You’ve just finished treating everyone else in your life. Maybe it’s time to treat yourself and get some new gear for the new year — and you may hit some great deals now. We’ve highlighted some of this year’s top products and a few winners from last season.
Top gear for your head
POC’s new Meninx RS MIPS helmet and Zonula Clarity goggles pair together to offer a comfortable and well-ventilated system that protects your head and ensures top visibility. The lightweight helmet has 26 circular vents on top and two slats over your forehead for adjusting airflow — two sliders let you open and close these vents. It also comes with the latest safety features: a built-in NFC Medical ID chip, MIPS (which helps protect your brain in a crash), and RECCO (which emits a radar signal to help rescuers locate you). The helmet has a dial adjuster for a secure fit, removable ear flaps, and a clever magnetic chin strap. The Zonula Clarity goggles offer a super-wide field of view and have a lens shape that’s inspired by the anatomy of the eye, thereby eliminating distortion. Choose from easy-to-change lenses for low-light to bluebird conditions. $250 helmet; $220 goggles. na.pocsports.com
Bring this ski coach everywhere
Perhaps you’re a little rusty since you last jumped on skis or you’d like to work on specific skills. Get real-time feedback while you ski from a device that was developed by a two-time Olympian, a US Ski Team coach, and other pro instructors. The Carv digital ski coach includes two boot liners with 36 built-in sensors each that connect to battery packs that clip onto your ski boots. Download the Ski:IQ app, sync your phone to the Carv unit, and start skiing. Sensors in the boot liner detect how you’re skiing — your balance, edging, and timing, for instance. Carv utilizes this info to give you a Ski:IQ score and then tells you what you need to improve — and how. You’ll get pro tips after each run to help hone your technique. Carv also keeps a log of your progress and offers off-snow training exercises and access to instructional videos. $348 for device and one-year membership ($199 thereafter). getcarv.com
A snowboard drawn from classroom
Middle school science teacher Nick Gilson used a homemade snowboard to teach his students about fluid dynamics. Then with the students’ help, Gilson designed a board with a three-dimensional base (to reduce drag and maximize float) and launched Gilson Snow, a boutique snowboard company now based in central Pennsylvania. This year’s new Homebrew lets you rip down groomers, hit jumps along the trees, and handle powder with ease. The hybrid camber all-mountain snowboard is cambered under each foot and flat in between, resulting in a playful yet stable ride at speed, while rockered tips keep you afloat in deep snow. Its uniquely beveled base lifts the edge for smooth riding — just like the students discovered — and makes for a fun and lively time. You’ll love the stunning graphics — a wintry mountain scene — on this ridiculously lightweight board, which has a core made from locally sourced Pennsylvania poplar. Gilson will host demo days at Smuggler’s Notch, Sunday River, and Loon. $599. gilsonsnow.com
Step, click, and go riding
Put Burton’s Step On bindings on your snowboard, strap on the new Felix (women’s) or Photon (men’s) Step On boots, and then hit the slopes. The Step On system makes clipping in and releasing your boot quick and easy (pull a quick-release lever to exit the bindings) yet provides plenty of control even on steep slopes and aggressive turns. Each boot has two BOA dials with New England Ropes that let you adjust the tongue and ankle zones separately, cozy heat-moldable liners for a customized fit, a reflective liner underfoot that radiates heat back to your foot, and Velcro tongue flaps for a more adjustable fit. The women’s-specific design of the Felix, with its narrower footbox and added heel support, accommodates lower-volume feet. $439.95 boots. www.burton.com
High-tech skis made from algae
One Salt Lake City-based company aims to eliminate petroleum-based products from its skis. WNDR Alpine now incorporates materials derived from algae in its skis, from their algal-based cores to their sidewalls. The Vital 100 works well on New England slopes: The all-mountain ski maneuvers quickly in tight situations, can hold an edge on long arcing turns, and has enough width to handle off-piste conditions. The hybrid ski, which performs well at ski areas and in the backcountry, comes in two shapes: Choose reverse-camber if you’ll spend more time off-piste or in deep snow since it will help you float or cambered if you’ll stick to groomers or more hard-pack terrain. WNDR Alpine’s website also lets you choose from a super lightweight touring or rugged hybrid to a traditional alpine binding. 155-190cm. $699. wndr-alpine.com
A versatile boot with a custom fit
