What To Keep In Your Car On The Way To The Slopes

©istockphoto/MilosStankovicSki sea­son is in full swing—which means the moun­tain pass­es are get­ting flood­ed with snow­board­ers and skiers alike. Whether you’re a first-time tuber or an ultra-expe­ri­enced back­coun­try shred­der, make it a habit to keep these six things in your car every time you head for the hills.

Emer­gency Con­tact Information 
It’s not enough to just have the impor­tant con­tact num­bers stored on your phone—they should be writ­ten down on paper, too. Make a list of your emer­gency con­tact infor­ma­tion, your AAA num­ber (if you have it), any rel­e­vant med­ical issues or aller­gies, and your insur­ance details, then seal it in an enve­lope. Label the enve­lope clear­ly, then keep it in your glove box in a Ziplock bag.

A Source of Light
This could be a head­lamp, a lantern, or a flashlight—just make sure to pack at least one extra set of bat­ter­ies. (“I hate being able to see so clear­ly,” said no one ever.) Dur­ing the dark­er win­ter months, con­sid­er stash­ing a des­ig­nat­ed head­lamp in your glove box with a cou­ple of extra sets of AAA’s. (And remem­ber: any time you’re head­ing into the back­coun­try, it’s worth bring­ing a light source, no mat­ter what time you’re plan­ning to return.)

A First Aid Kit
Just do it. Make sure you include the nor­mal sup­plies (Band-Aids, over-the-counter med­ica­tions, ath­let­ic tape, Steri-strips, etc) in case of the nor­mal bumps and bruis­es, and per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment (latex gloves, a sur­gi­cal mask, and a face shield for CPR) in case you’re the first respon­der after some­body else goes off the road in icy con­di­tions. If any­body in the car has med­ical con­di­tions that require spe­cial tools or med­ica­tions to man­age, car­ry a back­up sup­ply. Be sure to stock up on hand warm­ers for chilled extrem­i­ties, blis­ter sup­plies for skiers who might be break­ing in new boots, and a space blanket.

Warm Lay­ers
At the end of the day, it doesn’t mat­ter whether you car­ry an extra blan­ket, a spare sleep­ing bag, or just a cou­ple of lay­ers of cloth­ing and jackets—just make sure you’ve got enough insu­la­tion to keep every­body in the car warm in case of an expect­ed night on the side of the road. When you’re cal­cu­lat­ing what to pack, con­sid­er the num­ber of peo­ple (and pets) in the car, the aver­age day and night­time tem­per­a­tures in and around your des­ti­na­tion, and what kinds of insu­lat­ing lay­ers your pas­sen­gers will already have with them. It might sound like overkill, but there’s no cost to toss­ing an extra lay­er or two into the trunk—and if those lay­ers could be the dif­fer­ence between an incon­ve­nience and an emergency.

A Shov­el
While you might not want to lug around a full-sized snow shov­el, there are lots of portable options that fit nice­ly in the trunk of a car. Look for a mod­el with a tele­scop­ing or extend­able han­dle, which gives bet­ter lever­age if you need to dig out your ride.

A Long-Han­dled Ice Scraper
Because when you get back to your car at the end of a day on the slopes, scrap­ing the ice off your wind­shield with your Cost­co card isn’t that awesome.