When it is time to go skiing or snowboarding it only takes me a few minutes to get out the door. Of course, it takes some time to dress with base layer, selected socks, and top (ski shirt) and bottom (ski pants). I admit that it may be a bit obsessive to organize a "get away" bag of accessories; but the next step to get on the snow quickly entails reaching into my oversized bag that is in my living room to get the accessories needed.

For XC SKIING the bag includes the following:

3 pairs of xc ski gloves including light for spring-like warm days, regular winter days, and extra insulated for cold days;

Belt pack that has emergency (hand and toe warmers, matches, knife, repair tool, sun cream, scraper, compass, and some speed wax. Depending on how cold it is, I might add a neck gaiter to the pack and often a spare pair of light gloves to replace wet gloves;

There is also a water bottle in a net pouch on the belt pack and a very old wrapped granola bar in a zipped side pocket;

1 pair of sunglasses in a case;

3 headbands for warm, regular and colder days;

1 hat and 2 skull caps (new and old);

2 neckgaiters;

2 headlights (you need to have the extra one for your spouse or a friend to ski at night);


Additional hand and toe warmer packs and sun cream.

Obviously, skiers who use waxable skis have an assortment of waxing paraphernalia. I use only waxless skis and only occasionally hot wax my ski bases, so I keep my waxing items in a separate bag in the garage.

As a snowboarder, I keep some additional items for SNOWBOARDING in the accessories bag, which include the following:


2 pairs of gloves for regular and cold weather and a pair of extra glove liners;

3 pairs of goggles including an extra old pair with dark lenses and a pair with yellow lens for overcast days;

1 runaway strap (some ski areas still require it);

1 small accessory bag that includes an extra stomp pad, 5 different replacement binding straps, spare boot laces, 2 runaway straps, bag with various binding screws and washers; chunk of hard wax, tin of paste wax, and antifog lens cleaner in rub-on and spray versions.

The value of this preparedness bag is untold. Within the bag, the gloves are kept clipped together so it is easy to find a pair when needed. When getting ready for a ski trip near or far, the bag can be thrown in the car and that eliminates the need to worry about remembering any accessories. My daughter has followed my lead and created her own accessories bag. This winter when she was on college break, we were able to get out the door in less than 10 minutes from the time that we agreed to go snowboarding. And that includes checking the ski area website for conditions and the trail/lift report.

When going on nearby ski outings, I often will do a test ski on the short trails from my driveway to decide about the temperature and snow conditions. Afterward, I can easily dip into the bag to change any of the accessories that I need. Next is selecting the skis or snowboard, getting into the car, and away I go. Living so close to xc ski trails and alpine ski areas is indeed a blessing, but being organized makes it so easy to focus on what counts, which is getting outdoors and on to the snow.