THE X FACTOR
Spring is around the bend, but this year’s huge snowfall beckons for more runs. As the Haitian saying goes, "If work is such a good thing, why haven't the wealthy grabbed it all for themselves?" Racer X says taking a day off to breathe in some fresh mountain air, can only increase employee productivity and, if you need a note for the boss, just let me know.
Manastash Mammoth Jacket
It is global warming the correct way
Their company philosophy is to "create a healthy planet with clean water, air, food and shelter.” Manastash is the leader in developing hemp fibers into quality and fashionable outdoor clothing. The 2010 Mammoth Jacket is a winter parka with a lightweight and water resistant outer shell made using their trademark Pertex rip stop hemp material and a Primaloft eco lining which combines 50% recycled materials with virgin fibers, creating a high loft (no pun intended) and thermally efficient insulation. Available at Oshman’s, Beavers and other assorted retails stores.
Lightweight, low profile and keeps the brain intact
No matter how many hours you practice and how good you know you are, wearing a helmet for cycling, winter sports or skateboarding is much cooler than being treated in the ICU for brain damage. Bern helmets are at the leading edge of safety, style and function. My top picks for 2010 are the men’s “Brentwood” and women’s “Berkeley” models. The sizes tend to run a bit small, although the liquid foam, zip mold fit is designed to be snug and cover the forehead just right to eliminate any goofy looking gap between goggles and helmet. Kids’ models are available, and for winter use an optional insulated liner that snaps right into place. Available at Murasaki Sports.
North Face Rucky Chucky Shoes
Named after a river crossing, ready to go the distance
Tough enough for the Gobi Desert, warm enough for alpine terrain. The Rucky Chucky is winning over endurance athletes such as ultra marathoner Dean Karnazes with its revolutionary design and comfort and the Gore-tex option for cooler climes. I like the highly breathable mesh upper and the ergonomic foot bed with “Poron” forefoot and heel inserts, giving my wobbly ankles the stability needed when descending trails or running over loose gravel. The mid foot shank is stiff and provides protection from pointy rocks while the “Tenacious Grip” outsole works equally well in wet or dry conditions. Larger sizes are now available in Japan as well as a female model that runs a bit narrow. I wear my special order Jamaican colors for skateboarding around town and dodging white bikes—haven’t been caught yet Available online and at retail stores in Japan.
The Ultimate riders guide to Niseko
From the folks of Niseko design company ideapark comes The Niseko Atlas. This pocket-sized book is packed with relevant information, 3-D model topographic maps, interviews with the local authorities and is completely bilingual. Creator and long time resident (and avid snowboarder) Ryan Mentzos saw the need "to graphically share information and produce a guide to help promote safety, awareness and understanding throughout the various communities around Hokkaido's powder playground.” Get a first edition copy before they sell out. Available online at Kinokuniya and Maruzen.