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Used & Abused
DPS Zelda 106 Tour1
Whereas the Alchemist construction version of the Zelda 106 features a slightly heavier Aspen wood core sandwiched between DPS’ signature prepreg carbon fiber laminate–made damper with additives—the Tour1 construction designed for backcountry performance swaps in a lighter weight balsa wood core between a combination of prepreg carbon and glass laminate to shave additional grams. Translation: Weighing in at only 1,340 grams a piece, these sticks were made for walking.
On the downhill, these lighter and shorter planks responded better when skied in a neutral, upright position—this keeps the shovel from diving into the snow. When skied in a centered stance, the Zelda Tour1 is surprisingly damp with a reliable flex pattern that manages variable snow well, and floats like a dream in soft pow. [MSRP: $1,099.00; dpsskis.com]
lululemon Always In Motion (A.I.M.) Underwear
The lululemon A.I.M. briefs’ Modal® fabric seems to be just a touch more comfortable than other underwear. It feels as if there’s more spandex blended into the construction, meaning there’s no discomfort whatsoever while wearing them during activity. The slightly wider waist strap on the lululemon A.I.M. briefs does not crease and the fabric handles moisture well. The A.I.M. does have notably comfortable frontal support as well. [MSRP: $28, lululemon.com]
Nordica Santa Ana 110
The sweet spot of the Santa Ana 110 became a magical place. When I focused on driving the ski from the front of my foot—where it is designed to receive the power transferring down from your legs—the ski’s performance was amazing. In heavy, skied-off pow, I felt like a new person, charging through chunder with confidence. In the light, blower pow between trees I floated like a dream and the Santa Ana felt responsive and, well, fun!
Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 139-110-128 | Lengths (in centimeters):161, 169, 177 | Turn Radius (n meters): 15.5 | MSRP: $799
Sportube Ski Shield Bag
Like other ski luggage options on the market, the Sportube Ski Shield features an oversized YKK access zipper, interior stash pockets with velcro closures, and compression straps to keep everything tight. The primary feature that sets the Ski Shield apart, however, is the brand’s GearShield Technology, a high density polyethylene sheathing made from the same material as the brand’s hard ski cases. Located at both ends of the bag where wear-and-tear is usually the worst, the GearShield Tech works. My Ski Shield withstood ruthless airport baggage handlers and machinery everywhere I took it. [$230, sportube.com] – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor
Eddie Bauer BC EverTherm Jacket
I was initially hesitant to find an applicable use while skiing with the Eddie Bauer BC Evertherm jacket, but when I started using it, and I found a multitude of functionality: The Weatheredge DWR waterproofing is perfect for wet resort villages as the DWR treatment holds up well against snow, sleet, rain, and “wintery mix.” I put in on over my soft shell at the top of the skin track on a snowy day in Colorado, and it didn’t come off until we got back to the car. The DWR again proved itself necessary, and the Thindown insulation was more than perfect, taking up minimal space in my pack and keeping me warm on the descent. [$499, eddiebauer.com] Read my full Eddie Bauer BC EverTherm jacket review. – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor
evo Sound Flannel
I decided to update my style with the mellow-yet-classy evo sound flannel this season to add some class at dinner parties, date nights, and traveling. Made from soft, warm 100% brushed cotton, this flannel isn’t overly “business casual” but hasn’t let me down yet for impressing friends and family. Best of all, evo donates some of its profits from their new apparel lines to organizations designed to get kids outdoors and more. Looking good and helping kids? Might be time for me to get another flannel. [$50, evo.com] Check out four more great shirts for skiers here. – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor
Blackstrap Hood Balaclava
In a world where ski fashion ping-pongs between look-at-me neon colors and muted forest tones that never make for good photos, there’s something to be said for keeping your appearance incognito. That’s why the American-made, UPF 50+ (UV) rated Blackstrap Hood Balaclava caught my eye: people can’t see who I am when I’m wearing it, which leaves them guessing when my skiing is good and none-the-wiser in case I get caught in a Jerry of the Day situation. The balaclava covers my face and neck from the sun when it’s a blue sky day and from the winter elements on stormy days. The four-way stretch fabric is a patented blend of polyester, nylon, and cashmere that feels great on skin and fits under a helmet perfectly. The breathable fabric is safe for cleaning goggle lens smudges and is naturally antimicrobial. [$29.99, bsbrand.com] – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor who swears he has never been on Jerry of the Day.
Skullcandy Icon Wireless Headphones
After going through three pairs when the original Icon was in production, you can count this tester as officially stoked about the Icon Wireless. They feature the recognizable design of the original Icon, plus incredibly improved sound delivery and a no-slip headband to make for easy wearing from the airport to the chairlift. The easy-to-push control button takes a little bit of practice to master, and the headphones still blare loud enough that everyone can hear what you’re listening to when you crank up the volume, but they don’t make me feel claustrophobic like some other brands’ ear-swallowing headphones, and Icons stay put unlike ear buds. With a 10-hour battery life on a full charge (tested and confirmed), the Icon Wireless headphones have everything you need for tunes on the hill and beyond. [$50, skullcandy.com] Read more about the Skullcandy Icon Wireless Headphone here. – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor
Yeti Hopper Backflip 24
Whether you’re hiking to a slopeside picnic spot or going to a party at a different employee housing complex, the Yeti Backflip 24 is a great all-around backpack cooler. With enough room to carry lunch and beverages for a handful of your friends, it’s also waterproof and will keep your perishables respectably cold even in hot summer temps. A more-tall-than-wide frame as well as a sternum strap and waist strap make it a great backpack cooler no matter what you’re getting into. And yes, it’ll keep your beers cold—unless you’re an idiot who keeps the top open all day. [$300; yeti.com] See how the Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 compares to the Otterbox Trooper LT30 here. – Ryan Dionne, Contributor.
prAna Outlyer Full Zip Hood Fleece
Have you ever touched a fabric and felt an immediate need to wear it? That’s exactly what happened when I took the prAna Outlyer hoodie out of the box: I had to put it on as soon as I felt the supple cloth reminiscent of puppy fur and flower petals. The Outlyer is composed of a Hemp/recycled polyester/Lenzing Tencel® blend, which gives the hoodie an incredibly soft feel while keeping the wearer warm and cozy during brisk autumn evenings and chilly winter days. The fleece is 55 percent sustainably grown hemp, which pairs perfectly with a bottle of New Belgium Brewing’s The Hemperor HPA beer. Be warned: When you try the Outlyer on, you’re not going to want to take it off. [$99, prana.com] – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor.
SCOTT Genius 920 Mountain Bike
This bike—how do you say in mountain bike speak—”shreds.” The Genius 920, part of Scott’s dedicated line of trail bikes, has the power and components to flatten mountains. Like any trail bike worth its salt, the Genius 920 is a blend of uphill mobility and downhill shready-ness. A carbon frame and 1×12 Eagle drivetrain make the Genius 920 light and nimble on climbs, while 29-inch wheels and FOX suspension with 150 mm of travel equip the bike to tackle any technical terrain you throw at it on the downhills. [$4,275, SCOTT-sports.com] Read the full SCOTT Genus 920 Mountain Bike Review Here. — Jenny Wiegand, Content Producer
BUFF UV Multifunctional Headwear
As an avid Denver Broncos fan, I don’t agree with Tom Brady about much, but I do agree with him about wearing BUFFs when skiing. The handy, stylish, four-way stretch accessories provide protection from cold, sun, wind, and more. My go-to is the seamless UV multifunctional headwear BUFFs treated with Polygiene odor control technology, as I can wear them for longer stints between laundry and can go from headband to face cover without getting funk up my nostrils. BUFF recently announced that all of their multifunctional headwear pieces will be constructed with 100% recycled REPREVE® fibers, sourced from plastic water bottles from landfills and the ocean, so you can protect your face and help keep the planet clean. On an unrelated note, I can’t wait to see Brady get sacked by Von Miller in the playoffs this season. Don’t @ me. [$25, BuffUSA.com] – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor.
Bight Solstice Hoody
I love it when one of my favorite outdoor pieces also becomes my go-to for everyday creature comfort. That’s been the case with the Solstice Hoody from new outdoor brand Bight. I’ve put this 100-percent spun polyester top through its paces during chilly morning runs and variable-temperature mountain hikes, and it hasn’t disappointed, moving moisture away to keep me cool and providing warmth when my inner furnace powered down. (It also does a laudable job on the youth-soccer sidelines and early-morning strolls to the coffee shop, just sayin’.) The fit is on the relaxed side—it skims, rather than hugs the body—so if you prefer a looser-fitting layer next-to-skin, the Solstice fits the bill. It also sports all the requisite bells and whistles of a ladies’ activewear top: oversized hood with hidden drawcord, thumbholes, drop-tail hem to cover the butt … you get the picture. Bight Gear re-branded itself earlier this year from MtnLogic, and is headed by world-class guide Peter Whittaker. Though the name is new, Whittaker still promises that each garment design goes through upwards of 100,000 vertical feet of human-powered testing before coming to market. That’s dedication. [$69, bightgear.com] – Samantha Berman, Content Director.
