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Cold Comfort

Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? Well, stock up on some cool snow gear and head to Switzerland to take it out on the slopes.

It may not be prime time for skiing anymore, but it’s still cold enough to motivate you to on the mountaintop. Once you’re up there, of course, getting down is all the fun. But as long as you’re making the effort, you might as well have the best gear from head to toe. Here, we take you on a little tour of the glorious ski resort of Verbier in the Swiss Alps. It’s part of the “Four Valleys” ski area, but given our constraints here, we only have space for one.

The Wood Makes it Good

How you get to Verbier is up to you. Once you arrive, however, you have to stay in a place that blows away the typical après ski humdrum. Case in point is simply called The Lodge. This remarkable nine-bedroom chalet—with a 9-metre indoor pool and Jacuzzi, outdoor Jacuzzi, steam room, party room and a mini-ice rink—gives you all the space, peace and comfort you could ever ask for. Ideally located a snowball’s throw from the town centre with its bars, restaurants and snazzy boutiques, you won’t be disappointed. After all, if it’s good enough for Sir Richard Branson, it’s good enough for you.

Of the Essential

You shouldn’t really be concerned with time in the conventional sense when you’re chest deep in powder, but for so many other reasons, you should have a Suunto Altimax Wristop computer strapped to your wrist. It combines an altimeter, barometer, watch and stopwatch and provides information on real-time altitude, the number of runs skied, barometric pressure and temperature, and a host of chronograph functions. Not exactly for the nursery slopes either. This is for those of you who like to go off the beaten path, and with a trusty device that enables safe movements, you can carve with peace of mind as well as abandon.

Board Stiff

If you are wont to shirk tradition and certain degrees of etiquette, then plant your feet onto a Burton Jussi. It’s the creation of Finnish freestyle master Jussi Oksanen, and it now features an Infinite Channel System upgrade, meaning you’ll hit speeds never thought possible on a snowboard. It also has a Sintered Vision base for durability, while the Superfly II core with even profile provides snap, strength and stability for liveliness and responsiveness. Also, the Elliptical kicks and Pro Tip reduce swing weight for easier spins and gives better float on those dreamy powder days. Rugged sidewalls can take a serious beating as well. So whether you’re a hard charger or a laid-back cruiser, or a little bit of both, the Jussi is what you need to get your snow fix.

Hot Bushel of Goodness

You might have a soft spot for that old-school smell of the workshop as you wait to get your board waxed up. But Lib Tech have come up with Banana Wax, which might work up an appetite—seeing as it reeks of bananas—but it’s a beautifully slippery all-temperature wax that can be slapped on anywhere, anytime. Working up a thirst for piña coladas is expected.

Put Your Best Face Forward

It’s not exactly club wear or anything you could seriously get away with at the poker tables, but these goggles are made for one thing and one thing only: time on the slopes. The Bolle Nova Goggles have the best P80 anti-fog lenses to reduce scratching and fogging from all that heavy breathing; exceptional comfort and ventilation from double-layer face foam; and a wide range of colours, patterns and lenses to choose from. Plus, to increase ventilation, Nova has side venting ports to increase airflow to the inside while stopping the vents from becoming clogged up with snow and ice. All of those bells and whistles equate to an unobstructed, uninhibited view of Verbier’s glory. And with a perfect helmet fit (in case you’re inclined to wear one), you will become one with the Nova.

Do the Beanie Shuffle

Being streamline is essential to having a successful run down the mountain. You don’t want loose gear flapping around, especially wires from that iPod. So attack it at the source (your ears) by eliminating the need excess hardware. Just pull on the iLogic Sound Hat on your dome, plug it into your iPod or any MP3 player, and be amazed with the sound quality from the internal speakers that nestle over your ears. Consider the alternative: wearing a hat with headphones. Not very comfortable or practical. And ear buds? You’ll spend more time retrieving them from the snow than actually listening to music. It’s the ideal personal sound system without all that tinny annoyance to inflict on your fellow chair-lift mates.

Dreams Documented

You’ll always have the memories bouncing around in your head long after you leave Verbier and are, once again, resigned to your agonising commute into work. And the random, out-of-focus, missed-the-money-shot photo just won’t do. So take advantage of your self reliance and get Action Cameras mounted to your helmet and get first-person documentation of every run, spill and jump. Two tough little digital movie cameras, with a 4GB capability, get the goods while your hands are left to style (you hope). Being water, dirt, rain, snow and shock proof is a big help too. Good thing you can edit out all those “unnecessary” segments.
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