Top 10 items to bring with you on the ski hill

Oct. 1, 2013

Gates LloydAuthor Gates Lloyd is the Lionshead Adult Location Manager at the Vail Ski and Snowboard School. Originally from Pennsylvania, he has been enjoying the Colorado Mountains since 1987. In addition to his duties at Vail, Gates enjoys working with other instructors as an Examiner with Professional Ski Instructors of America – Rocky Mountain.

Packs are great when you’re going out of bounds, out for a picnic or out with your kids. But there are days when I’m skiing and don’t want to carry a pack. On those days, I go light with select items in my jacket. An added benefit to being prepared for whatever the day brings: most of these items have a significant social value: share them with a friend or someone you’d like to be a friend.

1. Ski pass
Obviously. Not only should you bring it along so that you can rack up points on Epic Mix – and get access to the mountain – your pass doubles a scraper for sticky snow, or your windshield. Don’t share this one!

2. Whistle on the pass lanyard
The best way to be heard above the crowd, the lift terminal or the wind. Plus, you don’t have to be that guy yelling.

3. Diamond stone
Give your skis a quick tune with this tool by rubbing out the burrs in your edges. Doing this will help you stay safe and in control.

4. Leatherman
Fix anything a stone can’t; adjust loose binding screws, cut P Tex on a damaged ski and cut hard salami at lunch!

5. Lip balm, Sunscreen
At 10,000 feet even the sun’s reflection is intense and will cause serious damage. Prevent that burn by reapplying several times throughout the day. It’s uncomfortable, hard on your skin and makes you look like a nightlight at your après gathering.

6. Clif Bar, Shot Blocks (quick energy food)
Many accidents happen at the end of an intense morning or afternoon session. Finish strong

7. A piece of wax
…for your skis or board. Putting fresh wax on your equipment saves you energy and gets you there faster. This will also save the day when your buddy forgot the wax on a snow day.

8. Water bottle
Never underestimate the value of water at altitude. Try a collapsible one pint container that will keep you going ‘til you get to a water station

9. First Aid stuff: a couple of gauze pads, band aids and some mole skin
Boots chafe, sharp edges cut. It happens. Be ready. This will also help you save the day of the 8 year old with the boot problem (and her family) next to you at lunch

10. Cell phone
Not just to chat and find lost members of your group on the hill, a cell phone will start Patrol on their way to you. Your whole group should plug the dispatch number into speed dial for the day- or the season: (970)-754-4610