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Top Gear Picks from Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2019

Patagonia's Micro Puff bulks up, a helmet certified for skiing AND climbing, pow surfing(!), and more.

By: Liam McNally + Save to a List

We hit the floor at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show last week in Denver, Colorado. Amidst the flurry of flannel, coffee, and dogs, I was able to take time to see some of the coolest new pieces of gear coming out this year. Here are a few of my favorites.

Sweet Protection ASCENDER MIPS Helmet

If you’re a skier, a climber, and/or a mountaineer, you’ve probably wished more than once that you didn’t have to buy two different helmets for both climbing and skiing. Sweet Protection is on it with their new ASCENDER MIPS Helmet. Learn more here.

Patagonia Macro Puff

Building on the ever-popular Micro Puff, Patagonia is introducing its big brother. The Macro Puff is exactly what the name implies; the same high warmth-to-weight ratio you find in the Micro Puff, but more of it. I’m stoked to try this one out for shoulder season belaying, early morning surf checks, and layering in the winter.

Scarpa Furia Air

I’ve been testing out the Scarpa Furia S for the last few months and have been stoked on their performance. I don’t typically go for such an aggressive shoe, but the Furia S is a really comfortable shoe for how aggressive it is. The Furia Air is meant to deliver the same performance, but with more comfort. Color me stoked.

Rocky Mountain Underground Core Pack 15

This pack is specifically designed for mountain biking and would serve perfectly for that, however I also had my eye on it for short backcountry ski missions. Just big enough to store avalanche safety equipment and an extra layer, it’d be perfect for a single lap dawn patrol mission before heading into work (if you’re lucky enough to live in a mountain town).

Eddie Bauer BC Sandstone Stretch Jacket

With this jacket, Eddie Bauer aims to combine the comfort that comes from a lightweight soft shell with the protection that comes from a waterproof hard shell. It’s soft to touch and allows plenty of stretch so the comfort is there. If it delivers on the protection, this could be a new go-to layer to bring into the mountains for spring hiking or to fight off summer thunderstorms.

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 

Salomon developed this shoe with François D’haene, the ultrarunner best known for his FKT on the John Muir Trail as well as his win at UTMB, who needed a shoe that enabled him to tackle ultra-distance events. Along with the design features that make this a shoe trusted by one of the best runners in the world, I love the color story. The fade from bright red to black from toe to heel comes from D’haene, an illustration of the emotions felt from the beginning of an ultra when you’re stoke is high all the way to the end when you’ve gone to a very, very dark place.

Jones Mountain Surfer

Just when I thought I’d nailed down my favorite outdoor sports and had almost acquired all the gear I thought I really needed...I had to try pow surfing. I grew up skiing and fell in love with surfing over the last five years so it’s only natural that this sport would appeal to me. I tried it for the first time right before OR started at an event for the Pursuit Series partners at Berthoud Pass and I’m hooked. While the Mountain Surfer from Jones isn't all new this year, it's shaped by Chris Christensen, a surf board shaper whose boards I've only heard great things about; I almost bought one of his this fall. The new update not pictured above is the new wood grain finish, as opposed to the plain white. If I decide to pick up a pow surf board, this one is high on my list.

Fritschi Xenic 10

Anyone making ski touring bindings strives to find the balance between a lightweight build for the uphill, and strong, stable performance for the downhill. With the Xenic 10, Fritschi is helping raise the bar. I love the lightweight feel of tech bindings, but usually get a little annoyed getting my toe piece in. With the Xenic 10, the pins clamp tight after pushing into the toe piece. The heel also includes well thought out features, easily transitioning from downhill to uphill with a single half turn.

Hydro Flask Journey Series

It’s been exciting to watch Hydro Flask grow their line of products in the last couple years. From some of the best insulated bottles and mugs to cooler packs and now to their first hydration pack. The Journey Series is simply designed with hikers and mountain bikers in mind. It’s super lightweight and meant to be ultra-breathable. It looks perfect for a summer mountain bike ride in the desert.

PrimaLoft Bio

PrimaLoft introduced their PrimaLoft Bio technology this past fall and at the show in January they announced their first five brand partners: Helly Hansen, Houdini, L.L.Bean, Norrøna and Vaude. Made from 100% post-consumer recycled material, PrimaLoft Bio fibers break down when exposed to specific environments – such as a landfill or the ocean. I’m stoked to see some trusted brands leading the charge with PrimaLoft on this one.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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