Imagine finding yourself alone in the mountains with no way to communicate with anyone. It can happen more easily than you might expect, especially when you're at high altitudes. Or skiing through the trees. Or traversing over ridges in the Alps.

You're going to need a phone that works.

When you're on a SKI BUMS trip, it's
very easy to get separated from the other skiers and boarders in your group. Everyone else took a left, and you took a right...

Or everyone agreed to meet for breakfast at eight, and you thought they said nine...
At least a month before your SKI BUMS trip, call your cellular service provider and ask if your phone will work in the area where we're traveling. Get specific with our location; don't simply ask about "Austria." As an example, many USA-issued cell phones will work in Vancouver BC, but not in Whistler, BC.

Get specific about your phone. Just because some Verizon phones will work in a specific area doesn't mean that your phone will work. You must call a representative to inquire about your specific device.

You can look up the general coverage areas online:

Visit AT&T; coverage map > | Visit Verizon's coverage map >

Visit T-Mobile's coverage map > | Visit Sprint's coverage map >
For phones that work overseas, international usage can be very pricy... but you'll manage your costs if you add an international plan to your phone.

To get a better sense of what you're working with, review the different types of waves that your phone uses.
If your cell phone won't work at our destination, we strongly recommend that you rent a phone for international use. You'll need to set this up well in advance of your departure. We suggest choosing a number from your home country, so friends back home (and other BUMS) can send you messages at their regular domestic rates.

Cellular Abroad cell phone rental >

For most BUMS, the easiest and most affordable choice is to add a plan for international calls and messaging. If you want to be able to get online when you're not on WiFi (for emails, smartphone apps, maps, etc.), add an international data plan. Your cell phone provider can help you know how much data you use in a typical week back home, to help you decide how many MB of data to add.


Upon arrival in-country, you can control which type of data your phone receives through its
settings. For example, changing your mail settings to "fetch" will help you conserve data use. Plan wisely; international data usually has some of the highest pricing when you go beyond your plan's limits.
Each day of our adventure overseas, our professional Trip Leaders send up-to-the-moment message announcements to all our participants.

These texts include the day's itinerary & meeting times, weather reports and important reminders. Often times, they include itinerary changes that are the result of the weather. We post them online and send them as text messages.

You will want to receive these vital announcements.
Additionally, you'll want to send text messages to the other BUMS who you meet on the trip. You'll set up plans during free time, find each other on the mountain, etc.

For most users overseas, text messages that you
send to other people are considered international text messages... even if their phone number is from the USA.

SKI BUMS' announcements that you
receive are domestic text messages.

For most users, it's free to receive domestic text messages.
A working phone makes the difference between spending the day with friends or spending the day all alone. And if you get injured -- or lost and separated off-piste -- it gives you an invaluable way to call for help.
On previous SKI BUMS trips overseas, we've learned that many iPhone users don't know the difference between iMessages and text messages. It's a happy consequence of living somewhere where the difference doesn't really matter. But overseas... it matters. And if you're not set up correctly, your texts will be very expensive.
Other tips: it's best not to send photos inside messages unless you're on Wifi. Additionally, it's best not to send one text to multiple numbers while overseas. Both of these actions use MMS technology, which varies greatly from place to place.
Talk to your provider about how to check voice mail while you're overseas; it can greatly vary by device. The iPhone "visual voicemail" doesn't work unless you've got an international data plan. For most users, the time someone spends talking on your voice mail is posted to your account as an international call.
You must personally sign up from your phone in order to receive our messages, and you’ll want to sign up a day or two before the trip begins. (It’s much more difficult to sign up once you’re already overseas.)

How to sign up for our alerts (if you live in the USA):

+ Compose a text message to the number 40404.
In the body of the message, type the text below exactly.

Follow skibumsalert

(Please note, this applies only to our international trip participants. We use a different account name, skibumsreport, for domestic trips we host in the USA.)

You'll receive a confirmation text message that you're now subscribed to our alerts. YOU SHOULD DO THIS BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE USA. If you live in another country,
click here to see the short code phone number to use.

These announcements are one-way. Replies aren't delivered -- they don't go to our trip leaders. There's no way to for you "reply to all," either.

At the end of the trip, we'll show you how to unsubscribe so you no longer receive our text message alerts.
To get in touch during a SKI BUMS trip, it's best to directly text message us at our phone number, 34-SKI-BUMS-0. You'll want to save it in your phone before the trip begins.

Once you're with us overseas, it's best to text message to get any assistance or information from the trip leaders. Emails, Facebook messages or phone calls aren't the way to reach us.