Vuarnet Cap Round Sunglasses
If you haven’t been to a single music festival yet this summer, it’s high-time you get yourself some tix—if only to show off your Vuarnet Cap Round sunnies. Vuarnet released this limited-edition model on summer solstice to celebrate the free-spirited vibes of summertime. And it’s hard to conceive of a pair of shades that better encapsulates summer love than these round frames reminiscent of John Lennon. Vuarnet’s designs are not only fashion-forward, but exceedingly smart. The Cap Round features mineral glass lenses that provide superior protection from harmful UV rays, durability, and optical clarity. A unique metal visor at the top of the frame diminishes glare and unwanted reflections, and the plastic frame extends slightly on the sides to block light from entering the peripherals. Downside: you may have to take out a small personal loan to afford these shades. [$350-$420, vuarnet.com] See more great women-specific sunglass options here. – Jenny Wiegand, Content Producer
Salewa SPEED BEAT GTX
All new for the 2018/19 season, Salewa brings the SPEED BEAT GTX, complete with a GORE-TEX® membrane and burley POMOCA outsoles. I’ve worn these during early season hikes through steep snowfields in Colorado’s San Juan Wilderness, on early morning trail runs near Boulder, hot hikes through Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, and for one long sprint through Denver International Airport. Weighing in at 350 grams, the Salewa SPEED BEAT GTX shoes are light and comfortable, but beastly. When stepping onto a 35-degree snow-covered slope in late May, my feet clung on, inspiring confidence in each step. The shoe will officially release Fall 2018—and I recommend you go grab a pair. Read the full Salewa SPEED BEAT GTX review here. – Jessi Hackett, Contributor.
Zellee Organic Fruit Jels
Healthy chairlift snacks can be hard to find, but I recently discovered Zellee Organic Fruit Jels, which hit the mark for both kids and kids at heart. Made with real fruit and konjac, an East Asian plant that gives Zellee a gelatin texture without artificial chemicals, the fruit pouches are gluten free, vegan, have no added sugar and taste amazing. The company was founded in Hawaii after a mom realized that the plant-based gelatin treats she ate as a kid would be perfect for her children after they developed food allergies, and we’re grateful that the jels also make great snacks for skiers. Zellee means jelly in Japanese, so I’m hoping to do some more testing with these treats in Hokkaido this winter. [$24 for 12, zelleeorganic.com] – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor.
Gordini AERIE Glove
Ladies on the West Coast, ladies on the East, and all the ladies in between, Gordini has a one-glove-fits-all-winter-conditions solution for you. The AERIE is a hearty winter glove designed to keep your digits toasty on the coldest of ski days (10° to 32° F), come sun, snow, rain or sleet. A durable woven nylon shell with genuine goatskin trim, palm and fingers keep moisture at bay, plus Gordini’s Aquabloc® water- and windproof insert keeps things breathable. The biggest trick up the AERIE’s gauntlet is DownTek™ Water Repellent Down, treated to ensure air pockets in the natural insulation, which are responsible for trapping warm air and preventing insulation collapse when wet. This means your digits will stay warm, even in the rain. On the flipside, these gloves pack too much heat for warmer, spring ski days, and because of the puffy down, aren’t the most dexterous gloves we’ve tried. [$100, Gordini.com] – Jenny Wiegand, Content Producer.
Under Armour Base 3.0 Baselayers
If you’re always cold while skiing, it’s probably time to update your baselayer game. I really like the Under Armour Base 3.0 baselayers for the coldest days on the mountain, especially if I’m at a ski area with long, slow chairlifts. The fit is tight but not restrictive, and the 4-way stretch is great for keeping comfortable in all positions I find myself in while skiing. But what really makes the UA Base 3.0 stand out is the super soft and cozy negative grid interior, which traps hot air and keeps everything nice and toasty on the inside. While there is anti-odor tech built in, these do get a little stinky by the end of the season so be sure to wash regularly. [Crew: $75, Leggings: $75; underarmour.com] – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor.
SOLE Performance Thin Cork Footbeds
After years of fitting ski boots for retail and rental customers, one thing I never figured out is why ski boot manufacturers put years into the development of their shells and liners, but use thin, worthless strips of foam as footbeds. Every single skier can benefit from having a high quality, customizable footbed in their boots. My go-to choice is the SOLE Performance Thin Cork Footbed. Made from 100% recycled cork, these comfy little numbers are moldable via heat or just by wearing them overtime. Endorsed by freeskiing legend Chris Davenport, SOLE donates $1 of each pair sold to Protect Our Winters (POW). They will help improve you skiing while helping to improve the planet, making them a win-win purchase. Best of all, they will outlive your ski boots, and can go into the next pair pre-molded and ready to ski. [$50, yoursole.com]. – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor.
STOKED Summerstoke Coffee
Summer is calling. Longer days mean more hours for epic adventures, and you’re going to need your strength for what lies ahead each day. We suggest fueling up with a cup of Summerstoke while you get your gear sorted in the morning. Why? The first reason is in the name: get a little extra stoke designed specifically for summer antics with this seasonal blend. The second reason? STOKED coffee was created by world-class ultra-runner Jax Mariash to give athletes and adventurers the boost they need to kickstart an unforgettable day in the outdoors. With outdoor enthusiasts in mind, STOKED uses only 100% certified organic beans that are rich in flavor. The newly released Summerstoke blend is a lighter roast that basically serves up summer in a cup with notes of berries and stonefruit complimented by chocolate undertones. Need to get STOKED on the go? Get some light and packable STOKED STIX and hit the trail. [$18 for 12 oz. bag, stokedroasters.com] – Jenny Wiegand, Content Producer
Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug
Ski tour. Hut trip. Camp trip. You have lots on the agenda. But first: coffee. Even when chasing dawn patrol, skiers make time for a cup of joe. Maybe not a lot—we rarely have time to sit and drink a full mug at home before we get antsy and hit the road. That’s why skiers need this classic Stanley mug. Just tip what’s left in the pot into the 12, 16 or 20oz Stanley to-go mug and you’ll be packing some serious heat for up to nine hours. Guaranteed not to leak thanks to the lid’s trigger-action system and double wall vacuum insulation, it’s safe to throw the mug into your backcountry pack and know that the life-saving devices on your back won’t be destroyed a coffee explosion. Other bonuses: the mug is BPA-free and fits snugly into your car cupholder. Want to test it out before winter rolls around? Go ahead, it will keep your marg cold for up to eight hours while you do your summer thing. [$28 for 12 oz, stanley-pmi.com] – Jenny Wiegand, Content Producer
Skullcandy Crusher Wireless Headphones
If you live for the bass drop, look no further than the Crusher Wireless Headphones from Skullcandy. Featuring stereo haptics with directional bass, easy-to-use bass adjustment, and Bluetooth connect-ability, these headphones will rattle your bones (or deliver well-balanced tunes, if that’s what you’re into). The Crushers last up to 40 hours on a single charge and include an AUX cord to plug in if the battery dies. You can read the full Used & Abused review of the Skullcandy Crusher Wireless Headphones here. [$150, Skullcandy.com] – Ryan Dionne, former SKI Digital Brand Manager.
Handmade in Vermont with MAX-Dri moisture management technology, Skida’s poly-spandex jersey headbands might just be the most stylish, functional accessory I’ve ever used. Headed on a long ski tour? Use it to keep sweat out of your eyes. Gaper gap? Wear it under your helmet and don’t look like a Jerry. Just want to look cool while skiing mellow corn on a sunny day? Put it on and smile for the camera. The Nordic model is unlined and works great for non-skiing sports when the snow melts, while the Alpine headbands feature Polartec micro-fleece lining for cold days on the hill. The prints are oriented towards men or women, but they’re all so cool no one will notice the difference. [$18 (Nordic)-$20 (Alpine); Skida.com] – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor.
Honey Stinger Gluten Free Organic Waffles
Gluten Free Honey Stinger Waffles are the best American stroopwafel product on the market. Normally, I prefer gluten in my cookies, but when heated on the rim of a full mug of coffee and then dunked in, the gluten free organic waffle becomes a medallion of warm ‘n’ gooey deliciousness that seems more-melty and sweet due to the lack of gluten. I love chocolate, so I prefer the Chocolate Mint flavor, but Honey Stinger offers equally delicious gluten-free versions of Vanilla & Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Cinnamon, and Wildflower Honey. All are organic, yummy, and a great morning snack on the way to the ski hill, or a perfect midday backcountry treat any time of year. Just don’t forget the hot beverage to go with it (Handpresso, anyone?). [$23.84 for 16, honeystinger.com] – Jon Jay, Digital Content Editor.
Orsden Slope Jacket
Named after a mythical snow bear, Vermont-based Orsden sells direct-to-consumer luxury outerwear with cushy four-way stretch. The soft elasticity was immediately noticeable when slipping into the slim-cut Slope jacket during mid-winter testing at Aspen Mountain. The 20k/20k waterproof/breathable rating performed as expected—the fully seam-sealed, DWR-coated exterior expertly repelled the small, wet snowflakes that fell all week—and the synthetic polyester lining kept me just a touch too warm in the gondola and in the lodge (but just the right temp while on snow). The single-stitch seams and the way the Orsden logos were glued on didn’t seem particularly durable, but they held up during testing. For those looking for a sharp Euro-esque cut, comfy insulation, and four-way super-stretch throughout, the Orsden Slope jacket should be on your radar. [$330, orsden.com] – Jon Jay, Gear Editor.
