Oboz Yellowstone II boots
By Taylor Anderson, Big Sky Weekly Assistant Editor
It’s like walking on a bed of pillows made of the silk that comes only from the golden silk worm in Southeast Asia, I thought as I slipped on a new pair of Yellowstone II mid-height hiking boots from Oboz.
As I trudged through the snow, ice and rock, performing my reporter duties, I couldn’t help but notice the rigid soles that made the kept the jagged rocks underfoot at bay. The boot’s high-friction, rubber outsoles grip both wet and dry surfaces like a vice.
The boots are beefy, but weigh in at less than three pounds between the two of them, not that heavy for a durable hiking boot. B-DRY waterproofing puts them to the top of the list for late spring hikes.
Performance counts, and how your feet feel after you’re done matters.
Top reviews online include one from a hiker on a 23-day trip in Nepal. He said he had just three hours in the boots before leaving, but that he returned after trekking over high-altitude glaciers and moraines with not a scratch, scar or blister.
As if the boots couldn’t get higher praise, Oboz boots are made in, naturally, Bozeman. Schnees and REI in Bozeman, and Grizzly Outfitters in Big Sky all carry Oboz. $150.00 obozfootwear.com
The Patriot Swiss Army Knife
Knives, knives everywhere! When I worked on Search and Rescue in Tuolumne Meadows, Calif., that was my boss’s motto. The Wenger Swiss Army Patriot is so light and slim (it weighs less than an ounce) it’s a perfect extra to slip in the bottom of your bag. You’ll never know it’s there until you need it. Like all Wenger products, it’s precision engineered in Switzerland and is guaranteed for life. It would have made my boss happy. E.S. $24.95 wengerna.com
FlyLow Gear Chemical Pants
These have been my standby ski pants for the last couple seasons. I have hiked, skied, après-ed, and wrenched on my car in them. They have massive vents on the outside and insides of the legs. The waist was designed with an adjustable Velcro tab so that I never have to use a belt. They have articulated knees, with extra material on the knees and the cuffs for better wear. If you want comfortable ski pants that will move with your body and withstand any beating you can dish out, try the Chemical from FlyLow. You won’t be disappointed.
You can find FlyLow at Gallatin Alpine Sports and Big Sky Sports, or at flylowgear.com.
Hot Chilly’s Salsa Print Zip-T
By Over-50 Ski Mom Big Sky Weekly Contributor
Heading out at freezing temperatures for first tracks can be tricky when you plan on staying out all day, and then heading directly to après. Tricky, that is, when it comes to base layers that will take you through the day and meet an array of skiing and social needs.
The Hot Chilly’s Salsa print Zip T has a 1/4 zipper, and wicking capabilities a stylish design. The fitted cut of this top along with the contrasting and shapely black inset makes this my first choice when heading out for the day. It keeps me incredibly warm and toasty those first few powder runs, and is no less snappy when I order my extra dry martini at day’s end.
The typical layering piece will not have the same effect as this “wow” piece! My presence at the bar was greeted with many “hey—great top” comments, as well as speedy service from the attentive bartender. I’ve even paired it with slacks and boots for a more sophisticated look when dashing about town.
If you need to add a piece to spice up your otherwise mundane wicking apparel, this is the one for you. I think all cougar moms need one. hotchillys.com
Handmade Jewelry: HattieRex
Give the gift of local and charm to a mother, daughter or pet. HattieRex is an artist-owned business located in Bozeman that creates personalized and custom pet ID tags, jewelry, wine charms, keychains, and other handcrafted metal accessories. Working in copper, brass, aluminum, and sterling silver, HattieRex creates one-of-a-kind goods at affordable prices to personalize, wear and enjoy.
HattieRex products have been featured in CountryLiving, ModernDog, and CityDog magazines, as well as HGTV.com. HattieRex was an Etsy featured seller in November 2009.
The Montana and Teton necklaces are made of copper and rose gold plated sterling silver/sterling silver. They’re also available in gold tones. Starting at $38.
The pet ID tags are made of oxidized copper. $14-$30.
The wine charms are 3/4” in diameter and made of aluminum. Great for party favors, weddings and gifts. $5 each, bulk discounts available.
The ‘swirly bird’ necklace is in sterling silver and features a name of the customers’ choice. $46
hattierex.com (406) 992-4641
Socks: Darn Tough
Rick Cabot started the company in 2005 in his family mill with a goal to make the best performance sock possible. For the three decades prior, the family milled hosiery for private label businesses like the Gap, Banana Republic and Eddie Bauer. When many of those customers sent production overseas, Cabot set out on his own.
