SKI BUMS :: Gay & lesbian skiing and snowboarding club
People join SKI BUMS for one big reason: to make new friends. A simple goal fuels our entire mission from beginning to end: to have fun. It leads to an atmosphere that’s kinda like Freshman orientation; be prepared to shake a lot of hands and introduce yourself to as many BUMS as you can. Thankfully, we design itineraries that are designed for quality time -- both on and off the slopes.
Our members love getting to know one another over the course of a season or two. It’s very common to take a trip, stay in touch with other BUMS you’ve met, then sign up for future trips together.
We design our meals, après-ski events, and skill groups for quality-time with the BUMS, but it’s harder to save you a seat with the rest of us if you arrive 20 minutes late. We don't want anyone to miss out... so be sure to be on time!
The SKI BUMS trip leaders are experienced skiers and snowboarders who are here to help you connect with the other members and have a great time. We've been involved in SKI BUMS as regular members before we became trip leaders -- so we know what it's like to be new. Please feel free to reach out to us for anything you might need!
If you get separated from your group, need ski patrol assistance, or have a question about your rental gear, we're happy to help however we can.
Cell phone service at ski resorts is notoriously bad -- especially in the Catskills and the Rockies -- and voice mails sometimes won't get delivered for several hours. We provide trip leaders' contact phone numbers on each trip, and a text message is the quickest and most reliable way to reach us.
SKI BUMS welcomes skiers and boarders of all skill levels on our trips, and the whole point is to have fun. When it comes to how well you ski or ride, you’ve got nothing to prove.
Each trip begins by dividing into skill level groups so you can ski and ride with others who enjoy the same kind of terrain -- at the same pace -- that you do. It's no fun to white-knuckle your way down a slope that's too steep for you. It's not only scary, but it can lead to serious injury.
When you choose your skill level group, it's better to err on the side of caution; you can always move up to join a higher-level group after a few warm-up runs. The trip leaders are happy to help you connect and switch it up during lunchtime.
Skiing and snowboarding uses specific muscle groups that don't get a lot of attention. When your muscles are getting fatigued and you're losing coordination, it's easier to hurt yourself. That's a perfect time to head inside to the lodge for some rest. Hot cocoa can work wonders.
Taking part in a SKI BUMS trip is a bit different from a ski vacation with family or friends. It may seem a bit like “herding cats,” but we intelligently select our venues and plan our schedule to efficiently move a large group through busy, crowded ski resorts — no easy task. We’ve got it down to a science, but we need your help to pull it off.
The BUMS learn names, trade cell phone numbers and reach out to include one another. If you’re a returning member, take a newbie under your wing and introduce him or her around. We especially don’t want anyone to ski or ride alone, so if someone within your skill level group wants to opt for an easier way down, offer to go along.
On our overnight trips, we always build free time into our itinerary so you can get some “me time” and recharge. if you’d ever like to opt-out of something on our itinerary, feel free — but please mention it to a trip leader so we’re not worried about you.
When LGBT social groups become too cliquey, they stop being fun. We've built a great reputation for being very newbie friendly -- and every year, amazing new skiers and boarders find their way to us. Help us mix it up at lunch, après-ski and dinner by getting to know someone who's new!
Skiing and snowboarding are sports; it’s important that you’re well-dressed for the slopes. A skiing / snowboarding jacket, snow pants, goggles, ski gloves and a helmet are five “must have” items — and all snowboarders should wear wrist guards. You can read more about how to dress for skiing and snowboarding in our comprehensive guide:
SKI BUMS offers discounted equipment rental on most every trip that we host. For our eastern trips, equipment rentals are pre-paid — you can include them during signup. If you failed to include a rental during signup and want to add it now, simply contact us to make arrangements.
For our western and overseas trips, no advance pre-payments, arrangements or reservations are necessary. We will recommend a convenient, well-equipped shop that you can visit upon arrival at the resort.
When traveling by plane with skiing and boarding equipment, be sure to closely check the baggage policy for your air carrier before packing your bags (Google "ski equipment baggage policy" followed by your carrier), then actually bring the policy with you to the airport to avoid being overcharged.
