ACCESSORY ESSENTIALS 101
Accessory Essentials 101 - What the New Skier/Boarder Should Know
By Kathleen Harrigan
Here to have fun? You bet! Feel comfortable, warm and complete with these necessities for hittin’ the slopes this season.
While this may go without saying, I’ll say it anyway: you will definitely need ski or snowboard boots, and skis and poles if you’re skiing or a snowboard if you’re riding. All of these key components will be fitted to your size and ability level at the rental shop.
Back to accessories… Let’s go head to toe, starting with your heard. You have a perfectly shaped head - keep it that way and don a well fitted helmet. Besides protecting your head, helmets also keep your noggin warmer than a hat!
Next, wear a neck gaiter for the colder days; they are an updated scarf, essentially a tube of fabric, typically fleece. It will keep the breeze and snow off your face and neck that your jacket doesn’t quite cover. Assuming you want to see and not have tears streaming out of your eyes while you’re cruising the trails, be sure to grab a pair of goggles. These keep the wind and snow out, and are warmer than sunglasses.
You’ll need the clothing that does the job of keeping you dry while allowing freedom of movement. We recommend a form-fitted, but not too tight base layer top and bottom i.e.; long underwear to keep you warm and to wick the sweat away from your skin, so when you do stop (to ride the lift or catch your breath), you’ll stay that way. Next is the mid-layer that insulates you; wool, down or synthetic like a fleece will work great, try to avoid the cotton, it just doesn’t dry fast if it gets wet. Don’t let the colder temps keep you inside; if you need to, add another thin mid-layer to keep you playing on the really cold days! Then the outer layer should be a jacket and a pair of snowpants that are waterproof or water-resistant to shed that snow if you are getting the goods from mother nature above, or took a tumble in it below. You can find more detail at Ski NH’s Layering 101 page, presented by our partner The North Face.
Socks need their own section because they’re so important. First and foremost: NO COTTON! You should have tall socks that are not too thick, and well-fitting wool or synthetic should be your choice. A good sock should wick away the sweat, and keep you dry and warm. If your toes are toasty, it will make a big difference in your overall experience throughout the day.
Last but certainly not least for being prepared and comfy are your hands and those appendages we call fingers. Keem ‘em covered - your hands want to be dry, warm, and dexterous. If you’re snowboarding you still have to get your bindings on and off, without having to take your gloves or mitts on and off, so find a pair that are warm and waterproof and also allow you to do things like fasten bindings or use zippers.
A couple more things worth bringing along. Chapstick can be your best friend if your lips are chapped from cold, dry mountain air (or if you forgot to hydrate sufficiently - keep a water bottle in your bag in the lodge!). Sunscreen is also important, particularly on sunny or slightly overcast days. Ever seen someone with a google tan? Yeah, it’s kind of goofy looking. Protect any exposed skin with regular applications of sunscreen.