Buyer’s Guide 2018 – Women

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Suffrage has arrived in skiing. Women are finally getting the attention and equipment they deserve, including Ski Canada’s round-up of cutting-edge stuff made just for those rocking the XX chromosome.


    Fittingly launched on International Women’s Day, the Chiquita is not just Coalition Snow’s first ski for girls, it’s also a message of empowerment. “We want to do more than produce planks of wood,” says Jen Guerecki, founder of the all-women’s ski and board brand. “We want to create something that inspires young women.” Like all Coalition skis, the Chiquita is designed specifically for female skiers with as much power and performance as any male-focused model. This junior All-Mountain ski’s guts are made of the same high-end materials as the company’s award-winning adult sticks. US$700;


    Arc’teryx turned the normal trickle-down pyramid on its head with the Shashka Pant. Rather than follow the usual formula of adjusting the men’s product to a women’s fit, the development of the Shashka led to the men’s equivalent, the Rush LT. A collaboration between Arc’teryx designer Sarah Wallace and pro skier and mountain guide Christina Lustenberger, the bib pants are the culmination of three years of R&D. “We tried every fabric and material combination we could think of, searching for the right combination that would improve mobility and maximize comfort,” says Wallace. The duo settled on Gore-Tex C-Knit, a weatherproof material with a soft, buttery interior that slides over baselayers, and then added a soft shell upper to improve breathability and protection from snow and cold. $650;


    Down, still the warmest insulation, makes sense for mitts and gloves since hands are the hardest body part to keep warm. The problem: mitts and gloves are the hardest apparel to waterproof, and once down gets wet it stops insulating. Gordini’s solution: the Aerie Mitt, the first women-specific handwear with water-resistant down. A hydrophobic nano treatment on the down deflects moisture, maintaining loft and heat retention and speeding drying time. These are one of the only mitts with so-called dry down and the only women-specific ones we’ve seen. The down is also responsibly sourced, which means the birds were treated well and harvested humanely. $100;



    Designed by freeskiing world champ Allison Gannett, the Meier Ali Pro is about what you’d expect from someone who staked her reputation on charging faces most of us wouldn’t think of sideslipping. It has 148mm at the tip, 113 at the waist, regular camber throughout the middle for carving on the way back to the lift, early-rise tip for easy initiation, and the same on the tail for smearing, quick turning and riding switch.$825;


    Landing somewhere between All-Mountain and Park, Line’s Honey Bee is built to stand up to rail grinds, switch landings and anything else thrown its way, while still packing enough sting to edge on hardpack. It has a nimble 92mm waist and a nose for bumps, powder and steeps. $400;


    Two new skis from Head amp up fun on two different sides of the mountain. The All-Mountain-slaying Wild Joy is a 90mm-waisted tool for doing it all, while the black beauty Epic Joy SLR is all about carving trenches on the frontside. The latter has no topsheet and only weighs 1,000g per ski, but with a 65mm waist and a graphene, Koroyd and carbon construction, she rails like a race ski. Wild $747, Epic $934;


    Ski boots and women’s calves don’t always get along. Standard women’s boots are either too wide or too narrow at the upper cuff, making it hard to dial in the fit of the rest of the boot. After working with a team of women, Tecnica thinks it has a plan to solve the problem: heat. The calf area of the shell and liner in its women’s Mach 1 boots is thermomouldable. The circumference at the calf can increase 10 per cent or shrink five. Not that guys would know but that’s like the difference between with heels and without. From $450;


    Two new K2 skis will have women stomping landings in the park and beyond. Designed with input from the K2 Women’s Alliance, a group of female skiers, the popular MissConduct is updated with a new rocker shape and tougher construction. The Empress promises big pop for ollies, and tip and tail buttering with a park-specific rocker. MissConduct $500, Empress $350;


    Possibly the nicest-looking ski on the market this season, the Atomic Cloud 7 is black with a topsheet that looks like leather. It’s part of the Frontside-intended Cloud series. The Cloud 7 is an easy-turner that’s ideal for women working their way from blues to blacks or those happy to cruise intermediate runs all day long. The Cloud 9 ups the ante with a dampening rod to smooth out chatter from higher speeds and harder snow. The top-of-the-line Cloud 12 is meant for blasting top to bottom.


    Women tend to be colder than men, so it only makes sense that Outdoor Research saved its warmest toque just for the ladies. The Effie Beanie is Primaloft Gold synthetic insulation sandwiched between wool and acrylic. $48;



Forgetting your face mask is not a problem if you’re wearing the Dakine Callaghan. The fleecy baselayer is cut long to keep skin covered. Flat seams maintain comfort under multiple layers or packs. But the real secret is hidden in the high collar. Deploy an extra flap of fabric to cover the lower face just like a neck warmer. A Polygiene treatment helps keep stink away. $96;


    Rossignol added a new core material to its Temptation 88 and 84 women’s All-Mountain skis. The Carbon Alloy Matrix, already offered in most of the men’s Experience skis, promises more energy, stability, edge grip and shock absorption. From $450;

Ryan Stuart
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