10 Things We Bet You Didn’t Know About Vail

1.  The original name for Vail Mountain was Shining Mountain…. sounded kind of icy for a ski resort, so it was eventually renamed.

2.  Vail got it’s name from the man responsible for bringing the highway through the area, Charlie Vail:

Charles-Vail 10 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Vail

3.  The Town of Vail was not incorporated until 4 years after the resort began operating

4.  The Vail area was mostly cabbage farms before the development of the resort.

Charles-Vail 10 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Vail

5.  The landmark clock tower in Vail village was actually an apartment for awhile. The clock quit working for several years… later it was discovered that someone had stuck some chewed gum in one of the gears. When it was removed, the clock started working again.

Charles-Vail 10 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Vail

6.  Vail had the very first gondola in the US.

Charles-Vail 10 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Vail

7.  Vail boasts 5,289 ski-able acres (21.40 square kilometers), which is nearly double the size of the town itself (12 square kilometers).

8.  The Median income in Vail is only about $33,000 or $2,750 a month; while average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment is $2,340.

9.  In Vail, it’s illegal to hit obstacles while on skis or a snowboard making most accidents a crime!

10.  Vail is home to the highest botanical gardens in the world! The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is located at 8,250 feet above sea level. The gardens host over 3,000 species of high-altitude plants.

Charles-Vail 10 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Vail

Sources:

The Future of Skiing – Virtual Reality, Drones, Robots, Synthetic Snow, & More

Skiing has been around forever.  Rock paintings depicting skis have been found dating back over 5000 years! Back then skis were primarily used as a mode of transportation.  It wasn’t until much more recently that skiing became a recreational sport.  In those 5000 years there have been many important innovations that have helped to transformed skiing into it’s modern day form.  My favorite of which is without a doubt the chairlift which was invented less than 100 years ago.  Going from hiking up every run to being effortlessly whisked to the top of mountains in less than 100 years leads me to wonder what is in store for the next 100 years of skiing.  I have thought long & hard about what the future of skiing holds for us.  The following predictions are what I have came up with.

How Virtual Reality Will Shape The Future of Skiing

You may not be aware but virtual reality skiing already exists in a pretty advanced form. SkyTechSport has produced a VR Ski Simulator (shown below) that provides panoramic 4K views that look like a ski resort and motors that reproduce sensations so it feels as if you were actually skiing.

In it’s current form virtual reality skiing is ideal for downhill racers allowing them to train without risk of injury & in the off-season.  It doesn’t, however, replicate the full experience of skiing.

For me, it’s missing one big thing, freedom.  Skiing isn’t just carving back & forth. It’s powder sprays & 360’s. It’s nose butters & hucking cliffs.  It’s so much more than SkyTechSport’s simulator is capable for.

With that being said I fully expect virtual reality skiing to improve in leaps & bounds over the next couple generations.  Do I think it will ever fully replace real skiing? No.

Augmented Reality is Already Altering Skiing

Virtual reality’s under-loved brother augmented reality is already here in early forms as well.  AR has far different implications on the sport than VR.  For those not aware of the difference; Augmented reality is the addition of digital elements into a live world, whereas virtual reality is complete submersion in a digital world. Personally, I am far more excited for the future AR holds for the sport. Before we get there, let’s look at where augmented reality skiing is today.  Meet RideOn the world’s first augmented reality ski goggles & smart helmet.

Once again this is just the early stages of augmented reality skiing.  The possibilities, however, are near endless.

As if skiing wasn’t fun enough, now you can play digital mini-games while shredding.  In the future these mini-games will advance far beyond skiing through digital gates.  In my mind I am picturing a first person shooter style game (as these were my favorite games as a kid) with digital snow creatures hanging off of trees or popping up in the middle of a run.  Plus, thanks to the heads up display a collusion avoidance system would be easily implemented for skiers to prevent them from getting too distracted by the digital elements.

Like I said the possibilities here really are only limited by imagination. Where virtual reality has it’s main shortfall is that it takes you away from real skiing.  Augmented reality only serves as an add-on to real skiing.  Which is why I think it will have a much bigger impact on the future of the sport.

Will Drones Eliminate the Need for Chairlifts & Snowmobiles?

This is without a doubt my favorite theory about the future of skiing to imagine.  Just picture it for a second.  Instead of buying a lift pass, waiting in line, & riding the chairlift to the top of the mountain.  You simply hook your harness onto your drone & are flown to the top.  Once there you detach from the drone & it follows its pre-programmed course returning to the bottom to wait for you.  Either that or it follows you until you are ready for another lift.

Personally, I love this idea.  Primarily due to the no lift ticket required aspect.

With that said, I do not think drones are going to replace chairlifts.  I just can’t imagine the problems that it would cause if everybody at a ski resort had their own drone.  I’m talking extremely crowded airspace & mid-air collisions.

I do, however, think that drones will become the backcountry tool of choice.  Forget about needing a snowmobile & a second person to drive it down.  Forget about helicopters. Above all else, forget about hiking to the top of a mountain.

Where Will Robotic Technology Fit Into Skiing in the Future

Robots, robots, robots.  Many people in wide varieties of professions fear that in the future robots are going to be replacing them.  The sad part(?) is most of them are probably right. The ski industry is no different.  My prediction is that many ski jobs will be eliminated in the coming decades due to the advancement of robotic technology.

Many ski resorts are already replacing ticket scanners with electronic gates. Will lift operators be next? I mean what purpose do they really serve except for stopping the lift in case of a problem & perhaps slowing it down for children? I think it would be fairly easy to automate both of the features.  Simply, install some sensors to detect problems with loading & unloading.  Even easier than that, a consumer operated button could allow anyone to slow the lift for loading should they desire.

Next under the automation cross-hairs is the mountain groomers.  Commonly hailed as one of the best mountain jobs due to it’s shifts being outside of ski hours.  Groomers, unfortunately, are not going to last long in a robotic future. Being easily replaced by Roomba style grooming robots.

Indoor Skiing Already Exists, but is it the Future of the Sport?

Year round skiing? Yes, please! With indoor skiing this is now possible, without chasing the snow around the world.

Not gonna lie this place looks pretty awesome.  It has definitely been on my bucketlist to go indoor skiing since I first learned it existed.

While definitely a neat concept I’m not convinced this is going to be the future of skiing.  I see quite a few problems with the idea.  First & foremost I can’t even begin to imagine the A/C bill required to maintain the 23 degree temperature in this massive space.  Speaking of space, this video showcases the “world’s largest indoor ski resort”.  While it is impressively large it will never compete with the size of a true mountain.  I think it is neat, but a little gimmicky.  I do think more of these complexes will be built  in the future, but like virtual reality skiing I don’t think it will replace the real thing.

Synthetic Snow

Similar to indoor ski resorts another new technology claims to be able to make year round skiing a reality.  That is synthetic snow.

Honestly, I think this simply looks lame.  You are welcome to disagree with me on this, but it just doesn’t appeal to me.  Skiing synthetic snow, in it’s current form, isn’t landing a spot on my bucketlist  that’s for sure. I say in it’s current form because this is a post about the future of skiing not current innovations.  I think this idea is a start that can & will be improved upon.  Synthetic snow is a phenomenal idea.  These tacky mats just haven’t quite knocked it out of the park.

Even in it’s current form I do see some practical uses though.  For instance, these mats could be used near the base areas of mountains.  These areas, at lower elevations, are slower to receive snow & faster to lose it.  Put down a couple of mats & boom you extend the season on either end.  Skiers can still shred real snow at the higher elevations and glide into the chairlifts & base area on the synthetic stuff.

