Ryan James Leclerc
Posted January 9th, 2011
Whether you’re a snowboarder or snowshoer, mountain hiker or mountain biker, Nordic skier or Nordic walker, you need gear. Each month, I review, right here, three items that I personally feel are especially cool. Here are my picks for this month.
Sierra Designs Gnar Jacket for Men and Women
If you don’t own a lightweight down jacket, or have never borrowed one indefinitely from a dear friend, you’re missing out on what many people refer to as their favorite piece of gear. To give you an idea of just how special they are, I left one at an airport bar once and was so distraught I couldn’t sleep for a week. The Sierra Designs Gnar jacket is highly compressible, super versatile, and unbelievably lightweight and can be worn under a shell as the perfect insulating layer for ultra cold days, or as a super stylish outer layer on cool to pretty darn cold days. When compressed, it takes up very little space inside your pack but makes all the difference in the world when pulled out and zipped on. The Gnar jacket is built with 800-fill goose down and a 100-percent nylon rip-stop shell that is treated with a DWR (Durable Water Resistant) finish. It features a single zippered chest pocket for your camera, season pass, or MP3 player, and two larger pockets for your hands, a couple of grapefruits, or the keys to your soul. To keep the cool air from creeping in, it also features elastic cuffs with thumb holes and an adjustable hem. $199. www.sierradesigns.com.
Rossignol BC 125 Backcountry Skis
After work during the winter, when we want some fresh air and exercise, but don’t feel like travelling too far, we often grab our headlamps and head to the secret “back bowls” to go skiing. The name is a joke of course—the “back bowls” are nothing more than an a few open fields in back of a certain place with decent pitch that allow for about six or seven good turns before flattening out—but for post work, in-town skiing, they’re not too shabby, and after 10 or 15 laps, you’ve burned some serious calories. This year, we’re thrilled to take the all new Rossignol BC 125s to the back bowls because they are the perfect skis for sessioning a good hillside until all the powder is tracked out. The BC 125s have a full metal edge, a wide profile (125-90-115mm), and a single camber with a nice round flex so they perform great pointed downhill in deep snow, but unlike standard tele skis, they have a Posi-Track waxless base which allows you to get to the top without climbing skins. For kicking around the backcounty with a primary focus of making sweet turns down relatively short descents, these skis are ideal. And I’m terribly sorry, but I can’t tell you where to find the secret back bowls. $400. www.rossignol.com.
Brunton ADC Pro Atmospheric Data Center
Forget those hacks on the radio and become your own weatherman or weatherwoman with the Brunton ADC Pro. With this slick 2.4-ounce weather station in your hand, you can observe an array of current weather conditions, including temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure, and humidity, as well as track up-to-the-minute trends that affect the skies in your area. Dazzle your friends with your meteorological skills by correctly predicting that the giant Nor’Easter the weather guys are all excited about will turn out to be nothing more than a Nor’Incher. The wind speed feature on the waterproof ADC Pro can also be used to determine water speed, so you can once again dazzle your friends the next time you’re sailing by correctly informing them how fast you’re going. Other cool features include a ski run counter, wind speed and wind chill alarms, and an altitude alarm. $205. www.brunton.com