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

Part 2 of the Ski Weekender Must Haves:

Yesterday I started telling you about all the neat little must haves for a cool ski-weekender.  Well, I found so many great and clever things that I had to continue my list.  Here is part 2:

Finally I succumbed to the siren call of a smart phone.  I am no longer a Luddite with a blackberry.  I can shout from the rooftops that I am now a modern babe who owns modern technology. 

But, while they tout the 4G-ness of it all and the apps and the high-res videos you can make… no one has thought to make it jewelry accessible.  That’s all a thing of the past (kind of like my Blackberry). 


Handcandy came up with a genius idea for adding sparkle to your high tech gadgets.  Beads, baubles and glitz!! The handmade headphones feature an in-line microphone for hands free talking for smartphone use; a 3.5mm audio pin compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod or MP3 players; subtly located magnets that hold the headphones on your neck; and a 26″ extender in case you need more length if your phone or MP3 player is in your pocket or backpack.

But why am I talking about headphones for a ski-weekender must have?  Well, if you want to be on the mountain all decked-out, you really should dress up your headphones as well.  

Imagine shushing down the mountain talking to your bestie on a crystal clear line bedecked with crystals or being hooked up to your iPod listening to Bob Marley and it’s just you and the mountain on your zen-like run.  Now imagine you doing that with headphones that have great clarity AND pizzazz for your ski ensemble.  That’s what I dig about Handcandy.  It’s a simple idea that no one thought of and now people like Jessica Alba are wearing them around town.  Just think, you can be the Jessica Alba of the mountain!  Handcandy allows you to accessorize your headphones with whatever you are wearing that day.


What if you have a very expensive watch that you are afraid of damaging while on your vacay… don’t laugh, there are many people out there who have a couple of watches, one for dress up, one for day time and one for sport. 

The neatest watch to fill the sport slot in your timepiece wardrobe are by Sprout Watches.  That means if you fall while learning to snowboard… and trust me you will fall… you won’t fear breaking your beloved Rolex!

Sprout Watches are eco-timepieces are made from sustainable materials including conflict-free diamonds, organic cotton, corn resin and bamboo which all run on a mercury-free battery.  (Nothing is killed, shot, beaten or abused to make this watch)  And secondly, they’re great looking.  Thirdly… totally affordable!  And, I love that the faces are big and easy to read.

If the celebrity angle is what will convince you to get one of these babies, everyone from Melissa Rycroft to Terrell Owens has been sporting these eco-friendly watches.  With varieties for men, women and children, even the most seasoned skier or little bunny can ski in style.


Let’s face it, we are all addicted to our cell phones and no matter where we are, we need to have them near us, especially on the top of a mountain.  But, just like children, they need to be protected from the elements. 

Mareware has a really cool leather cell phone cover that protects your “baby” while being totally functional as well.  The inside cover has convenient slots to put your ID or credit cards or money.  This is genius.  Phone cover and wallet all in one place.  I love it.  Plus this is a USA-based company and is also one of the leaders in environmentally-safe manufacturing procedures, resulting in a line of eco-friendly accessories.

By the way, they have cases for all your needs, iPod, iPad, Kindle, Galaxy…. You know, all the hook ups!


I found the perfect Post-Apocalyptic boot for ski weekenders.  Ahnu makes the wildest ‘warrior-princess-who-kicks-ass-and-looks-hot-doing-it’ boot.  I felt like Milla Jovovitch if she went to the mountains and kicked the shit out of the evil ski-cyborgs and then was able to check her lipstick in her shiny, sexy boots.

Meet the Laguna boot, a city boot that looks great in open country and keeps your feet dry and warm walking in slush or snow or stomping in puddles.  It’s a patent leather boot with water-proof, seam-sealed construction.  I wore these suckers all day and I didn’t feel overly hot or get foot-sweaty, which as you know is one of the negatives of patent leather…  It was great for a mild snow day.  

At $160 it’s well worth it.  This is a boot you will want to wear every day if you live in a city that gives you real weather.  By the way, Ahnu makes shoes and boots for men and women, so you can both be decked out.

