Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sizzling Ski Wear!

Opening Day at Lake Louise

Fergus and friends hiking the ridge at the back
of Lake Louise last Saturday
Snow Update: Never believe negative press - although the Lake Louise Men's Downhill was indeed cancelled because of the intricate difficulties of providing very specific snow for racing, there is great snow at Lake Louise for all of us recreational skiers. My son, Fergus Hudson and his student friends went there last Saturday (the day after opening day) to use their season passes for the first time this winter and discovered that the Summit Poma was open (really unusual for so early) and there was plentiful powder on the back! They all spent an ecstatic weekend there and, for racing fans, the Ladies' Downhill and Super G are going ahead as planned Dec 2-4. 

News Alert! - Just wanted to mention my first newspaper publication of this 2016-17 ski season was in Canada's Globe and Mail last week. You can read my article on the Euro bonuses of Vail Resorts' Epic Pass here: Next season Epic benefits will also extend to Whistler Blackcomb season pass holders! And, breaking news, the deadline to buy was Nov 20 but has now been extended to Dec 4. 

Sizzling Ski Wear 
Bombshell Special Edition Jacket by Obermeyer
At the beginning of the ski season, there's nothing like new skiwear to get you psyched even when you're still in the city! But what to choose when there is so much downhill diversity out there? Here's my take on this season's novelties to help you keep on trend and, most of all, warm!

New Oros Orion Series for men and women: NASA-inspired performance apparel

Skeggings: Slinkiest Ski Pants of the Season!

The Bond range by Obermeyer has form-fitting, 'Skeggings' (Ski-Leggings) this season, in black, white or crimson. They are shaped like flares, narrower at the knee and wider at the reinforced hem to encompass ski or snowboard boots. The knees are pre-curved to mimic the skier stance. With proper sizing (4,6,8,10 etc), the fit is more specific than the more typical small, medium, large. And there's an elastic waist panel to enhance the fit for different body types. These could definitely take you into the après ski scene! And, as well as downhill skiing, they would work perfectly for cross country skiing, ice-skating, winter hiking or fat biking. 

Bond Bombshell 

The Bombshell Special Edition Jacket is the perfect pairing for the Bond pants. Think Functionality and Flattering. The designer's mandate was to combine fit perfection with glamour as well as outdoor utility. After hours of gradually improving multiple proptotypes, the technical and luxurious textiles morphed into this fur-trimmed (faux and removable), thermally-insulated, cunningly contoured coat.

Nordic Sweater

With a nod to Nordic style, wintery whimsy, and a Christmassy appeal, this slimline sweater brings all the elements of skiing and mountain living together. The Cabin Knit Sweater conjures up cosy cabin life, with après ski drinks around a roaring fire. Made from 50% merino wool, it comes in five colours and sizes XS through 2X. 

Christmas Coupon Code - 20 % discount with Volt!

All my readers have a special offer for 20 % off with Volt through Christmas. Just go to the site and put the coupon code onetwoski in the box at checkout to get your discount.

A cozy neck and face is a must both for skiing and for wandering around ski towns afterwards. So Volt has come up with an ultra soft 5V Volt HeatedScarf. With its Zero Layer Heat System, it can keep warm for 7 hours on low and almost 3 hours on high. The heat panel is in the centre of the scarf so you can put that at the base of your neck. For $69.95 (minus your special 20 % discount) you get the scarf, rechargeable battery and USB charging cable. If it's as good as my Volt heated vest and Volt's amazing heated gloves, you're going to love it!

         Puffy jacket with Stretch

Love down but crave more dynamic range of movement? Check out the Stretch Puffy from SYNC Performance from Vail, CO, designed for mountain athletes. Comes in black, too. Made from 360 Degree Interlock stretch fabric throughout the jacket, it is lined witPrimaLoft® down for optimal warmth. Available for men and women, it is also waterproof and free of fluorocarbons. SYNC Performance was born in the mountains and rooted in the demanding world of alpine ski racing. So they really know about skiing hard in all weathers - and the need to be able to swivel and bend during a typical multi-tasking ski day.

Heated Insoles for Ski and Après Ski Boots 

Do you suffer horribly with frozen feet on the slopes or around a ski town? Get toasty toes with the new ProFLEX Heavy Duty Heated Insoles from ThermaCELL which have Bluetooth control. A simple phone app is able to control the heat sent to feet to keep them warm whether outdoors, indoors in the lodge or après ski bar. Various settings keep the heat constant during the weather fluctuations of the day. The batteries last up to 8.5 hours per charge and they have been upgraded this year to achieve an 80 % recharge in two hours. ThermaCELL also makes rechargeable heated hand warmers and pocket warmers.