As an alternative, FedEx will ship your gear for about the same price as many carriers' baggage fees. Our hotels will happily store your bags until you arrive.
When you need new apparel, gear or skiing / snowboarding bags for travel, don't forget that the BUMS get an amazing member discount at backcountry.com. Check your membership confirmation email to get our discount code.
Ski resorts always have shops for things you need, but you'll save money by planning ahead and doing some smart packing. Here are a few smart suggestions for your packing list:
+ Shoes with a good tread — expect snowy, slushy, icy parking lots & slippery sidewalks.
+ Smartphone protective case (or plastic bag) — snowy, sweaty clothes can short-circuit an unprotected phone; even a simple Ziploc bag can save you a trip to the Genius Bar.
+ Cell phone charger — zero-degree temps will drain a battery very quickly.
+ Sunscreen — higher altitude and reflective snow can turn a sunny day into a sunburning scorcher, especially if you’ve got fair skin.
+ Layers — especially if the weather will be variable, you may want to plan for some days where it's chilly in the morning and warm in the afternoon (see the next section for additional advice).
+ Advil — can really come in handy after a full day’s workout on the mountain.
All the venues on SKI BUMS trips are casual; there's no need to dress to the nines for dinners, even in the swankiest mountain towns.
On overnight trips, it's very common for skiers to bring some detergent to hand-wash your first-layers and socks. Many of our hotels offer on-site washers and dryers -- feel free to call the hotel's front desk for any questions about laundry services.
Having fun at a higher altitude is its own kind of fascinating challenge. Storms behave differently here -- and so do your red blood cells. You'll want to do things a little differently here to have an enjoyable trip and know what to expect.
Mainstream sites like The Weather Channel (and popular smartphone apps) are no good at predicting weather within a mountain climate.
In most mountain areas, the temperature on the mountain peak can be 20 or 30 degrees colder than at the base. Rainfall in the valley can be snowfall on the slopes. Most sites take their weather data from the valley; you want to know what's happening up at altitude.
Visit snow-forecast.com to display temps and precipitation at on-mountain altitudes, and click the different elevations to note the temperature and precipitation variations. They've got a great iPhone app and an excellent mobile site.
Altitude sickness can affect anyone -- even top-level elite athletes -- but it's very important to take it seriously. If you experience severe headache, nausea, disorientation or shortness of breath, it could signal acute mountain sickness. Tell a trip leader so we can make sure you're getting the help you need. AMS is treatable, but it must be treated quickly.
Getting group discounts is a key part of the SKI BUMS value, but it means we must enforce strict cancellation policies. That's why we urge all trip participants to buytravel insurance.
Travel insurance is a low-cost way to get a refund in case you need to cancel your trip, or if you're forced to end your trip early due to injury. You can purchase plans which allow cancellation for work, illness, weather delays and more. Some plans allow you to cancel for any reason at all.
Additionally, travel insurers offer additional coverage for outdoor adventure sports -- especially valuable for those who are traveling overseas with us. In many European and South American ski resorts, transport in an ultra-expensive helicopter may be necessary for something as simple as a broken bone. Make sure you're covered.
There are many different travel insurers, but we especially recommend travelinsured.com, which has been successfully used by many of our members over the years.
Most gratuities are not included in the pre-paid portion of a SKI BUMS trip. When appropriate, you should plan to tip for:
+ Drinks at our après-ski events and evening meals + Ski and snowboard private instructors* + Doormen / luggage porters in our hotels + Housekeeping / hospitality staff
*If you take a private or small-group lesson with 4 or fewer students, you should tip 10 - 15 %. Instructors for large group lessons don't expect a gratuity, but if they give especially great attention, a $5-10 tip would certainly be a nice gesture.
The following gratuities are included and pre-paid:
+ Our charter bus drivers + The food portion of our pre-paid dinners
SKI BUMS trip leaders do not accept gratuities. If you're especially thankful for the help your trip leader provides, you can always buy us a drink.
