With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, many ski areas are now spinning their lifts. Be it by man-made snow or by virtue of a couple early season storms, most likely there is some skiing nearby. Getting to the hill for turns is like a dog satisfying a good itch—the summer was long and now you just need to get on snow.

If you don't live in a ski town, hopping in the car to find slide-worthy snow is now within reach, so start your engines and skiing. Below are a couple items that will help you along on the first ski-road trip of the year.


The Burnet XL from Kaenon hold their shape after daily use for a full season – despite often being worn over a hat or beanie. And while that is a win in itself due to their flexible TR-90 frame, their polarized UV protection lenses creates a crisp view. The Burnet also meets a nice balance of around town and mountain steeze, i.e. you can ski with them without getting teary eyed yet not look like a bug at the bar.

The sun angle this time of year is near its lowest point, and once it goes down it can be downright chilly. The Azura Hooded Jacket from Stio has been a go-to of mine for several years, either in my backpack for when it gets cold or as my standard around-town puffy.

It's filled with Primaloft Gold Insulation, allowing the synthetic down fibers to trap heat even when wet, and packs down super well. It also has a DWR-treated shell along with underarm gussets for easy range of motion, and a hood that fits snugly while skiing in arctic temperatures.

Driving down the road, you need a place to keep your beverages and snacks chilled and organized. The Yeti Hopper fits this need perfectly. It’s big enough to hold 13 cans of…soda, but small enough to squeeze in the cab amongst the detritus of a road trip.

The outer material is dense and rugged to handle being thrown around, while the closed-cell rubber foam on the interior offer excellent insulation for a softy. The zipper closure is tough and leak proof, and requires a pretty hard tug to operate, letting you know your goodies are safe and sound. Multiple loops and straps make the Hopper easy to go from winter ski season to summer river trip.

Having a base layer that doesn't stink is key for any road trip. However, having a base layer that is produced in a sustainable way will also help you sleep better at night. Kora derives its wool from Himalayan yak, a material that Himalayans have used for years.

The company purchases the wool-like fiber, shed by yak each spring, from Tibetan farmers to help promote economic vitality in small rural farm towns. Over the past week, I've worn these touring and skiing the resort exclusively as my base layer, top and bottoms.

They wicked moisture well and kept me warm during when the windchill was below zero. Kora states yak wool is warmer and more breathable than Merino, and is also lighter and softer—and so far I think they're right. The Shola kit isn't cheap, but considering the source and opportunity, as such it provides for these farmers and communities in Tibet, it lessens the burden on the wallet.