Japan: The Right Gear

Good news for powder goddesses: fat skis and other deep-snow essentials are ripping it up with an x chromosome

SKIS: For years, petite women with a penchant for ripping big mountains on fat skis ended up floundering on boards that were too long and stiff for them. Enter the new K2 Phat Luv, a women's-specific version of the company's renowned AK Launcher and the first softer-flexing powder stick available in lengths below 165cm. ($675; 800-972-4063, www.k2sports.com)
BINDINGS: The Salomon S810 Ti Axe binding is a lock for most female skiers: Titanium in the heel track and housing keep it light and durable, while a lower release range accommodates less torque. It's a high-performance alternative to men's overbuilt race clamps. ($245; 800-225-6850, www.salomonsports.com)
BOOTS: The Rossignol Bandit B1 women boot proves how far we've come since gals suffered in pink-accented mush buckets. This advanced freeride boot (guys, look for the Bandit B1 Men) is soft enough to absorb a big huck yet stiff enough to rail your edges through the corduroy. ($499; 802-863-2511, www.rossignol.com)
PANTS: Orage's AWD2 pants are highly technical—and highly stylish—trou. The svelte denim-look duds are actually waterproof and breathable poly-nylon wonders. You'll remain drier, and infinitely more hip, than the kids still cruising the slopes in their Levi's. ($220; 800-250-5056, www.orageski.com)
SHELL: The Marmot women's Super Shero isn't just a smaller version of the popular men's Super Hero soft shell; it's specifically cut for narrower waists and shoulders. Thejacket, a synthesis of Gore N2S Windstopper and Polartec WindPro and PowerShield fabrics, stymies even the nastiest mountain weather. ($225; 888-627-6680, www.marmot.com)
MIDLAYER: The Salomon W's Moto Mesh Zip Neck midlayer moves effortlessly from street to snow. Credit the uncluttered design and a proprietary fabric that combines warmth, breathability, and quick-drying qualities. ($69; 800-225-6850, www.salomonsports.com)
EYEWEAR: Spy's Sonix evoke sixties styling in gogglelike shades that seem plucked from an early Godzilla flick. But the optics are pure 21st century, built around a single glass lens engineered to eliminate distortion and boost peripheral vision. ($160; 800-779-3937, www.spyoptic.com)
HAT: The RLX Ski Hat mixes an old-school tassel with a contemporary, close fit that's not at all boxy. Made of ultralight itchless wool, it's ideal for thick-maned women who don't require an expedition-weight toque. ($35; 866-897-7656, www.polo.com)
GLOVES: Available in sizes down to extra small, the Black Diamond Stratos glove offers four-way stretch in the fingers for dexterity and removable waterproof inserts for quickdrying in the field. ($100; 801-278-5533, www.bdel.com)
PACK: The Dakine Heli Pro Small is a 900-cubic-inch pack designed for spontaneous backcountry forays. It keeps your gear in order with loops for an ice ax or shovel on both sides, a separate pocket for a shovel blade, and a mesh nest for your beverage reservoir. ($80; 800-827-7466, www.dakine.com)

From Outside Magazine, Nov 2003 Get the Latest Issue

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