The Best of 2014-15 Winter Gear

Got an itch to shred? While you are waiting for the snow to fall, we suggest you drool over the new tools that will make all your dirty powder dreams come true this season — which promises to be a big one.

From hardgoods to apparel, here’s our breakdown.


1. DPS Lotus 120
Meet the ultimate powder vehicle. Yes, it’s expensive but it seems to turn simply with a thought. This carbon ski was our board of choice for everything from deep powder in the resort to big backcountry days. 140/122/126 $1,300;

2. Powder Factory
Local brand Powder Factory is on the rise. Its Dream is just that: a blast to ride all over the mountain that features a rockered tip, race-inspired tail and enough guts to deal with hardpack. Plus, we like supporting a ski brand that builds its boards here in Silver Plume, Colorado. 114/116/134 $840-$990;

3. K2 Shreditor 102
Need a ski to deal with the day-to-day junk in Colorado resorts? This twin tip will keep you on your game. But, hey, it’s not strictly business. The Shreditor is quite comfortable elevating in powder, too. 131/102/125 $660;

4. Line Supernatural 100
With new-school charging built into its DNA, this ski wants to run—and it feels damn good underfoot at speed. With a 100-mm waist it’s playful enough to thread trees, but macho enough to dust your friends on those front-side runs. 132/100/121 $810;

5. Salomon Q-Lab
Salomon meshed the muscle of its racing skis with the light weight of backcountry boards and then juiced it up with some rocker. The result? A ski for those who like to charge wild snow. 138/104/127 in the 183-cm length ski. $850;

6. Icelantic Vanguard
Meet the perfect Colorado ski for rippers who like to tour, float in the soft stuff and rail hard at the resort all day long. In other words, you? The Vanguard features a super-light balsa core that makes it ideal for skinning up the mountain. But that doesn’t mean this is just a backcountry ski. It’s a solid 107 mm underfoot and holds turns on hardback just as well as it splooshes through powder. 139/107/126 $799;

7. Jones Ultracraft Splitboard
Jeremy Jones has single-handedly changed the culture of snowboarding, taking it from adolescence into the world of alpine exploration—and still having fun along the way. Built with carbon to make it light on the ups, but still playful enough that you remember that, hey this is snowboarding on the downs, the Ultracraft immediately became our favorite toy. $1,199;

8. K2 Pow Wow
What exactly is a women’s powder snowboard you ask? Think of a platform that’s stable enough to keep you up and grinning in the deep stuff with the agility to charge steep trees. No day-to-day ride, it waits for storms. $500;

9. Never Summer Heritage
The Heritage is a board that Colorado-based Never Summer has kept in its collection for as long as we can remember. It’s a true all-mountain board, with the pop to play in the park and the stability to crush crud and powder. $570;

10. Scarpa Maestrale GT
Not prepared to drop a grand for your ski boots? The new Maestrale GT rings in at half that without a big dropoff in performance. It tours comfortably and drives big boards in the backcountry and on hardpack. $499;

11. Tecnica Mach1
For all you core alpine rippers who just want a boot that focuses on pointing and charging, the Mach1 is your new best friend. This babyhas all the mojo of a race boot… but doesn’t hurt like one thanks to a new Custom Adaptive Shape (C.A.S.) Liner that makes for a super snug-but-comfy fit that works in conjunction with the shell and even pleased our weird-footed editors $785;

12. Fischer Transalp Vacuum TS Lite
Heavy alpine brand Fischer is making a big splash in the tour-and-rip market with this light, solid boot. The secret is in the proprietary plastic, which will move your skis around when pressed, but doesn’t hurt when you skin uphill. $850;

13. Dynafit Beast 16
With the rise in touring for turns, the race has been on to create AT gear that’s up to the demands of aggressive skiing yet light enough that it can race on the ups. Dynafit is leading that charge with this offering that bridges the best of both worlds—a tech-style binding with a DIN-like release that holds secure but stays safe. $850;

14. Rhino Rack Zenith Cargo Box 440L
Finally, someone made a box that will hold big skis but won’t knock into the pipes in those low clearance parking garages. This smart box held all our gear and was easy to affix onto a 2008 Highlander in a few minutes. $649;

15. K2 PhotoAntic DLX
These no nonsense goggles kept up with changes in the light all over the mountain. Best of all, flexible plastic meant they didn’t break when we shoved them in our packs. $90;

16. POC Fornix Communication
Not only does this helmet include MIPS technology (which dissipates the impact of the brain on the helmet with a detachable shell, thus lowering concussion risk), it also includes Beats by Dre headphone and communication technology that’s easy to operate. $240;



1. Patagonia Nano-Air Jacket
Say hello to our new favorite puffy. If you can call it a puffy. The Nano-Air fuses the softshell with the insulator, making for our new favorite jacket this season. It was up to the task no matter if we were skinning for turns on Berhtoud Pass, sipping coffee cuppings at Ozo, or belaying buddies on Clear Creek’s frozen waterfalls. $249;

2. Arc’teryx Ceres
Never fear, ladies, you will not get cold in this snuggly 850-fill down jacket that’s beefed up with Gore’s Windstopper fabric to keep out the chill. It’s functional enough for Vail and stylish enough to wear to that big meeting. $750;

3. Outdoor Research Trick Shot
Meet a fully waterproof soft shell. The snug Trickshot stretches comfortably to accommodate your every contortion on the mountain and breathe when you are huffing thanks to Pertex Shield + Soft Shell fabric, but it also possesses the waterproof power to keep the wet out. $425;

4. FlyLow Compound Pant 2.0
Polartec’s NeoShell makes these sturdy, smart pants waterproof and breathable enough for any adventure on the mountain. $450;

5. Pistil Bryce
It’s hard to find just the right lid, but we approved of the easy style of this Italian-made beauty that kept us warm when we chilled. $44;

6. American Mountain Co. Gentleman’s Lightweight Hooded Sweater
Very few technical apparel manufacturers make their goods in the U.S.A. But this new brand sewed up this performance hoodie in Michigan. Polartec Power Dry means it wicks moisture while keeping you cozy. $159;

7. Ibex Scout Jura 1/2 Zip
The perfect light jacket for chilly days, the Jura has proved to be the best piece we have ever worn for brisk winter hikes with the dogs. The weave of the merino wool gives just enough loft. $175;

8. Supernatural Combustion Cloud Hoodie
A blend of merino and synthetic gives this comfy hoodie the superpowers of both—no itch, no smell but plenty of insulation, both when we headed out for dawn patrol and wore the same thing to our cube at work. $250;

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