Here are six top new products for the coming ski season if budget is no object. As with the previous blog, for pics of ‘em all go to the relevant websites.
Arc’teryx Lithic Gloves £185 www.arcteryx.com
Using a mix of Gore-tex outers and Primaloft insulation, and with fully taped seams, the Lithic gloves effectively seal out water, wind and snow as well as being warm and very hard wearing.
The insulation has been designed to provide warmth in colder areas like the back of the hand whilst retaining dexterity in the fingers, and the soft, brushed lining feels lovely against your skin, whilst there’s still enough room inside them to be able to wear a thin inner glove in really cold conditions.
The short gauntlets mean you can wear them over or under your sleeves as you prefer, and they adjust easily with a glove-friendly, single-pull elastic cord. Sure, £185 is a LOT to pay for a pair of ski gloves, but the Lithics are built to last – and they look great too.
Haglofs Vassi Jacket £550 www.haglofs.se
Easily one of my favourite garments for this season, the Vassi is the perfect freeride jacket. It’s made from rugged 70-denier, three-layer Gore-Tex with Gore’s new C-Knit backer technology and a relatively loose fit along with great looks (and in somewhat more understated tones than Haglof’s recent skiwear).
The Vassi was developed in collaboration with freeskiers Per Jonsson and Asbjørn Eggebø Næss and the highly functional features reflect this; a helmet compatible hood with one-handed adjusters, high collar (we especially liked this, with its internal venting flap), zipped outer pockets that are accessible whilst carrying a pack and huge side vents so you can wear the jacket from mid-winter (when you can readily layer up under the generous cut) to spring when the vents make it easy to stay cool.
Functional, versatile, built to last and looks good – what more do you want in a ski jacket?!
Osprey Kode ABS 22 + 10 £120 www.ospreyeurope.com
Unfortunately the ‘ABS’ in the name doesn’t mean the Kode is the best value ABS pack around, it refers to the fact that it has a removable zip-off section that is compatible with an ABS Vario Base Unit.
Even so, this is a very good value and superbly functional daypack which you can use year-round despite its ski-focussed design.
The ski-specific features include a large front panel which provides zipped access to an avy gear compartment with shovel and probe sleeves, ski carry straps with reinforced wear points and an ice axe/ski pole/walking pole holder, plus glove-friendly zipper pulls and quick release buckles.
Additional useful touches include an insulated hydration hose sleeve, lined goggles pocket and a stowable helmet carry system, and the 22-litre capacity can be expanded by 10-litres, adding to the Kode’s versatility.
Smartwool PhD Slopestyle ski socks £22.99 www.smartwool.com
Yes, £22.99 is rather a lot for a pair of socks, but they do look pretty funky. And more importantly, the Slopestyle also keeps your feet warm and comfortable.
They feature a medium-cushion foot and leg for high impact resistance and extra warmth and Smartwoool’s ‘4 Degree Elite Fit’, which uses two different elastics to keep the socks in place and offer greater stretch and recovery.
The Slopestyle also has ‘ReliaWool’ technology which improves the durability, and a virtually seamless toe for added comfort. And should you choose to wander around in your chalet in your socks after skiing, you’ll look pretty cool too…
Ziplongs ¾ merino wool long johns €99 www.northernplayground.no
Scandinavians are renowned for their design know-how, and these base layers from new Norwegian outfit Northern Playground are no exception.
They utilise funky coloured full-length zippers down the side of each leg so that that if you get too hot whilst skiing you can remove them without taking your ski boots off (although you do need to drop your ski pants briefly).
Made from soft, warm merino wool, they’ll especially appeal to ski tourers and freeriders who are more likely to work up a sweat when hiking to find the best powder, especially in warmer spring conditions.
The North Face Fuseform Brigandine Pant £330 www.thenorthface.com
These waterproof, breathable, top quality, rugged pants feature TNF’s new FuseForm technology which seamlessly integrates four-way stretch with targeted abrasion resistance – in high-wear areas around the knees and seat, midweight nylon fuses with a heavier weight nylon to eliminate bulk and achieve a low-profile fit that’s lightweight but tough.
The relaxed fit feels great in use, and the Brigandine comes with all the essential features you need for a comfortable day on the slopes in any conditions, including water-resistant zipped hand pockets, zipped cargo pockets with internal phone pocket and radio holder, water-resistant zipped inner-thigh vents, reinforced zipped cuffs and gaiters with gripper elastic and boot hook – not to mention understated good looks.