With so much to choose from, it's easy to lose sight of what you really need to stay warm, dry and active this snow season. With the help of some of Anchorage's outdoor outfitters, we've assembled a selection of this season's best bets.
Nite Rider Lumina 700
A great light for those long, dark, winter rides. The 700 lumens, lithium-ion rechargeable battery comes with versatile helmet and handlebar mount. "This light in the best bang for your buck," said Robin Dilley of Chain Reaction Cycles.
These windproof, waterproof, breathable soft-shell jackets are designed for snowmachiners in the coldest weather and the deepest of powder. Available for both men and women. "These are just flat-out warm jackets and that's what you need out there," Jerry Tetpon of Mad Hatter said.
Icebug Running Shoes
Icebug makes shoes for all you die-hard winter runners. Ice Bug shoes come with carbide studs in the outsole to maximize traction in the slipperiest conditions. "A running shoe that uses the same stud technology found on winter tires is a best pick in my book," said Andrew Richie of Skinny Raven Sports. Available for both men and women.
Men's Equilibrium Windbrief Boxer by Brooks
Boxer shorts designed to insulate while keeping the wind out. The Windbrief Boxer has a wind-blocking layer over the front thighs, which is great for skiers and runners. "Sadly, they don't have a women's version yet," said Richie of Skinny Raven Sports.
Transfer 3 Shovel by Black Diamond
Here's an all-around backcountry snow shovel that is lightweight and easy to assemble. The trapezoidal shaft creates a sturdy design that reduces torque when shoveling. "This is a great shovel whether you backcountry ski or not," says Brian Dickerson of Sportsman's Warehouse. "Keep one as an emergency shovel in your car for when you get stuck, but you can also use it to build a great snow cave."
Based out of Portland, Ore., ON3P Skis are designed for those looking for high-quality, hand-built skis. Offering everything from terrain-park to all-mountain skis, ON3P has something for every skier. Said Becca Thurman of Ski AK: "These are a new line for us this year. We are like the microbrew of skis in that we carry smaller, lesser-known ski lines, that are regionally or locally made."
Arc'teryx Atom SV Hoody Jacket
Designed to withstand the most severe weather conditions, the Atom SV Hoody functions as a insulating mid-layer or as a sturdy standalone jacket depending on conditions. Available for both men and women, the SV Hoody is packable, lightweight, and breathable. "It's just a nice, warm puffy jacket," said Rick Roth of Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking.
Skhoop Down Short Skirt
Skhoop's 500-fill down skirt will keep your thighs warm in the coldest of conditions. Thrown over a pair of warm tights, the short skirt is great for running, snowshoeing, dog walking, or just for quick trips around town. "The short skirt comes in the most fun colors," says Tija Baker of REI, "and I can wear it running."
The down-filled Skhoop also comes in a knee-length, mid-length and full-length version. Prices vary depending on length.
Black Diamond Ascension Skins
$150-$200 at REI
This is a must-have for those seeking to take on Alaska's backcountry ski opportunities. Skins are a self-adhesive fabric layer that can be fastened to the bottom of your skis, allowing you to ski uphill. Skins come in various lengths and widths so be sure to pick up the right size for your skis.
Kahtoola MICROSpike Traction System
Kahtoolas are designed for those in-between times when you don't need a full crampon but you need something with grip. Ideal for icy or hard-packed conditions, Kahtoolas can get you just about anywhere you want to be. Constructed of stainless steel and flexchain technology, these microspikes are this author's must-have for winter exploration of the Chugach. These are available at various retailers in Anchorage and come in wide variety of sizes.