Hitting the Slopes (On a Budget)

first_imgAnother option is online outlets and end-of-season sales. It’s no secret that retailers chop prices toward the spring—sometimes as much as 80 percent. Last year, I outfitted my kids in new, high-quality pants, jackets, hats, and gloves for about $125 each. A word to the wise, though: When ordering online, be mindful of sizing charts; many outfitters charge shipping for returns.  At $50-plus per day, per person, rentals are a budgetary blood-letting. Buying your own boards, skis, and boots reduces slope-related costs to lift tickets alone. But here’s the catch: New gear is crazy expensive. Purchasing used or new-old-stock is the way to go. When kids are young and growing fast, finding quality used threads is a cinch. I have friends who buy new and shed items like snow pants, gloves, and jackets yearly. Others hit the mountain once or twice, hang snow clothes in a closet, then rediscover and sell them a few years later. Either way, you can capitalize and save big. Tips to make skiing and snowboarding affordable for the family For beginners, a locally owned, off-mountain shop that sells secondhand gear is a great starting point. There, you’ll find quality, slope-ready items and get hands-on treatment and fitting advice. Asking lots of questions will help beat the learning curve. In the future, you can always parlay the knowledge to get cheaper prices buying direct from sellers at online auction sites like eBay. Going that route, search YouTube for makes and models and look for old reviews (Matt Guff’s snowboard vids, for instance, are stellar).   Ski Like a Local  Bring Your Own Gear Cultivate a Team Mentality  Before we launch into fine details, a word on mindset. Skiing and snowboarding are largely activities that take place at resorts—this isn’t the come-one-come-all ethos of the Appalachian Trail; the financial realities of participation bring a demographic more akin to, say, sailing or yachting. So, when you’re on a budget, cultivating an appreciation centered around gaining access to the activity itself is important. That way, kids won’t get caught up in the latest-and-greatest fashion show of gear they’re sure to encounter on the mountain. Also, they’ll be less likely to bemoan forgoing restaurants for PB&Js in the parking lot.  My family’s primary goal is maximizing slope hours. As opposed to blowing the bankroll carving world-class powder in Colorado for a few days, we invest in season passes and make the best of what’s nearby. Proximity and abundant night-skiing options make Massanutten Resort ideal. Located 45 minutes from our home in Staunton, Virginia, I can scoop up the kids from school and take a first run by 4 p.m. One hundred percent lighted terrain lets us catch evening workouts on black diamonds and play in the terrain park a few times a week.  Buy Season Passes Early and Take Advantage of Benefits  My kids—son, presently 14; daughter, 9—griped so relentlessly during winter hikes they turned outings into feats of hellish mental endurance. Similarly, attempts at cold-weather mountain biking disintegrated within sight of trailheads. We evolved an indoor routine of climbing gyms, roller skating, trampoline parks, kids’ museums, and so on. For me—a stress-addled single parent for whom recreation-driven outdoor time is about as important as food and drink—it was torture. My longing for spring turned desperate.   Yes, they’re expensive. At Massanutten, regularly priced passes will set you back $475 each. (Ouch!) But like most resorts, they offer heavy discounts if you buy the year before—and families of four can sometimes access further savings buying as a unit. One of the best deals is Snowshoe’s Ridiculous Pass. Adult passes that cost $559 in October sold for around $250 last February. Of course, things don’t always go as planned. If you wind up dining on the mountain, be smart about it. Scope out eatery options beforehand and look for menu items that offer large, shareable portions. While a slice of cheese pizza may cost $8.50 in the ski village, elsewhere, the same price may yield two tacos stuffed with veggies and pork, and a filling side of pinto beans. Whether you’re looking to incorporate snowsports into your family time, or maximize bang-for-your-buck, the following strategies will help you and yours hit the slopes without breaking the bank.  How to Shop for Clothes and Accessories Whence came the shift?  The cost of meals at resort restaurants can be outrageous. Manage food expenses by packing a cooler and eating in the car. Also, bring an insulated hydration pack and fill the interior pockets with snacks (otherwise they’ll freeze). Munching and sipping on lifts will help you evade storefronts and curb kiddie cravings—as skiing past slope-side waffle stands with a grumbly tummy is torturous. Similarly, plan to use public restroom facilities away from restaurants.  Look ahead: Buying passes for the 2020/2021 season before the current winter ends can be a great way to save money on the slopes. It was then I broke my snowsports boycott—whatever fiscal corner-cutting and penny-pinching was required, they were joining our weekly regimen. And boy am I glad I did it. I discovered that, with a bit of humility, savvy, and planning ahead, winter can be transformed into a family playground that makes the spring thaw feel like a nuisance.  Eat Smart  Passes bring added value too. Typically, you’ll get discounts for dining and lodging (at Massanutten, the rate is 10 percent). And some, like Wintergreen, provide a handful of free lift-tickets at affiliate resorts throughout the U.S. Because we ski so much and so often, the math is a no brainer. Visit the mountain 25 times and costs are slashed to just $10 per person, per adventure. We add variety through locals-only specials at other regional resorts. For example, at nearby Wintergreen Resort, Thursday afternoons bring cheap lift-tickets (at Massanutten, it’s Mondays). Second, we check with our local rec department for discounts. Last year, we nabbed two days at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia for more than half off.    Among the pantheon of recreational outdoor activities, few can be as wallet-shredding as snowsports. And while skiing and snowboarding cost a bundle when you’re flying solo, add kids to the mix and the expenses blossom like a forest fire in a stiff wind. For moms and dads on a budget, visions of highspeed chair lifts and fresh powder are best left alone. Or so went my thinking until about 3 years ago. last_img read more

