Gear, Gear, Gear

Recently, I have had various folks ask me about gear. On the first day of CSSE, a couple in the lodge whose kids are in the program, and who, themselves, have not skied regularly in some time, asked what gear they should be looking at. This, on the same week that my childhood pal Tara, through the magic of Facebook, sent me a message to alert me that, having read my blog, she wants to get back to skiing, and to introduce her young sons to the sport we both enjoyed at their ages. But, she wondered, would I tell her exactly how she should go about stocking up on gear? Only too gladly, Tara.

I’ll take it as a sign that you, my lovely readers, must be chomping at the bit for the same information.

I’m no Oprah Winfrey, but I do, dear readers, have some favorite (ski) things.

Herewith, the list.

  1. Technical base layers. I can’t stress how finding the right “longjohns” has changed my life. There is no bulk. There are no extraneous/useless/counterproductive layers (cotton turtlenecks, I’m talking to you). I got mine in a cuter-than-cute pink. Go for a more subtle hue if you choose, but go thin or go home.
  2. The helmet. My dad, heretofore to be known by the codename given to him by Big Guy of Yesteryear, “Parka,” requested that I purchase one prior to my one-and-only visit to Utah (you know, The Trip that Changed Everything, Including My Zip Code). Never one to deny my dad a request, I bought one for myself, one for the hubby, and have never looked back. I am now a huge fan of the models that have optional speakers that connect via wire to the smartphone (for listening and phone-answering pleasure). I don’t want to be too reachable on the hill—just reachable enough that I can coordinate a meetup with pals or field a call from the ski school, if need be. (Need has never been, for the record…but I like to have my just-in-cases covered.) Also, answering a call from an office-bound colleague while carving a turn or riding a chairlift never gets old.
  3. Boot heaters. To quote my heroes Hans and Franz (yes, from SNL, and yes, I am that old) listen to me now and believe me later. Your ski days are never more comfortable or enjoyable when your feet are toasty warm.
  4. Custom fit boots. Ski on whatever ski floats your boat. Rent skis when you visit a resort away from home. But for crying out loud, invest in awesome boots. You are far more likely to continue to love the sport enough to keep skiing if you are not doing triage on your tootsies at the end of the day. Buh bye blisters, so long sore spots. I am happy to stay in my buckled boots all day. And I am often the last to remove my boots come après ski hour.
  5. A ski jacket with zip vents. On the coldest days, I still manage to break a sweat. The vents keep me from overheating.

And now for the product I am officially lusting after: rechargeable-battery heated gloves. Yes, you read that correctly. My pal Donna, who hails most recently from Florida but was raised in upstate New York and New England, says she cannot, will not, abide a day on the hill without these miracles of modern technology. And really, why should she?

Having written this, I must say that the only thing that would have been better than the message I got from Tara would have been a message from Tara telling me she’d cashed in every frequent flier mile and hotel point accrued from business travel to book a trip to Utah. And, yes, dear pal, we do have green trails here. So, come on!