Gear, Home, News

Get it in Gear

Our swanky new Salomon snowboarding gear

The start of the year is a great time to take inventory of your ski and snowboarding gear. Blog entry 2 for Colorado Ski Country delves into whether to rent or buy, what’s new in  hard goods for snowboarding for someone who hasn’t boarded in awhile. If you’re like me, I hung up my snowboard when I became a mom and when my son, Ames reached the age to hit the slopes, skiing seemed like the place to start. I intended to get back to my snowboard sooner but suddenly, Ames is in already in fifth grade. He’s a strong skier and has taken one snowboarding lesson. I decided this year, with Colorado Ski Country’s Fifth Grade Passport, this would be the year to for us to both snowboard. We aren’t ready to turn our backs on skiing. I’ve always been a fair-weathered snowboarder. When living in Salt Lake City in the 90s, I’d put both my skis and snowboard on my roof rack. I’d board out the powder in the morning and if it got icy or too packed, I’d switch back to skis after lunch. So we’ll continue to ski this season, but I’m so eager to get to snowboard again after so many years and share that with my son. Read my blog entry 2 here.





Yoga/Surfing retreat gear that strikes a stylish pose

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Ummmmm. Wondering what to pack for that yoga/surfing retreat like Shiva Rea’s upcoming Riding the Vinyasa Wave- a Prejuvanative Retreat at Wanderlust Festival February 23-March 1st at Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii?

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 5.54.52 PMHere are a few ideas that are sure to make a splash.Let’s start with the bag. Gaiam’s Tree of Wisdom Cargo Bag is roomy enough to hold any yoga mat, has an adjustable strap and roomy pocket for your water bottle, keys, and essentials so you can get to class hands free. Priced at just $19.98, it’s sheer genius.






WTE10333-thOne mat company that’s on a roll with its non-toxic (free of chloride, PVC or latex) is PurEarth’s 2 Ultimate 3mm yoga mat ($44.99) At 60% lighter than PVC mats, it’s ideal for travel. The closed cell design makes it bacteria and moisture resistant. Its ultimate grip traction means even in the sweatiest of Bikram classes it won’t turn into a slip n’ slide.


Styles that let you get down with your downward dog

Be Present’s agility pants ($65) AGILITY_PACIFIChave darts at the knees and back slits that let you kick up into handstand without splitting a seam. Low-rider, drawstring waist and a wick-away cotton/Lycra/spandex blend keeps you as cool as you look.







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Prana’s Dreaming Top ($69) sports a uniquely webbed back strap and shelf bra with removable cups.







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And for those whose girls need a little more support than an elastic shelf, with a sports bra, top it off with Prana’s Ariel top  ($60)







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Feel a breeze? Zip up in this Bright Stripe Strength fleece hoodie by Athleta ($118)  with two front kangaroo pockets perfect for things like your cold hands.





If fleece seems overkill, and all you need is a  coverup that will breathe, Lulumon’s Rollin’ with  my Omie’s Hoodie  ($108) is made of softy french  terry.




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Polish the whole look off with one of Prana’s seashells bucket hat ($39) 50+ USP, foldable for travel, mesh headband wicks away moisture, foam brim floats in water.  Wide brim keeps the harmful sunrays off and the good karma in. is a great one-stop shopping site for yoga/surf wear. Their own house brand and select others feature designs that are as funky as they are functional.

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For après surfing, sport this Wick-it Wader Cover Up ($69) with UPF 50+ fabric.





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Athleta’s swimwear offers separate tops and bottoms for a better fit. This Tara halter tankini ($72) provides great support to ride thru the heaviest surf and your choice of swim bottoms-ebb, low, medium or full tide swimsuit bottoms or a variety of swim shorts and skirts.




Paired with a matching Colorblock stripe rashguard ($69Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 7.35.05 PM) and you’ll be hanging ten in style.





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Reef’s Sandy flip-flops ($28) were made for walkin’. That’s because they’ve got awesome arch support thanks to their durable high density outsole. Its brushed EVA footbed provides better traction.



Looking this cool, you’ll need shades like these Nalani’s by Maui Jim ($279). 100% UV protection and sand/scratch resistant. Salute the sun in these and the sun may just salute you back. With so many stylish choices let’s finish with an, “Ummmmmm” what to buy first?