The only con of this boot… I’m 5’3” and the only time I leave the house in flats is when I wear gym shoes!  (I even wear 6 inch heels to football games, ask anyone!)  Skiing is a sport that gives me height.  Think about it, with the skis and the ski boots, I’m a good 5’6”.  Therefore, the only request I would ask Ahnu… next time, can you please make a version of this boot with some heel height for us short but cute gals?

And for you folks who need a little more convincing other than that they are really cool looking boots, Ahnu pioneered Numentum™ Technology; a neutral positioning system engineered to encourage your foot’s natural biomechanics. It is designed to center and guide the foot to promote an efficient, stable and balanced stride,default,pd.html


I never jumped on the Ugg bandwagon.  Ever since I saw Pamela Anderson on the cover of People wearing Uggs at the beach while frolicking with her dog and her kids, I didn’t like them, and not for any valid reason.  Are they a beach shoe?  A dog walking slipper?  A mountain boot?  Tell me!!!  I’m so confused.  And while all my friends and family were sporting these atrocious foot coverings I held out for something better… and I think I found it.

Vasque Pow Pow UltraDry boots are what I imagine Uggs feel like but without the “Pamela Anderson at the beach” stigma.  Seriously, it’s like walking on warm marshmallows while fairies sprinkle yummy dust on the soles of your feet… and angels smile as you walk by.

How can I not have a brilliant day with these on my feet??

First off, they are Vasques, with over 45 years of experience in the performance footwear biz, they gotta know their stuff by now, right?  Secondly, they are great for hiking in the snow or to wear when snowmobiling, which, by the way is a total must on a ski weekender! 

The Pow Pow UltraDry boots were appropriately named…because they sure can crunch the snow.  No matter what your age, I know you love going outside and crunching on freshly packed snow.  It’s the simple pleasures… just me, the snow and my boots making a crunchy sound, Pow Pow Pow Pow… pure mountain bliss.


Let’s say you had a great day on the slopes and then poof, the unexpected happens, you fall and hurt your foot or your ankle or leg… and are forced to spend the rest of your vacation on pain pills while wearing a boring ugly medi-boot.  (Most large ski resorts even have orthopedic surgeons on-site, usually in a hut at the base of the mountain).

Not only is ski time over, but talk about really ruining an après-ski ensemble!  Not to worry kiddies, I discovered the coolest accessory that will make your medi-boot the talk of the lodge.

CastMedic Designs have come up with MediFashions which are fashion-forward accessories to decorate medical boots!  They come in a variety of faux-fur or flower designs that you can wrap around the top of the boot or add to the straps to add a bit of fun flair.  They also have wild socks to wear under the boot that peak out to add panache to your après-ski outfit.  Pain doesn’t have to be ugly… you can accessorize your bad luck.  Now you have two reasons to sprain your ankle on the slopes… Vicodin and MediFashions!

AND, Steve Harvey just named Christina Daves of CastMedic his top inventor on the Steve Harvey Show! That’s pretty cool in my book.

CastMedic allows you to look fabulous no matter how your vacation ends. A full ensemble will run between $20 – $55.  Check them out here:


As a friend of mine used to say, I have white couches so I don’t have kids…  unlike her, I’ve always wanted them, if only to dress them up. 

And in my research for this article, I discovered probably the neatest kid booties I’ve ever come across from They carry a fantastic line of baby and children’s cold-weather accessories.

Their signature product is their innovative and award-winning Booties that easily slip over existing clothing and shoes and stay on infant and toddler’s chubby feet thanks to two toggle clasps. 

Even though I don’t have kids of my own, I still know what a pain in the neck it is to change a toddler’s footwear, especially in the snow.  There can be tears… from the child AND the parents!  This bootie just fits over their shoes and Voila… snow boots that are cute and waterproof.  I wish they came in my size!  Note to Stonzwear, make adult sizes please!  The Booties are available for $39.99 and come is a wide range of colors and designs – new styles for this season include Monkeys, Cherries, Robots and more

Stonzwear also has redesigned their Toddler/Youth Mittz.  The mitts have an “over the arm” design and five layers of warmth to ensure maximum protection. Importantly, convenient toggle clasps keeps the warm mitts in place.  They are easy to put on and they stay on… what more could a parent want?


