Gear Guide Home : Boards and Skis : Boots and Accessories : Apparel : Jackets : Snowshoeing SNOWSPORTS SKIS ALL MOUNTAIN CRUISER: SALOMON XWING TYPHOON With a 67-millimeter waist, the Xwing Typhoon is one of the skinniest skies on the market. And skinny skis are best for the Southern Appalachian slopes? Why? The skinner sidecut outperforms fatter skis in icy and packed snow conditions, and let’s face it—we have a lot of icy and packed snow conditions on the East Coast. The Typhoon is a versatile ski that was designed for Eastern mountain ice and groomed trails. It’s nimble, super-responsive, and offers a smooth on-piste ride, turning choppy corduroy into silky butter. $975. POWDER JUNKIE: HEAD MONSTER Like most ski models, you can pick your sidecut within the Monster line depending on the conditions you ski most. The fatter the sidecut, the more powder specific the ski is. So, if you refuse to hit the slopes unless there’s a foot of fresh, the Monster 95 is your ski. The fat sidecut gives you maximum float in the deepest powder, but you’ll sacrifice performance on packed snow. For skiers who spend a lot of time on the East Coast with frequent trips out West, we recommend the Monster 78, which is wide enough to stay on top of the powder after big dumps, but has an aggressive sidecut that offers good edging and handling on groomed hard pack. We skied the Monster 78 after a 17-inch dump in Snowshoe, and the ski handled the transition between powder stashes and groomed slopes seamlessly. $930. BOARDS PARK MONSTER: RIDE KINK A serious jib deck with the park rat in mind, the Kink has a true twin tip shape and centered bindings which allows you to land it and ride it in any direction. The Kink is also one of the most durable boards on the market, which means it can take a beating and still perform. Think rails. Think lots and lots of rails. What our tester really loved though, was the Slimewall construction, specific to Ride boards, which dampens vibrations at high speeds, which is key if you’re into launching big. $339. ALL TERRAIN VEHICLE: Z2 ZEPPELIN Just like its namesake, the Zeppelin has been around the block…a few times. For 12 years, the Zep has been the standard in all mountain board technology, taking riders from the park to the trees to the groomers with style and grace. Why does the Zeppelin perform so well in varied terrain? It comes complete with torsion forks in the nose and tail, giving it stability in the park, but also has a varied sidecut that changes throughout the length of the board, which allows you to have predictable turns regardless of your speed or terrain. And in ’08, the Zeppelin is constructed with a 40 percent carbon base, which makes it lighter than its predecessors. $499. -------------------- BOOTS AND ACCESORIES NORDICA SUPERCHARGER A freeskiing machine that handles everything from the park at your home resort to a Rocky Mountain backcountry adventure. The faux fur cuffs around the ankle are just an added bonus. $499. BURTON DRIVER X An all terrain boot that’s responsive on the downhill and comfortable to hike in whether you’re walking back to the top of the park or looking for backcountry lines. $299. BLACK DIAMOND PATROL MITT Goatskin leather and four way stretch material surround Primaloft insulation for a toasty package that keeps your digits warm. And everyone knows mittens are cooler than gloves. $85. THE NORTH FACE SNOWDAY A snowsport specific pack with a hydration system heated by four AA batteries. The result? No more frozen hoses on cold days. The utilitarian Snowday holds 100 ounces of water, has 730 cubic inches of storage space, and straps for your skis or board. $159. ZEAL DETONATOR A polarized spherical lens increases the air volume while giving you a larger viewing field. $200. BOLLE TRAVERSE It’s a pair of shades, it’s a pair of goggles. It’s both when you get the conversion kit, which transforms these performance shades into sleek goggles. $119-$159. SALOMON FOIL AUDIO MP3 compatible, a removable liner you can throw in the washing machine, and an understated design that keeps you from looking like a fool on the hill. $120. -------------------- APPAREL WIGWAM INGENIUS Literally, two socks in one, the Ingenius features an Olefin liner sewed into a merino wool ski sock for maximum warmth and moisture control. $16. SMARTWOOL SYNERGY PULLOVER Smartwool on the inside, nylon on the outside. The combination makes this a comfy, breathable midlayer perfect for warmer temperatures and high aerobic activities. $120. OUTDOOR RESEARCH TRANCE SWEATER The Trance is lighter and slimmer than most down puffy jackets, making it an ideal midlayer for the coldest days on the mountain. $170. ARC’TERYX GAMMA MX PANT Let the breathable softshell revolution expand to your pants! The Gamma does exactly what your softshell jacket does, only below the waist. Breathable, stretchy, but with a Polartec Power Shield to keep the elements away from your goodies. Ski them one day, hike in them the next. $299. ------------------- JACKETS THE SOFTIE: COLUMBIA ICE AX State of the art soft shell technology for under $200? Yes, it is possible. The Ice Ax is a close-fitting jacket that stretches with the most demanding movement, breathes like a yoga instructor, and still manages to keep rain and snow out thanks to the Omni-Tech laminate on the outside. $149. THE TECHIE: WESTCOMB IMIRAGE The iMirage combines some of the latest softgoods technology into a tech-savvy jacket. The MP3 compatible hard shell features an inner iPod pocket that hooks up to a control panel on the outside of the jacket’s sleeve. The panel allows you to control your music without digging into your pockets or taking off your gloves. Handy, cool, and a great conversation starter on the lift ride, but our tester loved the jacket’s eVent fabric, a waterproof membrane that’s breaking out in ski wear this year. Instead of absorbing moisture like traditional wicking materials, eVent fabric transfers your sweat directly through the jacket via millions of tiny, breathable pores. No damp layers, no waiting for your sweat to evaporate from your jacket. $450. THE BEAST: MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR DOWNHILL PARKA You don’t need to wear the Downhill Parka everyday, but if it’s well below freezing and the wind is whipping snow sideways, there’s no warmer jacket on the market. This traditional shell is packed with 650-fill down, which is squeezed into a surprisingly sleek package (so you can maneuver on the slopes) while still packing all the warmth of your coziest puffy. $295. -------------------- START SNOWSHOEING Snowshoeing is not for everyone. That should be stated up front before anyone gets any misconceptions about this fast-growing sport. You see pictures of families building snowmen deep in an evergreen forest, and you think, “Wow. That looks like fun.” And it is. But it’s also an intense workout in somewhat harsh conditions. Having the right attitude is key, but so is having the right gear. Here’s a snowshoe gear primer to help you get started on the right foot. KEEN BLACKCOMB Designed for winter trekking, this waterproof boot is stuffed with 200g Primaloft insulation and a thermal heat shield footbed. The end result? Warm feet in the coldest conditions. $129. OUTDOOR RESEARCH FLEX TEX GAITERS Stretchy, breathable, and they keep the snow out of your cuffs and boots, which is really all you want out of a gaiter. $29. CLOUDVEIL WISTER JACKET The Wister was designed as a midlayer, but unless you’re snowshoeing in a blizzard, you don’t want to wear a traditional shell. This four-way stretch soft shell has a plush interior that wicks moisture away and a highly wind-resistant Polartec Hard-Face that works wonders on the exposed trails of our Southern balds. $200. BULA GRAHAM EARPHONE BOMBER Just because you’re in the middle of the woods on a snowy day doesn’t mean you can’t listen to Jimi Hendrix. The Bomber has a wool inner and built in earphones for your iPod. $34.99. ATLAS 9 SERIES SNOWSHOES Atlas is the leader in snowshoe technology, developing a unique suspension system that makes walking on the snow almost as easy as walking on solid ground. The beginner friendly 9 Series combines that patented suspension system with a lightweight aluminum frame and Nytex decking. $149.