Hot gear to keep you warm

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— Picking out a new snowboard, jacket and goggles is so much easier when there are few options to choose from, so excuse Hilary Greene if she is a little flustered.

And she wasn't even shopping; Greene was picking out an outfit to model.

"There is so much stuff," she said.

Sensory overload might be the theme for ski and snowboard fashion during the 2006-07 season.

Helmets have built-in headphones that work with iPods and cell phones.

Jackets, goggles, skis and snowboards are colorful with bold prints and graphics.

Visit area ski and snowboard shops and take in all the greens, browns, oranges and blues. Often, these colors are melded together in patterns that should make it easy to spot the person anywhere on the mountain - and regardless of how deep the snow is.

"Prints are rockin' this year," said Chris Smith, owner of the Power Pursuits snowboard shop in Ski Time Square.

This year's line of clothing and gear is still arriving at many Steamboat shops, but most shelves already are stocked with the latest threads. Smith said local riders have been pouring into the store to check out the new styles.

And the piles of snow outside the shop haven't hurt either, Smith added.

The Powder Pursuits owner was particularly excited about some of this season's funkier fashions, including magnetic buttons on jackets and pleated pockets on snowboard pants.

One jacket that caught Smith's eye is a maroon number with a satin look and Asian-style pattern.

"What I buy for my store is whatever I like," Smith said.

At the Christy Sports store in Central Park Plaza, manager Eric Bell said trends in the snowboard world are true for skiers, too.

Bold prints are common, and funky graphics are growing in popularity on freestyle skis. Rossignol holds an annual contest to design a ski.

Popular skis this year have been women's skis from K2 - the OneLuv and BurninLuv. The Salomon Temptress ski, a bright pink and black model, is popular among the teenage crowd, Christy Sports' Tim Hanna said.

Bell pulled two ski boots off the shelves. Each had tufts of synthetic fur coming out the top to increase warmth and comfort.

Ski boots that are comfortable? Now there's a fashion trend worth celebrating.

Ski season in Steamboat opens Nov. 22 with Scholarship Day.

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