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3 Winter Sports to Discover in Style
Winter can be a difficult time for athletes, but like us, you believe that the cold weather is no excuse to stay sedentary! To maintain your motivation during a snowstorm or when the temperatures drop, what’s better than gearing up for new outdoor adventures? Ladies and gentlemen, instead of your skiing and snowboarding sessions, we’ve come up with a list of unusual winter sports for you to test and try out!
Wondering how to dress in order to practice winter sports? Follow the three-layer rule. Just like when you go for a sprint in sub-zero temperatures, what’s key when you’re out in the great outdoors is to choose performance pieces that will be simple to slip on and off as the body gets active and warms up. For those aiming for the summits, opt for clothing that will be easy to carry.
90% climbing + 10% downhill = landscapes that are 100% incredible! This sport that began in Europe consists of attaching synthetic skins to the underside of your skis in order to scale snow-covered trails until you're able to reach the ski area. While being very trendy, it's not very easy to do. Make sure to be well-prepared before heading off on this wild athletic adventure. We recommend planning your itinerary and sticking to it as much as possible during the hike with the help of a map. In fact, ski touring trails are rarely, if at all, marked and patrolled, which means that you should be extra cautious. Go in groups of at least three people and make sure to carry a first aid kit with you in one of your backpacks, as well as safety equipment. If you follow these basics when setting off, your ski touring experience will be 100% fun!
What you need: Touring skis with good detachable bindings, climbing skins, comfortable boots, and your favorite ski accessories all in a backpack that you can take anywhere. For the climb, the step that’s the most physically demanding, wear clothing that’s lightweight, breathable, and articulated. Save your shell or insulating layer for the descent. Now, there are 3-in-1 styles, for him and for her, that are ideal for ski touring!
Have you seen these oversized two-wheelers? Thanks to their low-pressure tires that are twice as wide as those on a classic mountain bike, a fat bike allows you to zip along trails in the middle of winter. This atypical bicycle first appeared in the late ’80s in Alaska and was mainly used to cross large distances that were covered in snow. This adventure bike became more prevalent in the United States in the 2000s and then, much to our delight, in Canada a few years later. Great news: Most sites that are open to hiking, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing also allow fat biking. This new way of seeing and discovering wintery trails requires a lot of agility and cardio. If you’re a beginner, don’t be surprised if you find yourself frequently falling in the powder while cycling along narrow trails!
What you need: Look for a light and airy biking helmet instead of a ski helmet. Also, we strongly recommend wearing wind-resistant and breathable clothing. From your tuque to your gloves, choose underlayers made of high-powered thermal fibres. Don’t forget to check the natural parks and bike shops near you for buying or renting a fat bike.
Did you know? More and more winter clothing brands are thinking about the environment and offering their customers products made according to environmentally responsible methods and with eco-friendly materials. Here are a few certifications you might spot on the labels of your alpine sports gear.
REPREVE®: Repreve is a certified company that produces 100% recycled textile fibres from plastic bottles and, in doing so, encourages a circular mode of consumption that's better for the environment.
BLUESIGN®: BLUESIGN® is an independent verification label that guarantees eco-friendly, transparent, and sustainable textile production. It aims to eliminate the use of harmful products at each stage in the manufacturing.
PFC-FREE DWR® (Durable Water Repellent): PFCs (petroflourinated compounds) are chemical compounds used on outdoor clothing in order to make it waterproof, but they are very harmful to humans and the environment. The DWR®-certified treatment is an excellent alternative that's chemical-free and equally as effective in repelling water.
RDS® (Responsible Down Standard) CERTIFICATION: This ethical norm certifies that the feathers and down used in making the clothing comes from animals that were treated humanely, complying with the Five Freedoms issued by the Farm Animal Welfare Council.
PRIMALOFT®: In recent years, the warmest of all the synthetic insulators has been offering an environmentally responsible series made of 50% recycled materials of post-consumer origin, including PrimaLoft Gold, PrimaLoft Black, and even PrimaLoft Bio, which is an insulating fibre made of 100% recycled materials that biodegrades by 80% or more only one year after being disposed of.
Hok Skiing or Skishoeing
Behind this hybrid sport are two skiing fans, Nils Larsen and François Sylvain. Inspired by the hunters in the Altai Mountains of Northern Asia, this duo from the United States and Quebec wanted to strike a balance between a cross-country ski and a snowshoe. Hok skis range between 125 and 145 cm in length and have built-in climbing skins that add more traction to the skis during climbs. And when going downhill, they’ll easily float over the snow, even when it’s powder. They’re the perfect pair of skis for going backcountry skiing nearby or for exploring traditional snowshoe trails. In terms of technique, if you are familiar with alpine and cross-country skiing, you’ll have no problem adjusting to this new sport after just a few minutes. Get ready to work your heart and your legs!
What you need: A pair of Hok skis (available at the location), warm and stretchy cross-country ski pants, your three favorite layers, and, of course, accessories that adequately protect your hands and head depending on the predicted weather forecast: gloves, tuque, balaclava, sunglasses, sunscreen…
Are you as excited as we are to try out these sports this winter?