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Last November, we spent a week in Bavaria testing skis and had to pack light for a variety of reasons, mainly because we didn’t want to haul a lot from location to location. These are the items that came back proven to be worth their weight on chairlifts, deep in the backcountry, walking around cities, and everywhere in between.
The North Face 3L Triclimate Jacket
Function is as important as form for the 3L Triclimate jacket, which utilizes the best technologies from The North Face to keep you warm and dry on the slopes. The removable insulating layer looks superb on its own, perfect for the streets of any European ski town on the way to dinner and beyond. The shell is a top-notch all-weather performer, featuring waterproof and breathable DryVent technology. Putting the shell and puffy together to stay warm when the temp drops is a snap (literally). [$450, thenorthface.com]
Mystery Ranch D-Route Pack
The super low-profile D-Route from Mystery Ranch has room for all the essentials you need to explore terrain in- and out-of-bounds, plus a vertical ski carry system and bomber 500D PU coated nylon exterior that stays strong during heavy use. Keeping our luggage options simple, the D-Route kept our travel electronics and books snug on the plane, and the easy-access lid pocket is perfect for snacks, a spare battery charger, and sunglasses. On the slopes, the pack fit a shovel, probe, extra layer, and all the food needed to avoid expensive European cafeterias with ease, and its slender profile was as comfortable as a backpack can be on chairlift rides. [$120, mysteryranch.com]
Marker Kingpin 13
The Marker Kingpin is still King of the Hill for doing it all. Featuring a tech-toe with the brand’s signature “6-Pack Power Springs” and an XXL Power Transmitter in the alpine-style heel, the binding made us firm believers that it provides an unmatched level of direct power transmission from the boot to the ski. In tour mode, the Kingpin travels uphill with the efficiency of a true tech binding, but gets down the hill with the same control as a standard alpine binding with TUV-certified release values and unparalleled control. This is still the best binding for a one-ski quiver solution that’s currently available for any skier who prefers soft snow and off-piste terrain. [$650, marker.net]
Aztech Mountain Loge Peak Ski Shirt
It was hard to think of something more stylish and functional than the Loge Peak Ski Shirt from Bode Miller’s brand Aztech Mountain. The brand took a classic American flannel look and put it on a handsomely cut shirt. The brand’s proprietary “Aspen” brushed cotton feels like it was made out of Italian angel fur, plus it’s super warm when used as a baselayer and looks especially classy when après rolls around. The magnetic collar flips up to become a turtleneck, should the temps drop unexpectedly (and they always do). [$275, aztechmountain.com]
Airblaster Ninja Suit
Combining a seamless top and bottom combo complete with thumb loops and a stealthy hood, the Airblaster Ninja Suit is a super comfortable one-piece baselayer. The Airblaster’s proprietary Woolverino Merino wool blend is super warm, but remains comfortable when the going gets hot thanks to its natural breathability. The fabric’s four-way stretch means the Ninja Suit will move with you, and it’s so well-designed you’ll probably forget you’re wearing it until the end of the day, when you look in the mirror at the hostel and realize you’re wearing an awesome onesie baselayer. [$200, myairblaster.com]
Organic NuttZo 2Go
These little squeeze packets of Organic NuttZo Nut and Seed Butter reminded us of home and fought hanger at the same time. We kept a couple of packets in our pockets whenever we skied on the Europe trip, and when unexpected jet-lag induced hunger struck hours from the next meal, we stayed calm, slurped down one of these healthy little better-than-peanut butter treats, and kept skiing. Plus, a portion of each purchase goes to NuttZo’s sister nonprofit, Project Left Behind, which benefits orphanages worldwide. Made out of seven different nuts and seeds and available in Power Fuel, Peanut Pro, and Chocolate Peanut Pro flavors, these healthy snacks are commonly found in our pockets on the slopes anywhere in North America now, too. [$14 for a pack of 10; nuttzo.com]
Stio Environ Bib Pant
Featuring 3L Dermizax waterproof/breathable shell fabric and a comfortable high-waisted bib with elasticity in the rear panel, the Environ had more stormproof features than needed considering the snow in the Alps was soft but not over-the-shoulders deep. When the sun came out, it was easy to dump heat on the skin track thanks to YKK-brand side-zip vents that run from top to bottom of the leg. While we weren’t about to wear these around the streets of Munich while checking out biergartens, we can’t foresee a single ski trip without these bibs anytime soon. [$445, stio.com]