Conclusion

Nobody really knows what the future of skiing is going to look like.  Personally, I hope the future holds real snow on real mountains! If you agree with me on this aspect help me in supporting Protect Our Winters.  I also hope the future includes drones & augmented reality mini-games, but maybe that’s just me.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the future of skiing in the comments below.  Do you think drones will ever replace the snowmobile? Do you think virtual reality skiing will be able to fully replicate the real experience? Have any other thoughts on how robots might impact the sport? Or do you disagree with me on synthetic snow? Let me know, below.

Until next time,

Peace, Love, Pow.

Visiting Vail on a Budget

Traveling on a budget is never easy.  The most realistic way to make budget travel work is to pick an affordable destination.  Perhaps it’s a small town off the beaten track, or its a city known for it’s low cost of living, or for international travelers it’s a country whose economy isn’t doing too hot.  Vail Colorado is none of those things.  Known for luxury, grandeur, lavishness, & extravagance; Vail is definitely not a discount destination.  While this may be, it does not mean you should write off the stunning ski village just because you can’t afford the $300 Ribeye at Flame (& yes, that’s a real thing…).  Take it from me as somebody who is currently spending my second season living in Vail on a seasonal worker’s salary. This place is spectacular regardless of income level. Visiting Vail on a budget is not incredibly easy, but it’s certainly possible.  Here’s how:

Pick Your Accommodation Wisely

Always check Airbnb although in this area it doesn’t always have the best deals. The Vail Valley is currently experiencing a housing crisis pushing prices up across the board.  Most “affordable” options are going to be rented out to seasonal workers & locals.  Leaving the higher end vacation properties as the only options listed on Airbnb.  These can end up being a good deal if you have a large group to fill a multi-bedroom house & split the cost.

Consider Minturn or Avon the next two towns over from Vail.  Currently I am living in Minturn & absolutely love this small mountain town. Personally I think it has more character than Vail.  Unfortunately it doesn’t have too many accommodation options.  Avon on the other hand has quite a bit of options but isn’t particularly budget friendly either as it is home to Beaver Creek & Arrowhead. 2 more high-end ski areas. Both towns have transportation to Vail via the Eco Bus which runs $4 each way.

Honestly, finding an affordable place to stay in Vail is going to be the hardest part of visiting Vail on a budget.  Unfortunately there is very little insider information that I can provide that will significantly help you in this aspect.  My largest piece of advice (as mentioned later) is to avoid the holiday periods including spring break.

Eat Where the Locals Eat

Avoid on-mountain dining like the plague.  These restaurants are owned by Vail Resorts & are happy to charge you for the convenience they offer. To put it in context, while working as a ski instructor at Vail I was privy to 50% off at these restaurants.  I still didn’t eat there…

Frankly as a local in Vail I did not eat out much.  Opting instead for homemade meals (think eggs, ramen, soup, tuna & rice).  When hitting the mountain I primarily went with lunch & snacks in my jacket pockets.  This is a win-win in my opinion as it saved me money, plus I never had to waste precious ski time stopping for lunch, eating my pocket meal on the chairlift instead.  If you are considering this option check out the City Market in West Vail (with free daytime parking on the free in-town bus route on the street right in front of the store). Plus, as a new addition to the area for the 18/19 season the Vail Market in Lionshead Village has surprisingly great prices.  Don’t waste your time with the Lionshead General Store though.

Throughout last season I did make it a point to try out some of the more affordable options at-least once, largely for the purpose of being able to make informed recommendations.  Also, Vail is fairly renowned for it’s culinary scene & I think it’s important to treat yourself every now & again (Even if I never dropped a paycheck on a steak).

636324562238014099-treatyoself-main01 Visiting Vail on a Budget

In Lionshead I would recommend:

The Little Diner – Breakfast classics from morning to afternoon, plus hearty lunches in snug digs with counter dining.

Moe’s Barbecue – Easygoing chain serving Alabama-style pulled pork & other meats smoked in-house.

Bart & Yeti’s – Longtime institution lures locals with a rustic feel, an outdoor deck & traditional pub grub.

Garfinkel’s – Popular sports pub offering American grub, a wraparound bar & large deck with mountain views.

In Vail Village:

Loaded Joe’s – Cozy, casual venue with coffee & sandwiches during the day & beer, wine & music at night.

Blü Cow Café –  A fun modern European style cafe serving the cultish Swiss Hot Dog, Ernst’s famous soup, Elk Brats, paninis, and other unique foods, handcrafted cocktails, European and local beers.

La Cantina – Authentic Mexican food, large servings affordable prices.

In West Vail:

Westside Cafe – Cozy spot for down-home cooking from breakfast to dinner, plus cocktails like a popular Bloody Mary.

Vail Ale House – Sports bar feel with over 20 craft beers on tap.

West Vail also is home to a Mcdonald’s, Subway, Qdoba, & Yellowbelly.

Know Thy Happy Hour Specials

636324562238014099-treatyoself-main01 Visiting Vail on a Budget

Don’t Buy Your Lift Ticket at the Window

In fact don’t buy a lift ticket at all.  Full price lift tickets are the biggest mistake any Vail skier can make costing about $200 a day.  On the other hand the Epic Pass is a surprisingly fair deal.  Paying for itself in about 5 days of skiing plus you get access to many other mountains throughout Colorado & the world.  My advice is to pick up an Epic Pass as early as possible to score early bird pricing & rack up as many days on mountain as possible.  While technically it is not allowed I have seen Epic Passes resold for a good chunk of change as well.

If you do opt to purchase lift tickets instead of a pass, be aware there are many ways to find discounts.  Liftopia for instance generally has discounts for non-peak periods.  With your best bet being to purchase in advance.

Another option for those not interested in paying for either the pass or tickets is to simply go skiing for free.  Read how here >>  The Art of Poaching Ski Lifts – A Guide to Skiing For Free

Rent Gear Elsewhere

Ok, so to be honest I personally have no experience with gear rentals.  I purchased my equipment before coming to Vail for my first season.  Just to brag for a quick second I would like to note that I got my skis off Ebay used for only $60 including shipping.  I also picked up my boots & poles at an off-season sale from a small ski shop near my hometown.  All together I probably spent less on my gear then a week long rental costs.  Which brings me to my first point.

If you are a frequent skier, even just a couple days a year, consider the benefits of purchasing versus renting.  I’m definitely not suggesting you walk into a shop in Vail & pick up some brand new gear.  I’m just saying that rental gear can be an overpriced, uncomfortable, hassle that those who own don’t have to deal with.  If you are looking for gear be sure to check out our Guide for Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear.

If you are going to rent, however, it is probably not wise to do it in Vail.  From everything I have heard from friends & read online there are much better options.  If coming from Denver stop by a shop over there or one of the ones along I-70 on the way out to save a fair amount.

Definitely Avoid the Holidays

Christmas in Vail is a no-no for those looking for an affordable vacation.  For reference, when searching for housing this season I found a 4 bedroom rental listed at $5,000 a month. Thinking it sounded reasonable (especially considering how many seasonal workers could cram into that much space) I clicked on the listing.  As it turned out the property had different prices for different months with the price spiking to $50,000 in the month of December!  The sad part is they will probably get that much… or more through short term renting.  Without getting on my soapbox I will simply once again reference the Vail Valley housing crisis mentioned earlier.

Outside of Christmas & New Years another peak time to avoid is the spring break period in March.  The kids are out of school, the weather is mild, & families are flocking to Vail like crazy.

While I am not personally aware of the affects this has on prices the Burton U.S. Open is a very large event held in Vail annually.  Sure,  it’s an exciting time to be in Vail with concerts, parties, & the events themselves going on; but, I doubt it is a great time to try visiting Vail on a budget.

