You can see the winning products on page 43. Here are the winning (and losing?) moments.
When we headed into Idaho’s Pioneer Mountains for five days of gear testing, some things went right, some things went wrong, and some things went a little sideways. In the end, we were reminded of this timeless truth: Attitude can be more important than gear.
1. A wood-fired sauna is now required on all future backcountry ski trips. 2. To find the unexpected, we use products in ways the designers probably didn’t intend. Case in point: employing the Therm-a-Rest Polar Ranger’s arm holes for a sledding session (“Works great!” said our editor-in-chief). 3. It would be misleading to say we like blisters, but let’s just say we don’t mind seeing our rookie testers earn their stripes. 4. More unintended gear testing? We had to improvise a rescue sled after one of the crew tore her ACL in a mid-couloir fall. 5. We hauled lots of extra test gear into basecamp, which meant stupid-heavy packs on the first day. Fortunately, we had those rookies to load up.