Now, I realise taking the piss out of the national press and its risible ‘lifestyle’ ski coverage is a rather lazy low-hanging-fruit approach to blogging, but in my defence it’s nothing like as indolent as putting up a load of tweets and pretending it’s a blog post (yes I am looking at you, Illicit Snowboarding). Besides, what are you lot doing with your Sunday morning anyway? Bet you aren’t even out of bed yet, let alone slaving over a hot Macbook.
Back to the Guardian again this week, and its list of ‘This Season’s Best Ski and Snowboarding Kit‘. It says ‘best’ in the headline, so the reader should expect to see a comprehensive roundup of the latest useful good-quality gear, right? Er …………. not as such. In fact they seem to have gone out of their way to combine the utterly ridiculous with the merely mediocre, while adding a sprinkling of the mundane just for a change.
In number one position we’ve got Ruroc’s RG-1 Core, a helmet and goggles combo specifically designed to make you look like a cross between Darth Vader and The Stig. These things have been around for a few years, so I have to assume they do actually sell the odd one, though I’ve never seen one in action. Possibly because they make you look like an extra at a Star Wars convention while at the same time rendering it impossible to talk to anyone, answer your phone or eat crocodiles on the chairlifts.
Next up we’ve got a set of frankly hideous thermals from a company called Sweaty Betty, which I could suggest is not the best monicker for an outfit trying to flog baselayers, items which you hope will remove sweat from your immediate vicinity. Following your granny’s advice that you should always wear respectable underwear in case you’re knocked down by a tram, I’d give these a miss.
Moving on, we come to possibly the most ridiculous thing to hit the world of wintersports since …… well ever, really. Ladies and gentlemen, the dual snowboard. Because snowboarding was just crying out for a snowblade of its very own. The Angry Snowboarder has already more than adequately ridiculed these ludicrous contraptions (and in fact managed to kill two birds with one stone by slating both them and blades in one post, good effort), so I’m not about to go any further here. Suffice to say that they have no place anywhere near anyone’s roundup of best wintersports kit.
Further down the list we come to the apres ski cape, another of Sweaty Betty’s dubious offerings, which they list under ‘key looks’ and call a ‘snow statement‘. The statement in question being ………. what? The mind boggles. Team it wth Ruroc’s helmet for the full Darth Vader look, which will come in handy over the New Year fancy dress party season at any rate, though I can’t think of any other use for it.
Scroll through a few fairly ordinary odds and ends, and we come to a kids outfit from Horsefeathers, according to the Guardian a ‘new brand’ which ‘skiers are raving about’. Unfortunately for the hacks in question, Horsefeathers has been on the go since 1989 (something it clearly states right under the company’s logo on its website) and you’re not going to catch skiers ‘raving about’ their stuff any time soon, since they make boarding gear. Which is also very clear from even the most cursory glance at their website. Still, their kiddy range is indeed rather jazzy, and if you want cool outfits for your anklebiters this season you could do worse. The little chap modelling it certainly looks happy enough.
Further down the list we arrive at ……… a mobile phone case! A Nokia/Burton collaboration (complicated things, mobile phone cases), this promises to keep your smartphone warm. Well yes, that is all it does. What did you want for 20€? Tests show that a Nokia Lumix will stream music at -10°C if rugged up in its fleecy case. Personally I find that my iWidget will do much the same while stuffed into an inside pocket, but maybe the Nokia is particularly susceptible to cold. Bit odd for a product designed by Finns, but there you go.
At the other end of the tech spectrum there’s the Recon Mod Live, a £300 widget which records fascinating information such as the amount of time you spent in the air when you misjudged that lumpy bit, and projects it onto the lens of your goggles. I have no idea what to say about this gadget other than that if you ski into me because you are reading the inside of your goggles you are going to get such a slapping.
Finally, we have a pair of ladies ski pants courtesy of established French skiwear company Degre 7’s Henri Duvillard range. £220 for the privilege of looking like an elderly French lady, I think not. If I want to do that I can spend a fiver on one of those flowery aprons, thanks.
In amongst this tosh we find a few perfectly respectable bits of kit (jacket courtesy of Sweet Protection, backpack by Dakine) and some average mid-range innocuous items (ladies outerwear from The North Face, fashion gear from Burton), but there’s not a lot which could resonably be described as ‘best’ by any stretch of the imagination.
Seriously, Guardian, where do you get this rubbish from? It woudn’t be difficult to cover the whole ski/board thing well if you could be arsed, though admittedly you’d have to employ a few writers with some idea of what they’re talking about. But that’s not exactly hard either – there’s a fair few of us out here. Belle de Neige might be a bit rude for the average Guardian reader, but I imagine the Francophoney could be relied upon to provide well-informed and largely profanity-free copy. Further suggestions in the sidebar, if you can be bothered to look. Just think, you could be the first national publication ever to cover the industry with any degree of seriousness. Has to be advertising revenue in that, surely.