During our recent visit to Crested Butte Mountain Resort we tested a bunch of new gear, including hard and soft equipment, socks, backpacks, lotions and even a drink to help us with the altitude. The following are some of our favorites this year.
Mammut Nirvana Snowpeak Jacket
Featuring a great cut that maximizes mobility, the Mammut Nirvana Snowpeak Jacket is comfortable and warm. Using a mix of DRYtech and Gore Windstopper, the softshell also features a removable lining which makes it useful for a wide range of activities and weather conditions. Pockets are strategically placed for wearing a pack. Available from Mammut for $550 (above left).
Outdoor Research Ninjaclava
The OR Ninjaclava is a versatile microfleece balaclava that can be worn many different ways depending on the conditions and several of us donned it and were thankful for it in the subzero, snowy conditions we experienced during our time at Crested Butte. Warm and comfy, flat-seam construction eliminates any bulkiness that could be uncomfortable underneath a helmet. It's now on our must-have list for extreme conditions; Seth has even taken to wearing it when riding his motorcycle here in NYC. Purchase it at Outdoor Research for $24 (above right).
Gregory Drift Backpack
With a 20L capacity, the Gregory Drift is a great size for on the trail or back country. A slim profile makes it easy to sit with on the chair without sacrificing volume. A molded back panel ensures comfort and there are quick side-zips for easy access. Hydration capability includes a fully insulated tube sleeve that runs along the shoulder strap and features a zippered port to help fend off the all-too-common problem of freezing. The Drift is both snowboard, snowshoe and ski compatible and can also fit a shovel blade or other back country accessory in the front pocket. Available from Tahoe Mountain Sports for $130 (left).
While we have an obvious bias toward Etips can be used with the iPhone without having to sacrifice your fingers. They're also useful for laptops and MP3 player click-wheels. Available from North Face for $40 (above left).
Burton CO2 EST '09 Bindings
Light, simple and strong, the Burton CO2 EST '09 Bindings are no-frills but rip on the mountain. The EST system affords more sensitivity on the board but just enough padding to dampen flat landings. Available for $390 from Burton (above center).
Burton Jeremy Jones Boot
Softer and with more flex than I'm used to, the Jeremy Jones Boot is a lot of fun. Featuring all the latest tech specs, including Aegis Antimicrobial Coating, B3 Gel Cushioning and an outsole with EST optimized midsole, at $200 this boot is underpriced for what you get. Availble directly from Burton (above right).
Burton Un Inc '09 Snowboard
This board, light and snappy in the park while offering just enough stiffness for all-mountain, the Burton Un Inc '09 Snowboard could be my ride for the foreseeable future. The Infinite Channel Mounting system makes for super easy adjustments and a wide range of stance options. Purchase it from Burton for $550 (above).
Holden Northfield 3L Jacket and Pant
Holden worked closely with Schoeller to create Holden's C_Change 3-Layer Fabric, a highly technical textile membrane that reacts to changing body climate by opening and closing to regulate temperature. The result is that the Northfield 3L Jacket (above left) and Pant (above center) is perfect in any situation. Even better, Holden is committed to using more environmentally friendly materials, laminates and packaging. Purchase the Northfield 3-Layer Jacket for $440 and the Northfield 3-Layer Pant ($360) from Holden.
I/O Biocompatible Contact LS Zip
Made of 96% natural merino wool and 4% elastane for four-way strech, the I/O Biocompatible Contact LS is a great base layer that kept me warm in the 8°F weather. Thumb loops and an extended back ensure a great fit. Available for $70 from I/O Biocompatible (above right).
Patagonia R1 Hoody
In my opinion, one of the best base layers available is the R1 Hoody, a technical hooded pullover designed as a baselayer fit for any adventure. Using 60% recycled R1 fabric, it features a snug-fitting balaclava-style hood that fits comfortably underneath any helmet. Wrist cuffs with thumb holes and a tighter but longer bottom hem ensure a snug fit keeping all elements out. Even better still, the R1 Hoody is fully recyclable through the Common Threads Recycling Program. Available for $135 from Patagonia (right).
Teko EcoMerino Medium Cushion Ski Socks
Made of naturally wicking organic merino wool this sock is specially made with the ski boot in mind. Strategic cushioning at the top, bottom of foot, heel, shin and ankle keep feet comfy. There's also an arch support band, stay-put ankle band and seamless toe for added comfort. This sock keeps Teko at the top of my list of favorite sock brands. For cushion and warmth, purchase the EcoMerino Medium Cushion Men's Ski Sock for $21 from Teko (above right). (For the ultimate in cushy hiking socks, Amis also a fan of the