Snow in the Alps, the Ski Show in London - the Relentless Freeze next week (more about that to come) - the ski and board world is just buzzing right now. It's now just weeks till Winter 2011-12 kicks off and we're jumping for joy!
So maybe you'd like to treat yourself to a few new gizmos and gadgets, or update that faded one piece for a fresher look? We asked Michael of great online store Simply Piste for his take on what's hot for this season!
"You may be wondering what to wear on the slopes this season, I know I am. As always the ski and snowboarding world gives brand designers the license to break the barriers of exuberance with some rather spectacular colours and radical techie integration systems. Here's what in our opinion are the best garments and gadgets to hit the slopes this season, including the much acclaimed Zeal goggles with head up display.
The Simply Piste Top 10
What do you call an Elephant on Ice Skates........? An Ice Breaker, and that’s where we’ll start.
New from Icebreaker is their flexi chute neck gaiter. For those of you that find style a compromise of practicality, this is a lovely garment that allows you to keep warm whilst also looking on trend. It’s made with Bodyfit 200, so it’s perfect for the winter conditions on the mountain. We personally love the practicality of neck gaiters. They’re zero fuss and look great.
At number 9 we have a set of E-gloves. Not the newest gadget to hit the market. However e-gloves are a genius and practical piece of Kit. They’re invention cuts out the problem of answering phone calls whilst out on the slopes. This removed fuss allows the experience to become more comfortable, convenient and reduces the risk of dropping your device. They work on an array of touch screen devices, so if you’re lucky enough to have an ipod touch, ipad or a touch screen phone, e-gloves are worth considering when you need a new set of ski gloves. The North Face offer a good range of e-gloves, however if price is a factor, you may be willing to give F3 ski a go.
Number 8 brings us to the Heli pro Re gen from Dakine, who have for an added benefit of public relations decided to manufacture this bag solely out of plastic bottles. So for the eco conscious out there this bag will go some way in giving you peace of mind, whilst also looking cool. The backpack has the same features as the Heli Pro 20 litre, including a ski and snowboard carry plus many pockets, including a goggle pouch and laptop sleeve.
Powered by skull candy, Giro’s link audio drops are applied throughout the Giro ski and snowboarding audio range. They feature 40mm speakers that produce a crisp and clear treble with a deep and pokey bass. The system is easy to use, their speakers drop into the latest designed Giro ear pads, which be integrated into your helmet. The latest 2011 range can feature a Bluetooth link up, allowing you to answer your phone wirelessly. If you have the pleasure of owning a Giro Helmet, please make sure it’s audio compatible before purchasing link audio drops.
One for the ladies out there, the Scott Zuri Jacket looks fantastic and has some cool features. It’s completely reversible, allowing you to alter the design of the jacket into a stylish puffy jacket, allowing you to mix up your look a bit. It also comes with an invisible chest pocket, fully taped seems, adjustable hood, hand warmer pockets and adjustable Velcro cuffs. Check out our Scott product video for more information.
The Westbeach Alibi Peacoat is a stylish alternative for this season. The jacket shares many of the same features as your standard jacket, however it’s smart and stylish appearance allows you to wear this whilst out on the slopes or stood in the local bar. It also boasts an impressive range of practical features, including pockets for lift passes, goggles, music and also hand warming.
The Mens root jacket by Eleven is a brilliant new snowboard jacket to hit the market this season. Having looked at personally buying one for myself I found the jacket to be very comfortable but also has an amazingly simply design. I think the denim style is quite cutting edge whilst refreshingly pulling away from the everyday flashy design with exuberant colours. The jacket comes with a full list of features including, Insulated standard lining, single hand hood adjustment, climate control vents, stash pockets and EZ track zippers.
The “dry guy”, I think this bit of kit is great. Priced at a very reasonable £50, these allow your trip to become all the more enjoyable and organised. The machine gently dries items placed upon it within an hour whilst also working to eliminate odours. The design allows you to dry up to four garments simultaneously and will not harm any liners or stitching. This unit gives you peace of mind and makes the next morning on the slopes that much more comfortable.
The penultimate piece, the HD Summit video camera Goggles. For £250, these goggles are the toast of gadgets for ski geeks. Replacing the need for an external camera that attaches to your helmet, these goggles integrate the camera within the goggles, perfect for capturing POV action on the slopes in stunning 720p HD. Capture footage as your see and hear it, the ability to take snap shots and a no-wind noise mic adds to an already boastful spec.
No surprises then. These amazing things have been around since last year but they still fascinate us here in the office, I’d absolutely love to get my hands on a pair. Prices in the UK starting at £399, the goggles featured a colour LCD display that is projected in the right side lens, showing real-time stats such as, speed, altitude, temperature and more. Questions have been posed at the designers of this gadget, about the safety issues.
To clarify, the experience is likened to that of driving. The head up display is an estimated perception of 5 metres away and non invasive. Similar to driving and a dash board, you have the choice whether to look down to view your gages as and when you need to or feel is appropriate. The goggles are also USB compatible, and allow you to upload, share and compare stats. Finally a full integration with Google maps allows you to map out your journey on the slopes."
Thanks to Michael and the guys at Simply Piste - hopefully this little list will get you excited too. If you'd also like to see his "what's not hot" list take a look at their blog.