December 23 in Reviews by Steven Abramowitz Comments Off
Kulkea Powder Trekker Named Editors’ Choice by OnTheSnow
In only its first season the Kulkea Powder Trekker ski boot bag received the 2015 Editors’ Choice from OnTheSnow! The Powder Trekker was developed over the last several years based upon the ingenious design, high quality and extensive feature sets that skiers have come to expect from Kulkea. We’re proud to share that the Powder Trekker and its four great colorways made the grade with OnTheSnow.
OnTheSnow highlighted the smart-design of Kulkea’s latest addition to its ski boot bag lineup. “Powder Trekker is feature loaded, with ample gear stash spaces, all of which are tailored for the item designed to go there.”
Accolades from the editors included how the Powder Trekker’s brilliant design is intended to keep skiers organized and prepared for a day on the slopes. “The bag’s Intuitive Packing System is genius, with purpose-built pockets for goggles (with super soft microfiber lining), balaclavas/face masks, apparel/layers, sunscreen and/or snacks and water, and of course, your boots on the sides with water-resistant material.”
OnTheSnow loved the skier-friendly features of the boot bag that make it easy to carry gear, and the best choice for 2015. The “hiking-grade adjustable shoulder and sternum straps and a pack-release option that allows you to take it off without hassle.”
OnTheSnow enthusiastically called out their favorite Powder Trekker feature. “We love the deployable helmet sling designed for carrying your helmet on the outside for space and stink reasons. It packs away in its own zippered pocket when you don’t need it.”
Read the review from OnTheSnow.
More Kulkea reviews. Read More
November 22 in Skiing Insights by Brion O'Connor Comments Off
Other necessities and how to pack them for the slopes
Most skiers and snowboarders will keep the “big” items in mind when packing for a day on the hill. Things like skis, boots, helmet, layers, gloves, goggles, wallet, and mobile phone are all pretty standard.
But oftentimes, it’s the “little” things that can make or break your outing. So, for starters, check out our trusty Kulkea ski gear checklist. That fairly comprehensive list includes accessories such as helmet, goggles/sunglasses, balaclava, ski boot bag, ski bag, and miscellaneous items like lip balm, sunscreen, hand warmers, winter hat or cap, and a gear lock.
But, remember, these items are just for starters. We spoke with a number of ski professionals and dedicated winter enthusiasts who recommended a number of other items that they consider essential. With a sturdy bag like the Kulkea Boot Trekker (which has been getting great reviews, including this one in Men’s Journal), you’ve got enough spare room to bring along all the necessities.
Duct tape. The granddaddy of all-purpose emergency repairs. Gloves, jackets, boots, and a variety of other items can all be fixed, at least temporarily, by this tough, sticky silver tape. And you don’t need the entire roll. Some skiers will wrap anywhere from 15 to 20 inches of duct tape right on their poles. However, cold weather can affect the adhesive and make the tape a little more difficult to work with. I prefer putting the same amount on a ballpoint pen, and leaving it in my boot bag.
Spare screw set. This is particularly important for snowboarders, as snowboard bindings are more prone to loosening to those on alpine skis. The same holds for telemark bindings, though to a lesser degree. That’s one of the reasons many ski areas are installing workbenches near the base lodge and chairlifts. But those benches provide the tools, not the actual screws (usually).
Multi-tool. Murphy’s Law dictates that the very moment you need a workbench, you can’t find one. In those instances, it’s nice to have your own tools. A Leatherman-style tool (or, as one friend calls it, a “McGyver-style tool”) should be in your bag. Full-size screwdrivers will give you more torque. The Brooks-Range Backcountry Multi-tool is one of the best of the lot. Though a little pricey (about $70), it is designed specifically for the backcountry, and features several blades, a bit driver combined with five bits (two Phillips, two flat, one Pozi, and one Torx), wire cutters, needle-nose and regular pliers, four sizes of wrenches, and a bottle opener (of course). Money well spent.
Tuning kit. If the conditions are on the icy side, you’ll want sharp edges. There are a number of terrific miniature tuning kits that allow you to bring your tuning table with you to the lodge and keep your edges sharp and smooth. One of the best is the Tognar Alpha ski tuning kit, with a 6-inch true bar, brake retainers, base repair candles, a set of three pocket diamond stones, edge file/bevel tool, brass file brush, and steel scraper. Perfect. But the Tognar kit is also one of the most expensive, at about $115 (though it’s money well spent). Dakine also makes a great kit, complete with all-temperature wax, P-tex, a wire brush, scuff pad, a scraper, and edge-tuning tools, in a convenient, low-profile zippered case, for under $60. At the very least, bring a pocket stone to work out any nasty burrs.
Lost and found. If you plan on a little backcountry adventure, you should have RECCO technology, which allows resorts and rescue teams to find lost skiers carrying RECCO reflectors. If you’re apparel is not RECCO-equipped, the Patagonia Tech Web belt ($45) is a must, and a great price-point for that technology. Massachusetts ski mom Nancy Eileen Williams, who spends a good portion of her winters at Sugarloaf in Maine, always makes sure her teenagers have an emergency whistle and compass if they’re going to do some off-piste glade skiing. In the same vein, a reliable headlamp with full-charged batteries is nice to have.
