Winter Essentials, From Vermont

Vermont’s turning out some great new gear for winter. Here are some new favorites that are getting us outdoors.

Bee Warm

A new product out of Middlebury, VT with a great story behind it is the Floss-o-Fur neckwarmer (pictured above) . Mike Kiernan, an emergency physician at Porter Hospital and his family have been working to increase Vermont’s pollinator population through a non-profit, Bee the Change. One of the things Bee the Change does is to encourage planting species such as milkweed, whose leaves Monarch butterflies rely on to raise their young. Kiernan and his daughter Emily hit on the idea of using the feathery floss from wild-harvested Vermont milkweed pods as insulation, a replacement for goose down with similar insulating properties but less allergenic. As an Indiegogo project, Floss-o-Fur has already more than doubled its goal and is offering its vegan neckwarmers in six patterns, starting at $40. Every neckwarmer sold goes to fund 180 square feet of pollinator habitat.

Check Out This New VT Brand

Another product we love from a new Vermont brand, is Coyote Provisions Quilted Shirt Jacket ($89). It’s a warm quilted
polyester/cotton (70%/30%) jacket that weigh in at 10 oz. The front snaps easily and the rear stretch panel gives it a tailored look. It can be worn as either a shirt or light jacket over something else. It’s our new go-to layer.  Even better, Coyote makes clothes in small batches and source things locally and ethically wherever possible. And every purchase offsets 200 lbs of carbon.

Start Skating Like Pro

Skate skiing is a full-body workout that is hard to beat. Fischer has been using air cores (as opposed to foam cores) in its race skis and this year brought that technology down to its recreational Aerolite skate skis. The Fischer Aerolite 60 is the perfect entry into skate skiing and comes with step-in Turnamic bindings (for $269.85, skis and bindings) that are compatible with NNN, Turnamic or Prolink boot soles. Find them  at Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington. Umiak Outfitters in Stowe or Onion River Sports in Montpelier.  Great for: racing laps around the Trapp Family Lodge trails in Stowe or at Rikert Nordic Center in Middlebury —both have snowmaking.

Upgrade Your Backcountry Beta

In Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast, Waterbury Center’s David Goodman shared 50 of the best backcountry lines he discovered over years of tracing maps and talking with ski pioneers. In the book, he tells the fascinating stories behind them. In December, the second edition came out in paperback ($17.95.) It expands on the first and adds in more secret stashes, along with some of the recent developments in backcountry zones by groups such as the Rochester/Randolph Sport Trails Alliance and Granite Backcountry Alliance. If you own skins and live in Vermont you need this book, considered the Bible of backcountry skiing in the East.

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