Gear & Gadgets – Vol 49 #3

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Elemental Layer
Elemental Layer

You’ve reached the summit, the sun’s gone, the wind’s picked up… You know that cold, clammy feeling, especially on your lower back, whether it’s after a huffy-puffy skin uphill or you’ve just hoofed it up from the lower parking lot with all your gear. So do designers at Elemental Layer, and with fast-wicking, water-repellent fabric, made in Japan, they also know how to keep your skin dry and protect it from touching your now sweaty baselayer. Worn snugly as an ultra-thin first layer under your sweat-absorbing baselayer, it’s available in men’s and women’s short- and long-sleeve as well as leggings (from US$48).

iPhone 12

To some, it’s more iCamera than iPhone; to others it’s a 512GB office that enables one to work remotely from the chairlift, lodge or chalet. Apple notched it up again in the autumn with the launch of the four-version, 5G iPhone12 family from mini ($979) to Pro Max ($1549). With significantly improved drop protection, Apple toughens up the phone industry with both its new Ceramic Shield display by Corning as well as six-metre-depth water resistance. The Super Retina XDR display offers cinema colours and makes the 12 the first video camera to shoot with Dolby Vision. Pro shutterbugs are celebrating with the possibility of now shooting (and later editing) RAW image files. (Entire features have already been shot for Ski Canada with the 11Pro camera “system,” a trend that will continue.) Low-light photography is significantly easier with the improved f1.6, 120-degree ultra-wide (13mm) lens,12x telephoto up to 65mm and f2.2 and LiDAR Scanner. And a new take on MagSafe allows accessories like charging coils, wallets and mounts to snap into place. The specs and improvements, of course, are seemingly endless, as are your ski photography and videos.


Someone left the top off that half-full two-litre bottle of tonic water again at après-ski? Want to experiment with carbonated cocktails? Drinkmate ($119) uses the same C02 cartridges as the competition, but uniquely it can add (or re-add) bubbles to practically any liquid. It’s also more efficient with its multi-stage fizz infuser that can stay on the bottle after bubbling.

Boundary Line Jacket
Boundary Line Jacket

The comfy Boundary Line Jacket ($650) and Bib Pant ($600) combo by Mountain Hardwear may be inspired and tested by company athletes on cat trips, heli drops, and slack and backcountry, but it’s equally at home keeping you warm on a cold and blustery summit or ripping a worn-out groomer on last run. The Gore-Tex articulated fit both functions and flatters.

Orage Morrison Gilltek
Morrison Gilltek

Layer up and down with Orage’s Morrison Gilltek puffy jacket ($249) and the Pemby Unisex Down Short ($174). Primaloft insulation, wicking and quick-dry polyester/merino wool/Spandex stretch panels will keep your core cozy and body more relaxed. Orage’s Gilltek technology allows the insulation to lie flat when the user is still, which provides better insulation, but when active it allows more breathability—a good combo whether you’re reaching the peak via a slow, lonely chairlift ride or you’ve hoofed it up under your own steam.

Helly Hansen Lifa
Lifa Merino Midweight

Helly Hansen’s best-selling baselayer, the Lifa Merino Midweight is an unquestioning staple that should be in every skier’s bag. On the Hoodie version, shown here ($130), a higher neckline keeps the neck and chin warmer—and when not needed is designed to lie flat. Two-layer non-itch LIFA/Merino construction wicks moisture and manages temperature naturally with antimicrobial odour-control wool. The LIFA Merino men’s and women’s collection comes in multiple weights and designs with matching pants. Canadian-Norwegian Helly Hansen is worn by national team skiers and more than 55,000 ski industry pros at more than 200 ski resorts world-wide.

Fitter Extreme Balance
Fitter Extreme Balance

The long wait for a vaccine has made some of us bored and big, but the Extreme Balance Board Pro ($239) and sister Pro Fitter 3-D Cross Trainer ($699) are two healthy distractions for your office, basement or bedroom that’ll get your heart rate up as well as ready for winter. The definitive exercise equipment for skiers has multiple routines to help with necessaries like on-slope balance and co-ordination as well as injury rehab and prevention. Plus, they’re made in Canada!

Fitter Pro-Fitter 3D
Fitter Pro-Fitter 3D Cross Trainer
Odlo Natural

Half merino wool, half technical fibre: 100 per cent warm, dry and comfy. The Natural & Kinship Warm Long-Sleeve Baselayer ($140) by Odlo, another strong brand from Scandinavia that knows a thing or two about winter, cleverly uses ventilation zones to perfect moisture management and keep you fresh all day. Whether you’re on the start line of a biathlon race north of Oslo or still finishing your müsli in Collingwood or the Kootenays, start layering up for a great day in a soft, seamless construction and comfortable fit that looks great at après-ski as well.


If James Bond didn’t want to carry his phone, wallet, sunnies and keys with him skiing, or to après, he’d probably leave all his valuable stuff securely in a Loctote anti-theft pack (from $100). With slash-resistant fabric and straps, hidden pocket, RFID-blocking pocket and water resistance, bad guys may get your skis or bike but your knapsack and its contents will be right where you left them.

Xspex Recon
Xspex Recon

Xspex’s popular and tough Recon goggle ($224), with quick-change, magnetic, low-light second lens, just got more attractive with the optional magnetic Neck Gaiter ($24). Keeping your face warm and vision fog-free is easy, even with mitts on, when everything just snaps back into place.

Osprey Sopris
Osprey Sopris

Packs that fit female frames properly are necessary for comfort and function, whether it’s a morning of resort slackcountry or a day of randonnée, and in the case of the women’s Sopris series by Osprey, they’re possibly life-saving in an avalanche. While the multi-feature, gender-specific Sopris series is available in a 20- or 30-litre volume ($170/$200), the lightweight Sopris Pro ($2,000) incorporates a 30-usable-litre pack with a fast-deploy and recharge, electronic Alpride E1 air-bag. The Alpride system uses supercapacitor electronic technology, which is similar to a rechargeable battery but it’s faster with infinitely more charges and without low temperature issues. Packs can’t prevent an avalanche but the Sopris Pro (or brother Soelden Pro) may save you in one. Learn more:

Outdoor Research
Outdoor Research Helium Down

Not all puffies are created equal. Outdoor Research’s lightweight, easy-to-pack Helium Down Hoody ($349) incorporates tough Pertex Diamond Fuse fabric into the hood, shoulders and upper sleeves for a more durable and necessary extra layer. For all the times puffies are worn as outerwear, the unique waterproof fabric is five-times stronger than OR’s existing Helium shell to better handle wear from rubbing gear, for instance, while the ripstop fabric everywhere else is more breathable. Premium Responsible Down Standard 800+ fill goose down fits the insulation bill.

Got a little extra time on your hands these days? Instead of lying on the couch flipping through endless Instagram posts, lie on the couch and learn another language. While you’re daydreaming of skiing Quebec, the Alps or Scandinavia, Babbel is a subscription-based (i.e. no advertising) e-learning app that will get you confidently nattering in another language before the pandemic is over. From $10 a month.

from December/January 2021 issue

Ski Canada Staff
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