Welcome to Sports and Outdoors Staff Picks. Each week, we select our favorite pieces from the gear coming across our desks, in addition to mainstays in our kits. We show you glimpses into the gear we’re testing and what we’re stoked on. This week, we added a personal touch. Each of us on the Outdoors and Fitness desk has a small holiday tradition that involves getting outside and testing gear. Each of our picks this week hold a certain amount of sentimental value. Have something you think we should check out? Or just want to say hi? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and happy holidays!
Each holiday season as the snow (hopefully) blankets my hometown, my girlfriend and I head out on a snowshoe hike. We hunt down snowcapped summits, go for a stroll in the woods or head out to explore my backyard. I’ve used a handful of different snowshoes over the years, but this year I’ll be heading out with the Fimbulvetr Hikrs. They are a GP100 winner, and I spent a bit of time testing them in Sweden for Issue Three. They’re by far the best snowshoes I’ve ever used, and testing them with my girlfriend on my home turf should only further cement my love for them — I mean, her. – AJ Powell, Associate Staff Writer
Northstar Deerskin Chopper Mitten
Ice fishing, for me, began as an excuse to get drunk and raise hell away from the prying eyes of parents and girlfriends. Now… well, nothing has really changed. A few of my old high school buddies and I still get together every winter, right around Christmas time, to pile four-deep into a tiny shack out on the ice, drinking beer and talking shit while we mindlessly jig for crappies. It is a beloved Minnesotan tradition. Also beloved, and also Minnesotan: buckskin choppers. Say it with me: cha–pers. I’ll be wearing these fur-lined beauties this winter, and every winter to come — ’tis the season of sitting around on upside-down buckets, drinking half-frozen cans of Michelob Golden Light, listening, in between bouts of rib-cracking laughter, to the guttural sound of the ice shifting beneath our feet. – Michael Finn, Editorial Apprentice
Mad River Rocket Killer B
Maintaining holiday traditions has taken a backseat for me as I’ve been finding myself away from home more often than not. This year I’ll be back in Vermont, though, and the one tradition I’m looking forward to most is a midnight sled run down the local ski mountain. Hiking up frozen slopes in the dark may not sound like fun, but spiked hot chocolate at the summit and an eye-watering thrill ride back down to the car make it totally worth it. Mad River Rocket sleds are fast and have a surprising amount of edge control, which is good for avoiding chairlift pylons. – Tanner Bowden, Editorial Intern