With ice-ax retention you can release with the pack on, gear loops for ’biners and belay devices, and an integrated crampon pocket, the Matrix is purpose-built for ski mountaineering. But you don’t have to rope up to appreciate how light, roomy, and useful the Matrix is.
According to Mountain Hardwear, the Ghost Whisperer (hooded) is the world's lightest down jacket—seven ounces, 850-fill down, two pockets, and a ripstop shell that's down- and wind-proof and water repellant
After air bags saved lives in several high-profile slides last year, demand (and curiosity) has never been higher. In 2011, there were five manufacturers making air-bag packs. This winter there are at least 10, and an increasing number of cat- and heli-ski operations are outfitting their clients with them.
In the past 12 months, Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, Polartec, Gore-Tex, and Stoic have introduced new waterproof-breathable membranes. We won’t bore you with the wonky details of their lofty claims; all you need to know is that each is more breathable than many of the jackets we’ve been raving about for years.
An avalanche in Washington State killed three skiers but spared a fourth who was wearing an avalanche air bag. For years, experts have warned skiers never to travel in the backcountry without beacons, rescue shovels, and probes. Is it time to add one more piece of gear to the list?