Spare change. Boston Herald travel editor Moira McCarthy suggests stashing a few $20 bills in those hard-to-find pockets of your boot bag and parka. That way, you’re never at a loss for cash when you need it. “I don’t know why I don’t take them out at the end of the season,” she said, laughing, “but I always feel like I won that money.” Likewise, a spare car key and spare condo key can come in handy.
Spare clothing. Beyond regular layers (including glove and boot liners), a toasty pair of wool socks is a real treat après ski. Race coach Vaughn Harring, who calls Wildcat in northern New Hampshire his home area, says that for those really rainy days, “I have some industrial rubber gloves. They work great in the wet, and you won’t trash your leather gloves or mittens.” Extra goggles aren’t a bad idea, either (consider different tints for different lighting conditions).
Snacks. If you’re a parent traveling with young children, snacks are an absolute must. Because when little ones get hungry, they get cranky (the very definition of “hangry”), and that can put the whole day in jeopardy. Truth is, hunger pangs can affect anyone. So a few energy bars (Clif Bar and Luna bars are personal favorites) can help take the edge off. Energy gels, such as GU or Hammer Gel, also work, though not quite as filing. Shot Bloks by Clif Bar are a big hit with kids. Beef jerky is terrific if you’re feeling iron deficient. Fresh fruit and dried fruit are also great options. Just don’t forget that you have it in your bag after you get back home. “And chocolate,” said travel writer Hilary Nangle who lives near Sugarloaf in Maine. “Always chocolate.”
Instant warmth. Tea bags are an elegant solution to warming up while saving a few bucks. Skiing isn’t cheap. Anytime you can save some money, that’s a good thing. If you bring your own tea bags, all you need is a free cup of hot water. For the kids, bring packets of instant hot chocolate.
Vitamin I. Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are a great way to take the edge off those nagging aches and pains that come with skiing and snowboarding into your 40s, 50s, and beyond. They’re especially popular with the telemark set and freestylers. However, you should be aware that the National Institutes of Health has stated that NSAIDs may carry a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, and may cause ulcers, bleeding, or holes in the stomach or intestine. So use with care. If you’re concerned, stick with aspirin.
Phone accessories. Our mobile phones have become our connection not only to family and friends, but the world around us (I absolutely LOVE my Urban Spoon app to find nearby restaurants when I’m in a new place, and my Yelp! App to provide reviews). Want proof? Think of how you feel when your phone dies unexpectedly. Plan for that inevitability by packing a back-up phone battery, a phone cable, and a phone AC plug. The Voxer app converts your cell phone into a walkie talkie, and is easier to use compared to texting or even the actual phone mode.
Personal grooming. Let’s be honest – one of the best aspects of skiing is après ski. There’s nothing wrong with sprucing up after your last run. Women have known this for generations (judging from all the micro-toiletries that she manages to squeeze into her over-sized purse). Toothpaste and toothbrush, maybe floss, comb and/or hairbrush are all compact and convenient. Don’t forget the breath mints.
Flask. Really, no explanation needed, right?
How to Buy Skis: Tips from an Insider
How to Buy Ski Boots: Tips from an Insider
Getting Ready for Ski Season
Ski Gear Checklist
November 11 in Skiing Insights by Steven Abramowitz Comments Off
The Right Stuff for Family Skiing
Experienced ski parents know that family skiing starts with having the right gear, apparel and accessories. Hitting the slopes under-prepared isn’t only frustrating, but can be very costly when you have to buy necessities at the Mountain. Here are a few tips to help your family have stress-free fun on the slopes.
- The “Stuff” List. Every skier in the family needs the right gear, apparel and accessories. See Kulkea’s printable Ski Gear Checklist.
- Keep them Warm & Dry. There’s no need to overspend when outfitting children, but the quality of the apparel is important. Rule #1 for skiing with children is keeping them warm & dry. If they get cold or wet it’s over. “A happy child means a happy parent!”
- Buy, Rent or Lease Skis, Boots, Poles & Helmet? This all depends where and how often you and the family expect to ski during the season so you will have to run some quick and easy numbers on the costs, but as a rough guide…
One or Two Days-Rent. Three Days+ Lease.
Note that many local ski shops offer reasonably priced seasonal leasing programs for skis, boots and poles. Other than a helmet you should be able to cover all of the gear for younger children through a lease. For older children you’ll likely end up buying at least some of the gear, so check for shops that offer seasonal buyback programs. Keep in mind that buying with hopes of passing gear down to a sibling is often an idea better in theory than in practice.
Traveling by Air to Ski?
You’ll likely be much happier using your own boots and helmet so bring them along. Make use of an organized ski boot bag to stow and keep track of your gear. Good skis and poles, on the other hand, can likely be rented at or near the mountain. Bringing your own skis and poles boils down to a cost versus convenience decision.
- Avoid Rental Shop Lines. If driving to the mountain and planning to rent, try off-mountain shops for convenience, selection and cost savings. If using the mountain rental shop try very early morning, or better yet, late afternoon the day before skiing. Don’t underestimate how poorly children and long rental shop lines mix.
Teaching Kids to Ski
Getting Ready for Ski Season
Ski Gear Checklist
Prepare to Ski
Photo: courtesy of Ski-Resorts.us