Native DropZone Goggle
Newsflash: Native Eyewear makes goggles—pretty sweet ones too. The brand that’s known for sunglasses has a few new goggles on the market, including the DropZone. Featuring a single button interchange system, this goggle makes swapping out lenses a cinch, though you won’t have to reach for that low-light lens as often as you might think. The DropZone comes with a SnowTuned lens optimized for changing light conditions and snow-specific color filtration. We tested the goggle with the blue mirror lens on a spring day when the sun was in out of the clouds, and found we still had great visibility even in low light. Above all, though, we love the comfortable fit of the frame. The inside is padded with fluted hypoallergenic triple face foam, which makes for a cushy fit without compromising a wide field of vision. [$179, nativeeyewear.com] – Jenny Wiegand, Content Producer
OtterBox Pursuit Series
From Alta, Utah to Alta, Norway, there was only one product I brought on every single trip this season: the OtterBox Pursuit Series Phone Case for my phone. Whether I was Instagramming the Indie SKI Test or recording an interview at the Winter Olympics, I need my phone protected at all times while on assignment. The OtterBox Pursuit case is drop, dust, dirt and, most importantly, snow-proof, all wrapped up in a slimmer package than other cases in this price range. The case seals around the phone without a screen cover, keeping bad stuff out but still letting the user get touchy-feely with the actual glass. Last month in Norway, I accidentally left my pocket open jumping off a wind lip and my phone went flying into melting snow. I was able to find it, blow the snow off, and it worked like a charm right away, no rice needed. The ringer/vibrate switch took a couple of tries to line up perfectly when first installing the case, but works great once I got it right. If you love your phone or know someone who does, they need this case. I know I certainly do. [$70, otterbox.com] – Jon Jay, Gear and Digital Editor.
Beyond Coastal Active Face Stick
There’s a reason a nose lathered in zinc oxide became iconic of the spring skier: no experienced skier lets the intense mountain sun scorch their skin, no matter how much they crave a goggle tan. These days though, skiers turn to more invisible forms of sun protection, and that’s where the Beyond Coastal Active Face Stick hits the mark. Beyond Coastal’s sun care products consistently receive quality ratings from the Environmental Working Group because their ingredients are safe for the body and the environment. The Active Facestick, a non-mineral sunscreen, provides broad-spectrum protection and is both Oxybenzone and Paraben free, and best of all, doesn’t leave a heavy, chalky residue all over your face. It easily fits into pockets and spring fanny packs, can be applied without taking off gloves, and won’t leak or explode no matter how hard or high you go. [$6.99, beyondcoastal.com] – Jenny Wiegand, Content Producer
Julbo Aerospace Goggle with Superflow System
Julbo’s Aerospace Goggle has been revamped with a new lens technology to combat what all skiers hate: lenses fogging up while hiking out to the extremes. The SuperFlow System allows skiers to push the lens forward off the goggle frame to let heat escape while climbing, so you don’t have to keep reaching for that lens wipe. This system, combined with the goggle’s highly reactive Zebra Photocromic lens that can adapt to varying light conditions within 22 seconds, makes this goggle great for days when you’ll be encountering variable light conditions on both uphill and downhill missions. While we loved the light receptivity of the lens, especially when tested on a spring ski day that started sunny and ended in April snow showers, the frame is not exactly minimalist. The two layers of foam on the interior make for a cushy fit, but the padding does encroach on the skier’s field of vision. [$230, julbo.com] – Jenny Wiegand, Content Producer
Faction Prime 1.0
Developed with pro skier and guide Samuel Anthamatten, Faction’s backcountry-oriented Prime series utilizes Swiss hybrid balsa flax core and TeXtreme carbon making this ski lightweight for the uphill and sturdy enough for aggressive downhill pursuits. While skiing mostly tracked, soft snow around Breckenridge, Colo., the 90mm-underfoot Prime 1.0 skis were surprisingly nimble in trees and moguls thanks to the generously rockered tip and tail, plus a shorter turn radius underfoot. During longer, higher speed turns on hard snow, the full-length hybrid balsa flax wood core helped the ski hold an edge with solid torsional strength. The skis were light and easy on the uphill, yet the narrow waist and lightweight aspects did make it difficult to push the ski through a suncrust on the way down. In more challenging conditions the stiff tail was sometimes hard to get around, but in the pockets of powder these skis floated well for their size and felt incredible. The Faction Prime 1.0 strikes an equal balance between being lightweight, sturdy, and nimble, making them a solid option for the backcountry enthusiast looking for a reliable ski for going uphill and down. [$999, us.factionskis.com] – Rachel Ryan, Digital Content Intern.
Faction Prime 1.0 Specs- Width: 118-90-104; Length: 166, 172, 178, 184; Radius: 18m at 178; Weight: 1450g at 178; Camber Profile: 320 mm rocker, 2mm camber, 330 mm rocker.
Check out more great backcountry ski options here.
Red Fox Alpha Jacket
Relatively new to the American market, the European apparel brand Red Fox is getting noticed in the climbing world. The company makes a few items that crossover well for skiers, and the men’s Alpha Jacket was recently put to the test in the mountains around Livingston, Montana. The midlayer features Polartech Alpha insulation, which kept testers warm during backcountry dawn patrol ski missions, and a thin nylon ripstop shell with DWR that kept testers dry during short snow squalls. While the neoprene panels under the armpits ventilate well, they retained some stink after multiple uses and washings. Overall, however, one tester summed it up nicely: “I’m not sure what else to say because I kind of forget about [the jacket] when I’m skiing,” which is exactly what you’re supposed to do when wearing well-built outerwear in the field. [$152.50, us.redfoxoutdoor.com] – SKImag.com Editors.
Swiftwick Aspire 12 Compression Socks
There are usually so many problems with compression socks: the synthetic fiber stinks, the compression stretches out after a few uses, or they are just impossible to get on in the first place. Swiftwick’s 100% American-made Aspire 12 sock, however, is constructed with a Nobel Prize-winning material called olefin that wicks away moisture, slides on to your feet easily, and doesn’t stink, both literally and metaphorically. While testing these socks skiing at Deer Valley for a week, followed by a week of heli skiing with CMH, the compression kept my lower legs and feet feeling spry, ski lap after ski lap. The Swiftwick Aspire 12 socks are thin, providing optimal power transmission from muscle to boot, but they might be a little too thin if you prefer thicker ski socks. These compression socks are usable for other sports too, so there is really no reason not to add a pair to your athletic sock drawer in the near future. [$30, swiftwick.com] – Jon Jay, Gear and Digital Content Editor.
Mountain Standard MTN Utility Mitts
No matter how many new tech features are introduced every year, there is something to be said for brands that return to simple roots. Boulder, Colo.-based Mountain Standard is known for exactly that: Making simple yet functional clothing that works as well sledding at the local park to skiing extreme terrain at far-away places. Mountain Standard’s MTN Utility Mitts are exemplary of this ethos, and they kept my hands warm and dry during a stormy weekend of testing at Silverton Mountain. Featuring Primaloft insulation and a goat leather exterior, the Mountain Standard Mitts are ready for anything you throw at them (or throw with them). Note: Sizing is a bit large so don’t be afraid to size down. [$118, mountainstandard.com] – Jon Jay, Gear and Digital Content Editor.
Full Tilt Descendant 8
FT’s Descendant series features a 102mm-last Evolution shell and Intuition Pro Liner, two things great for wide-footed skiers. I tested the D8 over several days at Loveland and Vail, sticking to hardpack, moguls, and the occasional air. The boot tongue initially felt soft, but performed much better than anticipated skiing medium-to-fat waisted skis. I felt the need to really tighten the Velcro strap to drive the stiffest, Titanal-layered planks, but while skiing wood-cored freeride and park skis, the Descendant 8 had solid edge-to-edge performance and superb energy transfer with minimal fitting. A solid option for chairlift-focused skiers who need wide-berth boots for their feet. [$750, fulltiltboots.com] – Jon Jay, Gear Editor.
Read an in-depth review of the Full Tilt Descendant 8 and how it compares to the Dalbello Panterra 130.
TREW Gear Stella Jacket
Perfect to combine with the Chariot Bibs, TREW Gear’s Stella Jacket is an improved and burlier freeride shell with added details like bigger pockets (perfectly sized for a can of wine), a relaxed fit, and an overall longer torso. While offering more features overall, the Stella is perhaps de trop for lugging up a couloir or on a more technical backcountry expedition where a lighter, tighter option would be a more desirable. Complete with a wrap-around powder skirt and fully taped 80D 3L Dermizax construction, the TREW Stella jacket is a fantastic freeride option, ideal for storm skiing or romping around the side country. [$379, TREWgear.com] – Jessi Hackett, Contributor.
