Winter is finally turning for the better, and that means that we'll all finally be scratching the ski itch that's been bugging us since before the holidays.
But while there are a few lucky ones who spend every day up in the mountains, let's face it--most of us are working for the weekends. With a limited time frame to get our skiing and snowboarding in, we need to make sure we have our ski packs dialed so that we're ready to go when we hit the snow.
Here are seven ski gear essentials made to maximize your day on the hill, without wasting your time, or your budget, off of it.
One of the most tried and true products in skiing, Swedish-made Dermatone is your all-in-one skin saver. Apply the SPF 23 formula to your face for protection against sun, wind, and most important, frostbite. This stuff is the real deal and backed by the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding. It doesn't hurt that it comes in a tiny tin and lasts forever. MSRP $5.95
The Skeletool is a multi-tool that every winter warrior needs. A large bit driver for adjusting bindings, 420HC combo knife for cutting straps or removing hanging fabric, pliers for grip in the cold, and even a bottle opener to crack a frosty après brew, the Skeletool is answer. Weighing in at 5 ounces, you won't even know you packed it (though you probably should). MSRP $64.95
Ortovox 3+ Beacon and Sonden probe
Access to the backcountry is easier than ever, but with that access comes an added responsibility. Safety is your responsibility, so don't leave the gates without your avalanche transceiver and probe. The Ortovox 3+ features a patented transceiver technology called Smart-Antenna-Technology that adjusts its readings based on the angle at which someone is buried for the most accurate locator on the market. No pack is complete without a probe, and carbon-based Ortovox 240+ Sonden is an easy favorite. MSRP $368.95 and $95, respectively
Black Diamond Evac snow shovel
The Black Diamond Evac snow shovel is a great way to round out your beyond-the-gates kit. With a 9-liter blade (read: tons of shoveling capacity), you can dig anything out quickly, and a new push-in connector can be used to attach a saw. Also, shovel blades can be connected straight or in a hoe position for increased speed. This bad boy should be available soon. MSRP $100
Clif Shot energy gel
If your turns are limited to the weekends, the last thing you want is to stop for an hour-long lunch in a sweaty base lodge. Skip the lines by packing some Clif Shot energy gels. Packed with caffeine and electrolytes, the portable gels have what it takes to keep you going. Also, the nifty Litter Leash keeps those annoying rip tabs from littering your pack.
Eton Boost 8400 portable phone charger
As much as we'd like to totally unplug on our weekends, sometimes it's just not realistic. For those who need their phones at the ready and are having trouble keeping a charge, the Eton Boost 8400 portable phone charger features a 8400mAH lithium battery capable of recharging your smart device three times before it needs to be plugged in. Connect your device and throw charger and phone in your pack for a couple laps before calling to cancel your dinner reservations. MSRP $63.99
Stanley Adventurer stainless steel flask
Everybody needs a pick-me-up now and again, whether it be at the end of a long bootpack or just hunkering down on a windy lift ride. This 8-ounce flask fits into the side or top of a pack easily and is leak proof. The Stanley Adventurer stainless steel flask also features a grippy BPA-free outer that makes its glove and mitten accessible. MSRP $20
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