We have a gaggle of puffy, waterproof and puffy-waterproof coats in stock right now that come in all colors, shapes and sizes, with hoods and without, synthetic and goose down and Gore-Tex. When it’s puking outside, we’ve got you covered — top and bottom — so you can stay out there no matter what.
When I buy new ski shells I always take care to 1. Make sure they look cute; and 2. Look for lots of pockets. Once I have my bomber outer layer, it’s the little things that make a great jacket or pair of bibs the layer I can’t live without. For me, lots of pockets are a big-ticket item because I like to carry special little goodies on the lifts, out the gates and into the wild blue yonder.
Here’s a few of the itsy bitsy, pocket-sized things that I love to carry:
Stop the glop and inevitable climbing skin detachment with Black Diamond’s Glop Stopper. I’m not quite sure why this magic wax still comes only in purple (my skins have been orange for at least a decade). But who really cares? I live by this stuff and will pocket it over an extra energy bar any spring ski day of the week. And if the glop is unstoppable (it happens), try black electrical tape to keep that fur on the bottom of your sticks. Just stretch the tape a bit when wrapping it around the skin/ski several times to create tension. (Photo courtesy Black Diamond Equipment)
Very few people can accurately on-sight the correct angle of a slope. And you’re not going to get any better at it if you have to stop and remove your pack to fish out your BCA Slope Meter all day long. Until you can do it, too, keep your meter in your pocket instead of your pack everywhere you go on skis. Pull it out more times than your iPhone, and you’ll soon be able to stay as safe in the backcountry as you wish, by quickly and confidently choosing low-angle slopes that are much less prone to sliding. I know someone who zip-tied their meter to their ski pole for a month. A good choice if your pockets are already full.
The Arkansas Pocket Stone pretty much says where I should put it, but that’s not why I carry this little beauty. True die-hards keep their edges sharp. If your stone is on a shelf in your garage on in a shoebox under your bed, your edges are more likely to be dull as a river stone. I ditched the leather pouch and carry the naked stone in my thigh pocket. “What’ve you got in there?” is always an interesting lift conversation starter.
There are endless items that fit into the Just-In-Case-It-Hits-The-Fan category — fire starter, Duct tape, accessory cord, SAM splints — but at some point you have to make choices because unless you’re Rich Froning, you can’t carry the proverbial kitchen sink. I like the 3-ounce SOL Emergency Blanket that sells for five single bucks. It fits in my pocket, and while it doesn’t take the place of a bivy, it can be used as a ground cloth, temporary tarp, blanket and emergency signaling device. A great value for the weight and money.