As the 2018-19 winter starts to kick in, Snow.Guide Ski Editor Rob Stewart looks into what he found in his Christmas stocking for the 2018-19 season.
Pure Freeride Design – The All Mountain Charger: £970
British made PFD Skis produce a wonderful series of bamboo core skis in the heart of Worcestershire and in our opinion, they are as saucy as they come. The All Mountain Charger, at 100mm under foot, is a versatile ski that handles all conditions and as the name suggests, suits expert skiers looking to really push themselves all over the mountain. I’m really looking forward to giving them a charge this winter (possibly on a trip to the mountains in Georgia when I visit in March).
Snow.Guide Ski Editor, Rob Stewart, recently paid a visit to the PFD manufacturing facility to check out the production line.
If you’re looking for something unique and special with the kind of performance that you’d expect from a high end ski then The All Mountain Charger would be a great bet for the 2018-19 winter.
Lange – RS130 Race (last 97mm): £425
Ski boots are very personal to individual skiers – how they fit, how they feel and perform. For me, Lange have been the brand of choice now for over 25 years and despite testing several other brands and models, they never feel as comfortable as Lange. Performance wise, the RS130 Race boot is the highest performance model you can find off-the-shelf before the factory race skis start to kick in. The 130 flex on the Lange feels like a 130 flex, no less, which can happen with some brands.
Testing out the Lange RS130 in Serre Chevalier, December 2018 with Chez Bear Ski Lodge (Image: Darren Turner, Insight Ski)
Dainese – AWA M1: £989.50
Yes, the price might be a little eye-watering but there’s a reason for this – the technically named AWA M1 (All Weather Activity) jacket is a two in one, shell and mid-layer garment that offers the ultimate in performance and Italian style. The outer shell has a waterproof and breathability factor of 30.000mm, it will keep you dry in the harshest of conditions. The mid layer jacket can be attached for ease of use or worn separately. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Dainese jacket is the comfort element, it just feels great to wear. It also feels highly durable too, so the kind of jacket that will be an investment and last for many years.
FLOA Sports – The Backcountry Baselayer top: £110
New British winter sports brand, FLOA, has recently launched with a successful Kickstarter campaign for its baselayer designed for backcountry skiing and snowboarding. I’m really looking forward to trying this baselayer out. It has some really interesting technical features, design qualities and performance fabrics. It also looks great.
Of course you don’t have to be a backcountry or off-piste skier to benefit from it either. The point is that the performance can deal with all kinds of conditions and helps to regulate the body’s temperature as it fluctuates from cool to warm with the stop / start nature of the sport.
Helly Hansen – Lifaloft Hybrid Insulator Jacket: £160
I’ve always liked Helly Hansen’s baselayers but this mid-layer garment is such a versatile piece of kit that it’s my number one choice in my kit bag for this winter. I’ve been wearing it in all kinds of situations – travelling, going out in the evening, as a mid-layer when skiing and just when out about doing the shopping. It looks great and for the weight, it’s seriously warm. The fabric has been developed in cooperation with PrimaLoft and is called Lifaloft. Lifaloft insulation is based on a yarn technology that traps more air vs polyester at a lighter weight.
Thule – Upslope 25L: £190
Thule, well known for their luggage and vehicle racks and carriers, has recently introduced a freeride backpack in two sizes (25 and 35 litres) with Mammut airbag 3.0 compatibility. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to use this pack yet, but it looks great and feels super comfortable to wear. There’s two main compartments alongside another two roomy side pockets which look really handy for smaller items.
Panda – Cobalt: £119
British ski goggle company that is rapidly becoming one of the most recognisable brands out there and the latest range, Cobalt, is a serious bit of kit for discerning skiers and snowboarders who want a top range goggle to handle all conditions.
Panda has also recently launched a kids version of their goggles that doesn’t compromise on quality and style, RRP: £54
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