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Shameless Commerce Division
Products specifically geared to the skipatrol. Companies friendly to the skipatrol. Reviews of favorite products employed by fellow patrollers. Not sponsored, non commercial. This is not an exhaustive survey, but a growing launch-pad. Actual experience is deployed. No endorsement is implied or given.
You are invited to submit your own product reviews, criticisms and wish lists.

Current Products & Stories:

  • Coming Soon: Sun Protective Clothing (that season approaches)- Use, Usefulness, Design, Altitude Friendly?,UPF vs. SPF, Cost vs. Function   [feedback encouraged.] 
        [Solumbra]   [Coolibar]   [sun solutions]
  • Multi-Tools
  • Further reading, honest evaluations, great pictures, read Couloir Magazine and dream of the Spring Corn. (principally backcountry/telemark)
  • mu logoUniforms:
    Five companies with professional gear designed specifically for the ski-patrol.

    Out of Boulder, well designed ski-patrol, liftie, and first-responder wear from Ski Area Supplies. A sample vest displays excellent design and attention to fine details. Can make custom product as well.
    Since 1986, Airtime Hood River from Mt Hood.
    Great design & variety in Red, black or rust/black at MountainUniforms
    Shells, bibs, parkas from Ascent Ventures,

    You don't have to be a geek to appreciate the scott eVest.
    also check out CORE Outdoors