Shred Belushki Sunglasses
Shred’s all-new Boost line of sunglasses incorporates the company’s Contrast Boosting Lens (CBL) technology into Japanese-made liquid-cast urethane lenses. The optical clarity is exceptional, providing significantly clearer and undistorted vision compared to the polycarbonate lenses found in other sport-oriented sunnies (read more about the technology here). The Italian NoWeight frames are composed of 54 percent renewable materials, and are lighter than comparable models from other brands. We tested the Belushkis in Moab, Utah, for a cloudy-day mountain bike ride and numerous sunny drives through the mountains. The sunglasses felt secured to our faces on the especially bumpy Porcupine Rim trail, and stayed on afterward, working well in every light situation we encountered, even offering glare-free views of snowcapped mountains. One tester with a smaller face received compliments for the sharp design, but another with a larger face was told that no matter how nice the lenses are, the Belushkis are simply too small. Luckily, Shred’s Stomp sunglasses offer the same lens tech with a wider frame, albeit with a slightly less stylish design. [$160, shredoptics.com] — Jon Jay, Gear Editor.
Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Running Shoe
The Horizon RTT trail shoes are superb descenders. Thanks to a tacky rubber outsole and well-designed traction pattern, we were able to set some new Strava PRs coming down the foothills of Colorado’s Front Range. Under Armour is known for using materials that master heat regulation, and the PU & textile upper with mesh strategically placed in the heel kept our feet at optimal temperatures in a variety of mid-autumn weather conditions. The proprietary “Charged Cushioning” in the sole wasn’t quite as soft as other shoes tested, but, weighing in at only 12 ounces, these shoes can handle some serious distance considering all of the technology packed inside. We found the Horizon RTTs to be best for low- to medium-volume feet, especially the women’s model. [$110, underarmour.com] — Jon Jay, gear editor, and Jackie McCaffrey Bradley, creative director.
You can find more preseason training equipment, including another trail running shoe option, here.
Skullcandy Barricade XL Bluetooth Speaker
The Skullcandy Barricade XL BT takes bass to the next level. On a recent autumn preseason training and camping trip to Fruita, Colorado, the Barricade XL BT speaker came through with excellent outdoor amplification, delivering well-rounded acoustics throughout a variety of rock and hip-hop playlists. The waterproof capabilities of the speaker came in handy during a surprise slight drizzle, and the impact-resistant stainless-steel casing was critical when things got a little rowdy around the campfire after a long day on the trails. The speaker didn’t quite live up to the 10 hours of battery life during sustained use with temps dipping into the freezing range, but came close enough that it will still be great for ski season tailgate parties. If you’re into listening to bass-heavy tunes in the parking lot before and a day on the slopes, this speaker is a great choice. [$170, skullcandy.com]— Jon Jay, Gear Editor.
Looking for more Bluetooth speakers? Check out the Gear Toolbox from the November 2017 issue here.
Outdoor Technology Rhinos
Like the beast of the African savannah they are named after, these Outdoor Tech headphones are large and in charge. Wearing them while traveling to Valle Nevado, Chile, they were so massive and intimidating that people avoided me in crowded spaces (I swear it was the headphones and not the way I smelled after 14 hours of travel!). With a built-in microphone, Bluetooth 4.1 technology, and eight hours of playtime on a full charge, the Rhinos stayed on my head for the duration of the long travel mission. Also, my phone rarely left my pocket as I could control the playlist and the volume by pushing a button on the side of these head ornaments, which helped the phone’s battery last longer throughout the trip. The sound quality, in particular the bass, was a little less than perfect for a set of headphones this size, but considering they are fully waterproof and float, I can’t wait to listen to Pantera with these on my noggin as I go for that extra-long pond skim this spring. [$130; outdoortechnology.com] – Jon Jay, Gear Editor.
Princeton Tec Sync Headlamp
Dawn-patrols enthusiasts, skimo racer nerds, and anyone who has been be-nighted on the side of a mountain know to bring a headlamp on every outing—not every adventure ends at a pre-determined time. The Princeton Tec Sync is a great choice for all of the above, especially because it has a big fat dial to adjust light settings. During a full-moon ski tour in Southwestern Colorado that was darkened by cloud cover and snowflakes, I never had to take off my gloves to fumble around with a microscopic button. Instead, I merely turned the ergonomic wheel on the side of the Sync to go from gentle campfire light to full-on 150 lumen hi-beams. The AAA batteries are the same as the ones in many avalanche beacons, but heavy use on the strongest settings combined with cold nights drained the batteries faster than expected. The plastic, asymmetrical single arm bracket might not hold up if you take a serious midnight faceplant, but stayed strong for me during a nighttime yard sale. [$29.95; PrincetonTec.com] – Jon Jay, Gear Editor
Sweet Protection Trooper MIPs Helmet
Looking to move beyond Scandinavian markets, Sweet Protection is taking a more aggressive marketing stance in North America, and will probably soon invade a ski shop near you. That’s good news for your head, as the Scandinavians are known for incorporating the latest and greatest safety technology into recognizably different helmet designs. The Trooper MIPs Helmet has no shortage of industry-leading safety features, including MIPs technology to better protect against angled-impacts, and carbon fiber detailing that looks rad. The plush interior lining is soft and smooth, but the fit warrants a “try-on-before-you-buy” recommendation. The price isn’t cheap, but the helmet’s advanced safety features justify the MSRP, plus it’s built to last (just as long as you don’t crash all the time). Check out the Full Review of the Sweet Protection Trooper MIPs Helmet here. [$319.95 SweetProtection.com] – Jon Jay, Gear Editor
Costa Bloke Sunglasses
I’ve been rocking the Costa Bloke Sunglasses with blue polarized 580P lenses for the past six months, and I like what I see. The lens technology is perfect for optical clarity and minimal glare during very sunny days in the high alpine that involve white, bright snow. Costa has a long history of making sunglasses for fishermen & fisherwomen, and I’ve found them to be perfect for fly-fishing missions on days I’m not skiing. They are sized for medium to large faces, but the arms aren’t quite long enough for the largest of noggins. Check out the full review of the Costa Bloke Sunglasses. [$169-$249, CostadelMar.com/] – Jon Jay, Gear Editor
Deuter FreeRide Pro 30
The FreeRide Pro has become one of my most trusted friends on the mountain. At 30 liters, it’s the perfect size for daylong backcountry missions, or laps at your hometown hill. And with easy access to a shovel pocket, probe sleeve, fleece-lined goggle pocket, and a variety of external tie-ons for A-Frame or diagonal ski carry, stowing gear couldn’t be easier. The Alpine Back System, which uses and pivoting hip belt, lightweight X-frame, and ample padding around the spine, is super stable and well ventilated, and it follows your every movement. Everything accounted for, it is one of the most comfortable and supportive packs I have ever worn. [$160, Deuter.com] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor.
