Imagine you could pick your dream kit for a trip to Japan: Anything and everything you’ve ever wanted, from head to toe. All the newest, high-performance gear from top brands in the industry delivered right to your door step. New skis, poles, boots and bindings? Check. Waterproof, breathable and comfortable outerwear? Check. Baselayers and socks to keep you comfy all day? Check. It’s almost too good to be true…
Well, we’ve partnered with the folks at evo to help you realize these dreams. The word may be out that Japan has the goods, but the details remain fuzzy, and the journey remains a daunting one, so let the experts at evo’s adventure travel business, evoTrips, lead the way. Offering guided trips to locations around the globe, the team at evo is ready to show you the ins-and-outs of exploring new mountains and foreign cultures.
In this four-part series, we’re showing you how to suit up for your next adventure travel trip into the mountains, starting with a powder-filled adventure to the Land of the Rising Sun. Known for its bottomless, neck-deep powder—a notoriously wet kind of snow, fluid low-angle tree runs, unbeatable lift-accessed terrain and some of the most delicious dining options around, a ski trip to Japan should be on every skier’s bucket list.
Below, you’ll find our top picks from evo’s extensive inventory, hand-selected for a trip to Japan to ensure each product helps you perform at your best when the snow is overhead—i.e. Japan pretty much every day, all winter long.
The Pescado, the latest creation from the genius mind of Eric Pollard, is a directional powder ski that’s constructed to surf the deepest waves of powder imaginable. It’s quite beefy, with a 125 mm waist and 158 mm shovel to help keep it above the snow. Still, minimal taper produces a longer effective edge and a directional flex allows the mounting position to be moved back, translating to power and drive. Its swallowtail design takes direct inspiration from surfboards and helps decrease drag, too. We’re happy to report it has no problem revving up the RPMs on pow days.
The Marker Griffon is the best-selling binding on the market—it has a widely attractive DIN range of four to 13, it’s lightweight at 2,038 grams per pair (with a 110 mm brake) and boasts all of the safety and retention capabilities that Marker is known for. The use of the brand’s SOLE.ID construction makes it even more appealing: With the turn of a screw (either direction) in front of the toepiece, the AFD is heightened or lowered, making the binding compatible with both ISO alpine 5355 and touring boot 9523 certifications. No matter if you shred the resort all day, everyday, or utilize touring boots to get yourself out-of-bounds, the Marker Griffon 13 ID abides, dude.
The new Freetour XT 130 is one majorly badass alpine touring boot—we’re talking Vin Diesel badass. Stiff yet lightweight Grilamid plastic makes up the shell and a lightweight Ultralon foam liner offers customization and toasty insulation that’s impervious to packing out. The boot’s metal-on-metal locking mechanism allows for a trustworthy connection and a 43-degree range of motion in hike mode will have you racing uphill. Its Dynafit inserts are compatible with many of the tech bindings on the market, too. Additionally, it’s offered in both a low-volume 97 mm last and wider 100 mm offering.
The pro model pole of legend Eric Pollard, these bad boys are an awesome adjustable offering from Line. They extend from 100 to 130 centimeters, they’re made of a lightweight, durable carbon-aluminum combo and they come with two different sized baskets—60 mm and 90 mm.
Flylow’s Quantum Pro Jacket is the definitive quiver-killer when it comes to outerwear. Durable, three-layer fabric is waterproof yet breathable, keeping you dry on the deepest of powder days. It also packs small and is ideal to use with mid- and base-layers, making it a high-performance choice in every weather condition. The Quantum Pro’s chest zippers are thoughtfully placed to use while wearing a backpack, and it is constructed with a looser, “freeride fit,” meant to give you just enough extra room to move around while your bouncing through the trees, on the skin track or zooming down groomers.
A staple in the Flylow collection, the Chemical Pant is easy solution to keeping your bottom half dry and warm as your plow through deep Japanese powder. Designed with clean, rugged lines, these pants are just as tough as you—and they’re made to last season-after-season. Featuring reinforced knees and cuffs, fully-taped seams and amazingly durable three-layer fabric. One thoughtful design feature is the thigh vent, which zips from the top of the pant to the bottom, allowing for maximum airflow when things heat up. The Chemical Pant is the catalyst that suits your needs inbounds and out.
The Ledge is a minimalist helmet that employs a two-piece, hard-shell design and MIPS to absorb and distribute the common rotational forces endured when skiers crash. The Ledge is also customizable, allowing you to fine-tune your style: The goggle retainer can be removed from the back if you prefer an under-the-goggle fit, the fit system can also be detached to loosen things up and if ear pads aren’t your thing, you can take those out.