Layering 101: More than just looking smart on the slopes

Ames-layering101Mommy n’ Me Hit the Ski Slopes

Hitting the slopes for the first time with a little one can mean shelling out big dollars. Mini sized name brand ski apparel doesn’t always come at a mini price tag. Skimping on quality could result in your 4 yr old declaring an hour into your week vacation that he’s cold and hates skiing.

Starting with a base layer, choose silk, wool or polyester or a wick-away poly blend. Steer clear of old-school cotton long johns as the minute they get wet, cold sets in. Base layer weight is dictated by geography and weather conditions. Obviously wet-cold icy Killington, VT is going to demand something heavier than a dry-cold Park City, UT. And, you might have seasonal Spring-like conditions or an unforgiving winter storm.

Next up is your mid-layer piece. Think fleece and neoprene. Tights for leggings. A breathable pullover, with a zip-down turtleneck for on top. Layers are intended to peel off and put back on as needed.

Base layers   I’m a smartwool fan for mom and kids on base layers. What’s smart about it? It isn’t the itchy wool you knew from your youth. Trust me, as a mom of a kid with sensory issues, I’d know. My son loves his. Breathes better than synthetics. Moths love them too so put cedar in your drawers and store in ziplocks in the off season to avoid having to stitch up holes.

Mom: Women’s PhD NTS Light 195 Wind Zip T and Women’s NTS PhD Mid 250 Bottom Pattern Bottom

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Kids:  Smartwool turtleneck and bottoms

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Midlayers A comfy fitted midlayer, preferable with a turtle that zips will work best from shaded early morning chill to mid day sun.

Mom: Columbia Glacial III half zip fleece pullover


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Kids: Colombia Boy’s Glacial Fleece half zip

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Top it all off with a water-proof, wind-proof outer shell with a storm hood and pit zips. Generous pockets for Kleenex, chapstick, snack and a small water bottle (particularly important at altitude.) If your jacket doesn’t have ample pockets, opt for a hydration mini backpack like Camelbak suited for winter (with a sleeve that fits over the hose to prevent water freezing).

Mom: The Caper 14 is large enough for 3 liters of water (more than you need skiing, but great for other winter sports snow shoeing or winter hiking when you need more hydration + carries your lunch and room to peel off layers for spring skiingScreen Shot 2015-01-30 at 7.42.41 PM.Kids: Camelbak Scorpion is a one size but small enough to cinch up for bigger kids. Carries 2 liters of water + room for a snack.

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Final accessories are often the biggest afterthought but most important. From the top, a helmet. Not a hat. Think, “Mom, I can’t stop!” and an ill-placed tree.

Mom: Smith Helmets , pricier than GIRO, another popular brand, but Smith offers a variety of styles with good comfort, venting and warmth. Unlike your child’s head, your helmet should last a while provided your head doesn’t become one with a tree.

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Kid: Bolle helmet A good fit is key. Kids heads grow faster than you might think so don’t assume it will fit from one season to the next. Two seasons is about right per helmet purchase.

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Goggles with UV protection (snow on a sunny day can be blinding.) And if your child wears glasses, they make goggles specifically suited to go over glasses. Don’t just put an adult sized cinched up. Ones specifically suited for glasses offer more depth your glasses won’t fog and the foam on the sides is cut out for the temples.

Mom: Smith makes high end optics worth spending a little more on than your child if you think you’re less likely to drop yours off the chairlift or sit on them. These offer superior anti-fog and clarity in the lenses.

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Kids:  Anon makes affordable ones with UV protection.

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A neck gaiter for wind protection. Waterproof, wind-proof mittens (warmer than gloves and easier to put on.)

Mom: Northface neck Gaiter Fleece is still my personal fav. The neoprene face masks which go up over the mouth/nose smell like a wetsuit and don’t breath as well as fleece.

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Kid: Bula neck gaitor. At $13, it’s does the job.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 7.01.33 PMA thin wick-away moisture ski sock. Thick socks make your feet sweat and can make a boot too tight, cutting off circulation.