Consider the Mud-Season

The mud-season (off-season in spring following the mountains closure) is without a doubt the most affordable time to visit Vail.  Unfortunately, there is no skiing to be had during the mud-season.  If you are looking for a ski vacation this piece of advice is not for you.  Vail has quite a bit more to offer than just skiing though, so if you are a little more indifferent to this aspect of Vail than mud-season might just be ideal for you.  Due to the decreased demand hotel’s prices drop.  Many restaurants also offer off-season menus with more affordable options. Plus, if you enjoy shopping most stores offer end of season sales, especially on ski gear.  Mud-season is perfect for those looking to enjoy the impeccable Vail architecture & renown culinary scene at a discount.

Don’t Fly Into Eagle Airport

If your travel plans include flying to Colorado you should choose to fly into Denver not Eagle.  While the Eagle airport is a little more convenient for getting to Vail it comes with a hefty price hike.  Shuttles run from Denver International to Vail regularly & cost about $60.  Compare this to the several hundred you will be charged to fly into Eagle & the choice is a no-brainer.

Guide For Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear

Ski gear can be expensive, but there is no reason it has to be. There are many different ways to save on quality ski gear. Here is our comprehensive guide for finding heavily discounted ski gear.  These tips are tried & true, many of them have personally saved me hundreds if not thousands on my ski gear.

Buy Used

Our first piece of advice is to buy used ski gear. Many people feed into the marketing scheme that fools them into believing they need the newest most hyped gear on the market.  They buy brand new gear that they only end up using a handful of times, or on the flip side they use their gear heavily for two or three years which they believe merits the purchase of brand new gear. Don’t fall into this trap! Ski gear can last a decade if not longer before it truly needs to be retired.  Buying used is the number one way to get quality gear at an affordable price.  There are many different places you can look to find said gear, such as:

The largest online marketplace for used gear is chalk full of hidden gems.  Personally I have piked up a pair of K2 Rictor skis with bindings here for only $60, with free shipping! These skis are nearing 10 years old but are still in fantastic shape.  They are my go to all mountain skis and I don’t have a single complaint about them (although I must admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the dated graphics, a problem I remedied by giving them a simple at-home makeover with some painters tape & a couple cans of spray paint).  I purchased these from a seller named Demo-Skis and I believe they were previously used as rentals.  This seller has a good number of used skis for sale which I believe is why they offer such great deals.  They were originally listed at $150 but were obviously willing to go much lower to move a set of planks.  I have also seen great deals on Ebay on name brand goggles, helmets, jackets, vintage gear, & more.

Another great online option, especially if you live in a ski-centric area is Craigslist or similar apps such as, Letgo, Offerup, Recycler, Facebook Marketplace, & others.  One of the bigger problems when buying bulky items such as skis, boots, & snowboards is the cost of shipping.  Craigslist & others eliminate this through local pick up.  These options are ideal for sellers who only have a single piece of gear or two to get rid of. Personally I have yet to buy any ski gear from any of these marketplaces but was very close to purchasing two used snowmobiles with a trailer for only $900 off Craigslist last year.  Unfortunately they sold before I could arrange pick up & transportation.

  • Secondhand Stores & Pawn Shops

The best part about shopping at secondhand stores & pawn shops is you never know what you might find.  You might go in looking for a new pair of gloves & walk out with an entire new kit.  Personally I love browsing these stores as finding something you like & fits you is like finding buried treasure.  I have picked up several items this way including a pair of Helly Hansen snow pants, Giro goggles, many base layers, & mid layers.  If you are lucky enough to have a secondhand store near you that focuses on sporting goods then it’s likely you will have an assortment of options.  If not the pickings can be a little more thin, but still worth the time to check out.  After all, like I said you never know what you might find.

  • Yard Sales

Another great local option is yard sales, garage sales, moving sales, & the like.  This option, like the last two, is ideal for those with a ski area nearby but don’t count it out if this is not you.  Yard sales are the number one pace to find the largest discounts on used ski gear as most of the time people simply want their stuff cleared out.  Personally I have sold many items this way via a moving sale I orchestrated before beginning my nomadic snow chasing adventure.  Included in this sale were two ski jackets, three sets of bibs, many ski accessories, & more that I essentially gave away because they no longer fit me nor did they fit in my backpack.

Buy Off-Season

Right as winter roles around is when ski shops ecpect to do a majority of their business.  Shelves are stocked, prices are high, & they are ready to eat up & spit out customers who are new to the sport and are looking to get all the gear they will “need” for the season.  This is the worst time to buy.  Buying in the off-season can save you hundreds on brand new gear.  If the store near you is an all-around sporting goods store they will need to clear out shelve space as winter ends to make room for the summer products.  If on the other hand it’s a ski specific shop they will still be looking to clear out last years products to make room for the new models swinging around next season.

Discount Websites / Outlet Sites

There are many places online you can look for heavily discounted ski gear.  Outside of the large marketplaces there are countless websites that sell name brand gear at discounted prices.  Many times these sites buy last years products in bulk from large retailers then pass the discounts along to you & me.  Searching & comparing these sites can be extremely time consuming, but to many it is absolutely worth it when you find the right deal.  To save you some time I have compiled a list of my favorite discount sites:

Steep & Cheap – Owned by Backcountry.com, Steep & Cheap offers discounts on name brand gear & apparel.  It looks to me as if Backcountry uses this site to clear excess inventory.  Deals are listed on a limited seemingly random basis meaning if you see something you like it’s best to jump on it.  The discounts are some of the best you will find on new brand name products.

The House – Not exclusively a discount site, The House is an all-around outdoor retailer.  That being said they do have a phenomenal ski gear discount section worth checking out.

Evo.com Once again not just a discount site.  In fact you are probably already familiar with Evo.  What you may not have checked out yet though is their outlet section that has heavily discounted ski gear.

SkiEssentials.com – Focuses solely on cheap & affordable ski gear. They claim to have the best prices on this years & previous season’s skis.  Personally I am fairly impressed with their vast selection & their discounts do seem to be unparalleled.

Off Brands

Shopping for non-name brand products can be a great way to get gear when you are on a budget.  Keep in mind these discounted prices normally come at a cost.  Here you are largely sacrificing quality for affordability.  Generally features will be limited or lacking altogether, design will be poor, & the manufacturing will not be up to par.  Buying off brands may end up costing you more in the long run if the gear does not hold up or does not do it’s job properly.  An insulated ski jacket will be fairly worthless if the waterproofing doesn’t keep you dry.  Now with that said I must admit there are always exceptions to the rules.  Just please do your research before purchasing anything from a company you are not familiar with.

If you are considering this be sure to check out:

OutdoorMasterir?t=nowmad-20&l=ur2&o=1 Guide For Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear – They make affordable ski goggles & ski jackets among other outdoor gear.  The goggles I can personally attest to as they are my go-to goggles.  All of the features of a high-end brand at a discounted price.

Phibeeir?t=nowmad-20&l=ur2&o=1 Guide For Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear – Makes budget friendly ski jackets, pants, gloves, & more.

Wantdoir?t=nowmad-20&l=ur2&o=1 Guide For Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear – Quality stylish ski jackets & pants, as well as fashionable outer-layers for off the slopes, and more.

Pro Deals

While this isn’t going to benefit everyone, pro deals are by far the best way to save money on brand new, brand name products.  For Instance, while working as a ski instructor for Vail Resorts I was privy to 60% off Helly Hansenir?t=nowmad-20&l=ur2&o=1 Guide For Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear gear, 40% off SmartWoolir?t=nowmad-20&l=ur2&o=1 Guide For Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear products, & 65% off Smith Opticsir?t=nowmad-20&l=ur2&o=1 Guide For Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear.  Also while working as a tour guide on the Mendenhall Glacier with Alaskan Ice-field Expeditions I received major discounts on Columbiair?t=nowmad-20&l=ur2&o=1 Guide For Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear, Mountain Hardwearir?t=nowmad-20&l=ur2&o=1 Guide For Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear, & Julboir?t=nowmad-20&l=ur2&o=1 Guide For Finding Heavily Discounted Ski Gear.  Here I also took a more proactive approach to pro deals reaching out to many companies via email to inquire about their pro deal policies.  It seemed all but the smallest of businesses offered discounts for industry professionals.  There are countless ways to qualify for pro deals from working directly for gear companies, to working for retailers, or largely working anywhere in the outdoor industry.

