Little-Known New England Ski Gems

Gear Roundup
By David Fireman

Before you hit the slopes, make sure you have the right gear. Here's what the author and photographer used on their New England tour.

Voili 166-cm Split Decision
Can't make up your mind? The Split Decision can help. In fact, the name doesn't do it justice: This revolutionary snowboard isn't for making decisions easier, it's for leaving your snowshoes behind—not to mention that "left out" feeling when your telemarker friends are making their way to untracked terrain. In touring mode, the Split Decision can enhance your pace twofold; in some cases, depending on what kind of shape you're in, the boards with skins can move faster than telemark skis can: MORE SURFACE!

Don't worry, though, you certainly won't have to wait on your buddies; they'll catch up while you're switching into riding mode. "We could make a more convenient switch-over like Burton" says Voile's Dave Drulard, "but when you're in the field, do you want your gear to work, or have 50 moving parts that can break at any time?" I'd have to agree. The simplicity is staggering. Just be prepared to get frustrated threading aluminum pins into tight holes. Still, it sure beats sledding down on your broken board!

Contact info:; (801) 973-8622

Patagonia Ether Jacket
Look like a snowboarder, feel like a snowboarder. The Ether jacket combines simplicity, new technology, and fashion; it's obvious why Patagonia is still a leader in outerwear. The Ether features the new GORE-TEX Paclite fabric that claims to be 25 percent more breathable than the old version. (Of course, that's not too hard to beat considering the stuff breathes like Hefty trash bags!) Patagucci (hefty price tag on this piece—$375) has also decided to finally use the water resistant zippers that Arc Teryx made famous! The design includes one zipper on each side of the jacket, which opens to reveal both the pit vent and a side pocket—good for simplicity, not so hot for functionality. Be sure to ventilate from the top down, or your pockets will fill up with snow. Also, the zippers require a firm pull and they sit back on the jacket, making a one-hand operation pretty difficult.

Contact info:; (800) 638-6464

Leedom Scream Helmet
Fashion freaks don't fear! Leedom's Scream series provides comfort and style, especially the metallic Mantis (fluorescent green). As for functionality, the helmets breathe well—maybe a little too well; the airflow over your ears can be a bother. But really, who cares? You're protecting the most important part of your body. Take note of how light these puppies are, too. Just be sure to pack a hat (you'll need it to cover up your helmet head).

Contact info:; 800-536-6695

InSport Thermalayer Trainer
Made from an expedition-weight Polartec. Power Dry fabric that's designed to wick moisture and provide maximum breathability, this top is ideal as a base layer. The zip neck adds some style and functionality for hanging out after a day in the backcountry, and it's surprisingly very comfortable for a synthetic. FYI, Patagonia uses this fabric in their Regulator R1 garments.

Contact info:; 800-652-5200

Aloe Up's Aloe Kote Plus
Aloe Kote Plus combines that "oooh, ahhh" feeling you get from 3 percent menthol with the added property of aloe. "Aloe actually penetrates the skin," proclaims Aloe Up's Paul Krueger; petroleum-based products just sit on your lips, getting licked away like a Ben and Jerry's ice cream cone. Aloe Up isn't a huge company, and you won't find their products in the usual spots, but one tin can last up to three years if used appropriately.

Bargain Gear: Silk Underwear
Check out T.J. Maxx, Filene's Basement, Marshalls, or other discount department stores to hunt for cheap silk long underwear. These outlet places can be a heaven for first layers—top and bottoms for under $20. On cold days your first layer could be a 100 percent cashmere sweater (bright pink and baby blue, but who sees the first layer?). Cashmere is the finest wool around, silky smooth right next to your skin, and boy does it wick moisture away from the body.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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