The last week of July is approaching and to me, that means skiing. Believe it or not, although it may be 90 degrees, now is the time to start planning your ski vacation. First you must decide where to go if you don’t frequent the same ski area year after year. I have my favorite spots but also enjoy seeing new ones and skiing new mountains. Next you must find ski accommodations. You may be the only nutty person doing so, but the time goes very quickly and before you know it, the first flakes will be falling. Over the years, I have found some great accommodations for reasonable rates that would not have otherwise been available, had I waited until November. Once you book your vacation, it’s time to start looking at new equipment and clothing. Though you’re purchasing last seasons’ skis, in truth, they don’t change that much from year to year. Only the graphics change, which may bother some people, but are just cosmetic. Last summer I purchased $1,200 Atomics for $700. Graphics or not, that’s a pretty big savings. When there’s a change in technology, as when shaped skis first hit ski shops, that’s a good reason to purchase new skis, mid-season. Do your research and you can save a lot of money. The same can be said for ski boots. I recently purchased a rear/mid entry boot that I had tried on in January. Since I have done all kinds of damage to my left leg, broken bones, torn Achilles tendon etc. I have earned the right to wear a very comfortable Nordica boot. They ski almost the same as a regular boot and what I lose in performance I make up for in comfort. I simply can’t force my foot in to a high performance boot anymore. If you favor a certain make of boot, choose the one you want and buy it during the summer at great savings. But deals on skis and boots are not only ones to be found, there are great deals on clothing as well. I purchased an $800 Spyder Jacket for $300. Due to the fact Spyder is manufactured in China, the mark-up is 3 to 4 times, leaving room for mark-downs post season. Each summer, I save approximately $1,000, depending on what I purchase. In addition, once the season begins, all I have to do is put the racks on the car and go. While I don’t believe in rushing the seasons, I do believe in being prepared. Happy Schussing.