As you can see there are many different ways to save money on quality ski gear.  Discounts & great deals are always out there for those who seek them.

101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaiters

Are you a passionate traveler & avid outdoor enthusiast? Then you will absolutely love these travel inspired neck gaiters! Passport stamps, international flags, world maps, compasses, & planes.  What more could a traveler want?

Neck gaiters are the ultimate outdoor accessory.  They are extremely versatile with many different ways to wear one.  Such as a scarf, hood, balaclava, face mask, neck warmer, sun guard, head band, hair band, head scarf, hair tie, bandana, wristband, hat liner, helmet liner, or beanie.  Personally I already have 5 but after making this list I’m probably gonna be buying at-least 5 more.

Click images for more information.

Passport Stamps

"Don't let your passport starve to death! Feed it stamps."

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International Flags

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries” – Aldous Huxley

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World Maps & Globes

“Quit your job, buy a ticket, get a (goggle) tan, fall in love, never return.”

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Compasses

“Live your life by a compass not a clock.” – Stephen Covey

q?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck 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Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck 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Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaitersq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07HQBM3BF&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaiters

Airplanes

“Work, Travel, Save, Repeat”

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quote

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aesop

WcMgcq

Have an idea for another style of travel inspired neck gaiters that I should add to the list? Comment below 🙂

Also check out:

Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tips

Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tips

Skiing used to be different.  Back in the day avid skiers would purchase a season pass to their favorite local mountain & that would be where they skied all winter.  Now a days, however, skiers have much better options.  Instead of purchasing a single mountain pass they can pick a pass that gets them access to 17 resorts (Mountain Collective), 19 resorts (Powder Alliance), 36 resorts (Ikon Pass), or even 65 resorts (Epic Pass); just to name a few options. As multi-mountain passes have became more & more standard in the skiing community it has triggered a shift in how skiers participate in the sport.  Now more than ever skiers are traveling to destinations outside of their localities to add a bit more adventure to their ski outings.  As this trend advanced skiers began looking for new products better suited to their needs.  Several companies, noticing this trend, have stepped up to the plate with fantastic new gear & products that are specifically designed with the needs of traveling skiers in mind.

Essential Pieces of Gear for Traveling Skiers:

Ski Bags

The most valuable piece of any traveling skiers gear collection is without a doubt their ski bag.  Ski bags not only hold your skis & poles but often times have ample extra space to store many of your other pieces of ski gear.  I have personally seen many skiers pack everything they need for their entire ski trip inside their ski bags.  In my opinion this is the absolute best case scenario and should be your target when preparing for ski travel.

Picking the Right Size

The most important step in attaining the above goal is obviously picking a ski bag large enough to fit everything you will need. As such I would almost exclusively suggest you purchase a double ski bag versus one designed to hold a single pair of skis.  For those of you thinking “but I only have 1 pair of skis & travel light so idk…”; trust me, you will not regret having the extra space. Also, if you are an avid skier it will probably not be long till you pick up a second set of planks.  Plus, with a double ski bag you can always stow away a travel companions skis who might not have as nice of a bag because they didn’t check Snowmad.life for a suggestion before purchasing.  If you plan on bringing a lot of stuff with you or going on a ski trip with your whole squad you should consider a quad bag designed to hold up to four pairs of skis & poles.

Additional Features

After you decide which bag size is right for you there are many other features to consider before purchasing.  First & foremost you should do yourself a solid and opt for a ski bag with wheels. After all if you take my suggestion & load your bag down with as much gear as possible it could get quite hefty.  When you are lugging your bag through the airport, hotel, or anywhere in between you will definitely be grateful you at-least have the option to roll it.

Hard Case, Fully Padded, Partially Padded, or Non-Padded:

The final feature to consider is the amount & style of protection you want for your skis.

Non-padded ski bags are not ideal for air travel in the slightest.  First, they offer zero protection from mishandling.  Also, this style doesn’t have a solid structure or hold it’s shape making packing extra gear & actually carrying the bag extremely awkward.  These bags are best for storage, road trips, or very light travel.

Personally I am not really a fan of hard case ski bags either.  While this style offers the most protection for your skis they are also heavy, bulky, & generally do not leave much room for packing extra gear.  These bags do have some serious benefits outside of protection, such as extreme durability & the ability to be easily shipped.

When it comes to padded ski bags our biggest piece of advice is to find one that is fully padded.  Many companies make bags that only have padding around the tip & tail areas which is a nice thought but really just leaves you wanting more.  These partially padded bags suffer from many of the same downfalls as non-padded bags without any real added benefits over their fully padded counterparts.

Best ski bags for traveling skiers:

q?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tips

q?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tips q?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tips

Boot Bags

For those who are not aware many airlines accept 1 ski bag and 1 boot bag as a single checked bag.  With this fun fact in mind I would strongly suggest all traveling skiers to get a boot bag in addition to their ski bag.  After all with the fees airlines are charging for checked bags now-a-days it is just plain silly to give up any free extra baggage space.  Speaking of fees one thing to keep in mind is that both bags combined weight is subject to standard airline weight restrictions.  If you do happen to run into problems with overweight luggage most boot bags are also approved by the TSA as a carry on.

Features

The first feature to consider when shopping for ski boot bags is straps & handles.  Personally, I am a fan of backpack style shoulder straps as these provide the most comfort in carrying your boot bag. If you plan on traveling with an additional backpack outside of your ski bag & boot bag then you may wish to opt instead for a simple singular shoulder strap.

As with ski bags it is paramount to evaluate your storage requirements when deciding on the appropriate size of boot bag for your travel needs.  Unlike ski bags bigger is not always better.  Go too big and you will run into problems trying to check your boot bag along with your ski bag or even carry it on. On the flip side, go too small & you will have trouble trying to fit extra gear in with your boots.  I would recommend picking a boot bag just big enough to fit both your boots & helmet, plus a couple small items.

Top ski boot bags for traveling skiers:

q?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tips

Ski Straps

If you have spent much time in ski towns then you are probably familiar with the small straps many skiers use to bind their skis together when transporting them.  If you are not, let me enlighten you.  Ski straps are exactly what they sound like, small elastic straps with velcro that wrap around your skis & strap them together.  They are extremely useful not just for traveling but also for regular ski outings at your local mountain.  Ski straps make carrying your skis a breeze without having to worry about them popping apart.  Plus, as an added benefit I personally think they simply make you look like a better skier.  For traveling skiers, however, they serve an even greater purpose by protecting your skis.  Without a strap your skis will bounce around and smack together risking scratches & chipping! 

Picking a ski strap is pretty straightforward largely coming down to which companies logo you wish to rep.  Sure straps vary slightly with different padding on the inner side & some even having different sizes, but velcro adjust-ability makes most straps versatile enough to fit any skis & padding is fairly standard in some form.

My favorite ski straps:

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Pack-able Puffies

Puffy jackets are any skiers best friend, but are especially useful for traveling skiers.  I’m sure by now you have seen enough of these around for me to not have to explain exactly what a puffy jacket is.  Instead let me just tell you how all they can benefit you when traveling.  First, they are incredibly pack-able.  You will not find another another style of jacket that provides as much warmth in such a small package.  After all most puffy jackets take up as just about as much space as a pair of socks when condensed.  On top of this they are exceptionally versatile.  Not only do puffy jackets make a remarkable mid-layer for those colder days on the slopes, but they are also water resistant enough to act as an outer-layer on the warmer days.  Plus, as an added benefit they are stylish enough to function as your go to après jacket.

