This winter’s ski and snowboard gear and apparel is laden with innovative features, from an adjustable, inflatable jacket to skis that adapt on the fly to a neck gaiter that also moisturizes skin.
▪ NuDown Mount Whitney Vest ($450, www.nudown.com): This snug-fitting garment allows you to adjust your warmth level using nature’s most basic insulator — air. The vest, available for men and women, incorporates a series of narrow vertical chambers. When you’re cold, inflate them via a small pump stowed unobtrusively in one of the pockets. About 10 seconds later, you’ll have instant insulation. The pump easily deflates the vest when temperatures rise. The technology also comes in a couple of jacket styles.
▪ Abom Goggles ($250, http://abom.com): The greatest ski run in the world is no fun if you can’t see where you’re going. These frameless goggles dissipate fog by using a heat-conductive film between two lenses. A rechargeable-battery-powered current continually warms the lenses for up to six hours, keeping condensation at bay. There is also a 10-minute on-demand mode if you’d prefer to keep the heat output to short periodic bursts.
▪ Renoun Z-90 Ski ($1,295, http://renoun.com): To address the traditional problem of skis chattering, the ski maker Cyrus Schenck has come up with a nontraditional solution: injecting a non-Newtonian polymer into the core that — like Silly Putty — changes consistency upon impact. The more the skis get deflected because of uneven terrain or a high speed, the damper they become, allowing them to absorb the vibrations. At lower speeds or in powder, the core remains lively and flexible for quick turning. The technology won the top award at Europe’s leading ski trade show earlier this year. Tip/waist/tail dimensions (in millimeters): 136/90/124.
▪ Marker Kingpin Binding ($649, http://markerusa.com): More skiers are venturing into backcountry touring at or just beyond resorts. To serve them, binding technology has evolved to combine the free-heel setting necessary to go uphill with the reliable retention and power transmission of a traditional alpine binding. The Kingpin uses the type of lightweight toepiece found in many touring bindings (which use a pair of pins that fit into corresponding holes in the boot’s toe) with a modified alpine heelpiece that securely clamps in the foot for descents. You don’t have to step out of the binding to switch modes, either. The benefit? Ease of movement on the way up, more efficiency and control on the ski down.
▪ Roxy From the Block Biotherm Neck Warmer ($25, www.roxy.com): Even in the best of circumstances — let alone on a mountaintop — winter weather does a number on your skin. Roxy’s collaboration with the French skin care brand Biotherm lets you combat chapped skin while you ski or snowboard. The neckwarmer’s fleece lining is infused with microcapsules of moisturizer containing criste marine extract, shea butter, apricot oil and vitamin E. As the fabric rubs against your face and neck, the lotion is subtly released. The treatment lasts 15 washes in the laundry, and also comes as a collar lining in several of Roxy’s jackets.
▪ Obermeyer Verbier Cashmere Ski Sweater ($349, www.obermeyer.com): Obermeyer spent three years exploring a way to use cashmere so that it would stand up to the demands of athletic use. The resulting blend in this sweater uses a plated construction, which accommodates two yarns in one knit: durable, naturally water-repellent merino wool for the outside, luxe cashmere on the inside. The company founder, Klaus Obermeyer, who just turned 96, skis every day near the brand’s headquarters in Aspen, Colorado. Now that’s product testing.
▪ Giro Range Helmet ($240, www.giro.com): This helmet relies on an adjustable layered shell instead of the usual internal band around the head for a secure but comfortable fit. Rotate a small dial at the rear, and the back of the helmet expands and contracts up to six centimeters. Enhanced protection is provided by MIPS, a technology increasingly used among all helmet makers that absorbs some of the forces generated by angled blows as well as direct impacts. And, social media sharers, rejoice; there’s an integrated mount for a GoPro.
▪ Rossignol One and Diva Magtek Snowboard ($500, www.rossignol.com): A stripe of urethane around the perimeter of this board — a first in snowboard construction — provides shock absorption all the way around for a velvety-smooth ride. It’s also incredibly versatile, earning top marks in Transworld Snowboarding’s annual test for its mix of power and playfulness in all types of terrain. The women’s Diva, shown here, is narrower than its unisex counterpart, the One, with a slightly different side cut and flex pattern.