Leave it to the makers of Gore-Tex to invent a way to adjust ski-jacket insulation. With W.L. Gore's new Airvantage system built into Oakley's Radiator jacket ($600), skiers can add or subtract the equivalent of a fleece vest simply by breathing. An inflation valve in the collar allows you to inflate or deflate the lining and adjust the amount of trapped air-one of nature's best insulation materials. On long, hot runs, let the air out; then blow it back in for cold chairlift rides. After all, your friends might prefer you blow hot air into your jacket than toward them at the bar.
Salomon X-static Tee
There's something satisfying about having sweaty gear after a workout. But Salomon knows the same isn't true for your skiing base layer (no après drinks with that cute instructor if you stink). Its answer is the X-static Tee ($55), with an "anti-microbial silver fiber" to kill nasty bacteria that make your base layer ripe after a bell-to-bell bump day. The shirt's loose cut, feather-light weight and velvety softness make it ultra-comfortable-which may be even more valuable than skipping a wash or two.
Those darn kids just keep getting bigger-and so do their heads. That's why Boeri made a helmet with a "room to grow" system to accommodate expanding noggins. The Apollo ($70) can be adjusted by removing or rearranging concentric bands inside the shell, which comes in two sizes, each with a four-size range. Fast-growing kids can wear it for about three seasons. For Bode Miller wannabes, the helmet is also jaw-guard compatible.
[250AD LEFT] Atlas Elektra 10 Series
Ski companies have been designing women-specific gear for years, and now a snowshoe maker is, too. The Atlas Elektra 10 Series ($249) has a tapered tail and narrow nose to work better with a woman's wider hips and tendency to pronate (rotate the foot outward). It sacrifices a bit of flotation, but the easy, natural stride more than makes up for it. And in another nod to nature, the 10 Series features a spring-loaded binding, which allows natural foot positioning in uneven terrain.
[250AD] Smith Fuse Regulator
Smith has long been a leader in the battle against fog. But innovations like the Turbo C.A.M. ($190), which houses an electronic fan, don't come cheap. That's where the Fuse Regulator ($65-$85) comes in. Its Carbonic lens is a polycarbonate material that's permanently bonded with an anti-fog treatment. The result is a fog-free lens and enough extra cash to buy a couple of lift tickets.