Puffies come in many different styles with varying stitching methods being used to alter the look.  They can either come with or without a hood & even as a vest.  Puffies also come in pretty much any color you could possibly want.  With so much variation available on the market choice of puffy generally is going to come down to personal style preference.

My personal favorite puffies:

(Don’t agree with my picks? Browse over 2000 options to find the puffy that fits your style here)q?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tips

q?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tips

Hydration Packs & Fold-able Water Bottles

Anybody who has spent time on the slopes knows just how important it is to stay vigilante on hydration throughout the day.  The easiest way to accomplish this is to carry water with you while skiing.  Sure you could bank on relying on hydration stations provided by the resort, but this requires you take many unnecessary breaks throughout the day.  Plus, you have to plan your runs around these aforementioned hydration stations.

Hydration Packs

My primary recommendation for carrying water with you on the slopes is to bring a hydration pack.  Not only are these bags incredibly convenient allowing you to sip on water whenever.  They are also particularly versatile for travelers as they can easily double as your carry-on bag.  When picking a hydration pack it is important to give consideration to size.  If you plan on skiing with your pack it is generally better to opt for a smaller bag.  This way it is not restrictive of your movement on the slopes.  If you think you will double-down using your pack as a carry-on bag, however, you need to make sure it has enough storage space for your other travel items.

Best Hydration Packs for Traveling Skiers:

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Fold-able Water Bottles

If you don’t particularly like the idea of skiing with a pack on then I would instead suggest a fold-able water bottle.  This simple bottles are an excellent alternative for travelers over traditional hard plastic bottles.  They are more lightweight & take up less space when packing.  Fold-able water bottles are also ideal for skiers as they can fit comfortably inside a jacket pocket.

Top Folding Water Bottles:

q?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tips

Telescoping Ski Poles

Frankly I had a little trouble including this one on the list.  As a traveler I can certainly see the benefit of anything that saves you space, but I’m just not sold on telescoping poles.  The way I see it your ski poles are going to fit alongside your skis in your ski bag whether or not they are telescoping & I can’t imagine that using such poles allows you to pack too much more in your bag.  Personally I have never used telescoping poles so this is all just speculation but I just don’t think they are as sturdy or durable as standard poles.  I mean all it takes is a little bend in the pole & the telescoping feature is going to be rendered useless.  In theory this is an excellent innovation that should be appreciated by travelling skiers such as myself, but like I said I’m just not sold…  I would love to hear from skiers who have used telescoping poles as to what your experience has been & what your thoughts on the topic are.

Despite my prejudice I have done some research to narrow down the best telescoping ski poles.  As I’m sure there are some traveling skiers out there who would be interested in giving them a try.

Best Telescoping Ski Poles:

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q?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tipsq?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B079HZY17H&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=nowmad-20 Gear Guide For Traveling Skiers with Expert Travel Tips

Bonus: World Map / Compass Neck Gaiters

Once again, I shouldn’t really need to tell you the many benefits of a neck gaiter.  Instead I will simply show you my favorite travel inspired designs that any traveling skier is sure to love.

Like these, but want more designs? Don’t worry here is 101 Travel Inspired Neck Gaiters where you are sure to find one or 20 that you like.

Click on images for more information

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Tips for Traveling Skiers

Pack minimally

We know you’ll look good in that dress or those slacks, but will you really wear them? Mountain towns are typically very casual (and cold), and there’s no reason to lug around three pairs of shoes. For a long weekend trip, you can probably get away with wearing the jeans you wore on the plane to most dinners. Ditch the elaborate wardrobe in favor of practical and recyclable clothes.

Squeeze out all the air

It sure looks bulky hanging there in your closet, but most snow gear is very light and moldable. Slowly fold jackets and pants, being sure to squeeze out all of the air. Pants can be rolled into the size of a coffee can and jackets can be folded down significantly. One trick: fold the jacket a few days before and put your suitcase on top of it. This will allow all the air to escape over time and prevent it from rising back up once placed in your suitcase.

Fill your ski bag to the max

Boot bags generally aren’t allowed to contain anything else, but ski bags are fair game for extra items. Put as much of the little things in with your skis as you can—hats, gloves, socks—all the small things that would bulk up a small suitcase. If you put your jacket in the ski bag instead of your suitcase, fill the pockets with the above items to take advantage of unused space (but leave the pockets empty if you’re putting it in your suitcase. Filling the pockets will add bulk and prevent it from flattening out).

Consider renting

I know you are probably fairly attached to your personal planks, but leaving them behind can save you a lot of hassle on short ski vacations.  Every ski town in the world is going to have a local rental shop where you can pick up a pair of skis at a fairly reasonable price.  Most rental skis are going to be in good shape & get the job done on the mountain.  If you opt for this route I would still advise bringing your own ski boots though.

Ask your hotel for checked bag credits

Be sure to check with your hotel to see if they offer any reimbursements for costs associated with ski and snowboard gear or baggage fees in general. Some hotels offer “checked bag credits” in the form of a discount at the hotel to help guests cover the costs of traveling with their gear.

Know your airlines baggage policy!

