The Skiing Issue 2014

A board meeting you want to be part of

Best Snowboards of 2014

Nostalgia is an attractive creature, and we often find ourselves getting sentimental over microbrews about our gear of yore and cool vintage finds. But like the skis we came across in Park City, neither the Snurfer nor the Burton Backhill were performance decks. Nobody back in the day was talking about carbon and kevlar layup or cambered medley -- not sober, anyway. Today the construction materials and technology that go into snowboard making produce rides for every body type, terrain and personal preference. These five boards are some of the finest in each category.

From My Cold, Plastic-Ensconced Feet

An Open Letter on Ski-only Resorts

To Whom It May or May Not Concern, There is a menace roaming these hallowed hills. Ever since that infamous Muskegon, Michigan snow day some 49 years saw the debut of the “Snurfer”, the world has been burdened with those who choose to lash themselves to a single board and careen through our mountains like an errant shot from a misfired handgun. It is today, my fellow skiers, that we must look deep within ourselves to rid this menace from our freshly driven slopes.

These should come in handy

Winter Gloves for Every Sport

These, the five best winter gloves, will give you free range of motion, excellent grip and reasons to start conversations -- all while maintaining a high standard of comfort. So whether you're into something sporty, stylish, svelte or something else, we've found the right fit for you.

Killer Pow, Bro

Photo Essay: Skis from a Bygone Era

Skis have become impossibly technical -- not with complicated gadgets and moving parts, but other things that engineers geek out over like ski geometry, core materials and physics. In this photo essay we recall a bygone era of skis when color schemes were impossibly neon, patterns were questionable and bindings were more like door hinges.

Powderhound Perfection

Photo Essay: Wagner x GP Skis

The pipe dream of skis built to fit your style and body has long been the realm of pro racers and big mountain free skiers. Decidedly unsponsored skiers like us have always had to make do with off-the-rack solutions -- until now. One small Telluride, Colorado boutique manufacturer, Wagner Custom Skis, has a secret formula for designing and building the best personalized skis in the world at prices that are accessible to most serious skiers. Together with Wagner's engineers we designed a pair of ultimate ski mountaineering boards; then we put them to the test among the famous 13,000 foot peaks of Telluride Mountain Resort.

Don't lose your head

5 Best Helmets for Snow Sports

These days, seeing someone without a helmet on the slopes is a rarity; more than 70 percent of all mountain-goers are donning them, and countless brands are releasing offerings onto the market. With hundreds of brain buckets to choose from, though, the task of finding the right one can be daunting -- but, with your IQ and major bodily functions on the line, we beg you to persevere. To help, we've rounded up our five favorite snow sports helmets covering the spectrum from high-tech to lightweight.

Ski-in, relax, Ski-out

Stay: Inn At Lost Creek in Telluride Mountain Village

Telluride is a mountain destination without peer: lift-served ski terrain pushes above 13,000 feet; five-star restaurants share main street with dive bars; accommodations in historic downtown and in the resort-oriented Mountain Village range from luxury hotels to cozy lodges. It’s the ski vacation we dreamed of as kids, and when we finally got to take it, we stayed at the Inn At Lost Creek, a ski-in/ski-out boutique hotel on Sunset Plaza in Mountain Village.

Heads-Up on the Hill

Tested: Oakley Airwave 1.5

In 2012, Oakley partnered with Recon Instruments, maker of groundbreaking Heads-up Display (HUD) technology, to create the Airwave goggle and bring data and entertainment right into the wearer’s field of view, a la Minority Report. The second generation Oakley Airwave 1.5 ($649) launched at the end of 2013 with improvements across the board. We got our hands on a pair to test while shredding pow in Revelstoke, BC.

Pow, Wow

Kit: Powder Day

Deep powder is a religious experience, and it takes just one perfect day of blue skies and bottomless snow to become a pious worshiper. From Alyeska to Taos, powderhounds feverishly monitor weather reports for the next big storm, and after spending a weekend skiing 12,000-foot ridges in Telluride, we know exactly why: powder skiing is as close as man can get to flying in the mountains. The best way to enjoy the fluffy stuff is with the right gear. Here’s what we pack on Powder Day.

Weatherproof Jackets for the slopes and otherwise

Shelling Out: 10 Best Winter Sports Hardshells

There’s no such thing as bad weather -- only bad gear. And in the age of industrial manufacturing and waterproof fabrics, there’s no good excuse for bad gear. Modern hardshell jackets are designed to provide a first layer of defense between you and the elements, whether “the elements” are an alpine whiteout or an afternoon thunderstorm. They’re the crown jewel of any outdoor kit: they’ll keep you warm, they’ll keep you dry, and most of them weigh less than a pair of blue jeans.

Bound for Success

Locked In: 5 Best Ski Bindings

Bindings often go overlooked in favor of the flashiness of a new pair of skis or boots. But as your only contact point for control and power transfer along the 170-180cm boards you’re strapping on, and your final line of safety in a major crash, they’re the most important piece of gear for a successful and safe season. Read on for a breakdown of the best ski bindings for this season.

Two Boards Good

Mountain Chargers: 5 Best Skis of 2014

A new pair of skis is more than just a new piece of expensive gear: it’s an investment in winter stoke. It doesn’t matter if you’re a stone cold powder hound or a retired gate-crashing racer, we’ve got five pairs of skis to cover your needs this season.

Sculpting the Mountain

The Architect

Now in its seventh season, the Salomon Freeski TV channel has covered the sport exhaustively. In "The Architect", Vice President of Resort Design at Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners, Ryley Thiessen, explains how resort development has changed from the 1960s to today, bringing us from mom-and-pop mountains (now all but extinct) to four-season resorts in China.

Cold weather, cold smoke, cold beers.

America’s Best Ski Getaways

Most of us calculate Paid Time Off based on formulas that are too sad to enumerate. Suffice it to say those hours rarely add up to week-long ski vacations at our leisure. But parse them out just so and you can be taking long weekends whenever the heavens open up. Make the most of it by choosing mountain resorts with bankable terrain and close proximity to an airport -- like any of these 10 world-class ski areas.

Now we're really piste off

Kit: Backcountry Skiing Essentials

With record storms dumping fresh powder in the Rockies and Pacific Northwest, we couldn't think of a better way to ring in the New Year than celebrating with a trip to the nearest ski hill. What fun would a resort trip be without ducking under the safety ropes to sneak a few turns in the untouched backcountry? With that in mind, we've put together a list of gear that will be equally useful bombing through 20 inches of fresh powder and charging lines of freshly groomed corduroy snow inbounds.