Review: Ski Weekender gear and gadgets of 2013 – Part One

Put away your crocs, capris and bikinis, get out the crock-pot and trade in the convertible for an SUV… It’s officially winter!  

That means hot cocoa, snowball fights and ski weekenders.  We all know to bring our warm clothes, our skis or boards and our boots, but what about the things you don’t know about?  

Monsters and Critics’ guest contributor Karen V. Stevens put together a list of things you never knew you needed to make this a great mini vacay with you and your friends, family or that special someone.

Let’s start at the top and work our way down:


Wearing a beanie doesn’t mean you have to be one of those annoying hipsters who listens to Mumford & Sons while sipping chai lattes made with hemp milk, which by the way is delicious!  But, I digress.

I tried out the new Headsweats headwear and let me just say… CONVERT!!  Now, I don’t condone wearing beanies in 90 plus degree weather but in the cold and the snow, it’s a great thing.  And, you can comfortably wear it under your helmet, which is great for those of us who love to ski but hate riding on the ski lift because it’s like being a popsicle in a subzero while Jack Frost is taking a honkin’ huge bite out of your nose. 

So, I wore the Performance Beanie, it’s made of fleece and has a band around the bottom edge which makes for a snug fit.    I also fell for the Thermal Reversible Beanie in black and blue.  Confession time, I love reversible clothing.  It’s like getting a two-fer and it makes packing easier.  Hey, I think I’ll go hipster black in the morning… and then bam, next hour, I’m being all cool in royal blue.


Bringing a beard to your mountain log cabin now has new meaning… you are actually bringing a beard to keep your face warm… not a “beard” to keep your face warm! Ahem! 

Let’s say you are on the chair lift and a gale wind hits you square in the face, or you are skiing down the mountain at 30 miles an hour you realize that your cheeks have turned into frozen apples, well the BeardSki is definitely for you. 

It’s a wrap-around face warmer that looks like a long beard.  More specifically, it’s an insulated ski mask that is lined in neoprene surrounded by a 12” long synthetic beard.  It covers your ears, face and neck.  The BeardSki idea came up when a group of buddies were playing poker. 

Here’s how I imagine that conversation went:

Guy 1.  Dude my face is cold

Guy 2.  You need a beard, brah

Guy 3.  We should all have beards… shaving sucks

Guy 4.  Pass me another brew, dude

Guy 5.  Let’s shred the mountain tomorrow

Guy 1.  I wish I had something to keep my face warm… it’s so cold on the slopes

Guy 2.  Stop being such a Wuss

Guy 3.  Let’s make him a beard so he will shut up.

Guy 4.  Yeah chicks totally dig that, look at all the chicks that love ZZ Top …

Guy 5.  Hey dudes… Are we playing poker or coming up with a really cool new invention to keep warm and get chicks?

Guy 2. Buuuuuurp

Can I just say…  I love the BeardSki!  It really did keep my face warm and even though I looked a mite rabbinical or Amish, (depending on your religious slant) I made people laugh when I skied right by them

Beardskis come in a variety of styles and colors, my favorite is Beardski Zeke, cuz we all need a flash of red on the mountain.  They run about $35.00.  And I would like to add the perfect tag line for the Beardski marketers…

It’s like a merkin for your face!


The world is a whacky place. So why not be whacky on the slopes….

Here’s a little secret I just discovered.  Halloween has great ski hats, seriously… I mean for reals!! 

They offer whimsical and interactive hats that make you really stand out on the slopes.  I mean really stand out, like… look at me everyone, I’m so cool I can wear this crazy hat and still look cool!  You could wear a Grinch hat or be the Lorax or sport sexy Mouse Ears or rock the Chewbacca hat. 

Can’t find your friend? Just look for the Grinch coming down the mountain or the Waldo who fell in the snow bank.

This affordable head gear will keep you warm and make a weird kind of fashion statement at the same time. Plus, when you are done skiing for the day, you can still wear these hats while bar hopping… total conversation starters:

“Where’s Waldo?”  “On my head… can I buy you a drink”….

Who knows, maybe you can meet the man of your dreams because you have Chewbacca on your head (I guarantee that he’s a Star Wars geek too).


I love the cold weather but I hate having cold ears… That is the one body part that doesn’t do well in the cold.  Must be because I have big ears, when I was a child my mean sister, Suzy, used to call me Dumbo! 

Lucky me, there’s an uber chic virtual boutique that showcases the latest undiscovered brands and up-and-coming designers.  It’s called  That’s where I discovered the Three Bird Nest Knitted Bow Headband Ear Warmer ($38.00).  It’s a hand knitted wide headband (4.5’) with an enormous bow that is probably the cutest thing I have seen in a long time. 

Its uber-retro that brings back the shabby chic-ness of the turn of the century, it adds a flavor or romance to whatever après-ski outfit you are wearing.  This will definitely make all the ski-shionistsas jealous and all the boys stop and stare for all the right reasons.

Sometimes a vacation means putting your hair in a ponytail cuz you just don’t want to spend time with the blow dryer or the flat iron or the curlers… Am I right ladies?  

That’s why I think Peekaboos are a Godsend to all us lazy chicks on vacation.  These cable knit winter hats have a hidden opening for a ponytail to peek out.  Actually there are two opening, depending on the length of your hair.  You can go high and sexy or low and sporty.