An outdoorsman with socks in his blood, Cabot had an eye for comfort, durability and fit. Testing different yarn weights and combinations, his team created a high-density knit that packed 1441 stitches of fine merino wool per square inch—more than any sock in the industry.
This means cushioning even after a long day walking or skiing, plus serious durability. The soft merino also wicks moisture, keeping feet dry and warm, and isn’t as stinky as nylon or cotton.
New this year to Darn Tough’s ski/ride line are the over the calf padded cushion sock and the over the calf padded ultra light. The former is a perfect mid-winter sock, and the latter is for high-performance skiers with super-tight boots or for spring touring. A true seamless toe closure in the ultra-light helps eliminate hot spots and blisters.
Available at Livingston Mercantile, Freeheel and Wheel, Schnee’s Boots and Shoes, Montana Trout Fitters, and Shedhorn Sports, or through online retailers like backcountry.com. $14-$25
In the ‘70s the world had Birkenstocks. In the ‘00s we got Sanuks. The U.S. based company has an eco-approach and over 50 styles of easy-going footwear. Sanuks, a comfortable slipper-type shoe with style, are foot friendly and bring and element of style missing from dated footwear choices.
With a variety of colors and patterns and from which to choose, Sanuks are equally equipped for cozy nights in the lodge or for trips to town. Beware, these are not the best winter shoes as snow sticks to the bottoms like gum, but they are perfect when used as a casual runner or stumbler when pub crawling. The next morning, wear a pair to a meeting and still look presentable.
Our publisher Eric Ladd got his hands on a pair of Vagabond Mossy Oak, and hasn’t taken them off since. “After all,” he said, “who doesn’t love camo sandals?” A.D. sanuk.com $60 – $68
Patagonia merino wool
Since I found Patagonia merino wool last summer—t-shirts, long sleeve shirts and long john bottoms—they’ve been my go-to base layers. I use them while skiing the resort and the backcountry, ice climbing, summer hiking, alpine rock climbing, and chasing my boyfriend around hunting.
They don’t itch, they (hardly) smell, and they’re not restrictive. They don’t rip, don’t pill and I’ve managed not to shrink them in the dryer. The shirts are long enough to tuck into the pants, and don’t ride up under ski pants or a climbing harness.
Patagonia redesigned its merino collection for fall 2011. The new fabric is more durable and more environmentally friendly than its predecessor, and is constructed from a blend of 80 percent fine chlorine-free Australian merino and 20 percent recycled polyester. This blend gives the fabric high tear strength and helps garments keep their shape during wear and washing.
In keeping with its environmentally responsible focus, Patagonia sources its merino from Australian farmers focusing on progressive breeding programs, sustainable land management and animal welfare. And like all Patagonia base layers, the woolies are recyclable through the Common Threads program.
Available in Big Sky at Grizzly Outfitters and online at patagonia.com. $65-$125
A few years ago, Megan Paulson met an old Tibetan farmer along a remote part of China’s Yangtze River. She was part of an expedition running a high-water descent of the river, and they’d just pulled up to camp.
“15 minutes after we docked, the farmer came walking down the hillside by the river carrying a 70-pound bag of yak dung for us [to use for a fire],” Paulson said.
The farmer was worried they might be cold and hungry, and the next day he invited the crew up to his house, which he built from clay and rocks. He made fresh cream from yak milk, shared yak-butter tea, and the boaters let him look through their binoculars, which he’d never used before.
As with every other day on the 200-mile journey, Paulson was wearing her favorite hat—a pretty blue, white and green number from Wizbang.
When she got home Paulson couldn’t find the hat anywhere, and was so bummed she called Liz McRae, owner and founder of Wizbang. At her studio in the Emerson Cultural Center in Bozeman, McRae was able to make another identical hat. It still makes Paulson think of her farmer friend, who’d she like to visit some day with a gift of binoculars.
Wizbang hats are made with “love, grit and joie de vivre—just like the women that wear them,” said an apt description from the website.
Paulson now has six Wizbangs, and wears them every month of the year, loving their fun patterns and stretchy lightweight fabric. Check out this year’s collection, which comes with the option of cute brims. E.S.
Available at Grizzly Outfitters in Big Sky; Bangtail Bikes and Gerty in Bozeman; Freeheel and Wheel in West Yellowstone; and online at wizbanghats.com. $22-25