Treeline Trends

Treeline is a decisive point that separates two types of terrain: dense trees below with tight lines and open snow above with big turns ready for the taking. One of the largest of Native’s cylindrical lens offerings, Treeline goggles were designed to perform in both environments with ease. A large field-of-view provides the clarity needed to make quick decisions while its snug and comfortable fit will make you forget you’re wearing them. Additionally, the Treeline fits over most prescription glasses, providing the features necessary for long-lasting comfort and fog diffusion of both lenses. Plus a lifetime warranty!

Oros Outfit
Changing the way people protect themselves from the elements, the Orion Series has you covered top to toe. Using Oros' SolarCore Aerogel technology, the jacket is warm but thin. The snow pants have equal flexibility, warmth and comfort. Durability and dexterity were the main concerns in developing their gloves and the beanies are soft but hardy. Oros, the Greek word for mountain, developed their technology from space suit insulation to make outerwear less cumbersome, more flexible and warm.

Smart Slippers

Made by Volt, Smart Slippers are the ultimate in après ski bliss! A built-in smart thermostat control automatically adjusts heat output so when the slippers reach max temperature they will automatically shut off, allowing for maximum battery efficiency and helping to eliminate overheating. The system will then monitor the temperature of the inside environment of the faux-fur lined slipper and automatically turn back on when necessary. A non-slip sole enables use outdoors too! They also sell a heated indoor/outdoor bootie and heated socks. Remember to use your 20% discount.

Smartwool Separates

As well as being ski sock experts, Smartwool make a wide range of trendy ski layers for men, women, kids and babies. 

Pictured is the NTS Mid 250 Pattern Crew form-fitting, interlock knit with set-in sleeves. A classic, popular style made with 100% merino wool available for men and women. Comfortable and warm enough for skiing, but colourful and smart enough for après ski too! Loads of colours to choose from and matching leggings for the long, lean look (made with chafe-free waistband and seams)

Check out Smartwool's accessory line, too, for beanies (some with pompoms), scarves, headbands, gloves etc all in their signature merino wool. Lovely patterns and bright colours!

Savvy Solutions
Transpack has some nifty, innovative products out this year. First there's the Goggle Grip which helps keep your goggles in place on your helmet, helping you avoiding that embarrassing ping as they fly up over your head and hang down your back! A Goggle Shield and also protective Cover  mean you can store them unscathed and unscratched in your bag or pocket. And Transpack has also introduced the long-awaited SkiBat ski and pole carrier - $19.95. I used to bodge this using my ski pole loops but this is a much surer way of carrying them successfully back to the car or bar - and no more skis falling off aching shoulders!

Magnetic Goggles

RELODE X goggles from Gordini – come with interchangeable magnetic lens. Priced at $150, there are two lenses with each pair, facilitating adaptability to changing weather and ensuring clear vision throughout the day. Gone are the days when you need to take an extra pair of goggles heli-skiing (like I did when I first went with CMH many years ago). 

Transpack's Heated Ski Boot Bag

Fed up with freezing boots in the morning after a car ride to the hill and then wet boots, damp inners and the resulting dirty boot bags later on during the journey home? Transpack's HEATED BOOT PRO solves all these issues as well as warming up gloves, hats, socks and any accessories you store in the many pockets. There's even an exterior helmet pocket making things much easier to transport to the lodge from far-flung car parks. This is also a good sized bag to use on airlines as part of your ski and bootbag luggage allowance. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Tackle tight trees on the new lightweight skis!

News Alert! - Just wanted to mention, my first newspaper publication for the 2016-17 ski season was in Canada's Globe and Mail today! You can read my article on the Euro bonuses of Vail Resorts' Epic Pass here: Deadline to buy is Nov 20!!

Lake Louise - Photo by Dan Evans, courtesy of SkiBig3

Today's article explains why many of us will delight in the latest lighter weight skis! But I also have to mention that the lovely, legendary Lake Louise opens tomorrow! Although I'll miss the actual opening, I'll be skiing there in a few weeks time, during a whole month traveling around the Alberta and BC resorts. And my son, Fergus Hudson will be there on Saturday and Sunday, notching up his first few days on his student season pass! 

