In middle school, there was a story of a girl who once walked out of the locker room having forgotten an article of clothing… and it led to all of us doing a heads, shoulders, knees and toes check. Something that I have found helpful throughout life (likely not the lesson I was supposed to remember most vividly from middle school, but at least it is useful).
Whether this is your 1st season skiing or your 27th season, here is our skiing version of head, shoulders, knees and toes - to make sure you arrive at the mountain with everything you need and return home with it all too.
This isn’t a packing list, it’s mostly “outer gear” and a quick rundown that I do before I leave the house, then the car for the slopes and then before leaving the mountain for the day. See below for why I'm sharing this list, let’s just say - I will be going over “heads, shoulders, knees and toes” with Jacob every ski day from now on. Hopefully it will help someone else out there or at least you will find it amusing.
- Buff / Gaiter / Neck warmer: I hate wearing them but always try to have a buff in my pocket for warmth or to protect my goggles during a break
- Chapstick and sunscreen: Jacob uses Dermatone because chapstick isn’t masculine enough, but it’s really the same.
- Hat: Warmth on the way to the mountain and covers helmet hair on the way home.
- Mittens, liners, AND hand warmers: I have cold hands!
- Pockets: First things first, always check that your pockets are closed
(a) Keys: Put your keys in a pocket that has nothing else in it, so you have no chance of losing them. My mom, who has been skiing for 30+ years dropped hers last year, it happens to the best of us. Lucky for her I spotted them, unlucky for her, I decided to pick them up but not to tell her and make her sweat a little before giving in.
(b) Wallet: Ok, sometimes I like to forget this and then Jacob pays, but if you don't have a Jacob you will need this.
(c) Phone: While you can certainly enjoy a day skiing without it, you will not enjoy if you by accident dropping it on the mountain or in Jacob's case the parking lot.
(d) Snacks/lunch: Growing up going to ski school every weekend, my parents always made sure we had our hot chocolate packet and a granola bar. Years later one of my sisters may have changed to tea and all of us have our own preference for bars but we still make sure to keep it handy.
- Pass: Make sure it’s accessible if you’re at a mountain like A-basin where they need to see it each run. The cool kids wear it around their necks.
- Poles: I just ski without them, but if you don’t like to… renting them is an annoying $20 or so. There’s usually some free leftovers at lost and found if you ask nicely.
- Snow pants: Yes, Jacob has forgotten these before. Also, make sure you put them on before your boots, I struggle with this.
- Long underwear: Jacob wears jeans to the mountain and changes, last weekend he didn't know where his long underwear was. As usual when his ski stuff is MIA, it was in the car.
- Socks: After a few seasons of skiing, most people can admit to having at least one pair of "oh crap I forgot ski socks" socks that they bought at mountain
- Ski Boots
- Car Shoes/Boots: If you wear your ski boots to the mountain, remember a spare pair for after.
- Boot Heater Batteries: Maybe this is just for a small group of us (my toes get very cold), and since I have plug them in the night before, they are the easiest to forget.
- Skis: I once was wearing my downhill boots but carried my AT skis on the parking lot bus all the way to the base of Super Bee, only when I when to clip in did I realize my mistake and had to go back to the car to swap. This is an especially big problem if both pairs are the same skis, like mine, or if you just forget, like Jacob.
Our "Oops" Stories: Early Season Forgetfulness
It is early in the season out here in Colorado and we are so happy to be skiing, but we are not into our gear groove yet.
The first day of the season, being someone who is notoriously late, I was early to the park-and-ride to meet Jacob. Yet, he was uncharacteristically 30 mins late due to the fact that he forgot his ski boots at home - I'm just glad he remembered them before getting to the mountain. Upon getting to the mountain - he realized he forgot his socks, luckily I had two pairs. His wide feet didn't love them but they worked.
Our second day skiing together, I thought I had left all of my gear at Jacob’s house to make things easier. I had not. Only after leaving my house did I realize that I left my ski jacket in the coat closet at my house. Thankfully I had left a throwback one at his house so I had something to wear.
Third BIG "Oops"
Our third day of skiing together, this past Sunday, we arrived to the mountain with all our gear (thankfully) - finally a win! We had already overcome hurdles, I had to get out of bed to plug in my heater batteries late the night before. And while we had bread but no peanut butter, we thought ahead and brought leftover Chinese noodles for lunch. Our day was looking good, finally we thought we over our early season forgetfulness. Then, halfway through the drive home from the mountain, Jacob couldn’t find his phone. He assumed he left it in one of his pockets in the trunk, but after making it back to Boulder, we couldn't find his phone.
First we tried to call lost and found, but kept getting redirected to departments that didn't answer since it was almost 6 pm. We checked Google's find my device website and saw that it was at 54% battery (yay). It was also somewhere in a huge circle around Copper that thankfully didn't include the top of American Eagle and did include some of I-70. After a nice long anxious drive back to Copper, we found it in the parking lot right where we parked! But still, not a fun time.
Share your "Oops" on our instagram post
Consider our early season mistakes, your reminder to do a double check for gear so you can spend more time skiing and less time worrying or replacing gear. We hope this will be the last of our "oops" stories this season, but that may be wishful thinking! Comment on the instagram post (linked below) with your biggest "oops" this season or a past season.