Local families know how to be prepared when on the mountain and many attach various goodies to their ski passes. Whether you're visiting or a regular, you too can carry some emergency items, which can benefit everyone in your family.

One thing I did for my family this year was bought whistles to put around their ski pass. So many smart skiers and riders carry a whistle. I've noticed they are particularly popular among seniors.

Chris Eckert with Kirkwood Mountain Resort in California agrees. "If you're skiing with other buddies, sometimes you get away from each other and you can't yell loud enough for your buddy to hear you. You can blow a whistle to your heart's content and somebody will hear it."

He adds that whistles would be perfect for little kids who like to hit the trails in the trees. "Say you fell and your ski popped off in the trees, or maybe you fell into a tree well and you aren't upright. If you're yelling into a tree, your friends might not be able to hear you. But if you're blowing a whistle, it's more likely to be heard, especially if you're upside down."

This is something that could save your life.

Avoid the metal whistles, as one person in the lift line told me, "They'll stick to your lips on a cold day." I found thin, plastic ones online that were only $2. You can keep it in your ski coat pocket as well as putting it around your ski pass.

Another clever gadget is a carabineer with some duct tape or medical tape wrapped around part of it. You can hook it to a loop on your ski pants. We all know duct tape is the cure-all for anything. You never know when you'll need it for a quick repair or to tape up a hole on a down ski coat. It's also easy to refill if you run out. I frequently see ski patrollers with these hooked on their radios.

A mini-pocketknife also can fit onto a lift pass lanyard, or in the bottom of a pocket. This might not be something you would want your child to carry, but it's good for you, especially if you are skiing with the kids. Pocketknives these days frequently have a small screwdriver on them which comes in handy with a broken binding, if you're stuck on the mountain.

I just found a mini temperature gauge with compass in a desk drawer while writing this. On the back, it shows air temperature and wind speed, and the calculation to Wind Chill Factor. I've attached it to my ski pass. Sport specialty stores like REI have walls full of cool outdoor gadgets like this.

Chapstick on a string also is available, and something worth having, especially during sunny spring skiing days.

Make sure you have contact information somewhere on you, and especially on your children. Put a note with emergency phone numbers in their pocket. Or give them a cell phone or walkie talkie. If they do have a pass for the mountain, type up the most important phone numbers and get a small card laminated to attach to their pass. I just did it with all of our cell phone numbers, our home number, our local Ski Patrol Dispatch, Mountain Security, and the police department. The numbers are available at a glance for me and my children. Plus, if someone is seriously hurt, it will help the ski patrol get help quicker.