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Trial Run – October 2002


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X-Static Base Layers
by Jenn Weede

When permanently bonded to fabric, X-Static silver fibers regulate temperature by heat reflection and conduction. And as natural germ-fighters, they also reduce odor-a boon to base layers like Marmot’s Stretch Mid Weight Zip, which reeks only after days of sweating. With dropped tail and zip neck, it’s the most versatile top here. 888-627-6680,

Gold $52
Faster drying than the other shirts we tested, Mountain Hardwear’s eXtend crew only released the stink after a multiday backcountry trip. Although it doesn’t stretch or zip like the Marmot, its ergonomic design prevents fabric bunching and makes it the cleanest-looking layer of the bunch. 800-953-8375,

Silver $30
The most basic top of the three, Medalist’s 2 Layer Bi-ply crew is cut from a soft, midweight moisture-wicking polyester treated with X-Static. The fit is a bit frumpy, and stench sets in faster than with the other two. But at the price of a low-tech T-shirt, it’s a great value. 800-543-8952,

Denim Ski Pants by Jenn Weede

Platinum $450
Spyder’s USST Olympic Pant elevates denim to fully featured skiwear. Unlike your trusty Levi’s, Spyder’s version has temperature-regulating material, stretch inserts, and fully sealed seams. The styling is less jeanslike than the other pants tested, but with suspenders and bomber scuff guards, it’s also the most functional. 303-449-0611,

Gold $200
The “denim” in Orage’s AWD Pant is actually polyurethane laminated to a nylon-polyester blend. No surprise then that the AWD had the highest waterproof protection of the three pants we tested. They look like real jeans, but the articulated knees, full gaiters, and side vents are giveaways that these aren’t Gap. 800-250-5056,

Silver $179
The Salomon Denim Pant offers city-slicker details like a cell phone pocket, side-slit hand-warmer pockets, and a fitted waist. Here, a coated polyester-cotton-PU fabric sits in for denim, but, unlike the others, it isn’t seam-sealed. Inner-thigh vents regulate heat; a fleece lining adds warmth-and a bit of bulk. 800-225-6850,

Boot Dryers
by Cindy Hirschfeld

Platinum $70
For the speediest drying, the Snap Dry Micro Dryer delivers the mightiest gust of these three appliances. The unit’s flexible tubes direct air into all parts of the boot, and an (included) adapter lets you dry your gloves, too. During travel, the Mirco Dryer snaps apart for storage inside your boots.

Gold $55
The Therm-ic BD 3000 has a powerful fan similar to the Snap Dry, but the air is not as warm, and the tubes don’t bend. Regardless, you’ll still have dry boots in a couple of hours. The adjustable-length tubes fold up next to the fan, so you can slip the unit into a corner of your suitcase.

Silver $25
Seirus Boot Toasters live up to their name. These plug-in cylinders rely on radiant heat-not blown air-for drying, so you’ll need to keep them in your boots overnight. But, they’re also the most portable of the three models, and there’s no fan noise to disturb your powder dreams. 800-447-3787