So you’ve decided to cross Highland Bowl off of your ski checklist. You’ve planned your trip and read advice from local experts, now it’s time to make sure you have the gear to make the hike-up and ski down as enjoyable as possible. Here’s a rundown of the items you’ll want to make the journey one to remember.
Ski Carrier, $40
Aspen Snowmass sells a simple carrying device called the Ski Carrier that you put on like a backpack-it has shoulder straps and a waist belt-but there’s no pack or pockets, just straps for affixing a pair of skis. You can find the branded ski carrier at Four Mountain Sports in Aspen Highlands, Aspen, and Snowmass.
Mystery Ranch D Route Pack, $119
The D Route from Mystery Ranch is designed as a “ridge pack,” so it fits the bill for inbounds hiking up Highland Bowl. It has room for an avy Kit, extra goggles, or a puffy jacket. This pack has a slender profile that won’t nudge you uncomfortable forward on the chairlift. Its stowable web loop accommodates the widest skis for a stable, diagonal carry. Access your gear in the pack’s main compartment at the summit via the D Route’s top-loading opening. www.mysteryranch.com
Dakine Mission Pro 25L Pack, $125
The Mission Pro offers horizontal and vertical snowboard carrying options (or a diagonal ski carry). A padded waist belt keeps the load comfortable on the hike up. The pack has enough interior cargo space for snow tools, extra layers, and a hydration system. Dakine’s Impact Spine Protector fits into the pack (sold separately), which is constructed of a soft, flexible foam that absorbs shock by hardening on impact. www.dakine.com
Hydro Flask 32-ounce Wide Mouth Bottle, $40
Hydro Flask offers a durable water bottle made with professional-grade stainless steel. The wider opening makes it easy to fill and to sip from. Thanks to its double-wall insulation, drinks will stay warm for 12 hours or ice cold for 24 hours.
The North Face Respirator, $130
The TNF Respirator ¾ Zip is a hyper-breathable mid-layer designed specifically for backcountry ascents. The shirt is made of a grid fleece fabric engineered to wick moisture. The two-thirds-length zipper allows for quick ventilation. And its stretchy hood is designed to fit under a helmet.
Chaos Paramount Focus beanie, $23
The Paramount reversible beanie is made with a new Primaloft Silver Performance Yarn. This new fabric fuses lightweight water-repellent Primaloft fibers with ultrafine gauge merino wool a quick-drying hat that the company says is as soft as cashmere.
Sweet Protection Igniter MIPS Helmet, $239
Adjustable vents at the front of the Igniter helmet and 16 vents at the top will help keep you from overheating on the boot-pack up. This lightweight helmet has Sweet’s “Impact Shield” technology, designed to absorb impact in vulnerable spots. MIPS technology helps reduce the rotational forces that often occur in an impact on the slopes. The earpads are also removable to make the helmet more breathable.
Shred Slam-Cap No-Shock Helmet, $200
From Shred, the brainchild of Ted Ligety, the Slam-Cap No-Shock features a 3-position vent switch to adjust airflow. Open up the vents for the hike up, close them for the descent. The Slam-Cap has a low profile, lightweight construction. Its safety package is twofold: To dissipate oblique impacts to the head, Shred has its own rotational energy management technology that mimics, via a series of floating contact points between the helmet’s liner and padding, the natural cushioning of the fluid between your skull and your grey matter. The helmet also has Slytech’s NoShock tech, a honeycomb foam designed to mitigate direct impacts.
Head KORE 93, $750.00
On the hike up, you want a ski that is lightweight, but on the descent, it’s stability and flotation in powder that become a priority. The Head Kore 93 splits the difference. Head fuses Graphene at the tip and tail, adds a shock-absorbing honeycomb material called “Koroyd,” and replaces the ski’s traditional topsheet with a polyester fleece (it’s called Topless Tech) to create one of the lightest-weight skis in its category. A layer of carbon woven into the wood core enhances stability and edge trip.
Helen Olsson is the author of The Down & Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids. She blogs about outdoor adventures with kids at maddogmom.com