There’s really nothing worse than those teeth-chattering, mid-winter mornings when the temperature dips so low it hardly registers, and you’re halfway up the chairlift, literally freezing your butt off as the wind pierces like razors.
“Cold” is certainly a relative term, but comfort is universally appreciated. Naturally, more people would go outdoors in the winter if they could stay warm. That’s why the progressive outerwear brands have been heavily investing in advanced-fabrication methods with built-in heating technologies that go beyond electric socks and disposable hand warmers. Sounds far out, but winter will never be as cold again — and we’re not talking about global warming. Short of skiing and snowboarding in an electric blanket, these products are your best bet for keeping toasty warm all day long.
Mountain Hardwear Ardica Jacket
The outerwear techies at Mountain Hardwear teamed up with portable-power startup Ardica to create a new line of jackets (Refugium for him, Radiance for her) that use a built-in, chargeable battery pack to heat things up. The lithium ion battery slips into the back of the liner, where it provides heat to the back, and taps into a pre-wired heat system on the chest. Three separate settings allow the wearer to adjust heat levels depending on how cold it is. What’s more, it packs enough power to simultaneously charge electronic gadgets, such as cellphones and iPods, using an in-pocket USB jack.
Burton LTD Heated Mighty Pants
To some, heated snowboard pants might seem like the height of overkill, but for those who have spent any amount of time hitting the hardpack on their derrières, this is like a butt-warming dream come true. Designed for women, the Mighty Pants feature an integrated, fully rechargeable heat system that converts electric current into radiant heat, which is printed directly onto the liner of the pant. Just throw in the small battery pack, flip the switch to either a low, medium or high temperature setting, and voilà, you’ll think you’re warming your buns fireside.
Rip Curl S-Bomb Vest
Rip Curl recently expanded on the popularity of its H-Bomb heated wetsuits and unveiled the aptly named S-Bomb, an electronically heated soft-shell vest designed to keep skiers and snowboarders, or any other fool outside in sub-zero temperatures, warm. With the flick of an integrated switch, a powered-heating system in the lower back fires up and glows red. Chuckle at the misfortune of those around you as you stay warm for up to three hours on full blast, or six hours on half power. Throw it on underneath your jacket, and cold — fuggeddaboutit!
Women’s Salomon Charm 7 ski boot
Ladies, no more cold toes with these puppies. Constructed from an ultra-light polypropylene shell, not only are these boots cold-finger friendly with tool-free automatic adjustment at the calf, they have integrated power-heated soles that will keep your feet roasting. The soft Walkadin pads on the heel and toe of these boots also grip securely, making walking on varying surfaces easier than in the past. Add a faux fur liner and you’re looking good on the slope or in the lift line. If you’re a snowboarder feeling left out, check out the Optima Therm-IC boot.
Nomis Melo Heated Hoody
If your snowboarding philosophy is that of other kids these days, it’s to look cool by riding sans jacket. Well, now there’s a hoody to help you achieve this look without sacrificing a basic winter outdoor necessity: heat. The Melo Heated Hoody from Nomis is made of a cotton-polyester wind-stopper fleece material that is packed with three heating coils to keep you feeling, well, as its name implies, toasty. Whether you’re on the slopes or at the skating rink, eight hours of battery life allows you to stay outdoors all day without worrying about the heat shutting off. Unless you forgot to charge beforehand, that is.