  • Air CanadaSki equipment counts as one piece of luggage toward baggage allowance. One boot bag is permitted per traveling skier and won’t count as a piece of checked baggage if it’s carried along with skis or snowboard and it contains only boots. There is no extra charge to check skis or a snowboard when traveling between Canada and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (between Nov. 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017). Baggage fees may apply for travel within Canada, between Canada and the U.S. and all other destinations.
    • One or more sets of skis carried together in the same container count as one piece of checked baggage. Skis and poles must be packed in a rigid and/or hard shell case specifically designed for shipping. If carried separately, a set of ski poles will count as one piece of checked baggage. No oversize charge applies to skis or snowboards, but overweight charges may apply to skis.
  • Air FranceSki equipment is considered as a standard checked baggage item and is included at no extra charge in the baggage allowance (except for Light and Basic fare tickets) if it is the only baggage that a passenger wants to check (or one out of the two pieces of baggage allowed for the Business and La Première cabins). Fees to check an extra bag vary by route, but cost 20 percent less when purchased online.
    • One piece of baggage includes one pair of Alpine or cross-country skis, one pair of poles, and one pair of boots, or one snowboard and one pair of boots. Items must be in a travel case that does not exceed 300 centimeters or 118 inches in length. Ski or snowboard boots can be packed in a separate bag and are considered as one standard checked baggage item and their transport is included at no extra charge in the baggage allowance.
  • Alaska AirlinesSki equipment counts as one piece of luggage toward baggage allowance. A fee applies to equipment over 50 pounds or 115 linear inches.One piece of baggage includes one pair of skis with poles or one snowboard, plus one boot/helmet bag. If boots and/or the helmet are checked in a bag that also contains clothing or additional items, standard checked baggage fees will apply to the bag.
    • Ski/snowboard equipment may exceed 62 linear inches but no more than 115 linear inches without incurring an oversize fee.
  • Allegiant AirSki equipment is considered a checked bag with all applicable fees applied per person, per bag, per segment. Applicable fees are applied for bags exceeding the 40-pound weight limit and 80-inch size limits. Baggage weighing more than 100 pounds is not accepted.
    • One piece of ski equipment includes one pair of skis or one snowboard, one pair of poles and one pair of ski or snowboard boots encased in a proper container.
  • American:  One pair of skis/snowboard and one boot bag containing only boots/bindings will be treated as a single item with the applicable checked bag charge, unless you have reached a certain status with the airline or have another means of waiving bag fees, such as an airline credit card.  Boot bags must not contain other items or exceed 45 linear inches (length + width + height) to be grouped as a single item with skis/snowboard. Boot bags that contain other articles will be subject to the excess baggage charge for a single piece.
    • Skis and snowboards up to 126 inches (320 cm) are allowed without an oversized fee.
  • British AirwaysSki equipment counts as one piece of luggage toward British Airways’ free checked baggage allowance. Passengers travelling on a hand baggage only (Basic) fare or whose checked baggage allowance includes one bag only, the passenger will need to pay extra to take the ski equipment. Items over 23 kilograms may incur an overweight baggage charge.
    • Traveling skiers can check ski and snowboarding equipment up to 190 centimeters or 75 inches in length, provided it is packed in a recognized ski or snowboard bag, ski poles are packed with the skis and boots are packed separately from the skis or snowboard.
  • Delta Air LinesSki equipment counts as one piece of luggage toward baggage allowance. Fees apply if the combined weight of the ski/pole bag or snowboard bag and boot bag exceeds 50 pounds, then an excess weight charge will apply. If linear dimensions exceed 203 centimeters or 80 inches, then excess size charges will apply.
    • Ski equipment counts as one piece of luggage toward baggage allowance that contains one ski/pole bag and one boot bag or one snowboard bag and one boot bag.
  • Frontier:  Skis (or snowboard), ski poles and ski boots all count as one checked bag. A pair of boots may be checked separately from the ski bag so long as it does not exceed 25 lbs. (if it does, it will be considered a separate bag). For example, one piece of luggage, one ski bag and a boot bag less than 25 lbs. equals two items, but a piece of luggage, one ski bag and one boot bag over 25 lbs. would equal three.
    • Checked, carry-on and overweight fees  (for a bag over 50 lbs.) apply; oversize charges do not apply.
  • JetBlue AirwaysThere is no additional charge for ski and snowboard equipment; however, one item of equipment counts as one checked bag. Skis and snowboards are exempt from the standard size requirements of 62 inches but should still follow weight and other equipment guidelines. Traveling skiers are charged an excess baggage fee if the ski gear exceeds the checked baggage weight requirements. Ski and snowboard equipment are not accepted on flights to/from the Dominican Republic.
    • One checked baggage of ski equipment includes one pair of skis, one pair of poles and one pair of ski boots or one snowboard and one pair of snowboard boots. Ski boots or snowboard boots, if packed separately from skiing equipment, must be in a ski boot bag to be considered part of the one piece of checked baggage.
  • Southwest AirlinesSki equipment counts as one piece of luggage toward baggage allowance. If the ski equipment exceeds 50 pounds in weight, excess weight charges may apply. One checked baggage of ski equipment includes one pair of skis or one snowboard, one set of poles and one pair of ski/snowboard boots packed in up to two proper containers that contain one set of snow skis, ski poles and ski boots. The ski equipment counts as one item, even if the equipment is packed and tagged separately.
  • Spirit AirlinesSki equipment is charged as one standard checked bag. Ski equipment that weighs more than 18.1 kilograms or 40 pounds is considered overweight and excess weight charges will apply. A limited liability release form is required to be signed when traveling with skis or snowboards.
    • One checked baggage of ski equipment includes one pair of skis or one snowboard, one set of poles and one pair of boots.
  • United AirlinesSki equipment counts as one piece of checked luggage. If the combined weight of the ski bag and boot bag is more than 50 pounds, applicable overweight charges apply. A boot bag without an accompanying ski bag is considered one bag and baggage fees apply. Ski and boot bags that contain other items in addition to or in place of appropriate ski equipment are subject to the applicable overweight checked baggage service charge.
    • Traveling skiers can check one piece of ski or snowboard equipment per person. Ski equipment includes up to two snowboards in one bag or up to two pairs of snow skis and associated equipment in one bag plus one ski boot bag.
  • Virgin AmericaSki equipment counts as one piece of luggage toward baggage allowance as long as the skis, poles and boots or snowboard and boots are enclosed in a single container or travel bag. Checked bags cannot exceed 62 inches (calculated by adding the length plus width plus height). Excess size bags cannot exceed 80 linear inches or weigh more than 45 kilograms or 100 pounds.
    • Ski equipment, including poles and boots, must be enclosed in a container or travel bag.
  • Virgin AtlanticSki equipment is transported as part of a traveling skiers checked baggage allowance for all tickets purchased after August 31, 2016. Ski equipment is transported for free in addition to the checked baggage allowance for bookings made prior to August 31, 2016 as long as the gear doesn’t exceed 50 pounds.
    • Ski equipment is considered as one pair of skis, poles, a mask or helmet and one pair of ski boots. Snowboard equipment is one snowboard, a helmet and a pair of boots and bindings.

Snowmad’s Winter Bucketlist

Winter is my calling, winter is my passion, winter is my one true love.  Winter has much to offer, opening up many activities from skiing to icefishing that are simply not available in other seasons of the year & I want to do it all! As such I have decided to spend my life in pursuit of an endless winter chasing the snow where-ever it may fall.  There are countless things I wish to experience throughout my adventure & so I have decided to create a bucketlist of the many winter activities that call to me.  This is an incomplete list of the many  experiences I wish to have.  I will continue to grow this list as new possibilities open themselves up to me, & hopefully I will check several of these items off my list each season.

  • Ski 100 Days in a Season
  • Ski At Least 1 Day Every Month for a Year
  • Ski Every Continent
  • Ski Every Resort in Colorado
  • Spend a Season in New Zealand
  • Spend a Season in Chile
  • Spend a Season in the Alps
  • Ski an Indoor Ski Area
  • Ski a 14er
  • Go Icefishing
  • Build the World’s Largest Snowman
  • Hike a Glacier on Every Continent
  • Live in an Igloo for a Week
  • Sleep in a Snow Cave
  • Go Heli-Skiing
  • Go Skijouring
  • Go Dog Sledding
  • Go Cat-Skiing
  • Go Pond Skimming
  • Go Watch the Winter Olympics
  • Go Watch the X-Games
  • Ski Every State with Skiing
  • Camp in a Ski Area Parking Lot
  • Poach a Hot Tub
  • Ski Naked
  • Out Run an Avalanche
  • Jump From a Ski Lift
  • Go Night Skiing
  • Ski a Glacier
  • Learn to Snowboard
  • Learn to Telemark Ski
  • Ride a Ski Bike
  • Switch Ski a Black Diamond
  • Spend a Season Ski Bumming Without a Job
  • Go on a Backcountry Hut Trip
  • First Ascent & Descent of a Peak (Preferably Unnamed)
  • Ski a Sand Dune
  • Winter Thru Hike the Appalachian Trail
  • Compete in a Ski Mountaineering Race

Do you have ideas for activities I should add to my list? Please comment below.

Life in a Remote Dog Sled Camp on an Alaskan Glacier

Alaska: The Last Frontier

Ask me 6 months ago what I would be doing this summer & I would have had no idea.  Maybe I would have told you about wanting to work & ski in Australia or New Zealand. Maybe I would have guessed I’d stay in the American Midwest to work any job I could find to get through the summer & make some money.  Maybe I’d say something about working on-board a cruise ship to see the world.  Absolutely nowhere on my list would have been travelling to Alaska to live & work on a glacier.  It would have been beyond my wildest imagination to guess I would be living in a tiny remote camp surrounded by 280 dogs & 20 coworkers whom I had never met but would quickly become some of my closest friends.  Even as I sit here now in the lounge hut midway through the summer I am still bewildered by the remarkable situation I find myself in.

How Did I End Up Here?

A little over a year ago when I first started seasonal work I stumbled upon a small online job board called coolworks.com. Coolworks is unique in that it sorts jobs into categories such as seasons, states, & unique categories such as; camp jobs, National Park jobs, guide jobs, environmental jobs, jobs on the water, ski resort jobs, & others. These sorting features make it perfect for seasonaires & travelers alike (Seasonaire: A person who lives in multiple locations during different seasons of the year). A majority of jobs on here are fairly standard (i.e. hospitality, guest services, food industry, etc.), but to their credit are generally located in pretty awesome destinations.  Anyways, as my ski season was coming to a close & I began thinking about the rapidly approaching summer months, I decided to check out the openings on Coolworks.  Here I found a job posting that seemed too good to be true. Tour Attendant / Dog Handler for Alaskan Icefield Expeditions.  I was absolutely blown away by the job description & had submitted my application by the end of the day.

