Gear Review: Winter Gear

Cool Winter Gear

By Amy Whitley, Frankie O’Rourke and Diane Rudholm

Cool gear from: Madshus, RAMP, SWIX, MontBell, ZEAL Optics, Ortovox, Teva, Muck Boot Co., Mountainsmith, and more!

Hard Goods

Carbon Classic Cold Cross-Country Ski

This year, Madshus unveils the REDLINE series, which includes the Carbon Classic Cold Cross-Country Ski. The new model is made with triaxial carbon construction and has a PR100X core, which means it is made with the same high-quality materials found in helicopter rotor blades. The Carbon Classic was developed by engineers and athletes over the course of three years, allowing the design team to create balance speed and grip like never before.

What we liked most about this model are the plates that the bindings slip into. It’s easy to mount boots onto the skis while out on the trail, and boots can be moved forward or backward for different snow conditions.

Retail price: $699.95.

SWIX Sonic R1
Adjustable Backcountry Pole

Made of carbon fibers that are as light as they are strong – the new Sonic R1 adjustable backcountry pole by SWIX includes a memory system that makes fine-tuning length for uphill and downhill journeys a breeze.

The pole features a multipurpose handle with a ski scraper and a tech-binding hook, and the continuous loop strap has soft padding. Bonus: the baskets on the Sonic R1 can be switched out for different snow conditions to ensure skiers have maximum support, even in the softest snow.

Retail price: $249.

RAMP Tumbleweed 2014

Made with the same unique blend of carbon, bamboo and aerospace technology that RAMP uses for its skis, the Tumbleweed 2014 snowboard is a dream for riders who enjoy a variety of terrain and conditions.

The early-rise nose and tail combined with a flat mid-body make carving turns and hooking up feel natural and smooth. Experienced boarders will flit through moguls, sweep down steep trails and float through fresh powder with ease.

Retail price: $769.


MontBell opens Portland flagship store

Check out the new MontBell flagship store at 902 SW Yamhill St. in Portland, Ore., which opened in mid-October, to see the jackets featured here:

Powder Cache Parka; Plasma 1000 Down Jacket

Northwest backcountry skiers will love the Powder Cache hard shell with its Exceloft® synthetic insulation and waterproof, breathable features. Available in both men’s and women’s sizing, it’s knee-deep in zippers (hand pockets, interior, chest and pit-zips), has articulated arms, an adjustable hood, hem drawcords and adjustable alpine cuffs. Pair with the water-repellent Plasma 1000 Down Jacket for incredible warmth. The Plasma’s trim cut makes it more effective when topped with outer layers. Weighing in at just 4.8 ounces, MontBell is touting the Plasma 1000 as the world’s lightest jacket this year compared to similar down garments of similar warmth. Used alone, the Plasma is suitable for light backpacking, trekking or hiking. Unisex sizing; three colors.

Power Cache Parka, $199; Plasma 1000 Down Jacket, $269.

Muck Boot: Arctic Weekend

Whether it’s sloshing through the riverbeds of the Skykomish, navigating muddy trails on a winter walk or meandering through the snowy village at Sun Peaks Resort, the Arctic Weekend from Muck Boot Company is a top choice for women this winter. Providing 100 percent waterproof protection, the stylish mid-calf high boot features a fleece lining and a fully insulated 4-millimeter neoprene bootie with four-way stretch nylon that will keep your feet warm down to minus 20-degrees. Outside, the Weekend’s multipurpose rubber outsole offers great traction and stability while its stretch-fit topline binding keeps out the cold. Its sister boot, Arctic Adventure, comes in a calf-high length. $123;

Teva Chair 5 Winter Snow Boot

Teva doesn’t only make sandals, you know. The Teva Chair 5 boot combines the cozy-factor of a thick slipper with the waterproof protection and traction of a rugged snow boot. That’s right: it’s a twofer. The removable liner with Thinsulate insulation is perfect when putting your feet up at the lodge. And the outer shell with Teva’s White Spider rubber sole will keep you trekking when outside in the snow. With styles for men and women, the Chair 5 is cute as can be and lightweight enough to pack in your boot bag to enjoy après-ski drinks in comfort.
Retail price: $180.


Mountainsmith Boot Cube

Store it in your car to toss muddy and wet boots into at the end of a winter day, or sling it over your shoulder to cart ski or snowboard gear to the resort lodge. The point is, you’ve got options with the Mountainsmith Boot Cube. Ventilated and drainable, the cube has 51 liters of space in several compartments. (There’s enough room for up to size 13 boots plus a helmet and all your ski paraphernalia.) Fully portable, the cube is made of baby ripstop polyester and comes with an adjustable shoulder strap.

Retail price: $44.95.

Ortovox Women’s Tour 30+7 ABS Pack

Although there is no replacement for careful planning and decision-making while skiing in the sidecountry and backcountry, deploying an avalanche balloon system during a large slide could save your life. Ortovox – the first company to make ABS packs specifically for women – has designed the Women’s Tour 30+7 ABS. This comfortable pack comes with three units, which can be purchased and used separately or together – including the pack, the activation unit (which is comprised of a canister and trigger to make the airbags inflate) and a modular airbag safety system (MASS) unit.

Retail price: $1,203.

ZEAL Optics HD Camera Goggle

The ZEAL HD Camera Goggle provides a fun, hands-free way to record snow-day adventures. The goggle’s integrated camera has a 170-degree wide angle lens and can shoot 1080- or 720-pixel HD video, as well as take 12-megapixel photos. It comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and has a runtime of up to three hours. It even has an in-goggle viewfinder.

We like how foolproof the camera is. It auto-adjusts to different light conditions, has infinite focus and the camera buttons are easy to use even while wearing thick gloves.

Retail price: $399.

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