Raise your hand if you have black roller bottomed suitcases! I bet half of America has their hand up…

That’s why Swaggertags are a really neat idea.  You can attach a bright neon personalized tag to all your “swag” so you can be different from all the others of the world. has images that you can print out at home that fit perfectly in the clear window of the snappbable tag.  Just print, cut, fit and snap.  This is great for the kids to add a little of their own flair to all their gear.

Swaggertags were invented by a stay-at-home mom who needed a good solution to help her children identify their stuff at school.  Now, us adults are using it for the same purposes, but in a bigger world.

Plus the tags come with small tasteful and colorful decals that you can put on your skis and boots… I can’t tell you how many times I almost walked away with someone else’s K2 True Luv skis and matching poles!


Come on, who didn’t have a Swiss Army Knife as a kid?  It was a rite of passage no matter your gender.  Well, the SOG PowerAssist is like Swiss Army Knife but on steroids.

First off, according to the instructions, The PowerAssist is the first multi-tool with assisted blade technology that propels the knife blades into the open and locked position once to initial the one-handed opening action. 

Or you can be like me and try to figure it out for yourself, because “you don’t need no stinkin’ instructions to work a knife”… if you do, you will wind up slicing your finger just like I did!  I am such a dork!  Once I stopped the bleeding and admitted my stupidity to about a dozen friends, I actually read the directions and realized how incredibly useful this tool is.  It is easy to operate and because of its spring propelled activation and locking ability, you won’t break a nail trying to get knife out.

The PowerAssist is a whopping 15 tools in one handy-dandy appliance.  Need pliers?  Have no fear… prepared to be “plied”.  Need a knife?  Poof, there it is.  How about a screw driver?  Panchang.. Tada!  How about a can opener?  Voila!  No can will be un-opened.

This is a must-have tool that you should always have in the car for road trips.   But don’t be like me and think you are smarter than the knife… read the instructions first!!


You know when you are on a lift and you are looking at all the beauty and glory there is for miles around and all of a sudden your phone rings.  So you dig your phone out of your pocket and instead of having to take off your gloves to hit the answer button, you are thrilled that you fitted “Thumb Dogs” to your thumb and pointer fingers of your gloves. 

Thumb Dogs allow you to use a touch screen without having to touch the screen!  Thumb Dogs uses what they call, Grrprr , a frictionless coating applied to the inside fabric that provide more stick to your gloves to help prevent slippage.  I don’t know what Grrprr is made of, but I do know it works.   Good for the basics while on the mountain, but the caveat is that I found it very hard to text while wearing these.


When going to the top of a mountain covered in snow and ice it is best to have layers of clothing to keep you warm and dry.   I’m not a fan of thick under ski gear, for one…it makes you look dumpy and for another, if you sweat you will inevitably get cold again.  But I have been put to shame by a new recent acquisition in the under ski clothes arena.

DICK’S Sporting Goods (a Mecca for the outdoorsy set) recently launched the brand KÖPPEN. These base layers (shirts and pants) are infused with a new textile technology called CELLIANT, which recycles the body’s energy to generate heat and improve athletic performance. 

But more importantly to all my ski bunny brethren… damn these things are cute!  They are incredibly thin and have a design detail on the side that makes you look skinny no matter what your size.  I also love that the shirts sleeves have thumb slots so the shirt ends inside your glove (genius for those of you who have a tendency to fall a lot).  I was wearing these like PJs last night and I have to admit, I looked good!


We already know that I am devoid of any tech abilities but I found the coolest hi-tech must-have for your next weekender.  It’s called the Turtle Shell from Outdoor Technology and you can sync it up any Bluetooth device to act like a wireless speaker. 

Hook this sucker up to your iPod and you have an instant party, or if you want to conference the lazy friends who couldn’t make it, the whole drunk group can bother him at 3 am by synching this to your smart phone to tell him what a loser he is.  This is the go-anywhere boom box.  It’s about the size of your hand and has the boom-ability to jazz up to a 30 foot radius.  And it comes in 7 bright, I mean excessively rainbow bright colors that will light up any room.

Constantly developing the cutting edge in lifestyle outdoor accessories, the Turtle Shell wireless bluetooth boombox is the signature of the OT line and design aesthetic.

There you have it kids… now go out, make tracks and shred that mountain.  Or, be a lazy ass and sit in the lodge sipping spiked cocoa and laughing at us ski dogs.

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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