There are many bummers that can happen on a mountain trail, not even counting a crash that requires Ski Patrol. But you can prevent predictable bummers from happening in the first place.

You and those with you had a wonderful day on the mountain. The snow was great, and the sun was shining. You were filled with the joy that comes with snow riding — until you got back to your vehicle and realized your keys were missing.

Worse, you wouldn't even know where to begin searching for them. That missing key ring had also held your house keys. Suddenly, your wonderful day turns into a big bummer.

There are many bummers that can happen on a mountain trail, not even counting a crash that requires Ski Patrol. Don't just learn a lesson after one happens. Instead, prevent predictable bummers from happening in the first place.

Take the lost keys problem. It eventually happens to almost everyone, unless they get the preventative key routine down perfectly. Here is that perfect solution: Choose a pocket to be your key pocket. It could be a jacket pocket or the right or left side of your pants pocket. But always choose a key pocket. The ONLY thing that ever goes in that pocket when you leave your vehicle should be your keys. Do not share the pocket with your lift ticket, and certainly don't share it with your wallet.

Never unzip your key pocket unless you are immediately storing your keys or else taking them out to enter your vehicle. Afterward, make sure to zip that pocket up all the way, and bend the tab down to lock the zipper, keeping it from sliding open. Zip the pocket up and lock the tab even when the car key is in the ignition, just to reinforce the habit.

If you're a skier, chances are you know the rage that comes from spending an hour or more searching for a ski that came off and is now buried somewhere under the snow. If your skis come off frequently, your binding needs to be tightened. But knowing that doesn't help while you are clawing through snow to find a lost ski.

Here's an easy way to prevent it from ever happening again. Purchase an inexpensive roll of half-inch-wide red ribbon from a fabric store. Cut off two six-foot lengths of ribbon. Tie one end of each piece of ribbon to each ski brake with a double knot.

Before clicking into your bindings, make sure the ribbon is not caught under your boot or under the ski. Then gather each length of ribbon and tuck it under the bottom of your pant leg. If your ski comes off, it will pull the ribbon out of the pant leg, where it will lie on top of the snow, marking where the ski is.

Finally, how many times have you seen a single glove lying under the lift? Learn from the person who dropped it and will now have to come slowly down under the lift to find it. Don't take your gloves off while on the lift. If for some reason you do, be sure to hold firmly onto the bottom of that glove with the other hand so you don't do the "shoot the glove off the lift" trick. If you ignore this advice and your glove gets dropped, look at the number of the next lift tower so you will at least know where to look for it without spending valuable time searching.

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Wina Sturgeon is the editor of the online magazine Adventure Sports Weekly, which offers the latest training, diet and athletic information.


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