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5 Ski Accessories You Probably Don’t Need, But Want

The Huffington Post recently put together an article about the most ridiculous and excessive ski accessories on the market with items like diamond encrusted skis and an uber expensive helmet with fake dreads to crazy wheeled contraptions that clip onto your skis so you don’t have to carry them.

It got me thinking about all the totally unnecessary ski accessories I adore like my boot heaters, Black Diamond 3-section adjustable ski poles, and the Telluride Flask my Dad gave me one year for Valentine’s Day and the others I covet like a helmet camera and a Garmin Forerunner GPS watch. They are not as ridiculous as diamond encrusted skis, but totally unnecessary nonetheless.

The following items are not overly excessive they just simply enhance the skiing experience. You surely can have a fine time skiing without them, but hey they’re nice if you can afford them and even better if you get them as a gift.

1) Helmet Cameras

How awesome would it be to capture video of your epic ascents from your point-of-view and be able to put together a video of the season’s best powder runs? Well now it is fairly easy to record your skiing adventures – all you need is a compact digital helmet camera.

There are plenty of helmet cameras on the markets these days and they run anywhere from $80 to well over $400. Price usually determines the quality of the video and the compactness of the recording unit. Entry-level helmet cams, like the Oregon Scientific ATC3K Waterproof Action Cam, capture video at 640 x 480 VGA resolution at 30 frames per second in a fairly lightweight unit, whereas higher-ends cams, like the Contour HD 1080P, shoot incredibly clear video at 1080p high-def at 60 frames per second in a compact unit weighing only 4.3 ounces.

The best helmet cameras are built to withstand taping in extreme environments like wind, rain, and snow so just make sure the camera you choose is built to withstand the type of conditions you would like to be filming in.

2) Polarized Photo Chromatic Ski Goggles

Sure your ski goggles work just fine, but you’re getting sick of changing out the lenses every few hours because of the ever changing and unpredictable mountain conditions. Well with photochromatic ski goggles, the lenses change based on the level of lighting so you will always have the best visibility for the conditions.

The Zeal Optics Link SPPX Goggle work well is almost all lighting situations. With their special UV Activated Auto Light Adjusting Lens, the goggles adjust from yellow to high contrast rose based on the conditions. The goggles are also polarized so they minimize glare from blinding snow and enhance acuity in bright light. The lenses also block 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays too.

3) Heated Gloves

Growing up skiing in the Midwest my hands were always frozen to the bone. No amount of handwarmers could ever keep my fingers warm and that is why I am totally intrigued by heated gloves. Several styles exist, but they are designed mostly for motorcyclists. The Venture Heat Battery Heated Gloves have heating panels that warm the entire length of the fingers at all times. A rechargaeble lithium battery pack is built into the glove and sends heat into the hands and finger. You could also just slide a pair of heated glove liners into your regular gloves.

Columbia is releasing a pair of heated gloves in the Fall of 2011 – the Columbia Bugaglove Max Electric Heated Gloves. They will cost you $400 so you better get saving now.

4) Ultralight Multi-Purpose Ski Poles

The ultralight craze has squeezed its way into every facet of outdoor gear. The new carbon fibers ski poles are super lightweight and ultra tough. K2’s Lock Jaw Adjustable Probe Ski Pole should be on every aggressive backcountry skier’s wish list. The lock jaw mechanism lets you make length adjustments quick and easy and the dual density grips are extra wide for comfort.

The Lock Jaws double as an avalanche probe for backcountry rescue situations and the poles also act as a snow depth ruler and an inclinometer so you can cut back on some of your other essentials when you carry these poles.

5) Ski GPS Trackers

Ever wonder how many miles you’ve covered during a day on the slopes? How about vertical feet skied? You can get all this information easily by wearing the Garmin Forerunner 405 HRM GPS-enabled sports watch. The watch tracks your skiing stats and sends the data wirelessly to your computer. Once the snow has melted, you can use the watch to track all your other training pursuits like running, cycling, or backpacking.

If you have a Garmin or Magellan handheld GPS system already you can get a copy of SnowRanger digital maps. The maps include information on almost all the major ski resorts in North American including info on chair lifts, terrain parks, ski runs, parking, lodging, ticketing, and more.  Just like the Garmin Forerunner, with SnowRanger you can upload your skiing stats for the day.

What totally unnecessary ski accessory is at the top of your list?

[Photo courtesy of YoTuT]