Why have high-end gear manufacturers like Patagonia and The North Face completely dropped bibs from their alpine climbing and skiing lines? I couldn't imagine skiing in deep powder or mountaineering in anything but reinforced, technically oriented Gore-Tex bibs. Have bibs gone the way of the one-piece 1970s ski suit? Michael Vancouver, British Columbia
I love to cross-country ski, but we now have a two-year-old on the scene. He weighs almost 30 pounds and is getting a little heavy for our backpack-style carrier. Is there any gear that can help us get out on the trails this year? Pat Mountain Top, Pennsylvania
I recently purchased a Canon GL1 and I would like to be able to take it skiing with me this year. I concerned about moisture getting into the camera and killing my baby. Is that actually an issue, or would I be safe so long as I didn't drop it in the snow? I was thinking about getting a watertight case. Good idea or not? Kyle Salem, Oregon
I seek your advice because I'm tired of lift lines and bad snow conditions. What's the best way to get around in the backcountry for a snowboarder? The new Verts from C3 design? Snowshoes? What about the split kit from Voilé? Also, what setup would you recommend for boots? Mountaineering boots? Simon Montreal, Quebec
Back in the day, we used to ski in Levi's with big nylon gaiters—but now, despite trying on every brand out there, I can't find a pair that will fit over my Garmont randonnée boots. I've even spoken with the good people at La Sportiva, who admit that their gaiters are only designed for their mountaineering boots. Is there a good-quality gaiter large enough to wear over randonnée or alpine ski boots? Scott Eugene, Oregon
I moving to southeast Alaska this month, and I need a relatively inexpensive, waterproof, and wind-resistant winter jacket. I need something that will keep me warm for extended periods in cold, rainy conditions. Should I buy a heavy-duty rainjacket and wear it over a Polartec fleece, or buy more of a skier's jacket? Mallory Haubstadt, Indiana
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Last winter I blew out my knee pretty badly because I couldn't read the different lines in the snow; I guess I basically bece color blind. I've heard that different lens colors are better in different conditions, but I don't know which color suits which condition (i.e., snow, fog, sun). If you could give me a hand on this that would be awesome. Devin Edmonton, Alberta
I can't find boots that allow me to do it all. What lightweight options are there that allow me to hike in on a long approach, climb with crampons, and carve home smoothly wearing a loaded pack? I suppose a good example would be something suitable for the Sierra Haute backcountry route. Pavle Redding, California
I often ski in both the east, mostly Vermont, and the west at mountains in Colorado, Utah, and sometimes California. I've heard a soft shell, specifically Mountain Hardwear's Alchemy, is perfect for out west where it's fairly warm and wind is the only real concern. I was wondering if it would also work in the east where it can get much colder, wetter, and windier. If not, would a simple waterproof shell worn over it be enough? Brett Westchester, New York
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Can you suggest a few jackets that can multitask for snow sports, short hikes, and the commute to work? I like the hard-shell feel but don't need expensive Gore-Tex; I'd like adjustable cuffs and a removable hood; I would prefer something without a powder skirt but with a zip-out style that's not parka length; I like a simple jacket in solid colors without oodles of pockets and zippers. Hope I didn't overload you. Suggestions? Jim Ann Arbor, Michigan
I have a place in Vermont's Green Mountains and wondering what full metal-edged skis would work for skiing in the New England woods? I currently use the 170-centimeter Fischer E99, but is there a shorter ski that I can use for skiing logging roads, snowmobile tracks, and general rough in the woods? I don't think telemarks are the ticket as I'll be skiing on the flat, and I can use my E99's for any cross-country trails. Nigel New York City
I getting ready for a February snowshoeing trip to the Sierra Mountains, and I want to nix my usual problems with cold hands. In the past, I've tried using a base-layer glove combined with a higher loft glove and a waterproof Gore-Tex shell. Unfortunately I still get cold hands! Needless to say, I in desperate need of your awe-inspiring, sage-like wisdom to find that warm-hand solution to all my problems. Nathan Louisville, Kentucky
Not so much a question, more a comment about ski helmets. I'm a ski instructor and the following is my mantra: If I'm skiing normally, I don't really use a helmet. If I plan on skiing in the park, I wouldn't go without it. However, when it's 20 degrees below and I still have to teach, the helmet keeps me way warmer than any toque, any day. Generally, you know it's cold if I'm teaching in my helmet. Also, helmets for snowboarding are a must. Sometimes, a person just falls way too fast to prevent cracking your head on the hard pack. ber Toronto, Ontario
So, the winter snow will soon be upon us. As a snowboarder, my feet always seem to get extremely cold. I wear SmartWool socks, and I sometimes need to wear two pairs of socks (though not necessarily both SmartWool). Do you think my feet are just overly sensitive to the cold, or is there something else out there to keep my tootsies cozy?