PHOTO: JP Van Swae
There are few things so time sucking, so irritating as wandering around the free dirt lot in your ski boots--or in the parking lot after a Beyoncé concert--idiotically trying to echo-locate your vehicle via the panic button on your keys.
At some point, we've all forgotten where we parked the car. But thank the heavens, we live in 2016--a time of smart phones and smart (sometimes) people and also ZUS: a smart car charger and car locator, an all-in-one device. What looks like a run-a-day phone charger for your car (just plug it into the usual spot) comes with a free app that allows you to easily locate your parked car on that dirt road you thought was at the end of your ski run. Perfect for skiers who find unplugging and going off grid is the best part of being in the mountains (me!), ZUS uses GPS to locate your car so no cell service is needed. Meaning, no matter how middle-of-nowhere I get, my Subaru and I can still stick together.
Here’s how it works: Whenever I park my car and turn off the ignition, ZUS saves my car's location automatically (yes, that probably means robots are tracking how many times I got to Yogurtland, but whatever). Then it prompts me with a timer in case I’m parking at a metered spot or dreaded 2-Hour Parking Zone. When it's time to head out, you simply open the app and follow the little green dot right to your Maserati and VROOM. No more wandering around the airport parking lot, dragging your ski bag for another hour when all you want to do is go home at eat Doritos.
NOTE: You will need your own mini USB cord to run from the charger to your phone. I chose the Neve Micro USB cable from Lander. It’s a flat, nylon chord that doesn’t tangle, even when I wind it up and shove it in my pack, and the reflective material makes it easy to find in the dark. The wires don’t fray like typical Apple cords and it’s a unique look so no one will accidentally swipe it when they mistake it for their own. We’re also into their Powell case that is super strong (like military-grade strong) and protective without being bulky. The backside ridges are styled after the jerrycan’s durability and provide good grip to prevent you from dropping your phone in the first place.
Skiing hot: ZUS can charge two smart phones (iPhone or Android) in two hours--which is about two times faster than the one I bought at 7-Eleven. A pair of tablets will charge up in less than four hours.
Skiing not: ZUS doesn't work on multi-leveled parking structures. So you can get to the right corner, but you'll have to take the stairs until you're on the right level.