  • helmetHigh speed lifts are depositing far too many skiers on the hill. No matter how careful the skiers, statistics prevail. Too many serious preventable injuries. Resistance is futile. Helmets are now comfortable, warm, ventilated and hearing non-restrictive. No matter our own vanity, shouldn't patrollers be responsible role models on the hill?   [Read-Me]   [ Consumer Product Safety Report]
    Several top-flite manufacturers. Four of the more targeted to our market are: Briko & Leedom & Giro & Burton-Red. another manufacturer of note is Boeri. (Who have I missed?)
  • Coming Soon:Goggles for problem skiers e.g., antifog for corrected vision.discussion of OTG & turbo to inserts to custom ground and a promising multi-sport cross-over possibility. Anti-fog techniques. There are differences & solutions. your contribution is welcome. Mail comments, solutions or observations to: rx@skipatrol.org
    SportRX can work with you to design a personal solution to your RX vision problems considering face shape etc., at surprisingly accessible prices.
  • HarperPack [Here's the link.] You know the classical fanny pack, new features, same rock-solid construction. This is Harper's only product (variety of models, though.)
  • Full weather package in the just releases Kestrel 4000.WEATHER IN YOUR POCKET - Kestrel 3000 Weather Instrument[review by Bruce Rogerson]Kestrel 3000 Weather Instrument
  • G3 Skins & Bindings. claim a lighter weight product. Do they risk robustness in the backcountry? G3 had claimed production, distribution and quality control problems last year. We've no take on current conditions. Our geeks have not tried the product. The time proven sturdy Ascension from Black Diamond continue to improve. Backcountry Access, makers of the tracker beacon also are innovative in ski fastenings with their "low fat" skins.[feedback invited]
  • Skins won't get you up the hill? Backcountry snowboarding is not an oxymoron. The new breed of Snowshoes are more technical than ever, adapting weight, grip, floatation and adaptability to varying snow conditions. Consider Denali from MSR,  Atlas Snowshoe, and  Little Bear San Juans (among others)MSR Denali snowshoe
  • Thinkin' outside the box. Don't hesitate to enlist unusual sources for your gear requirements. e.g., I use my neoprene paddle gloves from NRS [Northwest River Supplies] for wet duty, like building the odd snow cave or igloo. Great catalog of gear.
  • Rainey Designs Russ's bindings claim yet more improvement of note each year. Even the "hammerhead" is history. Continuing evolution from Rainey
  • LedLite has engineered led headlamps flashlights and emergency signalling beacons right. Petzl takes the prize for smallest, pocketable led headlamp with the Zipka. Princeton-tec introduces a 100 hour burn-time in the Matrix, an innovative lightweight led headlamp, same size as solo unit.petzl zipka led headlamp
  • Traction Device evaluation i.e. chains. Who would've thunk it? Innovation in the tire chain business. And it's true. Better traction, less noise, easier installation, wear and better materials are all possible. Which products live up to their promise. Chains from Konig, Laclede, WhiteStar are evaluated against these factors. The promising Swiss Spikes Spider device, takes 30 seconds to install, less to remove! (two models to choose from.) Price/value trade-offs are considered. Knowlegeable outlets cited. Care suggestions for chains (well, at least rinse them & hang to dry, then a light spray with wd-40. They're less likely to break if they don't corrode.) [Review under construction, input & opinions welcomed.]
  • Skate to ski - Coming in the Spring (I hope). Inline skates, how the US Ski team trains during the summer. How city trapped patrollers might train during those grueling summer months.
    Tempting article, review and links.
  • Specialty Boots. Trukke Boots, a promising alternative to the ubiquitous Sorel's. Several models for different applications. N.E.O.S., an alternative to boots. Run around in your tennies (along with these overshoes, insulated or not.)
    Both of these guys look good, and fit good. Any feedback or other contenders?
  • FRS radios. We communicate between ourselves by radio. What about the backcountry guests? Will it enhance safety? What use would carrying the ubiquitous family band be? We'll look at motorola, cherokee and acg[ascent features. Answer - they've become a "fait accomplis" patrollers carry them just to communicate with their kids lurking around on their family passes!
  • High Gear Summit AltimeterCombination Wrist Instruments Altimeters, barometers, watches, compasses, run & accumulated foot counter. High Gear's ever expanding line of popularly priced instruments. Avocet's Vertech is the pioneer of bicycle & wrist instruments. Production has been resumed and updated of this excellent & popular intrument. acg[ascent from Nike is a compass/barometer/altimeter instrument. You can read seconds if you need to take a pulse (lacking on the Suunto.) Nice package. Good user interface-your granny could use it, slightly different package of features. Zero Drift technology claims to distinguish between weather related and altitude related pressure changes (I wonder how they do that!) Freestyle's innovative altimeter (they also have a pulse monitor) Casio (of japan)(untried by skipatrol.org) and Suunto (of Finland) have stepped in with with their own panoply of features. Check them out carefully as their feature presentations differ (e.g., if you're taking pulses - suunto has no second hand.)
    Usage Note: ripping off your polar-fleece can generate up to 50,000 (low-amperage) volts, enough to zap your wrist-instrument, remove the watch first.)
  • Quo Vadis? have the compass companies gone non-compass mentis? Suunto makes Silva, Silva makes Brunton, etc. let's straighten out provenance and consider the products as well.
  • Knee Braces - products in review. Pre & Post knee-remodel discussion. Please submit your experiences. townsend, CTI, orthotech. On second thought, if you don't bust your knee, you may not need a brace Avoid ACL injuries. Vermont Ski Safety
  • Poles collapsing? Knurled knob frozen locked? Leki says no more, Lifelink says never should have been, Black Diamond says there's a better way. Komperdell, says we started the whole thing, and we continue to innovate. Let's examine these great probe poles.
  • New miracle fabric. Tired of wearing plastic milk cartons? Try wool. Same old properties, but innovation by manufacturers lend resolve some of the older problems. I'm wearing one identical to the one that Amundsen courted penguins in, that norwegian company Devold still cranks out quality outer and under gear. Many other manf. appeared at the Outdoor Retailer show for the first time.
  • Avalanche Transceivers (a review to come, we hope)
    • Tips & Traps a continuing study by by Mike Smith (106 k acrobat download)

  • Waterproof Gizmos. Sometimes your local boating shop can supply some useful enclosures for your toys. Try lightweight waterproof wallets and cases for your ubiquitous electronic gadgets e.g., cell phones, palm pilots and frs radios. Sometimes ziplocks are better for your lunch. voyageur equipment (filled with useful tech. info, and a rather neat web-site design) or NRS
  • are good bets.

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Norman Bookstein (norman@skipatrol.org)

©1994,1995,1996,1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2002,2003 Norman A. Bookstein, editor & publisher