A day of skiing or snowboarding consists of glorious hits of exhilaration interspersed with glacial stretches waiting in line for lifts—and often, the key to maximizing the fun and minimizing the cold is how well you prepare. Along with a neck gaiter, waterproof gloves, and, of course, snacks (one Wirecutter staffer stashes mini Snickers bars in all his pockets), consider bringing along the following items to ensure your day is memorable in all the right ways.
Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50, $9 from Amazon
This has the same active ingredients as our favorite sunscreen, but it’s a solid stick—way easier to reapply without having to take off your gloves.
Platypus SoftBottle, $8 from Amazon
Even though flat, floppy water bottles aren’t the best for everyday life, they’re great for sliding into the inner pocket of your winter coat, or the top pocket of your snow bibs.
Outdoor Technology Chips 3.0 Bluetooth Helmet Speakers, $130 from Amazon
Eve O’Neill, a snowboarder and senior staff writer on Wirecutter’s outdoors team, swears by these: “They’re 100 percent better than AirPods or headphones,” which press against the side of your head under a helmet—and if you drop one you’ll never find it again in the snow. If your snow helmet has ear warmer pockets (and many do), these slide right in and can be turned on and off without having to access your phone.
Hangtime Koala 2.0 Super-Grip Phone Harness, $30 from Hangtime
Clip the cord of this harness to a bib strap or the edge of a zipper—now you can text from the chairlift without fear of dropping your phone.
Celestron Elements FireCel+, $51 from Amazon
Recharge this portable hand warmer from your car’s USB port or charger, then slide it into a glove or jacket pocket on your way to the slope. It can run for over 7 hours, and even charge a device––which you’ll definitely need to track down your friends when it’s time to hit the lodge!
If you have a whole family you’re trying to supply, then HotHands Hand Warmers are an option. These disposable packets come in a box of 40, are less expensive, and are small enough to fit into a glove. Plus they’re TSA-okay.
GoPro Hero9 Black, $360 from Walmart
Given this camera’s excellent overall video quality, new integrated mount design, ridiculously effective image stabilization, and smart hyperlapse mode, nothing else can compete.