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Road Trippin' 

From boots to beer, don't forget to pack the necessities

click to enlarge Before you leave home... - JIM CAMPBELL ILLUSTRATION
  • Jim Campbell illustration
  • Before you leave home...

We've all been on road trips before. Packing for them seems relatively easy. The ski road trip is typically no different, although the list of things to "not forget" are a little unique.

Boots: Whatever you do, don't forget your boots. This is the most important rule in the world of ski road trips. You're always able to rent skis, but rental boots should never, ever be a fallback solution. You'd think this would easy to remember, but you'd be surprised.  

Windshield wiper fluid: Worth its weight in gold when following that semi truck. Or de-icing your windshield in a hurry. But splurge for the subarctic blend, as the cheaper stuff will freeze.

Beer (or booze in general): You never know how far a "real" PBR will take you in Utah when visiting friends or making them. Their PBR is 3.2 percent alcohol; ours is 5 percent. You can buy "real" beer there, though it's expensive and only available at the liquor store, which can be a hassle.

The Shotz Ski: A road-trip must that will make you friends wherever you go. Guaranteed. There's nothing more satisfying than introducing someone to their first Shotz Ski ritual.

Some other items good to remember while out on the open road:

Beans: While an economical option for food during the long, cold winter months, too much bean consumption will definitely ensure that you're never invited back on a road trip, as road trips often mean extended durations of time in confined spaces.

Fuel stops: While this is the biggest time-waster of any road trip, if you're unsure where the next gas station is, it's better to enter a long stretch of remote highway with a full tank at 11 pm than to risk running out of fuel somewhere between Hammond and Deer Lodge, Montana.

Music: Come up with a good playlist that can keep you motivated driving those dark, snowy highways. Do it before leaving a good wireless connection, as sometimes the cloud has a mysterious way of deciding what should be available on your iPhone, as opposed to what has been stored in the cloud.

Feather bed: This is your best friend, should you be bunking in the back of a pickup truck. The small comforts of home will compel you to seek powder days in the most remote places, just so you're able to sleep in the back of your truck or SUV. And if you have one of those power adapters to plug into your 12-volt outlet (about $20 at most truck stops), bring portable boot heaters and a coffee maker. You'll be the envy of everyone, showing up on a cold, snowy morning, wearing warm boots while sipping your hot coffee. ♦

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