BEAT THE LATE WINTER CABIN FEVER BLUES
You have been cooped up all winter and spring is around the corner. Instead of eyeing your snowboard you are checking over your mountain bike.
But wait — there are still a couple of good sized blizzards in the air — and late winter snow sports are the best after the storm BECAUSE, the snow is heavy and deep, perfect for schussing, snowboarding, dog sledding, and cross country skiing; or how about snowshoeing to a backcountry yurt for an overnight bivouac — above with www.yurtski.com
But the days are warmer, longer, and filled with bright sunshine so it probably is t-shirt season for most of us. Great snow, sun, and a tan — a triple combo!
But wait, another great reason for late winter snow sports is because you just received your tax refund and the outdoor gear companies are running specials to clear out the last of the seasonal stock, so read on for some inspirational gear ideas from Columbia Sportswear.
The first things to think about when in the outdoors are your rations — without rations you lose body heat. During the winter your body has a natural low level of neurotransmitters because of the lack of light, especially serotonin, which affects your mood. So get outside for an attitude and altitude change with
(Click photos please to view products and purchase instantly.) The pack has a classic shape and contour and the 1.5 inch waist belt has a quick release. The front pocket organizes small items, such as a snow boot wrench, pocket knife, ski wax, or granola bars. The back is made of a soft wicking air mesh so you don’t build up a sweat pool. The back is made of polyester and nylon, and with over 400 cubic inches of space (6.5 liters) there is plenty of room for the brain chemical food you crave, such as sunflower seeds, bananas, figs, turkey or chicken whole wheat sandwiches, or an avocado, or oat and rye trail mix with raisins, all rich in the amino acid tryptophan. Exercise and good food beat any winter blues.
Today’s intelligent outdoors person knows that the late winter sun bouncing off all that bright snow is a factor to contend with — a factor minimized with Columbia’s Omni-Shade shirts and gear with built in ultra violet protection.
Because it is late winter you probably can hang up your parka for the season and switch to a lighter Columbia Waypoint Shell or Fleece Jacket that still offers plenty of room for layering, but not so bulky for maneuverability. The shells are made of 55% polyester and 45% recycled polyester Shangri-la. I don’t know what the recycled portion does, but it is heaven, and the sportswear giant has taken a giant leap into going “green”, so that is a big plus for me. The shell’s rip-stop fabric is vented under the arms making a great choice for prevention of spring skiing over heating. And there is an attached hood in case you stumble into a snow, sleet, and grabble squall.
Columbia Sportswear makes many other Waypoint products, such as fleeces, soft shells, and jackets. For haute couture, nothing is hotter or cooler than a
The Mountain Tech short or long sleeve tees by
How about some alpine heli-skiing?
Spring doesn’t arrive into the high nooks and crannies and cirques of the Canadian Rockies until late May, so you have plenty of time to wait for that rebate check from GWB’s admin and unfold your ski map to check out where to head to next.
A good pair of Titanium Boots from
First let me fill you in about the Columbia Pagora boots that fit like a new skin. I didn’t even have to break them in. The Pagoras are so supple that they actually seem to have lungs that breathe. The front flap mesh is breathable, and the cutout design is more like a moccasin meets trail sandal. The Pagoras are best for spring trail hiking than for deep snow plowing but they grip in the snow and slush just dandy. During the spring many of the lodge areas are seeping with mud, so these mud puppies deliver you in style, and they wash and dry fast.
(Titanium Ice Dragon boot, right.) For off trail piste situations I can switch to the high ankle Titanium Boots. Any active outdoors enthusiast probably remembers the days when the inner boot lining became over heated with sweat and then was damp and musty and miserable. If the boots are miserable the body is miserable and that makes for a mountain vacation from hell.
(Titanium Ice Field boot, left.)
Finally, the green boot has arrived with my light weight and breathable Omni Tech Titanium yellow (
(Titanium Diablo Pass Hiking Boot, right.) My complaint about mountain boots in the past was all the weight I was lugging that made me unduly tired on the trail. Not so with the Titaniums. The molded nylon shank is light weight but still provides torsion rigidity and support, while the outer sole is an Omni-Grip rubber compound that is non marking with a multi-directional tread. Remember the days when those lug soles were packed with mud or frozen snow so you actual were lugging around an extra pound or two on each step? The
(Titanium Karasi Trail Shoe, left.) Omni means everywhere, and Columbia incorporate the Omni Tech design into everything everywhere it can on the Titanium boots, including the washable and breathable suede and mesh area of the forefoot, that is supported by a durable synthetic frame, making it featherweight light. The metal D rings hold the forefoot in place and the eyes make the boots easy to lace, but remain tight because of the lightweight shoestrings that tend to grip.
(Titanium Zephyr XCR Trail Running Shoe, right.) You will find all of the above ingredients and materials in most
Gear review by Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.