Getting ready to head up on the mountain can be a challenge. Even with years of living in Steamboat Springs I would find myself forgetting something that I would want to have with me when I head up to go snowboarding. We should all remember, though any ski area can seem like a relatively unassuming park we are still heading out into the mountains. That within itself requires proper planning and preparation. Getting stuck out there unprepared can be extraordinarily dangerous. Or even worse your fancy new Bluetooth headphones die out because you forgot to charge them. Oh the Horror!!
I got tired of loading my pockets so a change I made this year was to always carry a pack with me. I chose an old Mountainsmith Tour pack from my gear collection. It makes it simple because everything I would want is in it. I just grab the bag and go. It is also not so large that it is cumbersome to have on while enjoying my favorite stash in the trees. Before heading out I am already wearing appropriate under and outerwear depending on conditions, a helmet ALWAYS, googles with the appropriate lenses for conditions and my boots. I also always check the weather from the Ski Area, 970-879-7300. This will give the weather report on the mountain. That weather can be surprisingly different then at the base or your lodging. Back to the pack. What do I carry?
- Water and a Snack. Not only because these can be expensive at the lodge, but they are key to a safe and healthy day in the great outdoors. Hydration is especially crucial to keep up on and be aware of.
- Lip Balm, Travel size tissues and sunscreen are wonderful sundries to have especially sunscreen on a bluebird day.
- Extra gloves, google lenses, face mask, spare sunglasses and microfiber lens wipe. These are for the ever changing conditions. Weather needing the facemask for when wind picks up or looking cool at your favorite après establishment with your “steasiest” shades.
- Tools! Best gift I ever received was a Swiss Army Snowboard tool. I will tell you having a pocket tool for on the go adjustments is such a game changer. Another neat trick, take Duct Tape and wrap it a couple of times around an empty cardboard toilet paper roll. This creates a little travel roll for your MacGyver moments. A little duct tape to cover a ripped piece of outerwear can be a savior just make sure warm up the area while applying.
- Phone Fully Charged. This is important because the ability to call ski patrol in case of emergency is irreplaceable. If you are running a ski tracker app, listening to your favorite Neil Diamond Cover Band, taking pics and posting them to Social media that battery can drain quickly. Carrying a battery with a charging cable is helpful too. And a Beer Koozie. Hey you never know which friend you are going to bump into carry a 6’r of delicious Colorado Craft beer. Seriously though in case of really cold weather it is a great way to keep your smartphone warm which means extended battery life. Hence more social media posts of the gnar you just shredded to serve the PB & Jealous sandwiches to your friends and followers.
These items can be vital to a good day on the hill. You don’t know what the day could throw at you so even just the basics can make a world of difference. So before running out the door for the epic powder turns, be prepared.