As temps drop and we start seeing snow on our higher peaks in Alaska, winter is officially on the brain. Early fall is one of my favorite times of the year- not because of the changing leaves or cool, crisp mornings, but rather because early fall means new gear! Time to play with all the new toys coming out for the 2012/2013 winter! So far, here’s what I’m getting stoked about for ski season:
A Pair of 163 Praxis MVP Custom Ordered Skis
Say who? Praxis? If you aren’t familiar with Keith O’Meara’s custom shaped skis out of Tahoe, get familiar, and fast. Praxis has been around for years, cranking out some of the most innovative ski technology with incredibly high quality. As world class caliber skiers such as Drew Tabke and Kevin O’Meara begin to ski Praxis skis and bring notoriety to the name, more and more people have been drawn to the brand. Keith, the man behind the curtain, has directed his focus towards making smaller batch, custom skis designed to fit a variety of riders. For my season-long pleasure, I will be skiing a pair of 163 Most Valuable Praxis, or MVP skis, in the “soft” flex with the graphic of my choosing. All of Keith’s skis are available for immediate purchase as his original designed model, or available to be custom ordered for flex (choices of soft, medium, medium/stiff and stiff), layup (triaxial fiberglass or a carbon/triaxial fiberglass blend), length, and graphic. Choose from Praxis’s badass graphic library or upload your own! Best part? All this customization comes at little to no extra price. Pick your own flex and graphic for free. If you’d like to add the carbon there is a nominal materials fee increase, and if you’d like to upload your own graphic, there’s a small fee for that as well. Look to hear more about Praxis and my new MVPs later in the season.
In the past 2 years, Outdoor Research has expanded their apparel line by 60%, and they seem to be doing a helluva job. The Vanguard Pants, new for winter 2012/2013 are a highly waterproof, highly breathable softshell ski pant with lots of sidecountry features such as a Recco reflector and a beacon pocket. Available in both Men’s and Women’s designs, the Vanguard looks to be the pant that will stand up to all sorts of weather, no matter who’s wearing it! I’m excited to test out the GoreTex softshell material up here in AK, and see how it holds up to our heavy wet snow.
Not only has Outdoor Research expanded their apparel line, but they also continue to make killer handwear, headwear, gatiers and the like. This season I’ll be rockin the Point ‘n Chute Mitts, a fully insulated leather mitt with an under-the-cuff design. Most important feature? The snot wiper. Yup, the Point ‘n Chutes come with a “soft nose wipe,” an feature that I consider mandatory in all glove, mitten and other handwear purchases. The Point ‘n Chutes are also available in a Men’s version, which features a lobster-claw style 3 finger glove design.
Because who doesn’t love a good beanie with a big pom-pom? My ultimate winter wear and skiing staple, I am always excited for a new beanie. Remember the kid who was always excited about getting new pencils because it meant that school started soon? Kind of like that, except instead of math problems, new beanies mean pow skiing.
I’m sure as more and more winter gear starts hitting the shelves, my list of stoke will get longer and longer, but for now, that’s what I’m most excited to be checking out this winter!