28th November 2022
In the first of a sporadic series of gear reviews over the winter our gear editor Alf Alderson checks out a few skiing essentials. NEW
MESSY WEEKEND FLIP XEp PHOTOCHROMIC GOGGLES – £115 www.messyweekend.com
You may not have heard of Messy Weekend as they’re new to the UK market, but this Copenhagen-based outfit is making some really nice eyewear including these tidy Flip snow goggles.
They have a bombproof build and cool, understated and somewhat retro looks.
They come with a photochromic lens that automatically darkens when exposed to sunlight, so effectively it’s one lens for all conditions.
That said you also get an extra yellow overcast lens (55% Visible Light Transfer) designed for flat light, making for a very good value package.
The lenses can be changed in seconds thanks to an easy-to-use magnetic attachment system.
Both lenses are dual-layered, manufactured from Grade 1 optical-quality polycarbonate
and feature anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings as well as 100% UV400 protection.
Surrounding all this optical technology is a well-vented, lightweight thermoplastic polyurethane frame with an Over the Glasses (OGT) fit and decent peripheral vision.
The frame has a really sturdy feel to it and is plenty comfortable thanks to the triple-layer face foam.
The fully-adjustable and interchangeable strap has silica gel backing so it stays put on your helmet.
The goggles also come with a microfiber bag, hard case and stickers plus info on MW’s involvement in ocean clean-up.
Apparently, you’re facilitating the removal of the equivalent of 100 plastic straws from the Pacific Ocean by buying this product.
VERDICT Good looking, decent value goggles with a great lens change system.
BOLLÉ V-RYFT MIPS HELMET £270 www.bolle.com
The V-Ryft is Bollé’s top-of-the-line ski helmet, and you can tell that straight away as it oozes quality and style, with the focus being on the tech employed in the lid.
It features Bollé’s new, patented Ryft Active Panel which has been designed specifically to improve airflow.
Basically air flows vertically around the ventilation panels and ducts rather than directly inside the helmet, which results in more efficient venting.
Indeed, this is the only certified ski helmet which features this technology.
In addition, you get all the other features you’d expect in a high-end ski helmet:
A MIPS brain protection system and EPS inner,
A BOA fit system for a snug, comfortable fit, soft, warm double density face foam,
Removable ear pads and a removable lining
A Fidlock magnetic buckle for quick and easy use of the chin strap (it works with one hand and/or gloved hands)
The V-Ryft also has audio kit compatibility.
In use the helmet is both comfortable and warm, but no too warm thanks to the Active Panel system.
This is easy to use on the go and with gloved hands – just flick the slider on the rear of the helmet to open or close the panels.
Add to that all the great safety features and other useful gizmos and this is one of the best helmets out there this season, albeit at a price.
VERDICT Top quality lid with innovative venting system, but pricey.
BOLLÉ TORUS NEO GOGGLES £250 www.bolle.com
Another top-end product from Bollé.
The Torus Neo was developed using AI to evaluate over four million colour enhancement options and come up with the goggles’ Volt patented lens system which offers superb high contrast vision.
It comes with two lenses (ours was supplied with a Cat 2 ruby lens and a Cat 1 vermilion blue lens, but there are other options available) so you’re covered for most light conditions.
The lenses can be changed easily and quickly thanks to ‘Eyelatch’ technology.
This is a combination of magnets and a locking system top centre of the frame which securely holds the lens in place and can be operated with gloved hands.
Anti-fog coating and ‘Flow Tech’ venting keep the goggles from steaming up.
The triple density face foam ensures a soft, warm fit, whilst peripheral vision is excellent, and on top of all this the Torus Neo looks fantastic and comes in a really cool, understated selection of colourways.
VERDICT A superb and stylish – if expensive – way of protecting your eyes on the slopes.
Image © Bolle
LIFESYSTEMS RECHARGEABLE HANDWARMER £29.99 www.lifesystems.co.uk
If you get cold hands when you’re skiing a small, portable handwarmer can make all the difference between a fun experience and a miserable day out.
This palm-sized offering from Lifesystems does a fine job of keeping your digits toasty.
But more than that, it can also be used to charge your phone or GPS device, both of which can run out of power quickly in sub-zero conditions.
With an impressive 10,000mAh output, the handwarmer is easy to operate – you simply press a button and it will start delivering heat in just ten seconds.
There are four settings from 40 – 50 degrees centigrade which will provide between six and 12 hours of warmth, and the device can be charged from both mains and USB power-sources.
LED charging indicators on the front mean it’s easy to check how much power is remaining, so you can balance your usage between charges, and it also lights up to reassure you that it’s charging correctly.
VERDICT A great way to keep your hands warm and charge your phone on the slopes.
DANNER CLOUD CAP SNOW BOOTS £200 www.global.danner.com
Danner’s Cloud Cap boots are ideal for trudging through snow to your favourite après-ski venue or around the resort after skiing.
You just slip them on, cinch up the drawstring closure – no faffing around with laces – and go.
They’re lightweight but plenty warm thanks to Primaloft Gold insulation.
Suede and textile uppers and a waterproof and breathable liner keep moisture on the outside, and the removable OrthoLite footbed combines three layers of varying density for maximum cushioning and support.
The entire footbed is made of open-cell polyurethane for better heat dissipation and air circulation.
I found the fit quite snug and as such the boots were most comfortable for me whilst wearing thin socks, but I do I have quite wide feet; worth bearing in mind though if you like to wear thick socks in winter.
I particularly liked the rugged Vibram Arctic Grip AT soles.
These are specifically designed for use in cold, icy or snowy conditions and provide excellent grip and traction.
I’m not sure I’d use them for serious hiking in the snow (although Danner reckon they’re up to it) but for recreational use in cold, snowy conditions the Cloud Cap is a great option.
VERDICT Snug, grippy, lightweight recreational boots for winter use.
Image © DannerPOC COALESCE INSULATED VEST £155 www.pocsports.com
A good gilet is a pretty essential piece of winter gear.
It provides essential core warmth and being (ideally) light and low bulk so you can keep it in your pack without even noticing it’s there, and the Poc Coalesce fits the bill perfectly.
The Coalesce is slim enough to be worn under a shell, or on warmer days it’s great to pop on over the top of a base or mid-layer.
Made from lightweight ripstop fabric it’s also pretty rugged and even comes with a fluorocarbon-free DWR treatment so you can wear it in light showers without getting soaked.
Features include elasticated arm opening so it hugs your body and helps keep the warmth in.
There’s a fully recycled ‘T-Core’ circular fill loose fiber synthetic insulation positioned in narrow channels to provide great warmth in relation to the vest’s bulk.
Two large pockets keep hands warm, and a zipped inside pocket keeps valuables secure, whilst a reflective hanger loop on the back gives you improved visibility in low light.
VERDICT Light, low bulk and warm – exactly what you want from an insulated vest.