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The 2021 Winter Buyer’s Guide

40 testers. 271 products. Thousands of hours of skiing, riding, running, hiking, and adventuring (and, of course, aprésing).



Ariella Gintzler

Editor's Letter

There are a lot of things I love about fall, but giving my skis their first wax of the season sits near the top of the list (right below cranberry sauce and desert bouldering). It’s not that I love moving my kitchen furniture to make space for the work bench, covering everything in drop cloths, and permeating the room with hydrocarbon dust. I don’t. But there’s something meditative about the process—brushing, heating, melting, scraping. It’s a signal that I’m one step closer to sliding on snow. No matter how you like to get outside in the cold months, you probably have your own preparation ritual, whether it’s washing puffies or ­re-waterproofing winter hikers. It’s a chance to ­reflect, get stoked, and set goals and expectations.

This fall we have a lot to ­reflect on. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink how we spend time outside. We’ve added a new piece of gear—a mask—to our adventure kits. Some have picked up new sports altogether; over the summer, sales of bikes and camping equipment skyrocketed as ­cooped-up Americans searched for ways to get out of the house and have fun safely, away from crowds. As I write this letter, communities around the country are waiting to find out how ski resorts will safely operate this winter, which means more change is likely on the horizon.

Maybe that’s why I’m looking forward to my first ski-waxing session more than ever, and why I’m excited for you to sit down with this issue of the Winter Buyer’s Guide, which includes our recommendations for everything from fun, ­hard-charging skis and goggles that quickly adapt to shifting light to winter-ready bikes and running shoes for all ­surfaces. Because in the face of such ­upheaval, rituals are a source of comfort. And when it comes to the outdoors, the best ritual I can think of is kitting up to play in the cold and snow.

Meet the Testers

Ski and Snowboard

This season's best boards charge hard, but they're a blast at all speeds

Fast tint shifts, seamless lens changes, and better antifog technology mean you can focus on your line

Speed demons, air addicts, and powder hounds, meet your matches

The right combination of power, finesse, and comfort

This season’s best for climbing up and ripping back down

Four days. Eighteen testers. More than 150 pairs of skis.

Our writer reflects on the uncertain ski season ahead

What you need to know about navigating the ski season to come

Layers

Coats for every adventure, from sunny singletrack to frigid summits

With these key items, regulating your body’s temperature is a cinch

Keeping your body temperature at a happy equilibrium starts with the right layers

Keep your hands toasty in below-freezing temps

Hard ­ef­­forts need bottoms that keep up

Essentials

Versatile lids that keep your noggin safe, inbounds and out

Dialed and ready for big loads, these bags will help you keep the pace

Maximize your child’s winter fun this season

Make even the coldest nights cozy

Kit yourself out for comfort, no matter the journey

Essential auto gear for the season’s worst-case scenarios

Fitness

Faster splits and higher summits are just around the corner

Nasty weather shouldn't stop you from getting your run in. Here's what kept our testers warm and comfortable.

Leading gear for frozen alpine missions

Three smart tickets to winter riding fun

Gear to help you appreciate cold-weather riding

Exercise outdoors all winter long with these essentials

Cold weather is no reason to skip your sweat sessions

Keeping tabs on training and health has never been this seamless

Workout tools to help you reach your potential

Better gear for your ups and downs

Conquer diverse terrain with ease

Score peak-season waves no matter how low the mercury goes

Après

Shades for charging hard and aprèsing harder

Down those post-ski brews in style

Head to happy hour in warmth and style

Get to work in style, no matter the weather

Warm, cozy tops for every kind of happy hour

These timepieces are ready to get down to business

Make sure your après involves self-care