Ryan James Leclerc
Posted October 26th, 2009
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.
Swix 2 in 1 Split Mitt
If you are stuck on the Jet chair at Jay while they replace a broken part, you’ll want something different on your hands than what you’d wear to race in the Craftsbury marathon. I can’t say that there is one single glove, mitten, or split mitt that is ideal for both of these situations, but the Swix 2 in 1 Split Mitt does an excellent job of coming close. The lobster claw design is warmer than a glove and offers more dexterity than a mitten. It is waterproof, windproof, and breathable, and has an Amara leather palm for a no-slip grip. The mitts are ideal for activities such as Alpine and Nordic skiing, winter biking, and shoveling with a T-grip handle. Best of all, the pull out liner is a proper fleece glove with an elastic cuff which works great for driving, skiing on warmer days, or texting home that you’re stuck on a chairlift and will be late for dinner. $44.95. www.swixsport.com.
Tubbs Flex Alp Snowshoes
In November, the lifts may not be turning, or in January the Jet may be broken down, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make turns. You just have to get to the top of the mountain under your own power, that’s all. If you’re a tele skier, you’re slapping on the skins, but if you’re a snowboarder without a split board, or an alpine skier without AT bindings, or a tele skier without skins, you’re slapping on the snowshoes. If those snowshoes happen to be the Tubbs Flex Alp, you’ve got exactly the right tool for the arduous ascent. Optimized for packed snow, the Flex Alp, with jagged-toothed carbon steel crampons and curved traction rails, grip like a tractor in spring. Unlike frame and decking style snowshoes, the Flex Alp’s lightweight molded deck flexes torsionally over uneven terrain for optimized grip and comfort, while its biomechanically designed tail flexes to absorb shock and reduce stress on your muscles and joints for additional comfort. The ActiveFlex bindings are easy to use, won’t loosen, and feature heel lift to limit calf fatigue on the way up for yet even more comfort. With so much comfort going around, you’d think I was describing slippers, and like slippers, the Flex Alp snowshoes are available in men’s and women’s sizing. $219.95. www.tubbssnowshoes.com.
Scarpa T2 Eco, T2 Eco Women’s
The legendary and super versatile Scarpa T2 is now green, in more ways than one. Setting a new bar in the industry, the Scarpa T2 Eco is the first ski boot in the world built with Pbax Rnew, a bio-based renewable plastic made from the caster plant. It has all the great characteristics of traditional Pbax, but because it uses 90 percent less fossil fuels, it can be manufactured with significantly less emissions. Also new this year is a triple injection molding process which achieves maximum lateral stiffness in the frame for powering wider skis, while offering a perfect flex in the bellows for natural turns and easy touring. Its heat moldable Intuition liner is super comfy, too. $579. www.scarpa.com.