Volkl has always enjoyed a stellar reputation among avid skiers for its top performance, high quality, and high-cost skis. Thankfully, the company hasn’t forsaken the former qualities with the creation of the Carver V3, which utilizes the integrated Motion binding system. By eschewing the traditional “drill and screw” binding attachment, and instead allowing the Motion to slide along rails in the ski’s topsheet, Volkl delivers a system with smooth, consistent flex and sprightly turning performance.

Snowboard: Heelside Retro ($369; 541-386-6673 or www.heelside.com).
Heelside outfits its wood-cored Retro with rubber foil strips, that help dampen vibration that can throw novice riders off their line, without scuttling the torsional stiffness demanded by more aggressive riders. Too, while most boards in this price range make do with inferior extruded bases, the Retro is shod with a top-quality sintered bottom.

The Mountain: Anything north of the border
With the U.S. dollar still buying better than $1.50 of Canadian goods and services, it’s all a bargain. Consider Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia (800-944-7853 or www.mywhistler.com) or Quebec’s Mont Tremblant (866-836-3030 or www.tremblant.com).