Your ski-movie heroes might be fearless, but they aren’t stupid. So don’t think for a second that they aren’t padding up underneath that cool outerwear before they go huge in the pipe or charge that steep, rock-studded line in Alaska. In the past, lots of pro athletes have adapted padded motocross apparel to their uses. Now companies like Scott USA (which happens to have a motocross line, too) are offering ski-specific body armor. Example: the Compression Reducer X. Speed event racers have been wearing spine protectors like this for a while, and there’s no reason the average skier shouldn’t, too—regardless of age, ability, level of aggression, fitness, etc. It’s built to flex in all the directions your body flexes. Comfortable straps and a half-zip vest keep it securely in place. You’ll barely know you’re wearing it, except that it can be a little warm on sunny days. Parents can rest easier knowing their teens have some spine protection when they’re sessioning on those huge dude-booters in the park. For that matter, moms and dads who don’t bounce like they used to might like the idea of a little extra padding for their own aging bodies. ($175, scottusa.com)
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