If you plan on skiing out of town this winter, these tips can help take the tourist out of your mountain-town game.

1. Mine Knowledge from MeetUp

MeetUp.com is a site that lets you connect with others who like to do what you do, and not just in your own hometown. A few weeks before your trip, sign up or just explore the local ski groups. Even if you don’t want the company, you’ll gain important knowhow for locations that are a bit less traveled.  

2. Utilize AirBnb  

Rather than renting a room at the resort, take advantage of what AirBnB has to offer. Booking a room through this rental-by-owner site can put you in touch with locals and their inside knowledge in a number of ways, either through messaging the host about where to find powder or renting a private room in a house full of fellow skiers. If you’d still prefer to stay in a hotel, you can now also book “experiences” through AirBnB’s website that are usually organized by local individuals who can deliver the inside scoop.

3. Read the Local Rag

Even the smallest ski towns will most likely have a weekly paper or magazine on the stands or online. These can be an incredible resource for everything from snow forecasts to the best après-ski deals. A local reporter is more likely to cover things a resort’s website won’t, like where the long lift lines are and any closures or construction issues. Plus, being up to date on the latest scandals will give you plenty to chat about on the chairlift.

4. Download an App

There are several different apps, like OpenSnow, Liftopia or Like a Local that can connect you with ski-specific weather information, discounts and the down-low of different ski towns. While not all areas are covered, the can be a good way to save money and time. 

5. Book an Excursion

Even if you normally prefer a more DIY-approach to an out-of-town trip, booking one guided adventure can give you a line on a vast array of local knowledge for the rest of the week. If your budget allows for a snowcat ride or short lesson, offset the price with plenty of Q-and-A time to find out what to hit on your own later.

6. Buy a Round

There’s nothing like last call to loosen lips. Buy a couple of drinks for the regulars and see what it gets you. You might never learn the location of all the best powder stashes, but the local lore you glean could be the highlight of the trip. 

—Heather Ridge