Best of 2017 ski gear from Freeride Systems, Zeal Optics, Native Eyewear, Phunkshun Wear and more |

Best of 2017 ski gear from Freeride Systems, Zeal Optics, Native Eyewear, Phunkshun Wear and more

Phil Lindeman

Winter toy chest

GoPro Karma drone, $799.99

It was only a matter of time before GoPro hit the drone market. On Oct. 23, the company releases Karma, its first consumer-level drone designed to pair with the Hero 4, Hero 5 and Hero 5 Session cameras. The 35.5-ounce drone (without camera) can fly 35 miles per hour at distances of up to 9,840 feet away and heights of up to 14,500 vertical feet. Fly time is 20 minutes — pretty standard for a small drone — and the handheld controller is good for up to four hours on one charge. Best part: The controller comes with a screen to show the video feed, and there’s an app to live-stream footage to anyone, anywhere.

Garmin Vivoactive HR watch, $249.99

The fitness bracelet fad has faded, but the smartwatch movement is here to stay. The latest entry from Garmin, Vivoactive HR, is made for outdoorsy types. It pairs the usual tools like phone sync, social media apps and, well, a clock, with features like a step tracker, vertical foot tracker, distance measurements and more. Pair it with free apps like Map My Run for GPS mapping of all the cool stuff you do. Still waiting for Epic Mix connectivity…

onXMaps Roam mobile app, $9.99

Heading to a new outdoor playground with absolutely no idea where anything is? The Roam app from onXMaps is your new best friend. The app loads topo and aerial maps to your phone, then marks everything you need for a weekend (or month) of exploring: trails, geographic features, boat ramps, beach access, campsites, national forests — you name it, they’ve got it. Like the best map apps, it’s all loaded direct to your phone for easy access without service.

Editor’s note: This is part three of a three-part pre-season gear guide for skiers and snowboarders. Read on for Day One with Colorado skis and Day Two for Colorado snowboards and splitboards.

You’ve bought a new board, bindings and boots. You even splurged for the 2017 models, and your kit is brand-spanking new for the first time in seasons. So why hit the hill in your duct-taped jacket with a facemask that smells like rotten socks?

Before the slopes open, take a look at a few of the best jackets, goggles, backpacks and more from Colorado companies. The pricing isn’t dirt-cheap — is it ever with skiing and snowboarding? — but chances are this gear will keep you warm and happy much longer than the beat-up stuff you’ve been wearing for the past five seasons. You’ll thank us on the first powder day of December.

Freeride Systems Antero II Plus unisex hardshell | $419

Sizes: Small, small tall, medium, medium tall, large, XL

Colors: Green

Born down the highway in Leadville and now based in Frisco, Freeride Systems is one of the few Colorado outerwear manufacturers that’s still making gear right here in its home state. The Antero II Plus is owner Mike Collins’ latest and greatest ski shell, made for guys and gals with Polartec Hardshell 3-layer fabric (made in Massachusetts), fully taped seams, a helmet-compatible hood and pit zips. There are no useless pockets or weird lines — just a windproof, waterproof, breathable hardshell you’ll be wearing for seasons to come. Seriously.

Find it: Recycle Sports at 695 Summit Boulevard in Frisco or online at for $8 shipping.

Freeride Systems Mountain Parka Shell | $329

Sizes: XS, small, medium, large

Colors: Lime, black, blue, crimson, bright red, charcoal, purple, olive

The newest shell from Freeride Systems is made to do it all: hiking, backpacking, ski touring, snowmobiling, biking, or just sitting around a winter campfire. It’s built with Polartec Neoshell breathable fabric, making it lighter than the ski hardshell. But, if you’re the sort who freezes when it’s 50 degrees, the shell pairs seamlessly with the Harrison fleece vest or other members of the company’s Jacket Componenet System family. Just zip it into the liner and viola — you’ve got a winter coat made for negative temps.

Find it: Recycle Sports at 695 Summit Boulevard in Frisco or online at for $8 shipping.

