I just got back from a soggy week on the East Coast with my kids. New York hasn’t had much of a winter, and we arrived to overcast skies, milder-than-normal temps, and lots of rain. Not that we minded. Where we live, moisture falling from the sky is a welcome novelty (plus, my crocodile skin slurped up the humidity) and we’d remembered to bring our foul-weather gear. My three-and-half-year old’s rainy day kit included knee-high insulated Bogs boots and the MVP of the trip: her waterproof, royal blue K-Way rain jacket.
Some of you of a certain age may remember the K-Way “Claude Klassic,” a retro nylon windbreaker with a full zipper, hood, and a self-stuffing pouch. The coup de grace, of course, is the nylon webbing that functions as a hip belt when the jacket is stuffed into its own pocket. Sling that sucker around your waist and you’re ready for action, whatever the weather. It’s a fanny pack and rain jacket all in one!
If you are wearing wool socks or long underwear, it’s likely that they’re made from sheep fleece shipped from half way around the world. New Zealand and Australia have been breeding Merino sheep—with long-staple, non-itchy wool—for a long time. Now, Montana ranchers have become adept at raising merino sheep. And at least two manufacturers are sourcing their merino stateside, which keeps jobs in the U.S., and saves resources.
For Montana-based Teko Socks, switching to Montana Merino was a no brainer. Its S3 SIN3GRI socks are made from Montana wool and 100% recycled ultrafine polyester. Together they provide the benefits of wool, with the comfortable, lightweight, and quick-dry properties of poly. The poly is collected and upcycled in the southeastern US, the wool is milled and polished in South Carolina, and the socks are knitted in North Carolina. The series has hiking and ski styles, available Fall 2012, $16-$25, tekosocks.com
The North Face and skate shop Supreme have teamed up on hip-hop meets safari Nuptse down jackets and Rolling Thunder bags in Kenyan camo animal prints. These limited edition jackets have not yet been seen on the worlds highest peaks--maybe because they're not yet available, or maybe because Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Pete Athans can't rock cheetah at 8000 meters?
In honor of blues rocker Garrett Dutton, a.k.a. G.Love, Kaenon Sunglasses took their classic Burnet shades and blinged them up. The Burnet Special Sauce shades have a tortoise/matte black finish and a white inlaid logo with Kaenon's proprietary SR-91 polarized lenses, for maximum glare reduction and smoky bar cred. The company says that the style was inspired by G-Love's "individual style and his respect for classic blues music." Watch the video homage here.
Skate time with the Telluride Snow Leopards [photo: Melissa Plantz]
There’s still time to sneak in another winter adventure with the kids before spring hits: Nordic skiing. Parents often hesitate to take kids out on the track too early, but as soon as kids can fit into the skis and boots (definitely by age 5 or 6, and younger if you use starter skis), it’s time to get them out there: “Kids are simple,” says Midnite Scholtes, director of the Telluride Nordic Center. “You get them in the gear and you let them go.”
Typically, Scholtes starts kids with a classic set-up just to get them used to the feel of skinny skis. Often, though, by the second or third time cross-country skiing, kids are anxious to try skate skis. “They see adults racing around the track, and they want that speed,” says Scholtes. Unlike adults, most kids aren’t afraid to fall, and when they do, they’re so low to the ground that the consequences of a tumble are usually pretty minor.