Swinging a hammer high in the air and slamming it down on your index finger proves one of two things. You’re either a) crazy. Or b) protected by a non-Newtonian polymer.
“It’s a weird substance,” notes Cyrus Schenck, founder of the innovative ski brand Renoun. “You can pick it up, hold it, roll it between your fingers — but slam it and it turns hard.”
Which is basically what Schenck was doing over and over at an industry exhibition in Manhattan last summer — playing with the Silly Putty-like material, wrapping it round his finger, then slamming his finger with a hammer. Like magic, the impact of the hammer changed the goop’s molecular structure — it turned rigid instantly — protecting his finger every time.
Embedded in Renoun skis, the game-changing material allows skis to be pliable and forgiving in soft snow conditions, but hit a patch of ice and the vibration makes the skis firmer, giving them more stability over changes in terrain.
This “Hyper Damping technology,” as Schenck calls it, is just one example of the countless high-tech advances that can improve your ride down the slopes this season, whether you’re carving through backcountry or snowplowing down a bunny hill. We’ve gathered the best gear to take you from the lift to the lodge in high tech — and high style — this season. Now check the forecast.
Called the microbrew of apparel, upstart Colorado brand Voormi has re-imagined outerwear with stylish jackets of waterproof wool. A wind- and water-blocking membrane woven within the fabric makes it warm, light and easy to move in. Look for this Core Construction in the Inversion jacket for men and women, new this month; $499 at voormi.com
Looking to next season
It seems such a no-brainer -- a collaboration between Tommy Hilfiger and Rossignol, the popular French ski and outerwear brand, that makes that one wonder why it took them so long. The just-announced Tommy X Rossignol capsule collection, which will include men's winter sweaters, jackets, skis, helmets and more (about $150 and up), will flaunt the classic lines and red, white and blue color palette that both brands are known for. Look for it this October at tommy.com; till then, you'll find Rossignol at Sno-Haus, Sundown Ski & Sport and REI shops, and rossignol.com
New this season, Gordini’s Relode S goggles feature easy-on, easy-off magnetic lenses, so you can switch them out with a quick click. Look for this feather-printed version designed by popular freestyle skier Lynsey Dyer; $150 at gordini.com
Like three coats in one, Obermeyer's Sequence System Jacket has a zip-out goose-down liner you could wear on its own, and water-resistant twill outer that looks slick on the street or the slopes (with underarm vents and pre-curved arms); $529 at obermeyer.com (or look for the brand at Sundown Ski, Levittown; Action Ski, Oakdale; Ski Stop, Plainview)
Heat your feet with your phone? Yes, download the app for ThermaCELL Heated Insoles and you can control each foot's toastiness quotient. The new ProFLEX Heavy Duty version offers up to 8.5 hours of warmth and a removable battery; $199 at select Dick's Sporting Goods stores and heat.thermacell.com
Transpacks popular Heated Boot Pro backpack (which plugs into your wall or car) was redesigned to include adjustable exterior bungee cords, increasing storage capacity outside while the pack warms and dries your boots, gloves, hats and socks inside; $199.95 at Sno-Haus (Hempstead, Huntington Station); REI, Carle Place; and rei.com
Nobody does low temps in high style like Canada Goose. This season’s new HyBridge Perren jacket, in water-resistant nylon, features 800-fill goose down and double-weave inserts at the elbow, underarm and hem for ease of movement; $750 at Canada Goose, Manhattan; and canadagoose.com (or find the line at Sun & Ski, Plainview; and Sno-Haus shops)
Teaching your child to ski just got easier with Slope Ropes, which sit at a kid's waist, allowing a parent to gently guide turns from behind while the child actually skis; $29.99 at sloperopes.com
New Solarsphere insulation in Seirus Brink and Ace gloves gets an assist from the sun -- the gloves absorb the sun's infrared rays (even on cloudy days), heating up tiny hollow balls inside and upping the gloves' inner temp 10 degrees; $34.99 and up at Paragon, Manhattan; and seirus.com
Like oobleck, the goop we made in sixth grade science class from cornstarch and water, the morphing polymer inside Renoun's award-winning skis changes firmness in response to slope conditions; the original Endurance ski ($1,145 and up) or Z-Line carver ($1,345), each in two widths, with 100-day trials and free returns, at renoun.com
There's something to be said for just chilling at the lodge, in your cropped, cotton-blend Wildfox Freezin sweater; $158 at shopbop.com
Bollés Tsar is the first universal-fit goggle, thanks to B-Flex technology that allows the inner frame to gently conform to the contours of your face. No more pressure or air gaps, and the spherical lens boosts your field of vision; $109.95 and up at Paragon, Manhattan; backcountry.com (for more info, visit bolle.com)