photo courtesy of dave norona
The dark days of winter have arrived along with Vancouver’s notorious rain. You may not be able to escape our weather, but if you embrace the winter sports that surround us, then you will suddenly find winter is something to look forward to. Below are a few ways to get out there this winter and what’s new with the local resorts. So grab a toque, some gear and get ready for an epic winter.
The Coastal Mountains are our backyard, and there are endless activities to keep you entertained. Whether you want to snowshoe, snowmobile, or try anything in between, the mountains that surround us offer some of the best terrain in the world. However, our winter environment is one of the harshest in the world. High humidity and wet snow conditions make it a challenge to dress for, and if you get caught without the proper gear, you can get into trouble fast.
First, you will need the proper clothing to keep yourself warm and dry in our harsh climate. Using a proper layering system will help you stay warm during any activity. This way you can add or take off layers as you warm up or cool down. Your first layer should be a good lightweight moisture wicking layer that transfers your body’s sweat away from your skin. There are many types to choose from, however, I find Helly Hansen’s Lifa the best and cheapest in this category.
The second layer is all about warmth and breathability, not waterproofness. Polar fleece and soft shells that allow great mobility should make up this middle layer, as they will keep you warm and allow you to do your sport properly.
Finally, your outer layer should be a bombproof, waterproof/breathable jacket that keeps out the wind and other elements. This piece is not for insulation so choose one that is lightweight, contoured to your body, and has pit zips to exhaust the extra warm air when you are working hard.
Round out your winter attire with proper gloves, socks and a toque to keep your body heat in. I have several types of gloves and toques for each different sport, depending on how physical it is. This way I eliminate heavy sweating, which is the best way to stay warm in the first place. Use this system as a guideline and eliminate or add pieces in regards to what sport is on the agenda.
Our three local mountains are some of the best in the world and offer ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing and sleigh rides among the usual skiing/snowboarding. They all offer awesome rates for the day, or you can save a bundle by buying a season’s pass to your favourite one and spend the entire winter ripping it up.
Salomon Gun Skis
Description: The Salomon Guns are one of the best powder skis on the market today. This phat (130-96-124) big boy ski also rips up the park, hard pack and whatever else Mother Nature throws your way.
Where to find it: www.salomonski.com
Pearl Izumi AMFIB GLOVE
Description: No matter what your winter activities entail, keep your digits warm and dry with pearl Izumi’s Amfib Glove. Ripstop outer shell, leather palm for excellent grip and reflective piping for nighttime visibility.
Where to find it: www.pearlizumi.com
Naxo 21 AT Bindings
Description: Naxo 21 AT Bindings perform as well on the ski hill as they do off-piste in the backcountry. Super strong 7075-T6 aluminum-reinforced toe and heel adjustments with a din setting to 13 and easy to use touring mode with risers for easy climbing.
Where to find it: www.backcountryaccess.com
Mountain Hardwear Synchro Jacket
Description: This is one of the most beautiful and technical winter pieces I have ever tried. The Conduit Soft Shell laminate holds wind and water on the outside and warmth on the inside. Weather protective exterior taping and a fleece inner deliver make it super comfy.
Where to find it: www.mountainhardwear.com