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Progressive Ski Accessories

William Kissel

With ski season underway, we have uncovered a selection of innovative new accessories that might just enhance your athletic prowess on the slopes.

Tumi’s Snow Collection
Black ballistic nylon became Tumi’s signature in the 1980s when the New Jersey-based luggage maker introduced the technically advanced material for use on its line of ultralightweight travel bags. This season Tumi returns to its roots with a new Snow Collection of sports bags inspired by the snow-white slopes of St. Moritz, Banff, and Aspen, among other prestige winter sport destinations.  The special-order-only collection includes three distinct styles–a vertical snow bag, an A-frame backpack, and a roomy overnighter--appropriately made from water-resistant, white ballistic nylon.  Both the snow-gear bag and the backpack, $395 each, also feature special padded pockets or tie-down straps to secure everything from skis and snowboards to helmets, goggles, and gloves. (800.299.8864, www.tumi.com)

Bespoke Skis by Wagner
Pete Wagner launched Wagner Skis three years ago with the focus on supplying bespoke skis exclusively to World Cup skiers. Now the Telluride, Colorado-based ski maker is opening up the service to recreational skiers as well with the introduction of Wagner Custom. “What we make available in our fitting system is even more advanced than what most companies offer to World Cup skiers,” says Wagner, noting how ski makers typically give professional skiers a prototype they can tweak to suit their needs. By comparison, Wagner starts from a blank board and allows customers to design everything from the length, side-cut radius, waist, and shovel width to the flare angles and flex profiles. Every detail can be customized to suit one’s weight, strength, riding style, and preferred range of ski conditions. Even the look--from elegant woods and colorful geometric figures to photo imagery--can be tailor-made to suit one’s personality. (970.728.0107, www.wagnerskis.com/getfitted)

Technical Boot Breakthrough
More than three decades ago Tecnica proved itself a pioneer in the ski-boot industry by being the first to incorporate bi-injected plastic into the construction process. The Italian boot maker used that same technology in the production of last year’s Dragon series of pro-level ski boots integrating numerous technical details, including dual cuff alignment, an anti-vibration system with grip soles, and a removable Velcro rear spoiler that proved hugely popular. Now the company has introduced its new Phoenix series, including the Phoenix 100 HiPerFit ($660) that is made on a more forgiving last than the Dragon yet still provides superior grip with increased foot cushioning. The boots are made from colorful polyurethane plastic and incorporate an adjustable cuff catch and embossed carbon-steel buckles. They also feature a proprietary two-flex setting Delta Force system that allows you to adapt the boot flex to accommodate changes in snow conditions as well as your own downhill skiing style. (www.technica.it)

Smith’s Progressive Ski Helmets
Sun Valley, Idaho-based Smith Optics forged its reputation as an innovator in the 1960s when it introduced a line of snow goggles featuring breathable foam vents and sealed thermal lenses. This winter Smith brings the same progressive thinking to ski and snowboard helmets by integrating Skullcandy Bluetooth audio technology into five of its new headwear designs. The Variant Brim helmet ($320), for instance, comes equipped with high-fidelity speakers and drivers in the ear pads and a universal adaptor that converts any MP3 player or iPod into a Bluetooth device.  It can also work with any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone.  Most significant, the speakers feature glove-friendly volume and mute control buttons that allow you to control the noise factor while maneuvering the slopes. (800.635.4401, www.smithoptics.com

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