Mid-Winter Gear Roundup

Winter Gear Review, Bozeman, Montana

Mid-Winter Gear Roundup

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the Editors

Gear and apparel to help you ride out the rest of winter.


In our Winter 2014-15 issue, contributing editor and resident gadfly Drew Pogge excoriates the outdoor community's current gear-obsession, advocating a deeper appreciation for the experience, rather than an infatuation with the equipment. That said, quality gear and apparel can help facilitate those great experiences – provided that you regard it as a tool, not a fashion statement or status symbol. Here are some great tools to help make the best of the season.

FALKE SK Energizing Ski Sock
A sock is just a sock, right? For a long time, I believed that—until I tried on and skied in the SK Energizing Sock from Falke. Extra padding along the shin, heel, and ankle decrease rub without adding bulk, and each sock is anatomically designed to fit your left and right foot perfectly. They’re tight enough that they don’t bunch up, but not so tight that they cut off circulation. Bottom line: from here on out, a sock is no longer just a sock. $60; falke.com. —David Tucker

Falke SK Energizing Sock

Madshus Hypersonic Skate Skis
While learning to skate ski was infinitely more challenging than anticipated, I was lucky enough to have Madshus’ Hypersonic Skate Skis along for the ride. The skate-skiing technique is active, engaging, and a serious workout—having a great set of skis helped immensely. The Hypersonics have a Triaxial carbon construction, making them durable yet light and flexible. They also have a slight tip splay, performing well in various snow conditions. These skis are a solid choice for Nordic racing as well as recreational trail use. To top it off, the Hypersonics are embedded with an NCF chip—technology that matches the ski to the individual. With the free Madshus Empower app, skiers can log their times on the trail and get a personalized readout of calories burned, distance traveled, and other details of the excursion. Welcome to 2015, everyone. $475; madshus.com. —Maggie Slepian

Madshus Hypersonic Skate Ski

Madshus Hypersonic Skate Ski Empower App
Hypersonic: light, strong, and fastEmpower app and integrated NCF chip

 

MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes
Done right, snowshoeing is one of the coolest winter activities – and it's a great way to spend some time outside when there's no powder at the ski hill. The key is to get off the trail and go a-wandering through the winter woods. Despite the dramatic appellation, MSR's Lightning Ascent snowshoes also work great for slow meandering, letting the wind blow you where it will. I clambered over deadfall, traversed deep drifts, and generally just bushwhacked for five miles, and these babies were there for me every step of the way. The super-tough decking resisted rocks and other sharp protuberances, while the PosiLock AT bindings held my feet firm. On steeper slopes, the burly crampons gave me sure footing on ice and frozen ground. Three sizes accommodate various weights and desired floatation. $270; cascadedesigns/msr. —Mike EnglandMSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

Eddie Bauer First Ascent Neoteric Removable Bib
When you find a great pair of ski pants, you tend to stick with them for a while. After using the Neoteric Removable Bib from First Ascent for a full season, I won't be giving them up any time soon. These pants have plenty of pockets (seven in total), full-length side-vent zippers, and the bibs are removable for warm days. They have the ideal casual fit—somewhere between park-rat baggy and alpinist tight. On top of everything else, the waterproof technology has kept me dry during some of the wettest storms you can imagine. $399; eddiebauer.com. —Steve Lowry

First Ascent Neoteric Removable Bib

 

Black Diamond Front Point Shell
With their flagship Gore-Tex jacket, the Front Point Shell, Black Diamond has entered the high-level hardshell market. It is a comfortable, no nonsense jacket that checks all the necessary boxes in terms of features but still has the timeless, understated design that I expect out of a jacket that I intend to use for a very long time. I've only had it for a few months, but I’ve been hard on it—taking it through some thick skin tracks, raking it by numerous tree branches, and sitting through some very wet weather. It shows little wear and I feel confident that it will continue to serve as a heavy-duty barrier between myself and the elements. $599; blackdiamondequipment.com. —Ryan Krueger

 Black Diamond Front Point Shell

Salomon Quest Max BC 120
For me, less is often more. Such is the case with the Quest Max BC 120 from Salomon. With a walk mode that has ample range of motion in the cuff, the boots have been a dream for walking and touring. I have also been very satisfied with the fit. The heat moldable liners have felt like slippers since day one, and compared to similar boots, the relative lightweight allows it to step up into the longer tours without a problem. The Quest’s one fault: they’re slightly better suited to climbing than descending. In certain hardpack conditions, I found myself wanting a little bit more; any other time, they exceeded expectations. Overall, they provide ample control, stability, and comfort for any line on the mountain. With one boot that can handle everything, less is now more. $700; salomon.com. —Ryan Krueger

Salomon Quest Max BC 120

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