Once our après-ski events get going, there tends to be a lot of mixing and mingling. People sit at your table, then hop up to chat elsewhere... others sit down to join you... and you could end up with a mess on your hands if you've started a tab.
It's best to pay for each drink as it comes, directly from your server -- or by buying drinks at the bar. Trip leaders do our best to communicate with the bar staff, but they don't always get the memo. We speak from experience: unless you're feeling extra generous, it's best not to start a tab.
SKI BUMS hosts annual trips to Europe, Asia and South America, and our international adventures are the high point of the entire season. You get to discover foreign culture while surrounded by breathtaking scenery, and you’ll get extra time to get to know an incredible group of skiers and riders. Some smart planning can keep your vacation stress-free.
Be prepared to adapt to an entirely different approach toward a ski vacation. Overseas, skiers and boarders take a much more relaxed pace. You'll enjoy leisurely lunches at charming mountain chalets, delicious cuisine with a spectacular views, and afternoon après-skis which lead into boisterous outdoor parties. In the evening, you can take a trip to the spa or stroll through a charming mountain town that has welcomed visitors for centuries.
We build all the best experiences right into our itinerary.
You'll notice that things are set up differently here. Overseas, generally you won't find base lodges full of cafeterias, lockers, ski school desks and resort staff. Rather, most things are owned independently. Facilities are plentiful, but they're not always the same as you might be accustomed to.
The terrain is categorized differently, too. It's treated much like a mountainous national park, giving you the freedom to explore as you choose.
Many skiers and boarders don't queue up for the lifts the way you might expect. In general, there are fewer on-mountain signs and fewer trail markings. You'll find less grooming here than in the States.
+ Your passport should be valid for 6 months after our dates of travel. You should also pack a photocopy of your passport. If yours is lost or stolen, that photocopy can expedite the replacement.
+ Bring some foreign currency (and your own currency as well) with you into the country, just in case your ATM / credit card doesn't work upon arrival (which is very common -- many banks will flag your first transaction as a 'security risk' until you contact them.) You should have at least €500 (or its local equivalent) available to use on the first day.
+ Bring a paper copy of any prescriptions just in case you need a refill of any medications that you're taking. It's always best to travel with any medication in your carry on luggage.
+ Don't forget to pack a foreign electricity outlet plug adapter and your cell phone charger in your carry-on bag. If your battery dies on a long-haul flight, you will want to be sure you can plug it in at your arrival airport.Buy one here >
The air is much thinner our trips to the Alps, the Rockies and the Andes, especially when the base altitude of the resort is 7,000 ft / 2100 m or higher. (Thankfully, it's not an issue in the Eastern USA.) Most everyone will notice the change. You'll get fatigued and short-winded more easily -- especially until your body adapts.
To help guard against acute mountain sickness, it's important to get rest and hydration. You should start drinking extra water a day before traveling. Once we've arrived, you'll want to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, and get a great night's sleep.
If you've experienced altitude sickness in the past, you may want to arrive at our destination a day or two early to help your body acclimatize. View the "additional nights" section of your particular trip to learn more.
You're on vacation. Once you adapt to the more relaxed sensibility here, you'll sink into the endless charms of a ski vacation. There's a reason why Alpine resorts have been doing this longer than the rest of us...
It's frustratingly common for luggage to get delayed when you're on your way to a mountain-area airport... and you won't want to get stuck on the first day with no way to ski or ride. Pack your jacket, pants, goggles, gloves, etc. in your carry on bag. You can always rent skis or a board if your equipment is delayed.
You MUST have a cell phone that works overseas.To communicate with SKI BUMS trip leaders and your fellow participants, it’s absolutely crucial. If you get separated from the group while in the mountains — which happens very easily — you won’t want to miss out an entire day’s worth of fun.
Additionally, the SKI BUMS professional trip leaders send up-to-the-minute trip reports and schedule updates to all participants via text message. We’ll advise you of the group’s logistical plans, both on-mountain and off.