Outside Magazine, 1999 Annual Travel Guide
Gear to Go
HATS AND HELMETS
Skiing is the ultimate head game, and how you protect your noggin helps determine how well you play it. Outdoor Research's Touring Cap ($32) would fit right in behind the wheel of a ragtop roadster, but its snugly warm WindStopper-fleece fabric will serve you better on exposed slopes, especially when nice days turn nasty and you can turn down the foldaway earflaps. For skiers who swear by the traditional knit cap, Perigee's Knit Drop Ear Beanie ($30) improves on a classic with subtle earflaps to fully insulate your lobes. Horny Toad's recycled-fleece Winter Toque ($40) is reversible, and for sunny spring days, Bula's Roll Grinder ($23.50 for Poly Print Roll Grinder; plain Roll Grinder, $21.50) dries quickly and has a touch of tropical attitude.
When Herman Maier wanna-bes try to use you as a human slalom gate, you'll be glad you're wearing a helmet. Leki's sleek Racing Helmet ($150) has specially designed hearing ports that don't force you to sacrifice auditory comfort for cranial safety. Leedom's Limit ($109-$189) is cut higher around the ears for lighter weight, and has adjustable air venting to keep you from overheating.
On your hands, wear Mountain Hardwear's Chugach ($99) or Exposure ($89) gloves, which both have a guaranteed-to-keep-you-dry Gore-Tex insert and a tough synthetic leather K9 Storm Grip palm. But where the Chugach is Primaloft-insulated for warmth, the Exposure offers the versatility of a gauntlet shell. Wrap them around the Hardcore soft grip of Scott's Team Issue pole ($80); with a heavy-duty aluminum shaft, it provides the heft and balance of a precision, well-oiled tool.
BASE AND MID LAYERS
For your lower half, Patagonia's Stretch Triolet Bib ($320) has traditional lines but moves with you, no matter how big the bumps or how animated your air-time acrobatics. Mambosok's Launch Pant ($180) is a hip and economical alternative, with its built-in, removable suspenders and full side zips. In deeper snow, a suit is a necessity, and Marmot's Gore-Tex Trient ($750) has Double Door venting to open your chest to cooling, an adjustable fleece-lined collar and detachable hood, and internal suspenders to keep the whole package comfortable.
SKIS AND BOOTS
For rip-and-tear terrain hounds, Salomon's X Scream Series ($775) will carve a fine line on all but the hardest ice, and still romp like a puppy in soft fluff. If racing is your bent, Atomic's new Beta Race 9.34 ($915) handles gates like a Porsche at LeMans, and for high-speed, big-turn aggression on the groomed, K2's Merlin VI ($795) will put a smile on your face — or is that G-force distortion? For a similar experience off piste, Rossignol's Bandit XXX ($699) thrives at maximum warp in untracked terrain, and has become the rad freeskier's weapon of choice in the war on gravity. If, on the other hand, your idea of "powder" is more metaphysical, then the supple smoothness of Volant's Ti Chubb ($849) will transport you to snow satori. Regardless of the ski, Marker's M9.1 Turbo SC Titanium racing binding ($395) actually reduces the required release force in backward twisting falls, and you can adjust the binding's flex to match different snow conditions.
Photographs by Gary Hush
Copyright 1998, Outside magazine