Leatherman Skeletool CX
Tightly packed with the 7-most essential tools including a knife, pliers, screwdriver, and a bottle opener, the Leatherman Skeletool CX provides an efficient and low profile solution to your mechanical woes. I’ve used it for everything from wrenching on bindings to cutting cheese and sausage in the backcountry. At only 5 ounces, the Skeletool CX is the perfect tool for ski adventures, and it can save your day from a variety of mechanically induced disasters. [$95, Leatherman.com] — Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Yeti Tundra 45
Sunshine and warm weather, great for spring skiing and the inevitable après, but downright threatening to the ice cold beers back in the parking lot. That is unless, they are wisely tucked into a Tundra cooler from Yeti. Designed with a rugged style of simplicity, an indestructible exterior, and up to three inches of aptly named “PremaFrost” insulation, the Tundra can easily keep ice around for days. Clever appointments such as the integrated dry goods basket, drain spout, and oversized rubber latches keeps everything cool and secure, making it the last ice chest you’ll ever need. The 45-liter Tundra fits 24 cans of your favorite beverage with room enough for snacks, and neatly tucks into the back of an SUV alongside your boots. – Yeti.com
Alpine Start Original Blend Instant Coffee
Early mornings are often necessitated to get the best skiing, and on powder days, a extra few minutes in the morning can be the difference between first chair and tracked out runs. The best way to make sure you get out the door on time with all your gear and a smile? Alpine Start instant coffee. Unlike other instant coffees that can taste burnt or stale, Alpine start tastes fresh and robust, and costs about $1/cup. The 100% Arabica grounds dissolve instantly in both hot and cold water, making a damn good cup of coffee in no time flat. [$9 for 8 packets – AlpineStart.com] – Stephen Sebestyen, Contributing Editor
Peak Design Everyday Messenger
The Everyday Messenger from Peak Design is jack-of-all-trades shoulder bag, flexing to meet the needs of photographers, travelers, and adventure seekers. The overall design is elegantly simple yet packed with clever appointments, such as the magnetic latch closure, padded seatbelt strap, and a weatherproofed exterior. Inside, the main compartment features three flexible and removable dividers that let you re-design the pack for different loads, securely hosting your DSLR, spare lenses, laptop, lunch, books, or any combination of the bunch. 15” and 13” versions ensure a proper fit for any size camera kit or style. [$220 – PeakDesign.com] – Stephen Sebestyen, Contributing Editor
Eddie Bauer High Route Fleece Hoodie
Multi-tasking at the office is way over-rated. Multi-tasking with your performance wear is not. We like the fleece High Route Hoodie because it works swell as a midlayer on the slopes, or as a standalone when the sweat factor is higher, such as skinning up before heading down. It’s also four-season friendly, and, more often than not, joins us on our trail runs. Full zip provides full heat control. Zip chest pocket is a natural storage for your phone. And the thumb loops prevent annoying sleeve creep. Styling is an “athletic fit,” which means close but allowing for full range of motion. [$85, eddiebauer.com] —GD
Julbo Explorer 2.0
A 2.0 dropped into a product’s name can often indicate motion rather than progress. That’s not the case with the Explorer, Julbo’s flagship mountaineering model. This 2.0 model ups its—already considerable—game. More aggressive front venting, lighter weight (44g), and improved ergonomic design all work in consort to make the Explorer happy to play as hard as you do in the field. We especially like the full-protection frame design, the removable side shields and the grippy, fully adjustable temples that keep them rock steady on your melon. [$180, julbo.com] —GD
Ultimate Ears Boom2
What’s an après party without tunes? No fun at all. We love the all-weather wireless Boom2’s mighty-mite attitude: The rugged, go-anywhere speaker weighs in at about a pound and is only seven inches tall. But its max sound level at your après tailgate party will get you dirty looks from the nordic skiers packing up their Subaru next to you. If you’re really looking to get noticed, the new improved UE app allows you to connect up to 150 speakers. Now that’s a party. [$200, UltimateEars.com] —GD
Sorel Cozy 1964 Boot
The saving grace from a long day in your plastic prisons. View full review>>
Uvex Junior Visor Pro
In parenting—and especially in ski parenting—the fewer moving parts the better. We’re cool with taking goggles out of the equation when skiing with your kids. The Uvex Junior Visor Pro helmet does exactly that. The flip-down visor guarantees that there aren’t any more lost, forgotten at home or busted goggles slowing down your family ski day. (There’s nothing but upside there.) Yeah, U.S. kids tend to view the helmet as a bit high on the dork factor. Our advice: Own the look, early adopters, and go Euro, where the helmet sells well. After all, those Euros do know a thing or two about skiing with all ages in tow. [$130, uvex-sports.com] — GD
Patagonia Stretch Nano Storm Jacket
A puffy and a shell wrapped into one. View the full review>>
Darn Tough Thermolite® RFL Over-the-Calf Ultra-Light
If they’re going to be named Darn Tough, they’d better be. Like lots of skiers, I’ve sent plenty of $40 ski socks to the landfill because they wore through at the ball of the foot after half a season. But after 50 or so ski days, my Darn Toughs are hanging very tough indeed, still keeping my toes warm in Vermont conditions. But here’s what I really love about them: They’re American-made. Not only that, they’re made in Northfield, a pretty little central-Vermont college town with a long history of sock-making. Full disclosure: Northfield is where I was born and raised and spent my youth skiing, so maybe I’m biased. But I’m picky about my ski socks too—and proud that such good ones come from my old hometown. In the era of outsourced jobs, it’s a nice little story. And a darn good ski sock. [$23, DarnTough.com] – Joe Cutts
Columbia OutDry Ex Diamond Down Insulated Jacket
Sure it kinda looks funky, but the Columbia OutDry Ex Diamond Down Insulated Jacket is super warm, and it’s waterproof. So, for a do-anything-in-cold-and-wet-weather body cover, it’s everything you want. The 800-fill water-repellent down helps push out sweat, and the OutDry outer fabric doesn’t soak up any water or snow making it great for wet areas of the country. OutDry is often thought of for use in gloves and footwear, but Columbia takes it to a new level by using it as its outermost fabric—hence the funky look. The jacket also has a powder skirt, giant hood, and a ton of interior and exterior pockets. If you don’t mind the outer material that looks and feels like a raincoat, it’s a great winter jacket. [$500, columbia.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Columbia Kline Falls Shirt Jacket
With a soft outer fabric and red buffalo-check plaid on the shoulders, I feel like an urban lumberjack every time I wear the Kline Falls shacket. The lightly insulated, button-front layer is perfect for spring/fall days in the woods, on the slopes, or walking around town. It’s relatively lightweight, and, while it’s not meant as a mid-layer, it won’t shy away from the task. [$98, Columbia.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Cotopaxi Cayambe Backpack
The perfectly sized Cotopaxi Cayambe pack hosts all the essentials (and nothing more) staying lightweight and clean cut for day missions in and around the ski hill. Not only does Cotopaxi deliver on the promise of a simple, yet technical and adventure-ready pack, it lends a hand to those in need. For each item that Cotopaxi sells from its handsome suite of jackets and packs, a portion of the proceeds goes to medical aid and education for those in need around the world. Slinging the perfectly sized 20-liter Cayambe over your shoulder feels good on a whole new level. [$130, Cotopaxi.com] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Patagonia Women’s Refugative Jacket
This is the hard shell to reach for when you need a light but bombproof layer in the backcountry. The Refugative’s three-layer GORE-Tex construction might be thin, but it is mighty—wind- and waterproof enough to keep you warm during transitions. The pockets and pit zips are where you reach for them, and most packs won’t get in their way. One-hand pulls easily adjust the waist, an inner loop attaches to Patagonia pants to keep everything in its place, and it’s packing a RECCO reflector. [$499, patagonia.com] — Elizabeth Carey, contributing editor
Wigwam Powder Pro Socks
Happy feet make for a happy skier, and these Wigwams bring me nothing but smiles. Stitched out of a proprietary blend of merino wool, stretch nylon, and Dri-release, (which is a fancy way of saying, “these socks stay dry”) these socks fit snug and keep your dogs dry even on hot sweaty days. The Powder Pro also features cushioned hot spots on the sole and toe, which helps prevents blisters helps to keep pressure on the right parts of your boot without aches and pains at days end. [$22, Wigwam.com] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Voormi Base Layer
A newfound staple in my 4-season quiver, this 1/4-zip, long-sleeve base layer from Voormi is a near perfect weight beneath any layer or shell. The particularly long sleeves, thumb loops, and high collar help cover the areas usually prone to cold gusts, which is most welcome when stretching to take off skins or loading skis into the roof rack. However the beauty of the do-everything-in-all-weather base layer comes from the fabric itself, which features Voormi’s Colorado-sourced merino wool that doesn’t itch, smell, or stretch ensuring you you stay dry and classy all day—and night. [$130, Voormi.com] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Ridge Merino Ridge Boxers
Boys, let’s talk about underwear. If you’re wearing cotton or synthetic boxers on multi-day, sweaty endeavors, then stop. The swotch stench and dankness is disgusting. Enter Ridge Merino. It’s a new(ish) company that’s cranking out quality merino layers (tops, bottoms, and underwear) at an affordable price, and it’s Ridge Boxers are no exception. They’re as durable, quick-drying, and odorless as any other merino boxer you’ll find on the market, and they’re less expensive than some other big brands. And, ladies, they have a boy short version for you. [$25, RidgeMerino.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Black Diamond Mission Shell