Looking for a hybrid ski boot that’s stiff enough to power down groomed trails or through untracked powder, yet comfortable and lightweight enough to skin up a mountain? Salomon’s Shift Pro 130 (men’s) and 110 (women’s) AT boots work with traditional alpine and pin-style touring bindings. The medium-volume freeride boots have a 100mm last, Grip-Walk soles, and ski-walk mode, but what sets them apart is Salomon’s Custom Fit moldable shell and liner. Any Salomon dealer can heat the shell in a specialized oven and then mold the boots and liner to your feet for a perfect fit — totally worth it, whether you spend five or 50 days on the slopes (the 100mm last can expand up to 106mm with the custom fit). Even better: Your kiddo or friend can remold the boots when you’re ready for a new upgrade. $700 (110), $800 (130). www.salomon.com
Try this sturdy alpine boot
Looking for a hard-charging downhill boot instead, no hybrid option needed? Nordica’s new Speedmachine 3 115 (women’s) and 120 (men’s) provide the stiffness and control needed to power the steepest, most bumped-out terrain, yet this all-mountain boot also stands out for its amazing comfort. The heat-moldable 3 Force liner conforms to your foot and lower leg, while the well-placed inserts around the ankle help secure your foot and eliminate pressure- or friction-related hot spots. An adjustable tongue enables the boot to accommodate different calvecalf sizes and the Infrared shell can be spot-heated and manipulated by a boot fitter for the perfect fit. The medium-volume boots have a 100mm last and Grip-Walk soles and weigh less than previous models — without sacrificing performance--thanks to the honeycomb technology. $750. www.nordica.com
Safety gear for out-of-bounds
Whether you’re a seasoned off-piste skier or relatively new to the backcountry world, it doesn’t hurt to have a voice guiding you through an avalanche rescue. Ortovox’s new Diract Voice avalanche transceiver was designed with input from psychologists and avalanche experts to help make searches less stressful and more successful. It offers Siri-like commands if you get off track: “Turn around,” “Go left,” and “You were closer,” for instance. These voice commands, combined with the visual arrows and numbers on the device’s LED screen and the built-in three-antenna technology, boost speed and accuracy during searches. Ortovox’s new Avalanche Rescue Set Diract Voice package includes the beacon, the carbon ALU 240 probe (which has a quick-lock setup, easy-to-read depth indicators, and color-coded proximity markers), and the aluminum Beast Classic shovel with its 2.3-liter scoop, telescoping neck, and adjustable T-grip for left- and right-handed users. $430. www.ortovox.com
Kids will love the new Black Crows Camox Jr. (boy’s) and Camox Birdie Jr. (girl’s) skis, which offer the perfect blend of flex, fun factor, and control. The medium-flex skis, best for intermediate to advanced skiers, have classic camber underfoot for good stability and response, and rockered tips and a short turning radius that help with controlled turns in all sorts of conditions and also provide float when the snow piles up. These all-mountain skis have a 90mm waist and are more geared to kids who want to play around the trees, bumps, and chunky sidelines along their favorite trails. 139-164cm. $540.95. www.black-crows.com
Affordable high-tech Nordic gear
Rossignol’s latest Delta classic skis offer high-performance features — drawn from its technical race skis — in a lightweight and affordable package. Choose the unisex Delta Sport R-Skin as a great weekend warrior rec ski for exercise and exploration at your local Nordic center (comes in 186-208cm, $260). Stay in the tracks and enjoy the ski’s playful pop, the predictably smooth glide thanks to the waxless R-Skin base, and the extra control offered by the built-in mohair strips underfoot. Grab the R-Skin Race Junior and take your kiddo with you. This mini-me ski comes with the waxless base and mohair strips and has the right combo of flex and stiffness to handle all conditions (156-186cm, $250). www.rossignol.com
An eco-friendly handwarmer
You’ll never have fun if you can’t keep warm. Zippo — yes, the company that makes cool flick lighters — has released a reusable pocket-size handwarmer that keeps you warm for up to 9 hours and can charge your phone or action camera at the same time. The HeatBank 9s Plus heats up to 120 degrees and has six heat settings. It starts warming your hands within 30 seconds and the heat penetrates even the thickest gloves — perfect for those frigid days on the slopes, snowshoeing along forested trails, or tailgaiting in the ski area parking lot. The HeatBank 9s has a built-in LED flashlight and a 5200 mAh lithium battery. It comes with two USB-A ports for charging your devices and weighs just 5.5 ounces. $59.95. www.zippo.com
Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at email@example.com.