Sure, going O.B. is about escaping the modern world, munching granola, and ripping untracked. But it's also about getting home eventually, which is why we love the latest backcountry tech. National Geographic's topo-map software-a collection of 50,000 USGS quads-allows you to create routes and upload waypoints to your GPS. And Brunton's Solarport 2.2 is an 11-ounce energy box that converts direct sun into usable wattage to recharge that GPS. Yes, it's dorky, but at least you'll be the dork who finds the car. Maps, $100 per state, nationalgeographic.com; Solarport, $95, brunton.com
Not Just Hedonists
News flash: Skiers don't care only about first tracks-we've got a soft spot. Swipe the Visa for some K2 T:Nines or bid on a painted mold of Tara Dakides' breast at a Boarding for Breast Cancer event and some of your dime goes straight to cancer research. (For $25, you can make your own mold.) Resorts are even dabbling in ski philanthropy: Mammoth, Vail, and Whistler have donated hundreds of thousands to outdoor ed programs, and Stowe recently gave the Make-A-Wish Foundation its biggest chunk of change ever: $44K.
Salomon's Travel Sweatshirt is hands-down the ultimate in road-warrior wear. It looks innocent enough-hood, pockets, snap-off sleeves-but throw up the hood, flip down the built-in eye mask, and pop in the earplugs (included), and you can ignore even the most irksome flight attendants and van chatter. $120, salomon-sports.com
Hey, we've got nothing against love, especially the flesh-on-flesh part. It's just that we can't support sappy trappings of PDA. So we're cutting a wide path around Smittens-the "walking mittens for friends and lovers." Each set comes with two single mitts and a double (why not buy a dozen and create a love chain?). $30-$38 for three mitts, smittens.biz
Old and Lame, but Still in the Game
If you believe you're a better skier than you were 10 years ago, join the club. Aren't we all? Thank God there are ego-salving age-grouped freeskiing events like the one held at Oregon's Mt. Hood Skibowl. Skiers from eight-and-under to 70-and-older drop into the same run (yes, it's steep) for the extreme competition and bump elbows in skiercross. If you fall into the 19-24 bracket, you might have to work for a podium. But if you're 45-49 (and older), you can kick some middle-aged ass and walk home with guaranteed hardware (okay, so there was only one other guy in the division). March 1, 2003; wintergamesoforegon.com