WildSnow Girl’s Highlights of Summer OR

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | August 15, 2012      

Always trying to take WildSnow to the next level, Lou picked up this gal for $25. We'll see if she earns her keep with gear reviews (hopefully not trip reports). For now we need a name. Suggestions anyone?

On the first morning of the Outdoor Retailers show, we walked a few blocks through downtown Salt Lake City to the Salt Palace Convention Center. As we approached the entrance my eyes lit up, not for OR but for the new, 1.6 billion dollar 20 acre shopping mall across the street. Nordstrom. Sale. Need I say more?

Lou caught my glance. He could feel his wallet vaporizing. Hoping to quell my shopaholic tendencies, he assigned me the task of finding new female-specific items at the show. And find them I did. Indeed, who needs a posh department store when at least one company at the OR show is owned by a genuine Nordstrom family member? I’ll give you a first look at a few interesting items. Later we’ll review in detail as test samples come in.

View from the pressroom

View from the press room: the dazzle of the OR halls can easily draw a backcountry loving girl from a mall full of city sales.

One of the most exciting aspects of the outdoor industry is the development of high tech fabrics and clothing construction techniques. Fabrics are lighter, more versatile and keep you comfortable in a wider temperature range. Pieces are made snug fitting or loose specific to the sweat tendencies of each gender, and fabrics are placed strategically for wicking or warmth. Air flow for cooling is enhanced by thoughtfully placed zippers. My focus for this winter’s gear testing? Probably, but then, skis can always be lighter and easier to turn. So we shall see.


Ibex Aire wool insulated jacket - nice!

Ibex wool insulated Aire
Available fall 2012, the Aire WI jacket from Ibex is a puff jacket insulated with wool. Because of the excellent performance of wool, the warmth to weight ratio is comparable to down and synthetic insulation. The loft integrity of wool is said to be superior to down and synthetic insulation due to a cornstarch derivative that acts as a binding agent to the wool. It’s an elegant, lightweight number with slightly more insulation in the chest (Lou appreciates any increase) and back compared to the arms. Available with or without the hood, it also features shell material of tough, 100% recycled ripstop nylon, hand warmer pockets, and inside mesh pocket which also serves as a stuff sack for the jacket. The DWR coated outer shell will repel light moisture. It will be interesting to test how fast it dries if the wool filling gets wet.

Shop for Ibex Aire pieces here.

Torque by Outdoor Research
Despite the sluggish economy, the outdoor industry continues to thrive. Outdoor Research’s (yep, they’re owned by Dan Nordstrom) Spring 2013 apparel line will grow 42 percent over last year, with a continued expansion of women’s specific products in all categories. The piece that caught my eye was the new Torque top. It’s part of the HighEx Collection developed for endurance athletes. Polartex Power Dry fabric blends polyester yarns on the outside with polypro construction on the inside for exceptional moisture transfer and quick drying. Foldover cuffs on the long sleeves offer a light mitt for your hands which tucks away nicely when not in use. I wore my sample on three long bike rides and I stayed comfortable despite sizzling weather. My arms were protected from the sun by the UPF 15 fabric, and I noticed that the Polygiene Active Odor Control must be working when I stood in a cramped sandwich shop and no one cringed.

Torque on hanger

The women's Torque by Outdoor Research. Men's version available also.

Monterosa by Julbo
I’ve never been too excited about glacier glasses until I saw the stylish ones by Julbo. The women’s Monterosa has removeable sun shields for those days when you go from mountains to Macys. This spring they’ll be available in a fetching hue of lavender. In the meantime, I’ll be testing a classy black pair this winter with powder blue shields. The polarized and photochromatic lens will make them suitable for a wide range of conditions.


Monterosa by Julbo featuring photochromatic lens for optimal visibility and protection against intense sunlight from desert to glacier conditions.

Bob inspects my ski boot abused feet.

Bob Egeland is a Board Certified Pedorthist with extensive experience in footwear sales and orthotic fabrication, retailer fit training and product design. He spent 25 years with a major hiking boot manufacturer before training as a C.Ped. He's a senior instructor with Masterfit University and travels around the country each year to train ski and snowboard bootfitters. When he's home he operates Boulder Orthotics, a custom insole and boot fit center based at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder, Colorado.