The Black Diamond Mission jacket provides great wind and waterproof protection, is highly breathable, and steezy despite its low-key looks. It has amazing range of motion while maintaining a quiet (almost soft shell) feel, and the hood easily swallows a ski helmet. Plus, its pockets were well placed and inconspicuously cavernous—I was hoarding four days worth of trail maps and beef jerky without showing any exterior bulk. But while I’m not a big guy, the fit seemed a bit narrow around the waist/hips. As a skier who heats up fast, this durable shell allowed me to dump heat and remain dry and comfortable up and down the mountain. [$599, BlackDiamondEquipment.com] — Casey Nye, contributing editor
Mammut Broad Peak Jacket
I’m a sucker for short-notice adventures, and I learned a long time ago that there are some things you never leave home without. My Mammut Broad Peak jacket is top of that list. Built as a 750+ weight micro puff down, the Broad Peak is deliciously warm and cozy as a stand alone, and has a low enough profile to fit comfortably under a shell. The Broad Peak has particularly long arms that make it easy to reach beyond the confines of most coats without exposing your wrists to the elements. And that comes in handy for putting skis on top of the car or stretching that extra inch for a better pole plant in bottomless pow. To hot under all that awesomeness? Tightly pack the Broad Peak into its own pocket for storage and adventure onward. [$285, mammut.ch] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Marmot Storm King Jacket
With pit zips, abnormally long sleeves, big exterior pockets that are accessible while wearing a hip belt, and no insulation, Marmot’s Storm King is a perfect backcountry jacket. It’s true to size, but roomy enough to fit a fleece or thin down jacket underneath. The Storm King also has Polartec’s Neoshell membrane making it waterproof and windproof, a helmet-compatible hood that keeps out any weather, and a Recco reflector for added security. It’s now my go-to backcountry jacket. [$550, Marmot.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Salomon Mtn Carbon S3 Ski Poles
Not sure if you should wear your ski pole straps while skiing in fear of having your arm ripped off if your pole gets caught? Well, Salomon’s new Mtn Carbon S3 ski poles have the first amazing ski pole innovation since Black Diamond’s FlickLock system: releasable straps. A 3mm hex wrench adjusts the tension of the ball-and-socket style release mechanism. Keep it loose, and the strap will release easier, or crank it down to make sure they stay in place except in the worst scenario. Brilliant! Plus, the Carbon S3s have all the normal bells and whistles of a backcountry pole: adjustable length, lightweight design, good balance, and even pivotable powder baskets. And while we loved our Carbon S3s, do yourself a favor by saving $50 and getting the normal S3. They have an aluminum upper shaft and carbon lower (instead of all carbon), and only weigh 1 gram more than their carbon brothers. [$150, Salomon.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Arc’teryx Cerium SL Down Vest
The Arc’teryx Cerium SL down vest is the perfect lightweight (4.2 oz) down vest for backcountry missions and resort laps alike. It’s warm, will cram into any nook of your pack (or it stuffs into its own pouch about the size of a softball), and is about as minimalist as you can get. I often found myself reaching for hand-warmer pockets while wearing the Cerium SL on brisk days, but ya gotta give up some things (features) to gain others (lack of weight). [$219, Arcteryx.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Salomon Foresight 3L Jacket
Zip up, pull on the hood, and laugh in the face of foul weather. The Foresight 3L is a big-mountain, technical coat that is not only flush with clever appointments and well-placed pockets, but it’s impervious to snow and wind. Between the thumb loops, removable powder skirt, taped seams, and robust face fabric, I have yet to encounter a day where I’m at all hesitant about putting it on. Not to mention the subtle, yet dapper panel design that fetches longing eyes both on the mountain and across the bar. [$400, Salomon.com] —Stephen Sebesyten, contributing editor
The North Face Snowmad 26
This pack fit snuggly on my back while providing fair adjustability across a range of fill levels. It was the perfect size for avy gear, a camera, lunch/snacks, and an extra layer during full days on the slopes. The bungee-style glove stash on the right shoulder strap was great for quick adjustments on the lift ride up, and the pack fit well in all skiing conditions. But the zipper was a constant struggle. When trying to access the main compartment, the zipper continually got stuck—especially when there was anything in the goggle pocket. And, while the pack has a “helmet hammock” as we called it, three gear-savvy, experienced skiers couldn’t figure out how to use it. [$130, TheNorthFace.com] — Casey Nye, contributing editor
Arc’teryx Sabre Pant
Often durability and weight/burliness go hand-in-hand with ski pants, but that’s not the case with the Arc’teryx Sabre pants. They’ve withstood a decent beating from top to bottom, and barely show a scratch, and with a reinforced cuff they’ve yet to get stressed. Two large thigh pockets could stash skins, but are too big for everyday use, while hip pockets can store small items you want easily accessible. And while I haven’t toured in them, they had a great range of motion while boot packing in various conditions. [$450, Arcteryx.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Giro Contact Goggles
My ideal goggles come out of the box, go on my face, and then I forget about them. To pull that off, my lenses would have great ventilation, stellar visibility, resist fogging, and maintain straight-forward style. Giro’s Contact fit the bill perfectly, acting as the windshield of my ski machine: essential for the experience, but not begging for attention. They clung to my face and helmet without notice and had terrific clarity in all light conditions, temperatures, and precipitation levels. But the biggest differentiator: Press a button and the magnetized lens pops off making for super-fast lens changes as needed. [$240-300 depending on lens combo, Giro.com] — Casey Nye, contributing editor
Hestra Army Leather Abisko Gloves
The Hestra Abisko gloves, new for 2015-16, are low profile, breathable, weather-resistant hand covers. With a softshell back, but a soft yet very durable leather palm/fingers, they keep out nearly all the weather you don’t want—short of rain. On first wear, the inner liner feels a bit like cheese cloth, but it’s warm and isn’t as funky after the gloves are broken in. Plus, they’re as dexterous and warm (or not) as most other ski gloves. My digits get cold easily, and the Abisko survived most temps short of howling winds and temps in the teens. [$135, hestragloves.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Sync Stretch Puffy
Stretch is an understatement in Sync’s Stretch Puffy. The down/synthetic puffy jacket has a crazy amount of stretch throughout that’s most notable in the elbows and shoulders—unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a puffy jacket. That translates to a free-moving jacket that doesn’t hold you back whether roaming around town, or shredding the mountain. To help keep the cold out, it has an oversized hood, waterproof outer fabric, elastic cuffs, and a blend of synthetic and down insulation that has kept me warm in all but the most frigid conditions. Bottom Line: It’s a great jacket whether you’re hitting the slopes, or shufflin’ on the dance floor during après. [$299, SyncPerformance.com] —Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Klean Kanteen Insulated Mug
Rough is the life of a coffee mug in my employment. Topped each morning with pipping hot liquid, tossed in a backpack, touted all over the mountains, dropped, lost, found, and all the while expected to keep the hosted beverage toasty without spilling a sip. No other mug has risen to such a challenge as the simple, yet robust Klean Kanteen. The vacuum insulated double wall insulation keeps things hot for an easy 8 hours, and the interchangeable lids can seal off the mug entirely for transit without any risk of loosing ballast, or swapped to allow for easy drinking. [$30, KleanKanteen.com] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Stio Shot 7 Down Jacket
When Stio mixed a waterproof outside with an 800-fill, water-repellent down inside, they made one helluva warm jacket. And when you combine all that with a ski pass pocket, removable powder skirt, oversized hood, and big mesh inner pockets (for things like your goggles, gloves, or flask), you get one helluva jacket. I wore it exclusively for a week of skiing in temps that ranged from 5-35 degrees, and it was perfect when layered with either a base layer and mid-layer or just a base layer. Besides, when I was overheating, I just dumped heat through the mesh-backed pit zips. [$550, Stio.com] —Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Flylow Templeton Riding Hoody
The Flylow Templeton Riding Hoody is my go-to hoody. It’s kept me dry in some torrential downpours, and from some aggressive beer quaffing. It’s lightweight, feels great, and makes me look like I just got out of my euro-style BMW. With the hood up it’s like being held in a gentle headlock by a child. Plus, it’s warm, breathes, and makes a perfect mid-layer for all day on the mountain and all night at the bar. [$130, FlylowGear.com] —Josh Rashkin, contributing editor
Arc’teryx Tantalus Jacket
The Arc’teryx Tantalus jacket is a great resort or backcountry jacket that’s relatively lightweight yet I’m not afraid of ripping it. It has a zip-out powder skirt that gently hugs my hips even when not snapped, and two giant hand warmer pockets you could stash skins in when backcountry skiing. Of course it has all the other bells and whistles we’ve come to expect in a good ski jacket: waterproof/breathable (Gore-Tex), helmet-compatible hood, articulated elbows, long sleeves, and even a Recco reflector. It’s exactly what I expect from Arc’teryx. [$575, arcteryx.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
There is nothing like dark, rich espresso to start the day, but good coffee can be hard to come by when you’re miles from a proper barista. Fear not my fellow caffeine connoisseurs, the good people at Handpresso have developed a slick and clever way to get your caffeine bump no matter where you are. The small, yet sturdy, hand pump requires only fine-ground espresso, hot water, and some elbow grease to produce bold, delicious coffee, and can easily make multiple cups on the go. And with a little practice, and a steady hand, it can even make quality java on the lift ride between runs—yes, I’ve done it. [$100, Handpresso.com] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Voormi Drift Jacket
This isn’t your granddad’s wool sweater. Voormi’s construction of Colorado-sourced merino wool, abrasion-resistant nylon, and water-repellant coating makes for a coat that is less bulky, more comfortable, and warmer than anything else in my closet. The old-school hallmark itch of wool is nowhere to be found, instead being replaced by the securing feeling of encapsulating warmth. The suave color, long arms, and cosmopolitan aesthetic fit your body like a gin and tonic fits a British palette. [$250, Voormi.com] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Giro Range Helmet