Mom: Smartwools’ Phd downhill racer sock 

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Kid: Smartwool

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Moms: Kombi Pro Skier Gloves

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Mom: Women’s Millenium Blur jacket is light weight enough for spring, sans a mid layer. I bought mine up a size so I could add a mid layer in colder months.

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Kids: Columbia Bugaboo is 3 jackets in 1 with a zip out fleece liner jacket. I’ve bought this jacket 3 times in a row for my son as I always find it at the outlet on sale. It’s grow system means you’ll get more than one season out of it.

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Ski pants

Mom: NILS Melissa Ski pants (available in short, regular and long). While I love Columbia for jackets, they don’t make pants in long length (they make plus sizes but don’t cater to varying heights in women.) NILS are super comfy and flattering.

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Kids: Killtec ski pant w/ zip off bib With bibs, you can get away with buying up a size for kids without them falling off. If they scrunch a little around the ankles, no biggie. With a child in the 99% for height, my son is constantly going through a growth spurt.

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Apres ski boots At the end of ski day, you’ll want these toasty comfy boots waiting to greet you.

Mom: Sorel Joan of Arctic boot


Kids: Northside Frosty Snow Boot

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What to wear is followed by the where to get it without having to tap into your child’s 529 college fund.

The Colombia outlet is a good starting point. In February you’ll find, for example, a $140 jacket priced at $20. Perhaps not in the variety of color choices earlier in the season. But at 20 bucks, who cares? If you live in an area with pre-season ski sales (like we do in Colorado) you can find steals at places like Sports Authority’s Sniagrab (bargans spelled backwards) sale labor day weekend. In Colorado, Sports Authority (and may of their competitors) offer deals on kids’ equipment for $99 for brand new skis, boots, poles to rent for the entire season. Should your child outgrown them mid season, you can swap them out (provided they still have the size up in stock of course.)

You might check ebay or craigslist for a good buy. What you will find at most ski shops are plenty of markdowns that, once you resell on ebay or craislist when your child outgrows, could lessen the blow on your pocketbook. Many brands of outerwear have a “grow with me” system where you can let down the hem on the pant legs and arm cuffs. And a bib with adjustable suspender straps will add length as your child grows in the torso. You should be able easily get 2 seasons out of your outerwear.



Luggage With Little Baggage


There’s an art to picking just the right piece of luggage for just the right trip. On the outside: a hard shell spells durability for fragile items inside. Soft nylon means it expands easier to stuff one more heavy coat, or treasures from a shopping spree while away. These days, travelers must be ever more mindful of weight to avoid surcharges. Wheels make maneuvering easier for you and the bellman. The increasingly-popular 360 degree four wheeled spinners work best on smaller bags when shimmying sideways down the aisle of the plane. Two wheels are more ideal for bulkier bags. The bag’s shape matters a lot to the handlers stacking them in the belly of the plane. Four-sided hard-cased fair better than soft-sided (and often overstuffed) bags. Two handles hold up better than one as that’s the grab point where bag handlers may hurl them. If you’re looking for an easier time of spotting your bag circling around the conveyor belt, you might opt for one of the trendier bold colors more popular today. On the inside of bags, there are more options to consider. Dividers, straps, hidden compartments, built-in shelves and a multitude of ways to divvy up your haul. Here’s a cargo load of bags with noteworthy features to add to your collection.

The Ready-For-Anything Sporty Bag

Spectra™ Global Carry-On

8878278934558_31318203__000_F_66260_eps_1As functional as the iconic knife from which it hails. Roomy enough for all your travel tools of the trade. Its rugged crush-proof exterior means a Swiss Alps avalanche couldn’t crush it. Perfect for those trips with the whole family. Four dual-wheels spin 360 degrees. The pull trolley handle adjusts to 3 different heights. The combination lock allows airport security in, potential thief out. A tracking system (a serial number with a lost and found phone number) adds another level of keeping tabs on your bags. Sport it in red to match your Swiss army knife.

The Oh Yes It Will Fit In The Overhead Bag

Briggs & Riley Baseline CX Expandable Carry-On

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 11.42.27 AMThis better mousetrap of a carry-on has found a way to pack 25% more, then cinch it down to fit in the overhead (even by international standards.) Pack up to 6 day’s worth of clothes without having to visit baggage claim. Its tri-fold garment suiter can hold up to two suits. And because it’s lightweight, you don’t have to be able to bench press much to lift it up over your head for take off. Available in black or olive.