You never know what to expect at the OR show, but I’ve learned to be prepared. With a bright, new pedicure, I was not at all mortified when Bob Egeland sat me down and whipped off my shoes. My toenails were freshly polished and like a row of tiny apples, they were clean and shining. Bob, however, was not impressed as he looked at my calluses and an old blister from a long day skiing with ill fitting liners. Better insoles would help and he promptly turned on his grinder and molded a pair for my boots. Familiar with the Dynafit last, he narrowed the heel of the insole and offered to punch out the thin Grilamid plastic of my TLT’s with a blow torch if I’d visit him in Boulder (amazing the offers a girl gets from the backcountry crowd). He suggested the most effective option: custom foot beds. I agreed to give him a call after the show. More on that when it happens.

Bob grinds the heel.

Bob grinds the sole, making it suitable for Dynafit TLT's narrow heel.

masterfit sole

Bob points out the auto adapt arch and its micro contour design shape which changes to personalize support and fit. The Easy Fit Snow is made specifically for cold weather sports, featuring a radiant barrier aluminized fabric sandwiched in the forefoot to reflect heat back to toes and forefoot.

Lastly, since I come from a family of Macgyvers who can jump start a truck with a pine cone, here’s a nifty gadget that’s good for the environment:

CrunchIt by Jetboil


CrunchIt by JetBoil is a butane canister recycling tool. After a canister has been used and is empty, screw the CrunchIt onto the empty canister. Let any residual fuel vent out.


After venting the residual fuel, continue threading CrunchIt completely down onto the canister. Then press down on ChrunchIt's handle to puncture canister. Make holes in 3 - 4 well spaced locations to ensure the canister will be easily recognized as empty. Then the canister is ready to be recycled like a tin or steel can.

That just touches the surface of the cool things I found. More as test samples come in.

Start your Christmas Shopping with a CrunchIt


12 Responses to “WildSnow Girl’s Highlights of Summer OR”

  1. canwilf August 15th, 2012 11:17 am

    Jenny maybe?

  2. Lisa Dawson August 15th, 2012 11:28 am

    …as in Miss Jenny Lake?

  3. Ali E August 15th, 2012 11:41 am

    Venus de Carbondale? As in Venus de Milo

  4. Lisa Dawson August 15th, 2012 12:53 pm

    I like Venus but she may not be tofu enough for Carbondale. Perhaps Venus de Glisse?

  5. IceAxe August 15th, 2012 3:34 pm


  6. Jon August 15th, 2012 4:08 pm

    I think you will find that the Aire jacket rocks. I got to play with a sample all winter, and they are seriously warm for their weight. I never managed to really soak it skiing or climbing in the rain, so I can’t speak to the drying time. It has replaced my nano puff in my systems by being warmer for a very similar package.

  7. Lisa Dawson August 15th, 2012 4:43 pm

    IceAxe — I like Petunia.

  8. Lisa Dawson August 15th, 2012 4:57 pm

    Jon, glad to hear you liked the Ibex Aire. My women’s small only weighs 13 oz or 364 gm., quite light for wool. I look forward to giving it a good test when the weather turns colder.

  9. Sarah August 16th, 2012 4:02 am

    “The loft integrity of wool is said to be superior to down and synthetic insulation” -being from the Scottish highlands, I was brought up on wool. Its nice to see it making a re appearance into main stream even specialist clothing.

    It will be interesting to see if we get a huge increase of wool based clothing over in Europe this coming winter or if as usual it will take a few seasons to filter through from the US

  10. Jane August 16th, 2012 6:53 am

    Nice looking stuff. I feel MY wallet vaporizing! 🙂

  11. Joe John August 16th, 2012 10:06 am

    Wild Sheila, I don’t wear anything twice.

  12. Kevin August 16th, 2012 10:18 am

    Thanks. I’ll keep these in mind for Christmas, if I get a girlfriend!

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