Every day, UPS and FedEx dump a mountain of gear packages in our lobby that we get to open and play with. A lot of what we see is plenty nice, but occasionally a piece stands above the rest and becomes a daily go-to, or something we’re more excited about than usual. What follows is a list of these pieces from this winter. From hats to skis to bikes, here’s what we’ve been using the most as the snow flies and temps stay cold.
Coalition Snow SOS Skis ($699)
I've tested plenty of women-specific skis that worked about as well as overcooked noodles on the steeps. That's why I'm so excited for the 15/16 line from Coalition Snow, a company making skis and snowboards for women that, in their words, "don't suck." (Sorry, boys, there are no options for you.) The SOS 173 all-mountain ski, with its full birch wood core and 105-millimeter waist, is a hard-charging quiver killer. And it's pretty to boot. —Axie Navas, senior editor, Editor Buyer’s Guides
Surly Krampus 29+ ($1,900)Winters in Santa Fe are unpredictable. It’s entirely normal to go from skinning up in a blizzard on Saturday to mountain biking under sunny skies in 50-degree weather on Sunday. That’s why I’m so psyched to spend the season on my Surly Krampus. Sure, it was a riot to ride all summer—confident on loose terrain, surprisingly snappy on the uphill, and a constant challenge to my bike-handling skills—but I’m expecting it to be even more fun this winter. With 29+ wheels that float over snow, no fancy front or rear suspension to get ruined by the mud, and stable geometry, Krampus is guaranteed to keep me off the trainer—no matter what Godzilla El Niño sends my way. —Scott Rosenfield, online editor
Schott NYC A-2 Naked Cowhide Leather Flight Jacket ($750)I’ll often lust over a piece of gear for a day, or maybe a week, then forget about it. Not so with my buddy Nick’s jacket. Nick was a helicopter crew chief in the Marines, and the Corps issued him a leather bomber jacket that I tried on once and never forgot because it was so sharp and, well, bomber. For years I tried to find something that gave a similar feel, but failed. Then I stumbled on the Schott NYC A-2 Naked Cowhide Leather Flight. Weighing in at least a couple pounds thanks to the high-grade leather and stout build, it finally gave me that same indestructible sensation, and look. I’ve worn it every day this winter expect to do the same for many winters to come—Jon Gugala, assistant gear editor
Volkl One Skis ($649)I learned to ski on the East Coast (in North Carolina, of all places), so I didn't really get the whole "powder day" thing when I first moved to Santa Fe in 2014. That didn't last long. Now I check weather reports constantly and plan my weekends around how to chase snow. In preparation for this year's Godzilla El Niño, I also got a pair of Volkl Ones because I knew it could get deep. At 116mm under-foot, these fully-rockered skis are effortless to turn in knee-deep powder, pivot quickly in the trees, and still handle nasty crud with ease. They're the most confidence-inspiring planks I've ever strapped to my feet, and I have a sneaking suspicion my other skis are going to get very lonely this season.—Bryan Rogala, video production manager
Bulleit Bourbon ($28)During the deep freeze of the winter months, I prefer to take the figurative approach when it comes to "warming my bones." Campfires are great and all, but sneaking a sip of bourbon is more to my taste. Bulleit specifically. Its high rye content gives it a bit of a kick on the front end without compromising the long, smooth finish. When the rest of the world is off taking advantage of powder days, me and my lack of skiing skills will be at home enjoying views of the snow-covered landscape and a couple of fingers of this batch. Neat, of course.—Will Egensteiner, assistant editor
Rapha Winter Hat ($70)For the past couple of weeks it’s been hovering around 20 degrees when I leave my house in the morning on my bike (I commute from Albuquerque to Santa Fe via bike, then train). Add the wind chill at 20mph and it’s downright brutal. At these temps, the only thing I’ve found that keeps my noggin warm is Rapha’s Deep Winter hat. A windproof front panel cuts the ice-y air, merino ear panels keep my ears from turning deep red, and a merino lining wicks moisture once I start pedaling. It also fits well under a helmet.—Jakob Schiller, associate editor