Take the Uphill Out of Downhill Skiing

Thinking about learning to ski? Before you invest in expensive clothing and gear, you might want to buy yourself--or a friend interested in the sport--the new Gift of Skiing Kit, a 24-page booklet and 22-minute video that guides novices to the slopes.

Produced by United Ski Industries Assn. and Visa, the how-to kit also contains a coupon for a free beginner's package (usually equipment rental, a lesson and access to beginner slopes) at almost 100 ski areas throughout the United States. Eight of them are in California, including Bear Mountain, Snow Summit and Ski Green Valley. A list of areas, with phone numbers, is also in the kit.

The "Ski It to Believe It" video is hosted by former Olympic skier Andy Mill and covers downhill technique, guidelines on what to wear and what kind of ski areas are available. Both video and booklet also offer tips about how to make skiing more economical, renting equipment and taking lessons.

"The main purpose is to explain what they need to know before they start," says a United Ski Industries spokeswoman. "Things that people who are already skiers would know, but probably took a long time to learn."

The Gift of Skiing ($29.95, plus shipping and handling) can be purchased by calling (800) 745-4-FUN or writing the United Ski Industries Assn., 8377-B Greensboro Drive, McLean, Va. 22102.

Illuminating the Walk to Your Car at Night

Returning to your car at night in a parking lot, underground garage or an unfamiliar neighborhood can be scary.

So, if you don't have a car with an automatic light-up system or an alarm with lighting capability, you might want to check out the Kraco Car Security Light. The remote-controlled, portable device illuminates a car's interior via a key-chain transmitter from up to 50 feet away.

The device, developed by Kraco Enterprises in Compton, requires no installation. You plug it into the cigarette lighter, turn the switch to remote and mount the light on the dashboard or visor.

The light automatically turns off 60 seconds after it is activated, and has a built-in switch for manual use as a flashlight or map light. The unit is lightweight and can be easily transferred from one vehicle to another.

The Kraco Car Security Light ($29.95) is available at K mart and most Sears stores. If you can't find it in your area, contact Kraco Enterprises, 505 E. Euclid Ave., Compton, Calif. 90222; phone, in California, (310) 639-0666; outside California, (800) 421-1910.

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