Skiing and snowboarding require a lot of gear for the sole fact that your sliding down frozen mountains with nothing but your physical prowess, agility, and wits to keep you from hucking a massive cliff or straightlining into a tree.
In other words, gear is an essential part of skiing.
Most skiers have the essentials down: a good set of sticks, some poles, boots and bindings, maybe a touring setup. Pants, hat, gloves — these things are all obvious.
And once you have your kit, you tend not to change it up too much. Your ski kit is your ski kit — there isn’t much cause to add or subtract anything.
We’re here to tell you: you’re right. Your ski kit should be a dialed-in smooth-working machine.
In order to make it just a little smoother, though, we’re here recommending several pieces of gear that will instantly have a home in your kit.
Green Goo First Aid
Green Goo is a natural products company that makes everything from a balm to keep your pet healthy to a salve for a newborn. In short, they know what it takes to keep you healthy.
Green Goo First Aid is a cure-all product that works for just about anything, whether its dry cracked skin or a serious bruise from last weekend’s shred session.
People who have used Green Goo products are very quick to recognize that this stuff just works, plain and simple. We couldn’t recommend it higher.
You can get a large tin, a travel tin, or a stick. We recommend the large tin — it’s only $12.95, and that way you won’t have to turn around and re-order this stuff midway through the season when you need it most.
prAna Men’s Breaker Hooded 1/4 Zip
prAna’s layers aren’t a go-to for some skiers. But they should be: they’re made for movement, they use top-quality fabrics (important for layers that spend many hours close to your skin), and they’re more comfortable than most basic base layers people buy when they start out skiing.
If you’re looking to upgrade your base layers, consider the Men’s Breaker Hooded 1/4 Zip from prAna.
The Breaker retails for $79.99.
prAna Women’s Kenmont Headband
prAna’s Kenmont Headband is the ideal weight-to-warmth ratio for a warmer head without the added bulk of a full beanie. And it’s made with a super soft polar fleece to give you the comfort as well as the temperature.
Headwear is a touchy subject for skiers. If you find something that works, it’s a sacred piece of your kit that will never be replaced (until it wears out). If you haven’t found something that’s comfortable or warm enough, you will constantly be on the search for the right layer. If you think your headwear game could be upgraded, we suggest trying out the Kenmont Headband.
Skiing or snowboarding by no means requires a multi-tool, but it can be incredibly useful if you have one on you. Whether it’s fixing a friend’s busted binding or cutting a rip in your coat so it doesn’t get worse, a multi-tool can be a huge help.
We recommend the Leatherman Wave®. It’s a classic that has exactly what you would need in a pinch, and then some — making it a great summer tool as well.
Grand Trunk Hooded Travel Pillow
Travel is a fact of the skiing lifestyle. Even people who live in a ski town travel to ski (I write this from a 787 Dreamliner off the coast of Alaska while I travel from my home in the ski town of Telluride to the powdery pillows of Japan). We ski, and we travel to ski.
The travel pillow, for those who use them, is therefore a no-brainer. What’s not necessarily a no-brainer is the issue of light: when you’re trying to sleep, you often have a screen in front of you or a neighbor with the overhead light on or the sun coming in through the car window.
Thus, a means of blocking out the light is often necessary — and often makeshift: a jacket or a towel draped over your face.
It’s a classic travel pillow with a drawstring hood attached, so you can block out the light, get your headrest on, and actually feel halfway decent for your first turns.