Last week, I shared with you some of the skiing essentials, which, in my opinion, you simply cannot leave behind. Today, I present the remainder of my list: Five more items which most skiing families should ever be without. Enjoy!
Wool Base Layers: Still wearing polypropylene? Love the stench at the end of the day? Free yourself from petro-stink and go au natural with wool. I bought my first wool base layer top four years ago on Steep ‘n’ Cheap and I’ll never look back. We are an all-wool, all-the-time family now and the ride home from skiing is much more pleasant. Next summer do yourself a favor and pick up a wool running or biking jersey. You’ll love it!
Camelbak: I love this ubiquitous personal hydration system in the summer and three seasons ago I started skiing with the small, winter version. I would never go hiking or biking without water. Why would I ski without water? I quickly found that when I feel tired or a bit shaky on the lift, it is not a lack of food or energy, but dehydration. Suck down some water and I’m good for another hour of skiing. My pack is tiny – carries water and maybe an energy bar. I don’t even know I’m wearing it. My husband got a larger winter Camelbak that has straps to hold his skis for the hike up Highlands Bowl. And when we gets there, yep, he rewards himself with a drink.
Lunch, not lunch money: We ski over 40 days each season. We have to save money on food. Luckily, many ski resorts have picnic tables, either at the base or strategically placed on the mountain for brown-baggers. (Heck, Copper Mountain even has a BBQ near one of their mid-mountain tables. I have never seen anyone use it, but why not bring some dogs and briquettes and throw a party?)
Depending upon the weather, and how much we can fit in our pockets and camelbaks, we are fond of PBJ (the perfect pocket sandwich), carrots, ham and turkey on “thin” buns (they don’t smash and they don’t fill you up with bread) and of course, M&Ms. I once heard a story about a college classmate who was determined to improve his skiing by skiing all day, every day he could, without stopping for lunch. He supposedly filled his pockets with dry oatmeal which he munched on the lift. Delicious!
Cell phones: I know that families used to ski without phones and could find each other at the end of the day. But with active and independent boys, we have found it much easier to make sure everyone has a phone and the phone is turned on. We still arrange a meeting place and time if we get split up, but for ease and peace of mind, cell phones for all work great (so long as there is coverage…can you hear me now?)
Money for Lessons: I know that there are parents who have successfully taught their children to ski. I know there are adults who have successfully taught their spouses to ski. However, the disasters far outweigh the success stories. Unless you have taught skiing and have PSIA cred, do everyone a favor and let the experts take over.
Just one example: two seasons ago, my husband and I met a very nice couple from Arkansas in a hot tub in Crested Butte. This was their first weekend away as a couple since their children were born. She had never skied before. He had skied quite a bit, but not for many years. He asked my husband “where should I take my wife first?” My husband answered, “to the ski school desk to sign up for lessons.” They laughed. The next day, we saw the wife in the lobby of the hotel sporting a new, full-leg cast acquired after the first run with hubby. She should have gone to ski school.
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