The 360 Degrees Is How I Roll Bag

Rinowa Salsa Multi-wheel Silver

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 12.10.36 PMFour dual set of Spinner wheels rotate this uber cool bag 360 degrees. Holds 3.9cf of stuff. Translation? That’s a lot of salsa ensembles with room for matching maracas too. Jet-setter silver will have fellow travelers wondering if you’re a diamond dealer or starring in the next bond film.

The room for the whole family Bag

Tumi Tegra-Lite™ 32” Extended Trip Packing Case

28129TG_mainRoomy enough to pack the whole family’s clothes for a week. All the bells you’d hope to find (retractable handle, TSA locks, 2 gripping handles top and bottom, removable garment bag for hangup clothes). Plus some whistles you hadn’t thought of (made of the same material used to protect NASCAR drivers and NFL football players.) Rugged enough to tackle anything, or be tackled by anyone even at high speeds.


The My Ship’s Just Come In Trunk

 Globetrotter Cruise 33″ Extra Deep Suitcase With Wheels

Picture 4034 “Could you get my trunk, please?” Sounds so much more chic than, “Can you get my bag?” Fit for British royalty. Queen Elizabeth II sported it on her honeymoon. Royal blue with contrasting navy leather trim and royal blue pinstripes on brilliant-white cotton cloth lining. You may find yourself speaking with just a bit of a British accent by the time you finish packing it and bidding folks a fine, Cheerio. This look of yesteryear trunk comes with today’s easy-to-maneuver wheels.

The Clothes Horse Bag

Delsey Helium Fusion 3.0

27853BD-1If you’ve got a hang up about carrying a garment bag, this one’s for you. Two (in-line skate) wheels make it easier to roll, no matter how much you pack. Worried about exceeding airline weight restrictions? You’ll love the built-in weight indicator allowing you to determine if it’s over 50 lbs. Recessed locking hand trolley allows for one-hand operation. Blue helps you spot it coming off the conveyor belt in baggage claim.

Mommy’s Little Helper

 Visionair’s PodPal

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 12.18.13 PM This bag comes with every bell and whistle you could hope for in a carry-on with an added plus: an iPad (or other electronic device) holder. Ants-in-the-pants-itis and potential meltdowns (by kids of all ages) are averted with a movie or a slideshow of photos from your trip with this nifty feature. Visionair also makes some of the most fun prints in other bags they carry like Felix the Cat, The Beatles and other easy to spot festive prints.

 The Best Seat In The House Bag

ZÜCA Pro Travel Ruby Red/Silver

10569 This carry-on is like a mini dresser on wheels. Five removable, color-coded stacking compartments include a TSA-approved transparent toiletry bag. Arrange by undergarments, shirts, shorts, swimsuits or by coordinated outfits. Or how about a rolling jewelry case and makeup bag? (Just be cognizant of TSA’s 3-1-1 rule on liquid/gel items you’re permitted to carry on board.) If the flight lounge is full, not to worry, the top serves as a built-in seat.

The No Need to Air Your Dirty Laundry Bag

 Genius Packer 22″ Carry On

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 12.22.00 PMThis nifty carry-on touts a separate (and compressible) laundry chute to tuck away dirty laundry and keep it separate from your clean clothes. Add in the exterior water bottle holder, magazine pouch, and belt to clip on a suit jacket and wheels that spin 360 degrees for an even smarter bag. Plus it with a pouch for a micro umbrella, mini speaker and battery pack phone charger ( each of these items sold separately) and this thing’s Mensa material.

Shop Till You Drop Bag

Biaggi’s ZipSak 22″ MicroFold Carry-On

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 12.25.49 PMThis bag’s perfect for  bringing home shopping finds. It fits into its own micro bag to tuck into an outbound bag if you prefer. After you shop for more than could possible fit into your checked luggage, voila, this thing can hold quite a bit and fit into the overhead. Made of thick durable (yet lightweight) nylon in a variety of colors. Tucks (and compacts) neatly away under a bed or in a drawer for storage. Four sturdy spinner wheels make it easy for navigating airline aisles.