There is something to be said about waking up before the sun rises, and while it may be a challenge for some people to roll out of bed in the wee morning hours, the effort is that much more rewarding when skiing or snowboarding is involved. Bearing witness to the bright colored hues of a sun rising over a snow-filled mountain range is a delightful moment that you will never forget.

The next time you are on a ski trip, see if the resort has a dawn patrol or “first tracks” experience, which is the opportunity to hit the slopes before the resort officially opens. Imagine freshly-groomed corduroy tracks or handsome pockets of soft snow to welcome you—all pristine and untouched.

Most ski resorts open at 9:00 a.m. and just aiming to be on the first chair at this hour can be a challenge. It takes that extra push to make sure you are all set to go the night before so that you can roll out of bed and grab a coffee, a bite to eat, and get the closest parking spot possible.

Here are a few tips on how to perfect the dawn patrol experience from someone who has been there.

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It takes some effort to get up early enough for dawn patrol, but the benefits are worth it.

© Vail Resorts

No Snoozing

To be fully dedicated to the dawn patrol cause you have to disciplined enough to go bed at a decent hour and not hit that snooze button. Instead of trying to catch another 10 to 15 minutes of sleep, encourage your body to get up at that first alarm. Think of it as the beginning step towards a successive ski day on the hill.

Eat Something

It has been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and nourishment gained is a crucial step in the process of bringing your A game to the slopes. Focus on getting a well-rounded meal (or at least some toast and peanut butter) and don’t forget to hydrate. Perhaps even add some snacks to your pocket in case you get hungry throughout the morning.

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Many resorts offer early-morning mountain access to guests.

© Vail Resorts

Plan Ahead

Running around in the morning trying to put all of your ski gear together at the last moment can be disastrous, especially if you are having to assemble gear for little ones. Take 10 minutes the night before to lay out all of your gear (socks, gloves, goggles, boots, etc.) so there is little effort required to get going in the morning. Look at the snow report as well and don’t hesitate to bring an extra layer just in case.

Don’t Rush

Give yourself a little bit more time than you might think to get going and get to the mountain, just in case. It doesn’t hurt to arrive early—in fact, you’ll be one step closer to being up the chair and on the slopes.

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Hit the slopes before anyone else for untouched lines.

© Vail Resorts

Check Out the First Tracks Program

If you are really serious about getting to the mountain early, see if your resort has a First Tracks program. This often means meeting around 7:00-7:15 a.m. and getting up on the chair around 7:30 a.m. to ski freshly-groomed runs. Dates, times, and meeting specifics vary, so be sure to check out the information below to help guide you towards these fun events.

Even if you are not a morning person, you’ll appreciate the serenity of the experience. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find out you’re a morning person after all.

Originally written by RootsRated for Rent Skis.

Featured image provided by © Vail Resorts

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