What Was the Job Interview Like?

After submitting my application I was contacted in about 6 days time to arrange a phone interview with Matt Hayashida, General Manager.  The interview was one of the longest phone calls I have ever been on in my life with Matt spending nearly an hour, if not more, attempting to scare me away, or otherwise talk me out of coming to work for him.  Simpy put, a glacier is an extreme environment to call home & the job itself is no cakewalk. They only wanted committed, well prepared employees.  After realizing that I would not be deterred by the lack of running water, the lack of electricity, & the near constant cold & rain; the interview was fairly straight forward.  We discussed qualifications (most of mine revolved around previous customer service work, focusing on the tour attendant aspect of the position), background (my time in the boy scouts helped to prepare me), & other typical work interview talking points.  Matt was incredibly thorough & even contacted all 3 references that were submitted with my application.  In my opinion he did a fantastic job of describing the day to day life I would be experiencing here by not providing an overly romantic depiction.

Speaking of, What Was Day-to-Day Life Like?

First let me clarify that our camp was located in a temperate rain forest (no we were not surrounded by trees like your typical rain forest, but yes it rained a lot). Also, our camp was only accessible by helicopter.  This combination meant we had a lot of weather days where we could not run tours, so I will give you 2 examples of average days on the glacier.  The first will be a good weather day where we ran tours & the second will be a bad weather day.  We had quiet a bit of days that would be bad weather in the morning, but clear up in the afternoon, meaning a mix of these two examples.

A good weather day (with a full schedule) went a little something like this: 5:50am Alarm clock goes off, after muttering a few unpleasantries about how early it was between tent mates we would slip on coveralls & boots to hit the dog yard at 6am sharp for morning chores.  We would first scoop all the dog shit from the night before into 5 gallon buckets to be consolidated into 50 gallon drums at the edge of camp (these would eventually be flown out by helicopter to be pumped down in Juneau).  Then we would fill dog bowls with food & water.  We would then apply zinc sunscreen to dog’s bellies, noses, & chins as needed; check their eyes for redness which we remedied with Visine eye drops.  After this we would do a final round of poop scooping.  At peak efficiency morning chores took about 45 minutes after which we took an hour break for breakfast & coffee. By 8:15am to 7:45pm we had helicopters landing every half hour without break.  As the last helicopter departed everybody would grab a bucket & shovel to hike the mile and a half trail to scoop dog poop that accumulated throughout the day.  Next we would do evening chores (think morning chores minus sunscreen).  Finally, when all the yards were done we would crack a beer & inhale the delicious dinner our cook had prepared for us.  After dinner most of us crashed pretty quickly into a slumber well earned.

A bad weather day still started with a 5:50am wake-up & morning chores. After that we would get a weather cancellation, or wixel call as we knew it, for a set amount of time.  Normally they (being the helicopter company) would cancel about 2 hours at a time giving it a chance to clear up throughout the day.  During these days our camp largely looked like the inside of a ping pong ball with the clouds sitting right on-top of the ice.  We were largely left up to our own devices during wixel days with many people breaking into the large box of board games, or hooking up the DVD player in the lounge tent.  Others kept to themselves opting to read or write, listen to podcasts, learn a new skill, practice an old hobby, or catch up on sleep by napping on & off throughout the day.  Often times the morning would be wixeled but the weather would clear up enough for us to run tours in the afternoon, many other times we would have the entire day called in the early afternoon.  Wixel days in one aspect or another were extremely common making up atleast half of most months.  While these days were great for catching up on some rest, we were paid by the tour so these also meant a day with no pay 🙁

Other Than Wixel Days Did You Get Time Off?

Yeah, we got 36 hours each week where we were flown down into Juneau.  Here our company had a bunk house in a repurposed gas station.  We made good use of our time off squeezing in a hot shower or 3, laundry & about 10+ beers in downtown Juneau hopping from bar to bar.  Also, as a perk of our affiliation with Temsco Helicopters we were treated to various comp tours around Juneau when there was space available.  These could include things such as zip-lining on Douglas Island, whale watching, sea kayaking, glacier tours, & more.  When our off days lined up with good weather (which was rare), we generally took in the incredible scenery Juneau had to offer by hiking one or more of the trails around town.

What Was Your Favorite Part About the Job?

Wow, it’s hard to name just one thing here because the entire experience was so phenomenal!  I mean the weekly commute to & from the glacier on a helicopter was always breathtaking.  The views from my front porch & office were absolutely spectacular.  The dogs, while at times were definitely a handful, were a majority of the time adorable & affectionate; plus the puppies were always great for a pick me up.  The people, however put my experience over the top.  The camp atmosphere was one of the best I have ever been apart of.  For a majority of the time we all got along splendidly.  Sure there were occasional bickering & attitudes but overall I feel very blessed to have been surrounded by such a great group of people.  If you can’t tell yet I loved nearly everything about this gig, so I would have to say my favorite thing was the entire experience as a whole.

images-of-glaciers-in-alaska-incredible-photos-dog-camp-on-the-mendenhall-glacier-outside-of-juneau-alaska-of-images-of-glaciers Life in a Remote Dog Sled Camp on an Alaskan Glacier
(Check out dog camp in the bottom right corner of this aerial shot.)

What Was Your Least Favorite Part of the Job?

Nobody likes scooping up 280 dogs worth of shit.  I fear my last answer may be over romanticizing it just a bit so let me be a little more real with you.  It rained, a lot.  When it rained the dogs still needed to be cared for.  Keep in mind we lived on a giant ice-cube so it got cold at times too… Rain + Cold = Poor Combination.  The days were lonnngggg.  I never got used to that 6am start to the morning & working till 9 at night, or later, with no breaks is flat out exhausting.  We shit in a 5-gallon bucket that we had to empty twice daily into a larger container of shit.  We did not have showers or running water at all for that matter.  We didn’t have electricity with the exception of 1 generator for our lounge and communications tents.  I had no cell phone signal, despite us having a cell phone booster in camp, wrong provider… We did have propane heaters in our tents, but could not run them overnight for safety reasons.  We had roommates, or shall I say tent-mates (although I am happy to say that I got along with mine splendidly), meaning little privacy or true alone time.  There was little escape from the sun on clear days making for some pretty striking tan lines.  My least favorite part of the job, however, was making small talk with 200-300+ tourists a day, which was the bulk of the work in my position as a tour attendant.  Being largely introverted this was definitely tough for me at times, but I do believe it led to a fair amount of personal growth overall.

You Said You Were a Tour Attendant, What All Did That Entail?

Great question! So I unloaded guests off the helicopters in a safe, orderly manor.  Then after a brief intro & safety speech given by our camp manager I would walk the guests through camp answering questions & telling them a little about life on a glacier, before introducing them to their dog mushers.  Immediately after dropping a group off I would pick a group up from mushers that ran on the opposing interval.  I would walk them to the front of camp where I would attempt to sell some photos our professional photographer took of them on the trail with their dog teams.  After finishing up with photo sales I would show them to our puppy pen where we would wait for the helicopters making small talk & admiring puppies.  Generally we were here about 15 minutes, after which I would load them back on the helicopters starting the cycle back over again.

What Other Positions Were Available?

Well obviously we needed dog mushers as this was a dog sled tour operation.  We also had several dog handlers which aided the mushers (this was another no experience required job for anybody interested).  We had two main photographers, but sometimes tour attendants would do this as well.  Technically, tour attendants, photographers, & handlers were all hired under the same position (TAPH’s) & were interchangeable but we largely stayed where we were happiest & worked best.  We had a full time cook on staff, huge shoutout to him, absolutely phenomenal job this summer.  We also had a camp manager & an assistant manager.  Outside of camp there were a couple people on ground crew working as expediters, this position requires at-least a year experience in the company though.

