Admit it: Most of us don’t get more than one or two true powder days per season. So when there are 18 inches of fresh under the chair, you better be ready to maximize your turns. That means layering for a full day on the slopes in variable temperatures, stashing snacks in your pocket (forget about the midday lodge break), and planning your lines before they get skied out. Here are six pieces of gear to help you score every possible fresh turn on a day with hero snow.
DPS Skis Wailer 112 RPC (From $799)
There are lots of fat, reverse-camber skis that will keep you stoked and floating on a powder day, but my personal favorite is DPS Skis’ Wailer 112 RPC. I’m on my third season with the Pure3 and continue to be blown away by how well these skis float—take these babies through anything deeper than about five inches and it’s almost impossible to sink the tips. They’re also insanely lightweight and make great backcountry touring skis.
Flylow Lab Coat 2.0 Jacket ($480)
The Flylow Lab Coat 2.0 comes with a removable powder skirt, waterproof zippers, and every seam taped. I found that it kept me dry on even the deepest of days. It’s built from Polartec Neoshell, one of the most waterproof and breathable fabrics I’ve ever tested.
Honey Stinger Organic Gingersnap Waffles ($22)
Honey Stinger’s gingersnap waffles taste just as great after a long day of skiing as they do when you’re loading first chair. I like them because they don’t freeze during the day and are packed with 160 calories—not bad for a thin disk that fits in your pocket.
Smith Optics I/O Goggles ($175)
Smith Optics’ I/O was the first goggle on the market with a lens that is ridiculously easy to swap out. Even today, its interchangeable lens system is still one of the best I’ve tested. Bring an extra lens on a powder day—it’ll come in handy if the first one starts to fog or the light goes flat.
Stanley Mountain Coffee System ($60)
It’s much easier to persuade your buddy to catch first chair if you show up at his house bearing coffee. Stanley’s Mountain Coffee System makes a liter of coffee in one go and comes with a packable filter and two integrated cups. The double-walled, vacuum-sealed container keeps drinks warm for up to 16 hours, so you can enjoy a warming cup at day’s end, too.
POC Fornix Helmet ($160)
Not only is a helmet safer than a hat, it’s also much warmer. I like the POC Fornix because it’s lightweight (just under a pound) and feature rich, with adjustable head and goggle vents. Bonus: The sleek, simple styling doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing a huge, awkward bulb on your head.