Accessories & Gadgets
Body Armor As you work your way up the line of tricks to stomping the landing of that 540 mute grab, you might have a crash landing or two along the way. And while the "No pain, no gain" mantra is as true here as in the rest of the world, wise skiers and snowboarders take steps to minimize the impact of the learning curve so they can get the most out of each season. PRO-TEC's IPS hip pads for men and women ($54.95 at rei.com) cushion your hips, butt, and tailbone — often, a first point of contact in the event of a tumble.
Multi-Tools For fixing loose bindings or adjusting your stance trailside, these all-in-one pocket tools will make anyone a MacGyver of the mountain. DaKine's Torque Driver ($10 at rei.com) is a bare-bones screwdriver/wrench set, while Columbia River's Get-A-Way Driver Tool and Flashlight ($14.95 at rei.com) illuminates the task at hand for night riders. Meanwhile, even the most advanced tinkerers will find that the Swiss Army SwissTool Spirit X Multi-Tool ($95 at rei.com) provides all the options they need for everything but on-site surgery.
Tune-Up Kits No matter where your skis or snowboard fall on the price spectrum, you'll get peak performance with regular upkeep. For the DIY-er on your list, a tune-up kit is the perfect marriage of necessity and convenience. DaKine's Super Tune 110-volt Snowboard Tuning Kit ($84.95 at amazon.com) is a portable maintenance shop, with scrapers, wax, an iron, edge sharpener, buffer, and brush. One Ball Jay's Hot Wax Kit ($79.99 at amazon.com) is similarly outfitted, minus the edge sharpener. Fill this void with the Wintersteiger Quick Sharp Diamond Tool ($26.95 at rei.com), which comes with three stones. Looking to ditch the iron and travel a little lighter? The DaKine Deluxe Tune-Up Kit ($45 at rei.com) is the perfect, compact bundle for on-the-road care.
Snow/Ski DVDs Warren Miller, winter sports' most acclaimed filmmaker, has been making ski-and-snowboard movies for more than 50 years, and his talent is virtually unmatched. You'd be hard-pressed to find fault with any of his titles — after all, he has access to the best athletes and terrain in the world — and recent releases like Warren Miller's Playground ($29.99/Blu-Ray; $14.99/DVD) and Warren Miller's Dynasty ($29.93/BluRay; $14.99/DVD) will amaze any snow rider.
Of course, no ski-film list would be complete without director Savage Steve Holland's hilarious '80s cult fave Better Off Dead ($12.99/DVD), which features John Cusack as Lane Meyer, a high-school ski-team racer whose heart is broken when his girlfriend dumps him, and who gets caught up in an intricate, absurd web of circumstances while prepping for a downhill competition that he hopes will win her back.