Sport: Mountain High Tech

<< Back to Robb Report, December 2003

The designs for some of the latest winter sports equipment reflect an eclectic array of influences—from NASA, to New Age, to surfers. The result is ski and snowboard gear that offers faster, smoother, and warmer runs than in seasons past.

Bodies of Ion
Wearing the latest parka from Descente (303.790.1155, www.descenteski.com) is like spending a day at the beach. The fabric is embedded with a powder form of tourmaline, a semiprecious stone that generates negative ions, which are said to relax the body and mind, lower blood pressure, and improve circulation. Descente’s attention-getting Mammoth parka ($530) is covered with a stretchy carbon-fiber fabric that reflects light for a slick appearance. Its Titan Thermo lining functions like a thermos, reflecting infrared body heat to keep you warm.

Smart Skis
The technology that Navy fighters use to prevent flutter in their carbon fiber rudders is now underfoot, in the iM 75 Intelligence Chip System skis ($850) from Head (800.874.3235, www.head.com). The company pairs Intellifibers, which are designed to generate electricity when they receive vibrations, with a microchip embedded in the skis. When vibrations are detected, the fibers expand or contract, creating an electrical response that stops chatter and keeps the skis’ edges on the snow. The microchip works in sync with the fibers to help boost the electrical impulses and control the skis’ torsional movement. The iM 75s are designed for aggressive, all-mountain skiers.

Powder Slide
A little extra girth around the middle may be bad for your health, but it is great for powder skiing. The Spatulas ($899) by Volant (800.433. 1044, www.volantski.com), designed by professional skier Shane Mc-Conkey, are designed to float like surfboards, keeping you buoyant in deep snow. They also feature a reverse side-cut, which promotes sliding rather than carving when you turn. These are the skis to pack for your next heli-skiing adventure. (Click images to enlarge)

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