Tailgaiting will likely be the name of the game this season at your favorite ski resort

By Duncan Macfadyen

While things on the outside might look familiar, there’s a good chance that your favorite resort may be looking for ways to keep the crowds OUT of the base lodge for a change. So your car, SUV, or truck may become your new base-camp for the day. But not to worry—locals have been doing it for decades.

While many local and backcountry skiers have been booting up from their cars for years, the truth is that many of us—especially those with kids in tow—may need some helpful advice on how to be ready for this new age of parking-lot base lodges. Be patient with your crew, this is all new to everyone … so don’t forget to have fun. This, too, shall pass.


MWV Vibe reached out to the Facebook group, “Backcountry Touring in the Northeast,” and asked members for their advice on how to make that transition as comfortable as possible.

We filtered out our favorites tips …

  1. Have a comfy pair of driving shoes (like Sorel moccasins), or outdoor slippers in your car ready for the transition to and from ski boots.
  2. Keep a hot thermos of soup, and/or coffee, tea, hot cocoa for when you get back to the car, either for lunch, breaks, or the end of the day.
  3. Dress lightly, keep the car warm, and get fully dressed when you arrive.
  4. Or, drive and arrive in as much gear as you comfortably can, while keeping the car cool to transition well.
  5. Your feet get sweaty even on the ride to your destination. Change your socks just before booting up, so they are bone dry.
  6. Keep your boots under the heater on the way to the mountain.
  7. Wear a puffy once you arrive to stay warm while gearing up at your mobile baselodge.
  1. Park where others don’t. Pick a trail to end your day with; one that drops you at a spot in the parking lot that is less busy.
  2. Use a hunk of carpet or padding on the ground to stand on while changing and booting up.
  3. Keep water, beverages, cheese, meat, and candy bars, in a backpack for easy access.
  4. Milk crates, 5-gallon buckets, or folding chairs are great to sit on while booting up.
  5. Bring along a giant hockey bag to stand in that has all your gear in it.
  6. Have a change of soft, warm, 100% cotton clothes to change into at the end of the day … it’ll feel great for the ride home!
  7. Try to be sure that your parking spot won’t be in a puddle at the end of the day.
  1. For a quick warm-up, run the engine and line up your boots to catch that warm air before heading out for round two.
  2. Hit a local pet store and purchase padded trunk or tailgate protectors to cover those dirty bumpers when prepping up.
  3. Drop hand warmers into your boots on thedrive over. Transfer them to your gloves when it’s time to boot up to stay nice and toasty all day.
  4. Bring along a stash of beef jerky to protein up …or to trade with Sasquatch on the trail.
  5. Hip packs work great to stash away water, snacks, kid extras, etc., and you can keep them on while riding the lift if there are no straps
  6. Keep a set of stretchable micro-spikes in your trunk for those icy days in the parking lot.
Family Specific Tips

Without a baselodge to warm up in, the kids may get cranky quick. Getting stuck on the side of the trail with a little skier who won’t move isn’t a place any parent wants to find themselves in. Use these tricks to bring those baselodge comforts with you.

Keep a hot thermos of hot chocolate for the kids as a midday snack.

Bring along a milk crate per kid.

For the super young ones, keep ‘em buckled up until you’re ready to give them 100% of your attention.

Ski ties are super helpful and an absolute must for carrying skis from the lot to the lifts.

Be sure to leave enough room around your rig when parking to keep the kids safe.

If you have to carry little-kid gear, a 10-foot length of 2-inch webbing is great to lash it all together to sling over an adult shoulder.

Bring along little surprises for the kids to enjoy throughout the day … you know … to replace the baselodge French fries.

Be certain everyone in your party can carry their own gear from lot to lifts. Add surprises to the kids’ packs to keep ‘em smiling.

No Snack Bar? Try These...

Snack-bar food from any baselodge will be in question this season, so you may have to brown bag it. Think in terms of high-protein, easy-to-clean, and easy-to-digest.

Pack foods that don’t freeze or squish

Eat before you get hungry

Remember the 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio

Fat is a great source of energy

Dehydrated anything

Bring along any of the following: granola bar, jerky, almonds, cheese, trail mix, peanut butter and jelly, or celery, sports bars, and stay hydrated with water.

Catch this article in the Winter 2020/21 edition of Mt Washington Valley Vibe available at any of these locations around the region.