Like Batman, I prefer black and very, very dark grey for my noggin coverage, and Giro’s Range was stealthy in its look, fit, and comfort. Out of the box the dome piece is true to size and instantly adjustable with the super straight-forward In-Form fit system. It’s hard to innovate a chin buckle, but Giro’s magnetized buckle closure is glove friendly and easy to use with one hand. And, unlike other helmets on the market, the Range’s two-piece shell hugs your head closer as you tighten the lid—instead of just the inner liner. Plus it has multi-directional impact protection system (Mips). [$240, Giro.com] — Casey Nye, contributing editor
Grand Trunk Down Blanket
The Grand Trunk Down Blanket is a lightweight, deliciously warm, and hyper-packable puffy blanket to keep you cozy when the going gets cold. The synthetic-insulated body cover takes up very little real estate (about the size of a pint glass when stuffed), and it’s a staple for cold-weather camping, air travel, or your daily dose of outdoor lounging. Unpacked, the blanket is a cozy fit for two, or a lush wrap for one, and it can also double as a down pillow when stuffed. [$80, GrandTrunk.com] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Mountain Hardwear Quasar ll Jacket
Simple, light, breathable, and 110 percent waterproof—as proven while wearing it during a torrential downpour/hail storm. The fit is trim with slightly longer arms for extended coverage, and it pairs well with a single base layer to keep warm. Two extra large chest pockets provide ample storage for skins, extra gloves, or USGS maps, and they are accessible even when wearing a pack. The DryQ fabric is featherlight, and it wicks sweat well helping ensure you’re warm and dry all day. [$425, MountainHardwear.com] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32 Pack
A great do-everything ski pack isn’t too tight, but isn’t loose; cinches well without too many straps flapping around; has a designated avy-tool pocket that’s big enough to stash the necessities; has a helmet-hammock (as I like to call it); has A-frame or diagonal ski carry; and feels smaller than it is. The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32 does all of these things. Back-panel access ensures you don’t get snow inside when you have to go digging for gear, a goggle pocket stashes goggs, sunglasses or other small items, hip-belt pocket will store your camera, energy bars or lip balm, and, new for BD packs, you can attach an Avalung it. While I’m not a fan of how the Avalung attachment fits/feels once I had the pack on (the mouthpiece ends up by my ear), it adds versatility to BD packs that they didn’t have before. [$160 (with AvaLung element: $260), BlackDiamondEquipment.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Mountain Hardwear Dynotherm Down Jacket
Mountain Hardwear upped my steeziness with the new Dynotherm down jacket that has a retro look but new-school technology. Filled with 650-fill water-repellent down, the Dynotherm kept me plenty warm throughout a range of winter conditions. But because it doesn’t compress into a pocket or included sack and it lacks hood plants it firmly in the look-good, feel-good lifestyle category. So it’s my go-to everyday, downtown, bar-hoping, après down jacket. [$200, MountainHardwear.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Roxy Biotherm Lana Biotherm Neck Warmer
Moisturize while you slay pow? Sure. Roxy’s made it easy to avoid chapped dry skin during the winter months by partnering with Biotherm, a French skincare company, to put tiny capsules in the soft fabric. As you ski, or any time your face rubs against the fabric, friction causes the capsules to burst and spread around some nutrient-rich lotion on to your face. Contrary to my initial fears, the constant moisture didn’t cause a breakout—and kept crusty red dryness away. [$20, Roxy.com] —Elizabeth Carey, contributing editor
Leki Alpine Stick S Ski Poles
Leki introduced the Micro Series, an ingenious three-piece pole that shrinks to 18 inches long—small enough to fit inside a carry-on. The pole sections are permanently secured with an interior metal cable (sort of like a tent pole bungee), so you can’t misplace a section, and, when together, they adjust from 44-54 inches. Plus they’re lightweight, feel great in my hand, and have a well-balanced swing. Yes, they are expensive. Very expensive. And you best not leave them unattended in the ski rack, but you don’t have to. When you head inside, just break them down to travel size and take them with you. Plus they’re guaranteed for life. [$170, leki.com] — Steve Cohen, contributor
Forsake Lockout Sneakerboots
Sneakerboot. It’s a thing: Forsake was founded by two friends who wanted shoes that get the job done on the street (like sneakers) and on the trail (like boots). I was skeptical about this concept at first, but now I’m a full-on believer. On the trail, the Forsake Lockouts are stable and durable with high-quality, waterproof leather, perfectly grippy tread, and a lightweight profile. On the street, they perform equally well; the tread is just mellow enough to make urban walking an ease, and the style gives Nike and Adidas high-tops a run for their money with a sleek color scheme and overall simplicity that leaves no room for criticism. But the coolest thing about these sneaks is that the tips of the laces magnetically attach to the shoe collar to prevent them from dragging on the ground—through puddles, mud, and everything else you step in. [$140, Forsake.com] — Connor Davis, contributing editor
Rinse Kit Portable Hose
My fiancée thinks it’s “cute” that I wash my bike after almost every ride. But I take pride in my steed and like to keep it looking fresh—especially after really dirty, multi-day rides. But with the Rinse Kit, I’m able to wash my bike on the trail, at the campsite, or anywhere else I darn well please. From muddy legs and clothes, to bike parts and shoes the Rinse Kit tackles it all. It’s easy to fill via a spigot, stores two gallons of water, and is super portable. So no, it ain’t cute, but it may help bring a little “cute” to a dirt bag, adventurous lifestyle. [$90, RinseKit.com] — Tony Wilhelms, contributing editor
Saxx Kinetic Boxers
If your boys aren’t contained when things heat up down there, rubbage happens. That’s where the Saxx Kinetic Boxers come in. They have a mesh pocket that holds everything in place where it counts—when it counts. Whether running, biking, or walking around summer festivals, chafing wasn’t an issue. And the 85-percent nylon, 15-percent spandex mix dries fast. The biggest downside: That materials mix doesn’t resist odor, so don’t plan to wear them more than one day. [$37, SaxxUnderwear.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Nanotips Touchscreen Applicator
Given the ubiquitousness of smart phones, it’s surprising how few gloves feature touch screen compatibility. That’s why this simple solution by Nanotips is so brilliant. Simply brush the fingertips of your old gloves with its liquid polyamide solution, and within minutes your old choppers are fit for the digital age. Pros: it actually works, and it’s easy to apply. Cons: the semi-transparent blue substance leaves a slight discoloration on fabrics, and some testers found the application rubbed off quickly during short, easy mountain bike rides. I haven’t reached the end of the bottle, but you’re supposed to get 15-30 servings per bottle, and it says the applications last 2 to 4 weeks (depending on what gloves you put them on—and how you’re using them). [$20, nanotips.com] — Bailey LaRue, associate photo editor
A classic look with new flare, the Smith Clark are a go everywhere, do everything pair of sunnies. The rubberized nosepiece keep ‘em in place when things get hot, and the UV-blocking lenses keep your eyes happy. We especially love the Black Smoke frames with the purple lenses that tell everyone you’re hip, but not too hip. [Black Smoke frames with Purple Sol-X lenses, $89; SmithOptics.com]
Fugoo Sport Bluetooth Speaker
Great sound, an above average amount of durability, and good looks are the top things I look for in a Bluetooth speaker (in that order). That’s why I’m a fan of the Fugoo Sport. Its sound rivals some of the best small Bluetooth speakers I’ve tested, and its durability is on par as well (waterproof to 3 feet for 30 minutes). Looks could be better, however you can buy a skin for it that makes it less shockproof but ups its sex appeal. Plus, you can mount it to a variety of things via the tripod mount on the bottom. [$200, Fugoo.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Between sweaty ski boots, tight cycling cleats, and the occasional barefoot river-running foray, my feet suffer enough from my mountainous lifestyle. To give them some reprieve between bouts of adventure, I lace up the new Mack shoes from the Boston-based cobbler, Forsake. Built on solid and trail worthy EVA midsole, and topped by a moisture wicking mesh liner and supple leather appointments, the Mack provides confidence in the rough while keeping your feet cool and dry for any summer adventure from peak to pavement. Did I mention they are stupidly comfortable? It’s a fact. [$100, Forsake.com] — Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Silipint Pint Glass
Glass pints break, stainless steel pints shouldn’t be put in the dishwasher, and plastic pints are just bad in every way. So enter the Silipint pint glass. Made of heat-resistant, dishwasher-safe, virtually unbreakable silicon, the silipint is a go everywhere, do everything beverage holder. After a few uses, the silicon smell nearly went away, and I didn’t think it tainted my beverage of choice. But given the weight and lack of pliability, the pints (or shot glasses or tumblers they make too) are best suited for car camping, BBQs in the park or other places you want a concoction without having to worry about weight or bulk. [$10-$16, Silipint.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Bergans of Norway Bloom Wool Beanie
Ah, the oft-overlooked but cherished beanie. More than simply a limp dome cap, the best beanies actually cover your ears, are breathable but warm, and make helmet hair look cute. Enter: the Bloom Wool beanie. On my pea-sized head, this one-size-fits-all hat has a slouchy, but close-to-scalp fit that would work under a helmet on cold days. It’s soft, light, and comes in a range of cute colors. Perfect. [$24, shop.bergans.us] — Elizabeth Carey, contributing editor
Julbo Cortina Sunglasses
A throwback to a popular ’80s model, the Cortina sunnies give off a retro vibe (and ready-to-party look if you go for the neon frame options). Polycarbonate lenses blocks bright sun, and the frames stayed in place whether I was touring and running. The oversized frames blocked much of the sun’s glare off the snow during spring skiing, too. [$70, julbousa.com] — Elizabeth Carey, contributing editor
