In case you haven’t noticed, Spencer Miller, our Colorado College correspondent, is a bit of a gear nerd, and we mean that in the best way possible. Skiing and snowboarding is a gear intensive activity and companies are making improvements year after year to keep you warmer, dryer and safer – all with the goal of making the sport more fun. And let me tell you: it’s fun.
So to round out the year, Spencer wrote some reviews of the gear that kept him on the slopes all season. This is not sponsored content and we are in no way being compensated for this post, this is just Spencer’s honest opinion:
The Nomad is aptly named, as it’s ready to roam wherever you take it. The piece is slick enough for park laps, yet breathable enough to hike the Aspen Highlands Bowl without hotboxing (which is actually the activity that spurred the creation of the company… the hiking, not the other thing). The jacket’s impeccable breathability comes from the tough eVent fabric, while still maintaining worthwhile waterproofing, as I wore it in a spring rainstorm today and it shed water as perfectly as I could have hoped. I also love the freedom of movement that comes with the slightly baggy fit, and the ridiculously deep chest pockets that hold anything from skins to sandwiches. The only downside about the piece is that a few seams are starting to come loose, although nothing has happened to the jacket’s structure yet. Overall, this is the perfect upgrade for those looking for a next-level durable, breathable, and moveable shell, while still keeping it stylish.
The Nomad pants are made of the same durable eVent fabric as the jacket, but with reinforced Cordura cuffs by the ankles for extra protection (they are definitely not fraying on me any time soon). They come in a looser fit, so I’m actually running a size small, even though I’m 6’0, with no length problems. Hands down the best feature about these pants is the stretchy, removable bib. I rock it for a little extra pocket space and warmth when I like, and then pop it off when I don’t need it. The huge outside thigh vents coupled with the inside ones make it pretty hard to overheat in these pants, creating a perfect touring and high output piece.
I didn’t think a helmet could change my day on the hill as much as this one did. It’s got a low-profile, and is just damn easy to use. It has the Ripcord System (RCS) in the back, which makes tightening and loosening the helmet mindless with just the spin of your fingers. Better yet is the Fidlock SNAP buckle, which is a magnetic clip that you can shut with one hand while wearing gloves. That’s right, no more freezing hands to snap on that helmet. Put this all in a MIPS shell, and you have one functional, light, safe, and affordable helmet.
I absolutely adore this piece. It’s a glorified sweatshirt, in the best possible way. It fits like your favorite hoodie next to skin, and even breathes like it, but still manages to warm like a puffy. I’ll run this jacket with a light baselayer under my Nomad for temperatures anywhere from 10-40 degrees. That’s versatility at it’s finest, and I would make sure to include it in next year’s kit if you aren’t already as obsessed with it as I am.
Floaty, fun, carvy. This board will change the way you think about the mountain and your riding. Check out an in depth review I did here.
Ah, yes. Another one of those strangely-shaped, and nothing-but-pure-fun boards. Jones describes it as a “not your pow-board pow-board,” and that could not be more accurate. This thing floats in the fluffy stuff with its wide, spooned up nose, but also trenches groomers with its perfect camber and Magne-Traction edge. The flex is just playful enough for diving in and out of pow, yet still stiff enough to charge through cruddy sections. And even though I’m running a 152 instead of my standard 158, the board hauls down the mountain and adds the maneuverability that comes with a smaller size. I could go on for days, but you should just try one instead.