Skiing, for those who are serious about their snow-bound adventures, requires a bit of investment – not only of time but also in gear. In some countries it is possible to hire absolutely everything for a jaunt on the slopes, even (shudder) clothing. The result of so few barriers to entry, WIRED has unfortunately witnessed first-hand, is some form of carving carnage where would-be Bode Millers feel they will somehow absorb the requisite snow skills simply be throwing themselves down the mountain.
By kitting yourself out wisely, not only will you dramatically increase the rate of which you better your performance, it will also signal to those around you on the lifts and runs that this person not only means business, but, crucially, can also be trusted not to cut across ski tips, sit down in the middle of the slope and generally make an utter nuisance of themselves. So, as a result, investing in excellent ski gear is not just for you, it is for the greater good. What better excuse do you need?
Carv Digital Ski Coach
The first generation of Carv, which smashed the sports wearables record on Kickstarter, has been radically re-engineered to offer greater insight into your skiing technique (pictured, above). The 2mm-thick smart insole features 96 pressure sensors, while a nine-axis 3D motion sensor with accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer monitors every carve. The 30-hour battery only adds 296g per boot, while the sensors pinpoint individual aspects of your downhill technique – from balance and edging to rotation and pressure – and suggest ways to improve. Can’t be bothered to assess your slalom post run? No matter. It can even offer in-ear feedback as you ski.
Price: £279 | Carv
The North Face Futurelight L5
The initial collection of The North Face’s eco-friendly answer to the likes of Gore-Tex promises unparalleled airflow, breathability and water resistance from recycled materials. This exceptional bright yellow women’s jacket has seam-free shoulders for comfier carrying, and helmet-compatible hood – and still somehow manages to pack down completely into its own pocket. Looking for a men’s jacket? There is a very striking red version for you as well.
Price: £550 | The North Face
Salomon S/Pro 100
Place your Carvs in this boot designed for uncompromised performance while at the same time prioritising comfort. And thanks to a relaxed step-in style and fully customisable liner and shell construction, each pair should feel wonderfully comfortable from first lift to last descent. As well as a thermo-moulded liner and heat-mouldable custom shell that creates a pressure-point-free fit, the new Coreframe 360 insert – borrowed from Salomon’s World Cup race boots – helps maintain the boot’s stiffness and increases power transmission through the ski. In turn, the new strap gives more power and rebound in every turn while speeding edge-to-edge transfer.
A bonus tip: custom heat-moulding and fitting is available free of charge with purchase at Ellis Brigham stores in their well-equipped SUREfit Boot Labs. After online booking, while your new boots get the full treatment of being stretched and softened for the ideal fit, you have to endure free coffee and a heli-skiing VR experience in collaboration with CMH and Pure Powder. Think of it as pre-season training.
Price: £380 | Ellis Brigham
Unit 1 helmet
Designed in Patagonia by a team of obsessive skiers, riders & engineers, this is the second generation of Unit’s hi-fi helmet that consists of detachable over-ear headphones with 40mm drivers which slot seamlessly into the helmet shell and lock into place. Glove-friendly controls to play, pause, skip track, take a call have been designed for use without stopping so your phone stays in your pocket and is not lost on the piste. You also get Siri & Google Assistant compatibility, and helmet-to-helmet walkie-talkie action thanks to an app. Available in both black and white, when the day is done, pop the headphones pop out for aprés-ski activities thanks to the 16-hour battery life.
Price: €279 | Unit 1
K2 Mindbender 90Ti
Winning pretty much every award going, K2’s Mindbender 90Ti is a fun, easy-riding tip-to-tail rocker design for experienced skiers looking to take on the whole mountain in all conditions, whether that’s bouncing down powder pillows, on piste or trying to keep your form while powering through the crud. The secret lies in the combination of energetic maple core, torsion control (that maintains stiffness in the front and centre of the ski, but eases through the tail to help maintain form in all conditions) and precision-cut Titanal Y-beam – a high-strength aluminium alloy – that amplifies control and edge grip by minimising the amount the ski twists at high speed.
Price: £525 | Ellis Brigham
Dragon Alliance PXV2
Built for superior wide-screen vision in all conditions, these over-sized frameless goggles feature a Panotech lens with a unique toric shape for enhanced peripheral vision. The panoramic effect will be a revelation to anyone who feels boxed in by traditional designs, while the Swiftlock tech enables you to swap lenses instantly by flipping two glove-friendly locking levers as weather conditions change. There are 10 lens options for everything from the worst flat light to much needed contrast on blue-sky days.
Price: £185 | Dragon Alliance
Toko Express Mini
Pocket-sized natural wax is easy to apply and quick to dry (it’s recommended you give the base of the skis a buff with a cork block before you set off). It will improve speed in difficult conditions and help protect ski edges from rust.
Hypersphere Mini Vibrating Ball
A kitbag essential for anyone who tends to skip the post-piste warm down and head straight to the bar, this mini high-intensity vibrating massage ball will smash through muscle stiffness, getting deep into the tissue. Rechargeable batteries give over two hours of use per charge, but just a few minutes on one of the three vibration levels will give you countless more miles on the mountain and fresher legs each morning.
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