Old school ski style is back. Fortunately, it comes with a technological advancements that would make NASA proud. By Jonathon Ages
RED• $160; $200 with REDphones
Formerly worn only by pee-soaked toddlers and 40-year-old virgins, helmets are now as common as the knit hat. Still, most look ridiculous. The Prime, however, looks like it was made for World War I trench warfare, and is perfect for attacking rails and invading half-pipes. Besides its ultralightweight shell, adjustable ventilation, and removable ear pads, it’s also armed with music. Just plug the REDphones into the ear pads to enjoy all the tunes your well-protected brain can handle.
Just as Speedo revolutionized swim competitions when it introduced the Razor suit, Descente once took alpine ski racing to a whole new level with its “magic suit,” the skintight downhill-race outfit that’s now an industry standard. Descente has launched a World Cup line of jackets dedicated to recent winter Olympics: Lake Placid, Calgary, Nagano, and Whistler (site of the 2010 downhill). The Whistler’s 4Way Stretch Twill Fabric moves with your body, the Heatflex 40 Insulation is warm and lightweight, and the Airdrive Moisture Control keeps you from sweating through your run. It may be the ultimate jacket. If only it made you the ultimate skier….
Smith • $100 to $170
Even if you’re sweating your face off, the Prodigy will not fog, thanks to technology that keeps the lens clear in almost all conditions and, according to the company, any barometric pressure. The lens on these medium- to large-size goggles offers wide peripheral vision that is essentially distortion free, so you won’t miss that patch of ice or, more important, the distressed ski bunny in need of your help and phone number.
Burton • $560
The Burton Custom has been a rider favorite for years, but Burton isn’t resting on its well-insulated laurels. The company has tweaked an industry staple to produce the V-Rocker Custom. The Rocker’s tip and tail lift completely off the snow, giving it a V shape that Burton claims is more forgiving and decreases the rider’s chances of catching an edge. This stick will float on powder and pop in the park. And, thanks to the Pressure Distribution Edges, it’ll be stable carving through crud, too.
Avenger 82 Carbon
Rossignol • $800
Last season Rossignol had us frothing at the mouth over its Classic skis—all-mountain planks with a wide waist and a race-inspired oversize tip and tail—which measured up impressively. Rossignol extended the line with offerings that will please the most casual ski bum. The Avenger 82 Carbon, a slightly more forgiving addition, is designed for the front side skier who makes the occasional drop into the backside. Hey, get your mind out of the gutter. You know what we mean.
SLX Seamfree Sweater
Helly Hansen• $125
Put that fleece away—the ski sweater is making a comeback. The SLX is made from soft merino-wool-blend yarn and LIFA—Helly Hansen’s Stay Dry Technology that wicks sweat from the body during even the most grueling back-bowl burner. This breathable, form-fitting sweater will keep you more comfortable, warmer, and drier than your old fleece, helping you last from first tracks through après ski.