A ski instructor spends every day of winter (and often summer) on the slopes. So we asked one to let us in on the gear that gets him through the workday.
“If you can walk, you can ski,” is the motto in my family. So it’s no surprise that I have been a ski instructor since the age of fourteen. In my quest for the quintessential “perfect turn,” I have become an Examiner for the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and spent seasons skiing and working in New Zealand, Australia (yes, there is skiing there) and Argentina. As a result, I have learned you need a little help finding that perfect turn—you need the right gear. Below are my picks for the best stuff to make the most of a resort tip this winter.
1. SKI GEE
When I head to work, I bring the essentials. One simple must-have piece is this rubber squeegee.
2. HABER VISION PRIMA
With constant changes on the hill, it is difficult to decide which lenses to use. Pick a yellow lens for flat-light conditions, and it feels as if you’re undergoing Lasik eye surgery when the sun comes out. Hence, I like my Haber Vision Prima goggles, which include polarized lenses that adjust to variable light conditions.
3. HART ATTACK 170
Many clinets are surprised to learn that Hart is making skis again (in Colorado!). Made with a poplar and ash core with a fiberglass and Titanal layup, the Attack 170 is solid enough for powerful edge holds and still supple enough to rip the Colorado pow.
4. BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS TRACKER DTS
Hop out the gates into untracked lines and you had best know and trust your avi transceiver. But here comes the disclaimer: You need to know how to use a beacon. If you carry it into the backcountry but haven’t trained on how to use it, it’s worthless.
GEAR I COVET
5. ROSSIGNOL S7 SAS FREERIDE
There is a snow condition in South America called carton, which means cardboard box in Spanish. The solution: reverse camber or rocker skis. The Rossignol S7 Barras may be a tad awkward on groomers but in carton they act like arctic icebreakers. Oh and they’re even better on bottomless powder days in Colorado.
6. k2 MCCONKEY PONTOON
The ski world took a big hit when Shane McConkey was killed in a skiBASE accident last winter. Besides being one of the best dudes in the ski community, the star of numerous ski-porn flicks and the founder of the International Freeskiing Federation, McConkey pioneered the concept of rockered, reverse-camber skis for crushing crud and floating powder.
7. BERN WATTS
This helmet is quite simply one of the most comfortable I have ever put on my noggin.
Kevin Jordan is a Diamond Pro and Trainer for the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen. He is also the Denver Ski Instruction Examiner for Examiner.com, as well as an examiner for the Professional Ski Instructors of America-Rocky Mountain Division.