Yes, this is fine for advanced and expert riders. We discourage wearing backpacks for beginners and intermediates as it can alter your center of gravity and can put you off balance.
Q: Is there a check-in throughout the day?
A: Yes. Our supervisors will check in with all participants in our instruction programs after class and again at equipment return. Members in Alpine Jrs. Advanced and Snowdrifters, and our advanced and expert riders, have been deemed by their parents to be mature and responsible enough to not have to check in during the day. We give them a level of responsibility and bundle this with their sense of freedom. Part of our advanced program deals with building responsibility and independence. Members are granted the freedom to ride in small groups with or without a supervisor based on their ability and maturity. If they abuse this trust we will re-evaluate their appropriateness for the program.
Q: How will kids recognize the supervisors?
A: All of our supervisors wear bright uniform jackets. Members and resort staff easily recognize us throughout the resort.
Q: How can my child get in touch with a supervisor if they have a problem during the day?
A: As we arrive at each resort, we announce the procedure for members to contact us during the day. At most resorts the easiest way to contact is by asking resort staff at the information booth to contact us via cell phone or two-way radio. Alternatively, lift operators and first aid/ski patrol are able to contact us directly. Our 50 years of experience means the staff the resorts knows us well.
Q: Where do we have lunch?
A: Before we leave the bus, we will let the kids know where the supervisors and members can meet for lunch.
Q: Am I allowed to ski or board by without a buddy or supervisor?
A: All participants must board or ski with a partner. If they have signed up for the program without a buddy we will make sure they have a skiing buddy before getting off the bus.
Q: What areas will I be allowed to board/ski?
A: If you have never boarded or skied before you will be restricted to a small section of the mountain, which is ideal for beginners. As your skill level increases we allow you to move on towards more challenging terrain. Participants with more experience are free to use the whole mountain.
Q: How do I know if my child is ready for this kind of program?
A: Children who are self-sufficient and have a mature and responsible attitude enjoy the program most. The ability to follow direction and act independently will improve their experience further. Our supervisors are always available to assist, but we encourage the kids to use this time not only to improve their boarding and skiing, but to gain life skills as well.
Q: It looks kind of expensive.
A: We provide an experience that your child will remember for a lifetime. Qualified supervisors, first-class charter coaches, lift tickets, instruction, and equipment, are all included at a rate that is not much more than hiring a sitter for the day. Our programs are highly organized and very safe.
Q: What about weather? Do you go if it is snowing? Are there any circumstances that you postpone trips?
A: Weather in the Sierra is often not the same as in the Sacramento Valley. If it is sunny down here, it might be snowing up there. Alternatively, if it is raining here, it might be sunny up there. We track the weather through the National Weather Service and receive updates from our contacts at the resorts. The most common reason for postponing a trip is when we expect long delays due to chain requirements, or it is forecast to rain at the resort. Forecasts of snow usually don't warrant a postponement as it typically means great conditions. However, the safety of your children is our #1 priority at all times. If we do postpone a trip, it is made up on the next scheduled make-up date.
Q: I see you can watch movies on the bus. What movies do you allow?
A: We watch G and PG rated movies. If you have a favorite and would like to bring it along, you are more than welcome.
Q: What are your policies on smoking, drugs and alcohol?
A: None of these are tolerated in our program. Any participant found possessing or using them will be immediately dismissed and will forfeit any monies paid.
Q: Do you have a sibling discount?
A: Yes. Please call our office for details.
Q: Do I get a discount if I refer a new member to the program?
A: Yes. For each new member who joins you will receive a credit of up to $40.