Wolf Administration Seeks Applicants to Fill State Veterans Commission Member-At-Large Positions

first_imgWolf Administration Seeks Applicants to Fill State Veterans Commission Member-At-Large Positions SHARE Email Facebook Twitter September 04, 2020center_img Press Release,  Veterans Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is seeking veterans to apply for two member-at-large positions on the State Veterans Commission.“Members of the commission play an important role serving Pennsylvania’s nearly 800,000 veterans by advising the adjutant general and the DMVA on all matters about the status, employment, welfare, benefits and support of veterans and veterans’ programs in the commonwealth,” Gov. Wolf said. “I appreciate and value their service to our veterans and our commonwealth.”At-large-members serve a four-year term.“Pennsylvania boasts the fourth largest veteran population in the nation and members of the State Veterans Commission play a vital role in advocating for our commonwealth’s veterans,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the DMVA. “Commission members have first-hand knowledge of the issues veterans are facing throughout our communities and can provide valuable suggestions for improving programs, services and supporting veteran-focused legislation.”The application process begins Sept. 4, and the deadline for submission is Oct. 23 at 4 p.m. All submissions are to be done by email.The application and more information about the member-at-large position are available at http://bit.ly/SVCMAL.To learn more about the DMVA, visit us online at www.dmva.pa.gov or follow us at www.facebook.com/padmva or www.twitter.com/padmva.last_img read more

Study: Car Crashes Up Where Marijuana Is Legal

first_imgHarkey says he expects more states to legalize recreational marijuana use, and the study is meant to be proactive. US News 18 October 2018Family First Comment:  “Accidents are up by as much as 6 percent in in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, compared to neighboring states without marijuana legalisation.” But we shouldn’t be surprised. #PeopleBeforeProfits www.VoteNo.nzNew research shows that car accident rates are elevated in some states where recreational marijuana is legal.CAR CRASHES HAVE increased in some states where recreational marijuana is legal, according to two new studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute. The release of the data comes just a day after Canada legalized cannabis nationwide and less than a month before the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, when initiatives to legalize marijuana will be on the ballot in Michigan and North Dakota and are being considered in others.Recreational use of marijuana is legal in nine states, and 30 states allow for medical use. Though a majority of Americans support marijuana legalization, the drug remains outlawed at the federal level.The studies don’t prove that marijuana use is the cause of the accident increase, says David Harkey, president of the institutes, but he added that the analyses serve as a “solid indicator” that marijuana plays a role in road safety. An analysis of insurance crash claims show that accidents are up by as much as 6 percent in in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, compared to neighboring states where recreational marijuana is not legal. Another analysis of police accident reports in Colorado, Oregon and Washington saw a 5.2 percent spike in accidents in those states, again compared with neighboring states. “If you’re considering this in your state, if you’re a legislator, you need to pay attention to what may be on the horizon in terms of road safety,” Harkey says.READ MORE: https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2018-10-18/study-car-crashes-up-in-states-where-marijuana-is-legallast_img read more