Well That’s Pretty Much All the Questions I Have For You, Any Final Comments?

Sure, I would first like to just say thanks for your interest, I have enjoyed sharing my experience with you.  I would also like to strongly encourage all the readers out there to get out of your comfort zone & have experiences like this for yourself.  This world is full of amazing opportunities in incredible places.  Whether it be living on an Alaskan glacier in a remote dog sledding camp, working on a boat in the Caribbean, teaching English in a foreign country, working in a hostel, or whatever it may be for you, get out there & do it. Experience life! Live it Up!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, Pow

See ya when it snows…

6 Innovative Ski Products – Smart Ski Gear

Our top smart ski gear picks, 2018. Countless tech companies and ski industry titans have been busy finding innovative ways to integrate and utilize modern technology in the centuries old sport of skiing. The products here show we are now playing in a completely different alpine playground thanks to smart ski gear.

Gasless, reusable avalanche airbags…

Arc’teryx Voltair Avalanche Airbag, £1,018

Unlike traditional compressed air cylinder airbag systems that need to be refilled with a workshop compressor after just one deployment, the Voltair can be deployed multiple times – even on one charge. This is because the system is powered by a heavy-duty 22.2V Lithium-Ion Polymer rechargeable battery, which can also be charged with portable devices such as solar panels on the mountain.

That rechargeable battery uses a centrifugal blower to inflate a 150 litre balloon with more initial pressure than any other battery powered avi bag available. Once fully inflated it continues to pump air in, ensuring that you’ll still get the best possible ‘flotation’ despite any small nicks or punctures in the bag. For easier flight transportation you can simply unhook the battery and pack it separately – which is a further advantage over compressed air cyclinger alternatives.

Coming in 20L and 30L volume options, the fully seam-sealed Voltair is made with waterproof N400r-AC² nylon 6 ripstop body fabric, with WaterTight™ zippers for top and side access to the two main compartments. Both sizes have dedicated compartments for additional snow safety equipment like shovels and probes. For carrying your skis or board there are front lash ladders and straps diagonally as well as an ice/mountaineering tool loops.

Recreational freeride skis…

Rossignol Sky 7 HD, £385, rossignol.com

Rossignol’s brand new Sky 7 HD Freeride is ski is a veritable sign of the times. What better than a freeride ski aimed at recreational skiers to illustrate the ever-more mainstream hunger for backcountry adventure? And why shouldn’t an intermediate skier be able to enjoy the whole mountain – with professional guidance, of course, asks our head ski tester Rob Stewart? (Spoiler Alert!) That’s why he’s chosen the Sky 7 HD as our ski of the year. With its wood and Carbon Alloy Matrix fibre weave, air filled tips and 98mm underfoot width, this is the ski to take you there in 2017.

Ski boots are made for walking…

Salomon_QSR_PRO120_Ski_boot 6 Innovative Ski Products - Smart Ski GearSalomon QST Pro 120 Ski Boots 2017, from £340, Salomon.com

Ski boots comfortable enough to walk in? Whatever next! Brand new for 2017, Salomon’s QST Pro boot aims to be the Jack of all trades and master of every one, by borrowing the latest technology from three different sports that Salomon excels at: running, ski touring and alpine skiing. It does this with cutting edge comfort, support and light weight via a fully mouldable shell and cuff, a thermoformable ankle insert, plus shell stiffness and weight only where it’s needed to keep weight to a minimum (1,596g for a size 26.5). Need to hike the backcountry or back to hotel? Swap the alpine soles for tech soles, activate the walk mode with its 40 degrees of ankle flex and off you go.

‘Real’ virtual reality mountain mapping

Fatmap 3D mapping, from free

Now with offline mapping of more than 40 mountain ranges worldwide, unlike most traditional 2D maps which illustrate contours and features with symbols, the Fatmap 3D mapping app is built with high quality imagery which shows you the mountain on your phone as you can actually see it with your own eyes. On top of these zoomable 3D images are layered vast amounts of content from individual lines recorded by the Fatmap community – on and off piste, to piste-side cafes, live avalanche safety analysis tools, area and resort information, as well as your own recorded and tracked runs, which you can relive with 3D flythroughs.

A drone for your backpack

Salomon_QSR_PRO120_Ski_boot 6 Innovative Ski Products - Smart Ski Gear

GoPro Karma drone, £720, gopro.com

Leaving the minefield of third party liability issues of drone flying aside… being able to capture your or your friends’ carving exploits with your own personal ‘eye in the sky’ camera drone just got closer with POV video camera giant GoPro launching their first drone in October 2016. For transport the Karma folds down to 36x22x90cm, weighs just over 1kg and can be carried in its own backpack transport case. Included is a compact controller with a fold-out 13cm screen and a stabilizing mount which can be plugged into a hand-held controller grip for steady footage no matter how hard you’re shredding.

Film, talk, track share (and stay safe) while you carve

Salomon_QSR_PRO120_Ski_boot 6 Innovative Ski Products - Smart Ski GearForcite Alpine helmet, c. £800, forcite.com.au

Those who head to the slopes to escape the all-pervasive long hand of technology should look away now… Developed in Australia with the help of runaway success Kickstarter funding, the Forcite helmet is protection for your head that is rammed with wearable comms and media hardware. Equipment built into the helmet includes a four-processor computer which can run apps and manage loads of data simultaneously, a 4K POV video camera, and earbuds, so that you can stream music, take hands-free calls without removing your gloves, video your descents and track your skiing with any number of sensors – even automatically post on social media. All while giving your head the on-slope protection it deserves.

Thanks for reading our list of smart ski gear products! Still looking for more?

Check out:

5 Colorado Tech Companies Innovating the Ski Industry

5 Colorado Tech Companies Innovating the Ski Industry

 Technology is changing how we do everything and skiing isn’t being left out of the fun.
Tech companies are innovating the ski industry even as you read this.
Here are a few ski tech companies based right here in Colorado:

Snowvation

Snowvation develops a mobile platform that connects ski resorts, instructors and their guests through a cloud-based portal designed to improve the resort experience. Visitors can book and pay for lessons, as well as read and write reviews about instructors directly from their smartphones. On the business side, instructors can manage and update their availability, and resorts can efficiently handle their online operations.

FATMAP

FATMAP delivers 3D terrain maps for backcountry adventurers, helping them more safely navigate the mountains and study the landscape before they get out there. In addition to detailed, high-resolution maps, the app also features important safety information and local and professional route recommendations. Users can also download the maps to view offline later.

Gearo

Need to borrow a snowboard or avalanche safety gear? Want to buy some gently used snowshoes or learn how to cross-country ski? Gearoe’s mobile app allows you to buy, sell or rent used outdoor equipment, making usually expensive winter activities more accessible. The interface is organized by activity and displays product images; daily, weekly or monthly rental pricing; and detailed information about the condition of the gear.

LuvByrd

Sometimes the mountains just aren’t the same without someone to share them with. Enter LuvByrd. Founded in 2014 as a dating app to connect skiers, the platform has now expanded to serve outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Members can seek out a partner based on their interests, and even their level of experience, to find someone who they can share both their passions and their passion with.

Active Junky

If you’re in the market for brand new gear, you know that finding the right deals can save you big. Denver-based Active Junky pulls together all the latest offers from outdoor outfitters like Under Armour, Cabela’s, Patagonia and The North Face, and gives members cash back on purchases made through the platform. The company also makes getting the right gear easier with its curated buyer guides, such as “Best ski goggles of 2017/2018” or “Gifts for bike lovers.”