Zeal Voyager goggle | $159-$269

Sizes: Medium face

Colors: Moonstone, dark night, magic school bus, midnight forest, hexagon trails, safari white

Lens colors: Automatic+, phoenix polarized and mirrored, jade mirrored, alchemy mirrored, dark grey polarized

Ain’t nobody got time for two goggles in one day. That’s why Boulder’s Zeal Optics released the Voyager, a sleek-and-sexy frameless model with easy-to-swap lenses. Just pull back on the six anchor tabs to swap between dark and light lenses.

But wait — there’s more. This season, Zeal introduces the new Automatic+ polarized lens, a masterpiece of goggle tech that transitions from high light (33 percent variable light transmission) to low light (18 percent VLT) based on the conditions. Sure, it’s the same thing Lens Crafters has sold for decades, but a polarized coating makes the Automatic+ lens much, much more.

Find it: Wilderness Sports at 701 Anemone Trail in Dillon, Surefoot Keystone at 195 River Run Road, Future Shock at 807 Tenmile Drive in Frisco, Summit Eye Center at 620 Main Street in Frisco, Vertical Runner at 301 N. Main Street in Breck, Craniologie at 101 N. Main Street in Breck and Rocky Mountain Underground showroom at 114 S. Main Street in Breck. Also online at

Native Eyewear Tank-7 goggle | $129-$179

Sizes: Medium face

Colors: Kickplate, aluminum, T-bird, striker, jackplane

Lens colors: Silver mirrored, blue mirrored, rose, green mirrored

Denver’s Native Eyewear is relatively new to the goggle game — they released a limited line late last season — but what the company lacks in experience they make up for with damn good technology. Native lenses are some of the best on the market, and the company brings the same sunglasses tech to goggles. The Tank-7 comes with an anti-fog lens, color-enhancing filtration (no polarized option, sadly) and an included low-light option. It’s also a head turner, with a chic, slim frame and reflective strap for all-day travel.

Find it: Pioneer Sports at 842 N. Summit Boulevard in Frisco, Wilerness Sports in Dillon, and Christy Sports in Breckenridge, Copper and Dillon. The Tank-7 is currently out of stock on the Native website at

Giro Ledge unisex helmet | $60

Sizes: Small, medium, large

Colors: Matte titanium, matte black, matte blue, matte olive, matte turquoise, matte berry, matte turbulence

Don’t be thrown off by the affordable (aka cheap) price tag on the Giro Ledge. This smooth, skate-inspired model meets all requirements for a solid ski helmet and comes with vents, removable earpads, a removable liner and littler more. That’s all you need in a brain bucket, and it’s easily $60 cheaper than similar models with more distracting bells and whistles.

Find it: Just about every ski and rental shop in Summit County, including Mountain Wave, Sun Logic, A Racer’s Edge, Craniologie, Lone Star Sports and more. Also online at

Phunkshun Wear DL mask | $24.99

Sizes: One size fits most

Colors: Dozens

Phunkshun Wear left its birthplace of Summit a few years ago, but the manufacturer is still making masks by hand in small batches — and setting trends at the same time. New this year, the ever-popular Double Layer neck tube is sewn with Repreve fabric, a fiber made from recycled plastic bottles. Each mask keeps 10 to 15 bottles out of the landfill, and as always, the fabric is warm, wicking and UV repellent. Good luck picking a color and design — there are oh so many.

Find it: Most ski and rental shops around the county. Also online at

Mile High Mountaineering Slay 22 | $151.10

Sizes: 19 to 22 inches (torso), 26 to 52 inches (waist)

Colors: Midnight black, hydro blue

Denver’s Mile High Mountaineering launched about five years ago and is still making backpacks tested and approved by Rocky Mountain adventurers. The Slay 22 was one of the first packs in the company’s line, and with the exception of a few small tweaks, it’s changed little in the past five years. That’s just fine for a pack that was made for winter travelers from the start, with stowable ski and board straps, reinforced side panels, foam shoulder straps, a circular main zip pocket (very convenient) and a lined goggle pocket. There are also straps for a shovel and snow tools, plus 10 pockets in addition to the main compartment. Best part: The pack still looks and feels sleek, even with a veritable boatload of features.

Find it: Mountain Outfitters at 112 S. Ridge Street in Breckenridge. Also online at

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