In my last "working remotely" article, we talked about some cool devices, tools and tricks to help you work remotely from the beach. Well, in this article we’re looking at the other weather extreme. When it gets cold and wet, many of us crave a bit of time on the slopes.
It’s Ski season here in New Zealand right now, and I’m definitely feeling the urge to “strap planks of wood to my feet and hurl myself off a mountain” (my husband’s words). My husband, being more sensible, is keen to sit by a fire in the chalet and read some good books.
But how will you get your fix of skiing and fire-sitting with all the work that has to get done? Well, one option is to set yourself up to work remotely from the slopes. That way, you can fit your skiing in around your meetings and enjoy the season without the office falling apart.
Here are our top ten tips and tools for working remotely from the ski slopes.
1. Rent a Room (with a Fire!)
If you’re going to be working from a ski town, you’re going to need some accommodation. I recommend using AirBNB to find what you need. On AirBNB, locals rent out their spare rooms, spaces and homes to travellers. You can choose anything from a room in someone’s house to a fully-furnished apartment. You can chat with the owner and ask questions about internet availability and parking spaces before you book.
If you’re trying to save on accommodation, look for rentals outside the main ski towns. You’ll usually get a bigger place, and you can sublet any additional space to ski bunnies -- there’s always someone looking for a place to stay.
2. Get Yourself a Dongle
The most important factor affecting your ability to work remotely from the ski slopes is going to be your access to internet. You’re going to need to be able to communicate with your office and send work back and forth.
Many ski chalets will offer free wifi, but it might not be the same level of service you get from your local city Starbucks. Plan on getting as much offline work as possible done.
Dongles, like this one from Vodafone, can be plugged straight into a computer and gives the user instant internet access.
3. Arm Yourself with Apps
Apps are awesome, and if you’re able to get mobile access, they will provide you with an endless array of useful tools.
For work, you can’t go past some of the awesome WorkflowMax partners - I love using Google Drive and Dropbox to share and save files while I’m out of the office. And with neat apps like Stopwatch, you can track time while you’re offline. The app will automatically upload your time to WorkflowMax when you next get an internet connection.
And when you're heading out to the slopes, check out AlpineReplay - an app that allows you to track times, distances, speed, calories burned and all sorts of other things. With SkiPhone you don't have to take your gloves off to take a call or a picture - just shake your phone.
Many popular resorts and ski areas also have their own apps, such as the Vail Resorts EpicMix, which allows you to see up-to-date data on conditions, as well as connect with friends and family on the slopes.
4. Hump Around Some Water
Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink. Snow may be frozen water, but eating a hanful of snow won’t keep you hydrated while you’re out on the slopes. (It takes more energy to melt the snow in your mouth than it gives you). I like to take a CamelBak - this is a waterskin packpack with a straw that is affixed just by your mouth. Wherever you are on the slopes, you can simply turn your head slightly and take a drink.
5. Sort Out Your Ski Time
Keep in mind that many ski resorts shut their lifts around 4pm, so you’re going to need to get tricksy if you want to get in work and skiing in the same day. If possible, ski during the day and work early morning and evenings. Or look for a resort that allows night skiing.
Your other option is one day/week working, one on the slopes, alternating throughout the season.
6. Keep Your Feet Warm
I don’t know about you, but the first part of me to get cold is always my feet. And if my feet are cold, I get grumpy and uncomfortable, and that’s no fun when you’re on the slopes. So whenever I go away for a ski vacation, I pack my suitcase to bursting with socks, socks and more socks. You can never have too many socks.
Check out the impressive collection of awesome socks and hosiery on The Asockalypse - from dinosaurs to dragonflies, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a pair to your taste.
7. Warm Your Noggin
Your brain isn’t going to do your best work if it’s freezing cold, so keep it warm with a cosy hat. Now, cosy hats are many things (warm, awesome, fun, did I mention warm?) but they are never, ever fashionable. So when choosing your warm ski hat, don’t even worry about looking for something attractive. Just choose the silliest, warmest, most funky hat you can find.Features to look for:
Balaclava style - great for keeping your whole face warm.
Animal ears and/or tails
8. Indulge with Hot Cocoa
Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats catching up with accounts or working on that end-of-year report while sitting by the fire at a ski lodge, sipping a hot chocolate. (Unless that chocolate also contains some whisky).
In case the lodge’s selection is woefully sub-par, pack your own hot chocolate mix for an endless supply of warming goodness. My favorite brands are Dagoba Authentic Hot Chocolate (organic and Fair Trade certified) and Vosges La Parisienne Couture Cocoa, containing real vanilla bean.
9. Hand & Toe Warmers
OK, sometimes you’ve at the bottom of a slope and there’s a line for the lift and your buzz is wearing off and you’re cold and you’re wet and you need something to pick you up, RIGHT NOW. Hand Warmers are going to save the day.
These little packages of wonder slip into your pocket. When you need a warm jolt, pop the button. This creates a chemical reaction that releases warmth. Slip the package into your glove or shoe. Ahhh, blissful.
10. Your Cloud Software Suite
Of course, all these tips and gadgets will only help you get your work done if you’re able to do work remotely from the ski slopes in the first place. How do you get that functionality?
It’s simple - by moving your business to cloud-based software systems. Whether you need to do your accounts, collaborate on files, or manage jobs and projects, there’s a cloud solution out there to suit your business … and your lifestyle.
Now that you're all ready to get some serious work done on the slopes, I have to ask ... can you fit me in your suitcase? Pretty please?