Oyuki’s The Shaka Mittens are handcrafted using the finest materials from around the world and designed, tested and perfected amid the powder fields of Niseko, Japan. The soul of this glove begins with its waterproof Porelle Dry membrane, further complemented by Primaloft Gold insulation and a reinforced premium goat skin leather outer shell. Together, they will keep you comfortable and warm on the mountain no matter the conditions, so you can focus on uplifting your skiing soul. Oh, and don’t forget to hang loose.
Say “hello” to the latest addition to Oakley’s impressive fleet of goggles, the Fall Line. Rimless, uniquely-shaped and full of tech, this beaut’ is one we heavily rely upon. Its large, cylindrical lens offers absurdly wide field of view while also boasting PRIZM tech that just… well… makes everything look downright awesome via clarity- and contrast-enhancing lenses. Meanwhile, Oakley’s Ridgelock Technology makes swapping lenses easy peezy by way of a couple simple switches.
The Atom LT Hoodie is the ideal mid-layer for every condition. Lightweight, breathable and constructed of materials that earn Arc’teryx’s seal of approval, the LT Hoodie is a must-bring on outings in the mountains this winter. Designed with a trim fit that accommodates motion and sits nicely underneath a shell, the jacket is warm enough to use on its own in drier conditions.
Need a baselayer that’ll help you maintain the proper temperature even when it’s dumping outside? Look no further than Smartwool’s Merino 250 tops and bottoms. Made of the same Merino wool that’s been trusted for years, the 250 crew neck top and bottoms feature flatlock seam construction to help eliminate chaffing, while a snug fit keeps the fabric nicely next-to-skin all day long.
When the lift stops spinning, throw on evo’s own Emerald City Beanie to keep you warm all through the night. The hat sits snug when cuffed, uses woven-in elastic to keep its shape and is the perfect companion, no matter your destination.
From the white room to bluebird days, Darn Tough’s Mountain Top delivers the ultimate combination of moisture-wicking warmth, legendary Darn Toughness and a superior performance fit with three integrated ribbed zones.
Stock power straps are adequate for some people, but others demand elevated drive and control in their skiing. Booster’s dynamic power bands replace a boot’s stock strap, cinching the upper cuff ultra-tight for a stiffer flex which generates increased power transmission and handling—like Ken Block-style handling. Additionally, Booster Straps provide a bit of cushioning to prevent dreaded shin-bang.
This everyday ripper has everything you need and nothing you don’t; we count on the Mission Pro 18L for day-long outings of any sort—including frontside ripping, lift-accessed backcountry skiing or long slogs on the skin track. Features include a diagonal ski carry system, dedicated tool and shovel pocket, padded hip belt, insulated hydro sleeve and fleece-lined goggle pocket. In a nod to your safety, the pack is compatible with the DK Impact Spine Protector (sold separately), which hardens on impact for added protection from rocks, trees, Sasquatch attacks, etc.
Traveling long distances means you don’t have your local ski shop to rely on if anything happens to your equipment. In lieu of cutting your ski day short because of a loose screw, bad wax job or other unpredictable mishaps, pack Dakine’s Quick Tune Tuning Kit for ski rehab on the go. Includes a torque driver with five bits and a 8/10mm wrench, edge tuning tool, triangle scraper, octane bar (for use on all temp wax) and a scuff pad.
An organized travel bag makes you a happy traveler. The Boundary Ski Roller will help you meet that goal. It comfortably accommodates two pairs of mid-sized skis, ski boots, ski poles, a helmet, goggles, gloves and also outerwear—and your boots and apparel even get their own removable, internal bags to keep things tidy. Two zippered, padded pockets on the exterior provide even more storage. You can stuff this thing for miles, just be wary of that 50-pound airline limit before you hit the skies.
If you’re looking to take the classic Vans look into the mountains without the fear of getting your feet soaked or ruining your favorite kicks, look no further than the Vans Mountain Edition. Specifically designed to withstand the elements, the Sk8-HI 46 MTE has all the bells and whistles you demand when in the mountains all while keeping the classic Vans style in tact.
As nice as coozies are, let’s be honest: most do absolutely nothing useful. Wrapping those flimsy pieces of cloth around your beverage is more for style than function at the end of the day. But a coozie made by YETI, constructed with stainless steel and double-wall vacuum insulation? Not only does that work well, it looks sleek as heck, too. Enter the YETI Colster: In addition to the aforementioned tech, it features a Load-and-Lock Gasket to keep your drink screwed in place, as well as a No Sweat exterior to prevent damp or cold hands. We’ve been keeping our beers frosty with this thing, and suggest you do the same.