Flylow Blaster Gloves
Your favorite leather work gloves and your warmest mittens had a love child, and raised that child to shred blower pow in Jackson Hole. That’s what the Blaster is. It’s an ode to the classic, hard-working and high-fiving goat skin leather glove, stuffed with PrimaLoft Gold synthetic insulation, and then triple baked for waterproofing to keep you warm and dry all day. The insulated fingers are surprisingly nimble, and they get more comfortable as they break in over time. [$100, FlylowGear.com] —Stephen Sebestyen, contributing editor
Mio Fuse Heart Rate and Activity Tracker
Calling weekend warrior skiers who may lack mid-week motivation to workout. This little wristband might help you stay fit for pow days. One of many wearable thingamajigs on the market right now, the Mio Fuse does more than just measure your steps. It’s a heart rate monitor, workout timer, and watch. When used with a smartphone app, it dishes out data on workouts and calories burned. While it’s not ideal for monitoring intense workouts, such as fast interval runs or CrossFit-style circuit training, the Fuse is a convenient way to measure how far you’ve got to go to hit daily fitness goals. [$149, miofuse.com] — Elizabeth Carey, contributing editor
Big Agnes Zirkel Skirt
In sunny spring conditions, at après, or around a campfire, this lil number keeps your tush warm with 700 fill water repellent down. Although I’ve resisted the sporty-skirt trend that’s been growing for at least a decade, this puffy skirt won me over with an adjustable waist, which means I can decide how I want the A-line skirt to sit (aka: give my belly more breathing room after a few drinks and greasy après snacks). [$130, bigagnes.com] — Elizabeth Carey, contributing editor
Bergans of Norway Istinden 26L Day Pack
With thoughtfully placed pockets and zippers, the 26L Istinden backpack provides just the right amount of storage for day-long ski tours. It’s also available in 18- and 34-liter versions, and a women’s-specific fit (read: smaller), but the most comfortable feature is a wide Velcro waist strap that does not impinge on your gut and keeps the lightweight pack snuggly in place as you make fresh tracks. Gear stashed in small pockets, the gogg pocket, a nice helmet carry, and—most importantly—an avy gear compartment is easy to access. The pack also sports a diagonal ski carry and poppin’ colorways. [$175, shop.bergans.us] — Elizabeth Carey, contributing editor
Brunton Pulse 1500 Portable Charger
Smartphone batteries be damned, this charger’s got your back for day-long adventures. Small enough to fit in a pant or chest pocket, this five-volt, featherweight device takes about two hours to charge via USB. Once fully loaded, its lithium polymer energy will recharge a smartphone once, or digital camera twice. It includes both standard and micro-USB outlets to keep nearly any gadget from dying by 2 p.m. [$30, brunton.com/] —Elizabeth Carey, contributing editor
Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Baselayer
This ombre base layer made it through multiple ski tours, raucous happy hours, a few runs, and even some lounging before it needed a wash. Gross? Maybe. Convenient? Very. Thanks to 100 percent merino wool, this long sleeve beats the stench commonly associated with base layers, wicks sweat well, and didn’t itch or chafe. I’m looking forward to wearing it hiking this spring and summer. [$89, icebreaker.com] — Elizabeth Carey, contributing editor
Bergans of Norway Slingsbytind Down Lady Jacket
Beyond sharp-looking design features like flattering chevron stitching, contrasting color zippers, and a high-necked, comfy collar, this lightweight but super-warm puffy is built for mountain adventures. It balls up tight to save space in your ski daypack or hiking bag and blocks the wind when you’re stopped on the trail and stashing skins. Plus, this coat’s stuffed with down that wasn’t live-plucked, and it’s a by-product of the food industry. [$229, shop.bergans.us] — Elizabeth Carey, contributing editor
Avex Highland Autoseal Travel Mug
A harsh judge of travel mugs, I expect mine to keep my coffee hot and contained whether I drop it or toss it in a bag. This steezy stainless matte mug accomplished those goals—withstanding several “Oops!” moments. A convenient one-push-to-sip button kept coffee dribbles at bay. It’s not suited for long winter days, as it didn’t keep hot liquids hot for more than about four hours, but if you chug coffee like me, it’ll suit you just fine. [$26, avexsport.com] — Elizabeth Carey, associate digital editor
Swix Economy Waxing Iron
My dad taught me how to wax my skis when I was in middle school, and ever since then I’ve used a rummage-sale-purchased clothes iron to do the trick. Well, until now. The Swix Economy iron has a temperature dial (albeit hard to access and read), and a smooth base. It heats up quickly, and the temperature dial ensures the iron’s at the right temperature for the wax you’re applying. Is it any better than my old clothes iron? I’m not totally convinced. But it takes the guesswork out of whether I have the iron an acceptable temperature. And it makes my tuning bench look more legit. [$59, SwixSport.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Patagonia Women’s Re-Tool Snap-T Fleece Pullover
After testing out this slim-fitting hip-length pullover fleece, I’m convinced that heaven is a onesie made from this 51-percent recycled Polartec Thermal Pro material (and worn after a full day of fresh powder turns). Its über softness provides a cozy cat-on-lap feeling, and a giant kangaroo pocket offers a convenient storage (and hand-warming) option. It’s ideal for cold mornings, après ski, hut-trip lounging, or 24/7 wear. [$119, patagonia.com] — Elizabeth Carey, associate digital editor
GoalZero Switch 10 Portable Charger
Whether you want to jam out in the backcountry or have a backup power source for your phone or helmet cam, GoalZero’s Switch 10 is a great choice. The book-sized solar panel charges in about 8 hours of mixed sun (less in full sun), and it’ll juice an included battery pack, or go straight to your device. Plus, with added accessories, you can plug a fan, flashlight, or micro-USB attachment into the battery pack. It’s a great tool for excursions from hut trips to summer car camping. [$120, GoalZero.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Keen Vendetta Mid-Top Boots
The Keen Vendetta Mid WPs look like a cross between skate shoes and a pair of hipster kicks, but their waterproof status makes for great stomping-around-town when conditions are anything but dry. They’re comfortable, not overly hot on warm days, and high enough to keep out a bit of snow. But they aren’t ideal après shoes. The flat sole doesn’t grip on slick surfaces, so these are best worn as a bike/skate commuter shoe or around-town kicks. [$150, KeenFootwear.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
SpinChill Beer Cooler
This is counterintuitive: Spin a can or bottle of beer to cool it and it won’t explode when you pop the top. The guys at SpinChill know their physics, because it’s true. By using the battery-powered unit to spin an unopened can or bottle in ice water (or soft snow), the liquid goes from warm to drinkable cool/cold in less than a few minutes. It’s a little gimmicky, but, in our tests, it works—without making our favorite beer explode. [$30, SpinChill.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Gerber GDC Money Clip
It might be heavier than many other money clips out there, but few other clips will make you as much of a badass as the Gerber GDC Money Clip. Besides holding a handful of cards, this clip has a nearly 2-inch blade that’s securely hidden inside it. To access the small blade, simultaneously press a button and pull on the knife’s finger ring to eject it. I just wish the finger ring doubled as a bottle opener, and that you could somehow snap the two pieces together to have a larger handle when using the knife. [$32, GerberGear.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Black Diamond Mercury Mitts GTX
The Mercury Mitts have a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex insert that’s bomber on cold, wet days, and is a must-have for any skier. And the goat-leather palm is super durable, so these mitts will last at least a few seasons. But the downside? The split-finger liner can make for some cold hands on frigid days—especially if you’re prone to having cold digits. [$140, BlackDiamondEquipment.com] — Jackie McCaffrey, contributing editor
Want your beer colder for longer? Stick this stainless steel rod into the freezer for 45 minutes, and then, when you crack open your brew, drop the unit into the bottle. It seals around the bottle opening much like a wine cork stopper, but it has a hole in the center that allows you to drink while it’s in place. It seems to work, but it’s a difficult balance to keep one in the freezer while one’s in your bottle. But my biggest issue: Why spend $30 when you could just drink faster? [$30 for pack of two, Corkcicle.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Icebreaker MerinoLoft Ranger Zip Hooded Jacket
While far from the norm, wool insulation has become increasingly popular. The crew at Icebreaker proves it knows how to make the trend work with the modern Ranger Zip Hooded jacket. It looks good, is warm, has ample pockets, and is as weather-protecting as you need while strolling the resort-town streets during après or grabbing drinks downtown. It has a European (slim) fit, so take that into consideration when sizing, but, while slightly restricting, the medium still fit fine. [$500, Icebreaker.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Columbia TurboDown Diamond Jacket
With Columbia’s combination of 850-fill goose down and synthetic insulation, the TurboDown Diamond jacket is one of the warmest and lightest down jackets I’ve worn. It’s super compressible, fits true to size, and has worked great as a mid layer on below-zero ski days, and an outer layer in nearly every other condition. Besides the water-repellent down and synthetic insulation mix, it has Columbia’s signature Omni-Heat reflective dots on both the inside face and the insulation side of the outer layer of nylon. It’s pricey, but it’s pretty awesome. [$325, ColumbiaSportswear.com] — Ryan Dionne, digital brand manager
Outdoor Research Women’s Flyway Zip Hoody
This feather-light half-zip hoody feels like an old, comfy cotton tee but performs like a moisture-wicking, quick-drying workout top. Designed for playing in the mountains during warmer months, the Flyway stood up to pre-ride chilly mornings, afternoon storms, and post-run happy hours. It’s super soft and breathable, with a flattering cut and zippered hip pocket. Most importantly, it has requisite thumbholes. [$79, OutdoorResearch.com] — Elizabeth Carey, associate digital editor