Beer après ski
As we approach the tail end of winter -- and some of the coldest weeks we've seen -- the family and I decided to head up to Massachusetts for a bit of skiing. I, luckily, get to stay in the house we rented and watch the 1-year-old cavort and eat stuff off the floor, but the wife and two little ones are on the slopes with a bunch of heavy duty gear.
What are they carrying? Here are my picks for gear to pack on your trip.
Columbia Omni-Heat Clothing - Two years ago, Columbia announced a line self-heating jackets that appeared on the market briefly and then disappeared. Because I cover so many gadgets, I was lucky enough to get one of these battery-powered, self-warming electronic jackets before they were recalled (apparently for no good reason), but in lieu of that, I'd recommend checking out the rest of the line. The Omni-Heat line is still surprisingly warm and high-tech enough for a gadget geek like me. The jackets and clothing use a special reflective liner to trap heat against your body, ensuring you stay toasty even in a lighter piece of clothing.
Jabra Solemate Speaker - We have a few speaker docks around the house but most of them use Apple's old port or won't work with Android phones. I now carry the Jabra Solemate with us when we travel because it's a light Bluetooth speaker that connects through the wireless to any telephone or to any headphone jack using an included wire. It's surprisingly small, offers some great sound, and is eminently portable. We no longer have to depend on the sound system in the hotel room or rental when we have this puppy blasting out our tunes.
Walkie-Talkies - Rather than depend on cellphone reception at the top of the mountain, we've taken to using cheap walkie-talkies to report our positions and plan lunch. These Cobra walkie talkies for $60 are solid and great in the snow and you can add extra units so everyone in the family can be talking on the same channel. The batteries usually last a few days as long as the kids aren't singing Call Me Maybe into them.
Touchscreen Gloves - They look a little goofy and they're a bit light, but touchscreen-compatible gloves are lifesaver on the slopes. This pair from North Face are good and there are a number of self-heating, battery-powered gloves with touchscreen pads. They work by tricking your screen into thinking your touching it with your bare hand. They're warm, work well, and are a great way to text when you're on the lift.
Do you use any technology when skiing?