Fur Flavor of the Month
Yellow labs are so five minutes ago. And black labs are as ubiquitous as cell phones. In the all-important, ever-controversial category of Hottest Retriever Color, the winner-paws down-goes to the chocolates. It's all in their expressive eyes: Chocolate labs have peepers that communicate, unlike the vacuous, simple plugs of blondies. And when snow falls on their brown coats, the cocoa pups look like not-so-little cinnamon rolls. Go on, write your letters.
900's, Mute grabs, and a Good Hook and Loop
Get this: Freeskiers love to knit. You may think they're pounding Red Bull and Vodka from dusk to dawn, but in truth they're tossing needles like your grandma. Swedish freeskier Sverre "Lili" Liliequist (below) has even gone commercial. He and his pal Kaj Zackrisson launched KASK Hats-"clean, non-itchy beanies, not too thick, so you can ski hard without drowning in sweat," says Lili. Rippers like Shane McConkey and Rick Greener can be seen flaunting their Swedish lids. "My mom taught me to crochet," he says, "but it was tricky since I'm left-handed."
Launching Bigger Boards
New gear is usually cause for salivation, but recent mid-season ski launches have had all the substance of prom night: dubious style and questionable performance. This year, though, Dynastar, K2, and Rossignol are delivering legit big-mountain tools mid-season. Dynastar is shipping two skis, including the Troublemaker ($500; 112/78/102 mm); K2 delivers the Seth Pistol, (below, $750; 128/95/118 mm); and, in January, Rossi will release three fresh boards, including two all-terrain models (pricing and specs still classified). dynastar.com, rossignol.com, sethpistol.com
Houston, there's no problem
New York to Vermont. L.A. to Mammoth. Whatever long ski drive you make, radio gives you consciousness-saving variety. And now you don't have to listen to BTO or hillbilly funk cranked by fogies in the outback. With satellite radio, you could drive from Boston to Big Bear without losing reception-or changing the station. With a provider like xmradio, you get 100 channels of music, news, and talk, all beamed down as digital signals from high-powered dishes in the sky. $130 for radios, $10 and up per month; xmradio.com
Knuckle-Dragging Blue Hairs
Maybe it's the Viagra, but grandpa's goin' boardin'. With retirement-home sales booming in ski towns, watch your back for senior shredders. "A lot of our members still ski, but we've definitely seen an increase in people switching to snowboarding," says Louise Conner of the Over the Hill Gang, a national organization of active oldsters. What's next? The Senior U.S. Open?