Gear & Gadgets

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Gear & Gadgets

by RAY O’REILLY in the December 2017 issue

1. Ever had a midlayer so comfy you wanted to sleep in it? Outdoor Research’s Ascendant hoody ($270) is soft and stretchy in all the right places, while at the same time strong, warm and all techie. In six colour combos, men’s and women’s cuts, it’s lightweight and trim-fit perfect for skinning up—or just layering up.

2.  Time to upgrade to MIPS technology that helps lessen injury when rotational forces are added to a crash? Giro’s Range MIPS ($319) for the freeride crowd has a semi-flexible design and two-piece shell construction that custom fits your noggin with the turn of a dial. The helmet has a low-profile look, adjustable venting, invisible POV camera mount, and the teched-out magnetic chin strap works easily with gloves.

3.  Made in Canada, the rugged merino wool facemask by North 45 ($59) ain’t no flimsy poly necktube. The unique design and weight will keep white patches off your cheeks and nose on a frigid February run-out—and, equally important, prevent your goggles from fogging up. Its double design allows moisture to escape between the two pieces. Kudos for figuring out how to hold it securely in place to your favourite goggles: tiny but strong magnets included!

4.  Blundstones are so incredibly Canadian—except, of course, they’re Australian. If you don’t already have a pair, why not? And if you do, why only one pair? Possibly the most practical footwear ever has a special edition just for us, the Comfort Eh! ($229). With the same clean, rugged, one-piece, waterproof-leather design, Blunnies wear like new for years and they go well with your ski pants, jeans, lederhosen or kilt.

5.  With a detachable, rechargeable side-power module, Oakley’s Prizm Inferno technology can be added, when needed, whether it’s prophylactically on a wet day or in reaction to sudden fog-up. Instead of a whirring fan, the simple design fights fog by transferring heat evenly and on demand. The Line Miner goggle ($315) uses a cylindrical lens design for excellent peripheral vision and helmet compatibility.

6. Whether your night in the cold is in a backcountry hut, tent or on the floor of your buddy’s cabin, Therm-a-Rest will provide sweet dreams with the appropriate high-tech air mattress and bag combo. For example, the 650 Fill Nikwax hydrophobic down Questar HD 20 ($320) is a mid-range bag for reliable warmth comfort to -6C. Feature-packed with zoned insulation, foot-warmer pocket, and quilt and blanket loops, the Synergy Link connectors prevent slipping by integrating bag with mattress, while ThermaCapture seams trap radiant body heat. The NeoAir series of mattresses range widely depending on purpose, season, weight and size.

7. Everyone can use a new bag and Arc’teryx’s Carrier Duffle in 40-, 55- and 80-litre sizes ($180-$250) won’t fill your closet when you’re not schlepping all your stuff. Waterproof, lightweight and available in five colours, the duffles are just as happy on your back as they are hand luggage.

8.  Using Michelin tire technology, Columbia’s Canuk boot ($270) is tested by, of all people, Zak Efron and bro (see YouTube) and rated to -54C for warmth and -30C for grip. Yet it’s extremely lightweight, and water- and weatherproof, while still allowing moisture vapour to escape. Plus, you can play stormtrooper when you head to the theatre for the latest Star Wars: The Last Jedi. (The Canuk is also available in black.)

Ski Canada Staff
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