Deer Valley's Rossignol Demo Yurt - Photo by Blake Jorgensen
Did you buy big fat skis for powder and now feel those weighty planks anchoring you down when skiing temptingly tight treelines, hiking uphill, manipulating the moguls, skiing groomers or just carrying them back to the car at a downhill day’s end? Well, the industry has been thinking of you! Ski manufacturers have been working on lighter-weight skis which don’t compromise on performance perks.

The invention of the wider ski helped open up the backcountry to more skiers but with extra width and more materials, skis naturally got heavier. According to Nick Castagnoli, Brand and Communications Manager for Rossignol North America, the goal has been to produce light weight skis on wider platforms while avoiding any detriment to performance. “A World Cup race ski is built as precisely as possible, stable, downhill driven with heavier wood cores and thick core density,” says Nick. The challenge is to maintain this kind of precision in a light weight construction.

Years of research and experimentation with a variety of materials have come to fruition this season with skis that can pivot and manoeuvre more easily in snow. “There is a feeling of instinctive agility and ease of use,” Nick describes. “Our newest proprietary technology: Carbon Alloy Matrix, utilizes a unique carbon and basalt open weave that results in metal laminate-like stability while remaining incredibly lightweight. We ultimately integrate these materials in a way that elevates the best attributes of each, while removing some of the other more negative attributes. Carbon has an incredible strength-to-weight ratio but can often generate reverb, and create a 'tingy' on-snow sensation underfoot. Meanwhile basalt can often overpower a ski when used alone. Merging these materials together in the way we have brings out the best benefits of both.”

The reduction in weight can be between 10-25%, depending on model. Coupled with extra lightweight integrated bindings, such as the LOOK Xpress, this makes a big difference. “Weight is just as important for a beginner skier as those diving off into the backcountry,” explains Nick. “The easier and less fatiguing we can make learning to ski, the better. Newer models enable you to more easily pivot and manoeuvre, building up confidence and allowing you to have more fun, and this is ultimately what promotes faster progression.”

Maintaining the advantages of wider waist, side-cuts and rocker profiles, these are not just boy-racer skis, but suitable for every demographic - especially those who crave the softer, deeper snow of the West. And the good news is you don’t have to change up your boots so long as the bindings fit. Nick’s advice for the perfect boot: “The most important thing is working with a good boot-fitter to find the best balance of comfort and performance. Your boot is your steering wheel on the mountain and the link between your body and your skis.” He says it is essential that ski boots are comfortable, snug, and warm so you can stay out all day long and keep skiing.

To try them:
- Check out the Rossignol Experience Center Schedule 

- Rent them on your next ski holiday with door-to-door delivery service, Ski Butlers.

Waldorf Astoria Park City
Unique Rossi Skis:
And if you want to get one step further and get limited edition Rossis, check out the deal for guests at the Waldorf Astoria Park City. Only they can buy the Rossignol Strato which features a Wood/Titanium Duracap construction, power turn rocker, and an improved prop-tip — a perfect blend of lightweight construction with racing features. Retailing for $1200, this offer has been created via a partnership between the Waldorf and Ski Butlers

To transport them:
Transpack's Padded Rolling Convertible Double Ski Bag
To protect your new skis and transport them by plane, train or automobile, you definitely need this rolling Rolls Royce of ski bags. Made from super tough, water resistant ballistic nylon, the Transpack SKI VAULT™ DOUBLE PRO is padded with thick memory foam inside nylon lining. The bottom of the bag - the area typically most susceptible to damage - has a reinforced water resistant tarpaulin section with runners for extra protection. The length is adjustable - max size 12" x 8" x 65"-77". Padded handles on the top and front make it convenient - and pain free! - to roll on all-terrain, quiet wheels. The compression straps are industrial strength. Inside there are web straps to secure both skis and poles as well as a zippered pocket for personal items.

To get to and from the resort, there's Rhino-Rack - an Australian-owned roof racks and accessories brand that has just recently launched in the US. Holding up to 6 pairs of skis (4 if they are big fat powder planks), or up to 4 snowboards, it has an easy-release locking system to reduce fumbling and frustrations of operating locking mechanism with gloves on. Together with a secure lock, water and rust-proofing and a five-year warranty, its universal mount is another wow factor.

Rhino-Rack Ski and Snowboard Carrier retails at $159 US