Gear & Gadgets – Vol 46 #1

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  1. Geoff Holman’s unique cover shot this month, taken with his drone, is a first for Ski Canada. Like POV cameras that not long ago became ubiquitous on ski helmets everywhere, drones are taking social media show-offs to new heights. We tested out the Mavic Pro from industry giant DJI for a few weeks and couldn’t put it down, so to speak. Given the amount to learn and remember with drones and photography (pitch, yaw, roll, camera angle, exposure, video vs. still, subject following…), DJI somehow makes it all intuitive pretty quickly for beginners. Although not DJI’s top-of-the-line camera, we felt confident we could take a cover shot, or sell our photos to the CIA. A big bonus, the drone’s light and folding compact design can easily fit in your pack with your lunch, probe and shovel. Infinitely easier in the backcountry when you’re above-alpine (resort red tape differs across the country, so rule-followers should check first), the Mavic Pro has obstacle (i.e. tree) avoidance and a decent battery life of more than 30 minutes. We’d recommend buying a second one. Cover-boy Geoff encourages “lots of practice before you venture out,” and recommends that when “shooting in a winter environment, keep your batteries warm and your equipment moisture-free.” By far his biggest concern, though, is “wind and weather; you have to be like Goldilocks and fly when things are ‘just right’ no matter how tempting it might be to get the shot.” Mavic Pro, $1,399;

 2. Even though MEC’s Variable Gradient Men’s Jacket has all the pockets, pit zips, powder skirt and helmet-compatible hood, it’s at home on the mountain as much as the city. Stay warm (but not hot) with 625 fill-power down in the body and Hyperloft synthetic insulation in the sleeves. $285;

 3. Photos, music, podcasts, movies…it doesn’t take long to fill up your phone, which is where Picture Keeper Pro comes in handy. The 16-500GB USB stick will solve your storage problems as well as keep your photos safe on your android, iPhone or computer. From $145;

  4. Canada has never been a nation of ski-makers, but like the craft-brewing industry, more and more independents are impressing the ski market each season. Raccoon Skis, for example, has built a rep over the last seven years with its maple and poplar wood cores, from trees harvested in its home-province Quebec (where, through Tree Canada, it plants a new maple tree for every ski built in its Bromont factory), before layers of nylon from Austria, and titanium in some models, are introduced into the sandwich. Twelve models round out its All-Mountain, Carving, Freeride and Backcountry categories. Aggressive skiers can hang tight on Eastern ice aboard the Céleste. The little rocket (120/72/106; $699) lies on one end of the Raccoon spectrum. Near the opposite end, a beast like the regular-camber but double-rocker Grizzly (138/108/128; $699) is at home slarving big B.C. powder or touring the Haute Route in Switzerland and France.

Ski Canada Staff
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