The Peekaboo hat was accidentally invented by a college student who wasn’t very good at knitting and made a hole where it shouldn’t have been, and voila.  The Peekaboo ponytail hat is a patent pending invention of incorporating openings right into the patterns! 

Peekaboos are available at:


(Photo: Peekaboos Ponytail Hats Founder Holding Dog Named Harvey)


Having blue eyes has always made me feel special and pretty. I have always used them to my best advantage. I can look dreamy, sexy or angry.  But what I can’t do is deal with the glare that comes from skiing down a pristine white slope. 

What they don’t tell you about blue eyes is that we are very light sensitive, which makes skiing a bitch.  So I can’t skimp on goggles.  There are really cute cheap goggles out there that I can’t use because, lets face it, they suck for my light sensitive situation. There are really amazing and costly goggles out there that I can’t afford unless I cash a bond.  

Enter Julbo Goggles.  Julbo have perfected the art of photochromic lens, you know, the magic lenses that automatically transition depending on the lighting conditions. For example, when it is bright and sunny in the afternoon the lens are dark and protective, but if it gets stormy in the afternoon they become lighter enhancing the visibility and avoiding flat light. 

All of their goggles have really cool names that make you feel like the best bad-ass out there like, Meteor or Orbiter or Sniper… and they are moderately priced for winter worthy goggles;  between $100-$200

I’m sure you are asking me, “but Karen, what if I don’t like wearing goggles and prefer to wear sunglasses…” not to fear, grasshopper!  Julbo also has sunglasses specifically designed for skiers. 

Monte Biancos  ($90-$190) are Mountain glasses that feature removable protective side shields (for extra protection when needed on the slopes).   They are light weight and available in Julbo’s Spectron 4 lens which guarantee 100% protection against UVA, B or C rays.

I love men’s sunglasses!  To me, wearing a man’s sunglasses is like throwing on his old comfy sweatshirt before hitting the super market to stock up on carb-ladened comfort food. 

Before heading off to my ski get-away, I discovered a great website that offers women the chance to buy their guys cool outdoor gear before they steal it for their own closets. has everything a man could want or need or use for an adventurous weekender with the guys or the “gal”.  But my favorite things on this website are the sunglasses.

First off, they are cool.  Secondly they are comfortable to wear and thirdly, this is the same brand of aviator sunglasses that Buzz Aldrin took with him to the moon.  Did I mention they were totally cool??  I’m using the same sunglasses that were on the moon.  Do I need to repeat that, people?


They are also the official USA Air Force sunglasses, so add another couple of cool points on the boards for that.  And they have scratch-resistant glass lenses with 100% UV protection which is perfect for us light-eyed ski bunnies.  These specs come in black, chrome, gold and silver at just $45.00 a pair, you might as well pick up all four colors.


Do you remember when you were a kid and spent all your allowance on Lip Smackers? 

They made your lips look like they were coated in gooey corn syrup and smelled like a root beer float at a drive in movie.  Ahhhh, those were the days.  But fear not my retro-readers: Blamtastic is a new line of lip products made especially for the tween set that will make moms and dads happy too. 

They are made in the USA and without any petroleum in their products, no animal testing, no artificial preservatives and have SPF 15. 

Now that we got all the boring stuff out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff, Blamtatic lip balms are just plain fun!!  They come in a variety of flavors including Strawberry Shake, Orange Soda, Green Apple… they have cool names like Frenetic Fizz and Brain Squeeze or Ballistic Balm. 

And they feel so silky on your lips.  This is something you will steal from your kids and not feel any guilt!  But even better than the lip balms are the clip cases that come with them.  You can clip them to your purse or your pants or best of all… your ski jacket.  This makes for easy usage during a morning on the mountain when you really need your lips to keep from cracking… plus who doesn’t want to be kissable on the ski lift?

These little lip gems are only $2.99 each to boot.


If you skew a little older and want a lip balm that doesn’t smell like a candy palace then I wholeheartedly suggest the Vault Retractable Lip Balm. 

It has an SPF of 15 and it’s made from Coconut oil, beeswax, almond oil cocoa butter, shea butter and Vitamin E.  Sounds like a yummy lip smackin’ salad dressing.  But the absolute coolest thing about this product is the packaging. 

This was made for being on a mountain.  To open it, you push in one end of the lip balm like an injection and voila, you can moisturize your lips at any altitude without having to take off your gloves or uncap the stick.  Then you just press a side button and like magic, it retracts.  This is definitely one of the coolest and most useful beauty products I’ve seen in a while.


But if you want to protect your whole face and not just your lips (which I highly recommend) then it’s time to slather on the sunscreen.  Did you know there is 20% more UV radiation at an elevation of 5,000 feet than at sea level?

In other words, you can sunburn within eight minutes in Aspen as opposed to 14 minutes on the beach. 

If you are like me, after a night of wild “après ski,” you might forget to sunscreen up before hitting the mountain.  That’s why you should keep a supply of Sunscreen Swipes in your jacket for those just in case times from 

These wipes are individually wrapped disposable pads that have 30 SPF sunscreen built inside.  

Just open the packet, apply and have fun Plus you can reapply as the day wears on and just throw them out when you are done for the day.  How brilliant is that?  Why don’t I come up with these ideas instead of sitting at the computer all day reviewing other peoples cool ideas??

Guest reporter Karen V. Stevens is a segment television producer, USC booster and media/pr consultant living in Los Angeles, California. You can follow her on Twitter

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