The Gear Junkie: Ski Gear Preview 2008
Flakes are in the forecast. Ski resorts are firing up their snow making guns. Soon, the new ski season will be here. These are a few of the hot products just coming to market that you'll see on the slopes this year.
The Tecnica Agent 120 boot was built for park skiers, with shock-absorbing features that protect while landing an air. Its low-volume fit and stiff feel promote precise control. Bonus: The retro/urban motif includes a plaid-pattern finish on the top strap and inner bootie. $825, www.tecnicausa.com
Merrell Universal Jacket Merrell Apparel's Men's Universal Jacket has a clean style made for the mountain or the town. Indeed, its aesthetic mixes alpine characteristics with those of a subtle urban dress coat. But the jacket is made of Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric, creating a waterproof and breathable shell with sealed seams and watertight zippers. $400, www.merrell.com
Kombi I-Rip Glove The Kombi I-Rip Glove has an integrated iPod remote control on the back-of-the-hand area. Users put in ear plugs, stash an iPod away, and then control song order with the wireless flick of a switch. Performance-wise, the nylon gloves have a high-loft insulation for warmth; a goggle and nose wipe; and a cinch cuff closure. $150, www.kombisports.com
Volkl Tigershark Volkl's Tigershark ski features a patented "Power Switch" technology that gives skiers an actual on/off switch to alter the power and flex in their skis. Two carbon-fiber rods encased in each ski compress and extend on springs, changing the nature of the ski to match mountain conditions. Turn the Tigershark on for an aggressive feel with a lot of power and rebound. Switch it to off for an easy cruise on a more forgiving ski. Pricing starts at $1,015, www.volkl.com
Marker Binding Marker touts its Duke Binding as "the first significant ski binding breakthrough in years." What the Duke does is combine the security and performance of a traditional alpine binding with a free-heel mode for touring. This provides skiers with the ability to ski in bounds, then--at the flick of a switch--release the heel of the boot to enable a hinged free heel for flat-country or uphill travel. $495.99, www.markerusa.com
Zeal Optics PPX goggles Zeal Optics' Spherical PPX goggles feature a polarized and photochromatic lens to optimize vision in all light and snow conditions. The polarized tint provides an enhancement of detail on the slope. The photochromatic lens automatically tints to an optimal shade depending on light conditions. $200, www.zealoptics.com
CamelBak Ruckus backpack The CamelBak Ruckus backpack comes with a 0.75-liter CamelBak bottle that fits in its own insulated pocket to keep your drink from freezing. With 1,300 cubic inches of capacity, the Ruckus has enough room for a day's supplies on the slopes. Integrated straps carry a snowboard vertically. There's a fleece-lined goggle pocket and a padded MP3 pouch with a water-resistant zipper. $75, www.camelbak.com
Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eight U.S. newspapers; visit www.thegearjunkie.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog and an archive of Regenold's work.