The real life
Eleven essential ski and board accessories you simply can’t live without
Winter may be late this year, but that’s no excuse to be unprepared once Mother Nature finally gets her act together. If you haven’t stocked up on the latest ski and ride paraphernalia for the 2005-2006 season yet, it’s time to get your rear in gear. Debuting in sporting shops this month are several goods designed to make your life in harsh mountain conditions more comfortable and convenient. After all, nobody travels to Tahoe or Summit County to truly brave the elements. Scoring style points in the lodge is more important than going big in the park or nailing a sick line down The Fingers off KT-22. Sure, it’s fun to lay fresh tracks in the pow, but for those of us who only slide to get laid, here are 11 essential ski and board accessories you simply can’t live without this year.
Ski-carrying devices—natural body parts aside—tend to get more complex as years go by, but the tried and true Ski Tote 2 ($29.99) boasts a quarter century of research and development and is still not much different than the original Ski Tote. It does, however, fold and fit into average coat pockets, so fewer ski-locking mechanisms should be dangling from snowboard racks this year.
Whether you have a carrying device or not, the walk from the parking lot to the base lodge can oftentimes be a dash of disaster. Not so with the rebirth of the Tecnica Moon Boot ($129) available in black, white and classic light pink. Gracefully shuffle your feet through the icy parking lot in high fashion with these ultra-streamlined pieces of arctic footwear. Warm feet are only half the battle, so be sure to top off your ski or board hardhat with Helmet Covers ($23 and up). Designed to look like stuffed animals for your head, these fun-loving creatures come in an assortment of breeds and sizes and provide extra warmth on brisk Sierra afternoons.
Because everyone should own a garment that could conceivably electrocute them, both Burton and Spyder have stylie jackets fully wired for extraneous electronic devices that are guaranteed to distract you from the beauty of your surroundings. The Burton Audex Cargo Jacket ($599.95) with Bluetooth Wireless Technology from Motorola enables you to switch back and forth between cell phone use and iPod music via a control panel on the sleeve. The control panel is complemented by detachable hood speakers, a microphone and a caller ID screen so you can know exactly who is trying to ruin all your fun by calling on a powder day. Burton has arguably been topped, but maybe only in price, by the Spyder 1000 Limited Edition Jacket ($2,199.95), available in black, red, and petrol blue. This coat also boasts iPod interface capabilities but clearly has $1,600 worth of more awesomeness than its Burton counterpart. Or maybe it’s just really warm.
Cozy clothes will keep you toasty on the slopes all day, but the real challenge often lies in heating up the night. In the event that your evening gets hotter and heavier than expected, Burton Women’s Hook-Up Kit ($24.95) is the ideal savior for a messy one-night stand, complete with toothbrush and thong underwear for the morning after. Men will not feel left out of the festivities with the Burton 420 Kit ($19.95) for the inconspicuous puff-puff-pass, camouflaged so no one can tell what you are up to. Burton claims to have no idea what this is for, but it is crush-resistant, watertight and includes a removable baggie that seals in freshness … for whatever needs to stay fresh. If your 12-step program encourages you to get more fresh air, a pair of ColdPole Reservoir Ski Poles ($54.95 and $74.95) might be a worthwhile purchase. Each pole contains a liquid reservoir in the shaft for your favorite frosty beverage, accessible through a screw-cap grip.
The genius doesn’t stop at pole production this year. Two manufacturers have turned pairs of skis on end by refusing to sell wares in tandem. When two skis just are not enough, pick up the new Atomic Triplets Urban Skis ($679), three mid-fats for the price of two. Each ski has a unique graphic and binding so you can mix and match your boards just like your get-up. If three seems a bit excessive, and minimalism is your calling, snowboard manufacturer Lib Tech has entered the ski market this year with an all-mountain park ski, the Narrow Ass Snowboard available in 176 and 188 centimeters. The experimental snowboard division at Lib Tech recommends three Narrow Ass Snowboards, two for balance, and another in case one disappears in deep snow. Like Lib Tech snowboards, the NAS also embodies Magne-Traction edge technology for enhanced grip on ice.
Once you have thrown down nearly four grand for the above gear, the $30K you’re looking at to complete the package this winter shouldn’t seem like such an imposition on your savings account. What vehicle other than a Hummer can get someone as fashionable as you to the mountain? The H3 “Hummer Mini” (base model $29,500) may be smaller and lighter, but it is just as intimidating to drive around resort parking lots as its bigger, angrier and more gas-hungry brothers. In this pint-sized beast of burden designed to blend in with other SUVs on the road, you are certain to avoid the gazes of more earth-friendly Subaru drivers.
Without the aforementioned accessories, your winter on the slopes won’t even be worth the astronomically priced lift ticket you still have to buy to get a piece of the genuine ski and board lifestyle. But if you find yourself out of cash by the time you can actually use all your new gear, remember that sitting in the lodge and drinking hot toddies is still considered a sport in most European nations.