Gear & Gadgets – Vol 50 #3

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Black Crows Pilus skins

Goat power! With a 70:30 mohair-nylon ratio, Chamonix-based Black Crows promises its all-new, 100 per cent waterproof Pilus skins ($269) to be “the ideal partner for gliding serenely toward happiness.” The world’s most visibly recognizable skins have trimmed down in weight and beefed up durability all while using a greener (no fluorocarbon) manufacturing recipe.

Dynafit Alpha Jacket

You don’t need to be a hard-core randonnée competitor to appreciate Dynafit’s line of ski and mountaineering wear, even if it’s designed by and made for that ilk. At less than 350 grams, the men’s Mezzalama Polartec Alpha Jacket ($299) is the lightest insulating jacket in an impressive collection. It’s just as appreciated in race environs as it is cresting a breezy summit after a gruelling, sweaty skin up. Efficiently letting moist heat out without letting in cold air, it works equally with your thinnest baselayer or as a final outer layer over a sandwich of fleece and down. Total freedom of movement with stretch inserts and reflectivity for visibility in low light combine with minimal space and weight for excellent packability. This one’s a winner.

Racer Glove Connectic 4 Mitt
Racer Glove Connectic 4 Mitt

Cold digits can ruin a great ski day or at least interrupt it regularly. Having warm, happy fingers, on the other hand, can keep the rest of the body comfortable and relaxed—and we all ski better in those conditions. The premium leather, unisex Connectic 4 Mitt ($399) is one of several heated-finger options offered by the nearly 100-year-old, multi-sport Racer Glove of France. Using military technology, tiny heating wires criss-cross every finger and the back of the hand, giving your digits just the right amount of heat controlled by an easy-to-use smart button complete with power indicator light. Depending on outside temperatures and your comfort, battery life is three-to-seven hours with the option to add an extra battery for help on super-frigid days.

As long as you can keep it under 23 kg, most airlines treat your ski bag like any other, and a lot can fit into the Double Ski Bag on Wheels by Montreal’s K&B Sport ($160). Like all K&B bags for skis, boots and gear, it has storage designed by skiers who know what’s necessary and what isn’t—and built tough for years of adventures.

Odlo Performance Warm Eco

Using recycled fibres, body-mapping technology and seamless construction, Odlo’s Performance Warm Eco baselayer is just one example of many ergonomically designed solutions for a perfect, natural fit, with ventilation zones and enhanced moisture management as well as ZeroScent technology. (Men’s and women’s, bottoms or top, $100.) The 75-year-old environmentally conscious Norwegian company owns its production facilities, in Europe, where workers are paid living wages.

Descente Zack Insulated Jacket

The regular fit but athletic-looking Zack Insulated Jacket by Descente ($950) uses exclusive equal-stretch fabric with flexibility in all directions, low-bulk Thinsulate by 3M and is finished in Dermizax, a proprietary waterproof-breathable coating for low condensation. The hangtag’s list of bells and whistles is a lengthy one, including a practical 3D embossed shoulder detailing that can handle a pair of skis.

Rab Variance Jacket

Rab may be one cool British mountaineering brand, but examples like its Valiance Jacket ($500) show us how warm Rab is at home in Canadian climes. The bonded, narrow box-wall construction is waterproofed in breathable Pertex Shield outer fabric, while its dreamy innards are 800-fill-power, ethically sourced, fluorocarbon-free, hydrophobic down. Sort of a lightweight heavyweight.

Avalanche Jasper jacket

Avalanche is a French-Canadian success story worn by the ski industry and beyond from Sun Peaks, B.C., to Trois Vallées, France. Tens of thousands of custom-made winter uniforms ship out each autumn to ski instructors, snow-makers, ski patrol, airline and airport staff, and construction crews in 14 countries. In a brand known for quality, durability and style, its Ski Division, for consumers, is exemplified in the Jasper jacket ($549) and a women’s version Jade (not shown).

Swany TS-e8 Supreme Toaster Mitt

Whether you’re a parent needing mobile digits to pull your child’s mask up again or you work in the ski world and just need extra dexterity on-slope, Swany’s TS-e8 Supreme Toaster Mitt ($150) offers some welcome versatility. The comfy fleece liner is grippy, has touchscreen fingers and is removable, too. Meanwhile, the zipper allows its happy owner to add a hand-warmer or, if necessary, open for venting to dump heat.

Auclair Outseam

Available in both glove and mitt, the goatskin (with textured palm overlay) Outseam by Auclair ($136) is one tough but comfy hand-warmer. Your fingers are at home surrounded by a soft-brushed Bemberg lining and Primaloft Gold insulation, while the neoprene under cuff with adjustable large Velcro tab keeps everything in place all day.

With an outer layer of ripstop nylon made from 100 per cent postconsumer recycled material (i.e. recycled fishing nets), an inside of 800-fill-power Advanced Global Traceable Down (with overstuffed collar) and all Fair Trade Certified sewn, it’s obviously a Patagonia product. The new AlpLight Down Jacket ($375, women’s here) adds a little extra comfort against bare skin with a wicking interior storm flap and “zipper garage.” At a wispy 270 grams, you could almost pack it in your wallet.

Patagonia AlpLight Down Jacket

from Dec/Jan 2022 issue

Ski Canada Staff
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