Fresh snow has fallen on the alps, lending Europe's ski season a crisp sense of possibility. If it's time for a similar renewal of your ski gear, here are some options.
Artisanal manufacturer Bohême in Lubin, France www.boheme.fr until now something of a connoisseur's secret is taking its handsome, handcrafted skis global. Each pair (around $2,000) requires an average of 37 hours to construct: space-age materials are sandwiched to a beech and poplar core, then finished with a thin layer of one of 11 different wooden claddings, including walnut, ebony and rosewood. Thick edges help these beauties carve a precise track down any mountainside.
Compared to the sleek Bohêmes, the Skate Banana (around $600; www.lib-tech.com) seems rough around the edges but that's the point. Lib-Tech, a U.S.-based design company, last year introduced what it calls "magnetraction technology" edges that are serrated like a bread knife and has combined it with a body curved to slide over powder and crud. The result is a snowboard that grips when you need it to and otherwise slips over everything like, yes, a banana peel. A stiffened tip and tail increase stability off big landings in the terrain park, which is where the board's garish yellow color and unorthodox design will probably find its biggest fans.
Atomic has figured out how to give its Hawx ski boots (around $500; www.atomicsnow.com) "forefoot flexibility," which promises sturdy performance without crippling foot pain and leg fatigue. At the beginning of a turn, the Hawx boots flex under the ball of the foot, sending weight into the ski's sweet spot. Atomic's innovation may also ease the ungainly gait of the skier striding to the après-ski lounge.