Gadling Gear Review: Adidas Choleah Laceup Boots for Women

I like traveling in cold weather but you’ve got to make the sacrifice of checking a bag and bulking up your gear. Good footwear is critical year round, but you’ll be downright miserable if you have cold feet while stomping around a twee alpine village or a dirty snow urban landscape.

Moon-boot styling is kind of back, isn’t it? But they’re a lot lighter than they were the first time around, and they’re made out of considerably better materials. Adidas Choleah Laceup is a surprisingly lightweight, warm and weatherproof boot.

I have one minor skepticism about the way the boot is pitched but that’s because I didn’t have icy conditions in which to give it a try. The sole on the shoe is supposed to offer great traction – I can’t confirm or deny that. The tread looks a little shallow – but I could be wrong. If you’re really going to be on the ice, you might want some ice cleats.

Unknown traction issues aside, these are darned cute boots and who doesn’t like a pair of cute winter boots that keep you warm and dry? They’re about mid-calf height and have a fluffy fake fur lining around the uppers. That makes them a little bulky up top; you’re not going to be able to pull your skinny jeans over the outside but you can tuck them in and lace them up.

They’re also very warm and dry. They have a light synthetic fill as insulation and the shoe is lined with fabric that holds heat. They’re made of all kinds of technically named stuff – PrimaLoft, ClimaProof, Adiprene – which may not mean much on a brand name basis, but it actually does make a boot that keeps your feet warm in cold, wet weather.My winter gear tests involve the slightly above freezing and raining conditions of the Pacific Northwest winter. When I put these boots on to go out into an unpleasant December day, I had cold feet. It took a while for me to warm up, but once I did, I was very happy with how toasty my feet were. And yeah, style is subjective, but I think they look swell. Yes, you could wear them with some tights and a skirt and you’d be quite the adorable urban snow bunny. They also offer exactly the kind of wear you’d expect from an athletic shoemaker; they’re very comfortable for a long day’s walk.

Adidas originally listed the Choleah for $150, but I’ve seen them listed for half that online. They come in two colors, a very dark gray (almost black) with black laces and a burgundy with white laces. They’re cute, comfortable, great for bad weather and surprisingly lightweight. I’d say they make the cut for winter travel.

[Image courtesy of Adidas]

Photo Of The Day: Trekking Chadar

Today’s Photo of the Day sort of resembles what many of us will experience when traveling over the coming holiday week, or at least, it can feel like a trek. Flickr user arunchs shot this on the famous Chadar Trek, one of the most majestic but challenging in the world. These people are actually crossing the frozen Zanskar River in India, walking over the slippery and icy surfaces of the Himalayas, often carrying luggage on their backs in inhospitable conditions. Some Buddhist monks will walk across the chadar (ice) in their bare feet, so consider that next time you complain about removing your shoes for airport security.

Want to wow us with your travel photos? Add them to the Gadling Flickr pool for another Photo of the Day. Happy holiday trekking!

[Photo credit: Flickr user arunchs]

Ski Town Holidays: Not Just For Skiers

It sounds crazy, but not all ski-town tourists are there to downhill ski. In fact, many don’t even know how. I’ll also let you in on a local’s secret: not all permanent residents of ski towns know how to ski, and of those who do, many can’t even afford a season pass.

The fact is, there are now more options than ever for non-skiers and those on a tight budget to engage in other winter sports, if they’re not willing or able to hit the slopes. I know many couples that have differing ideas of a ski vacation: one loves alpine skiing, while the other is happier sitting by a fire drinking hot toddies or shopping. They make it work.

Regardless of your mutual or differing snow-centric passions, ski town holidays can work for everyone. Most resorts now have Nordic centers and outfitters that offer at least some combination of the below list, so there’s no excuse not to get out there this winter.

Nordic/cross-country skiing (free/cheap rentals!)
Snowshoeing (ditto)
Dog sledding (please do your research beforehand, to make sure the business has no animal welfare citings)
Cultural tours
Adaptive sports
Skjioring (when a skier is pulled by a dog or horse0
Hot springs
Sleigh rides
Horseback riding

[Photo credit: Flickr user US Embassy Sweden]

Winter riding at The Home Ranch, in Clark, Colorado (near Steamboat Springs)

Avoiding Altitude Woes: What To Bring On Your Next Ski Trip

There are few things that bum out a ski trip more than altitude issues. Even if your symptoms are just in the form of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) – headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia or nausea – it’s often enough to make you wish you’d stayed at home.

I live in Colorado, and have resided in a couple of high-altitude ski towns in the past. Since our ski season just kicked off, for the purposes of this post I’m only focusing on AMS, rather than more serious forms of altitude sickness.

Predisposition to AMS is subjective. Age, physiology, genetics, and physical fitness may or may not play a role. If, however, you’ve got congestive heart failure, a nice alpine getaway may not be the best thing. Conversely, if you’re not in the habit of drinking lots of water at elevation, you’re going to feel like hell, regardless of how fit you are.

The higher the elevation, the harder your body has to work, because air pressure is lower (i.e. there’s less oxygen, which is also why it’s dehydrating). The body responds by producing more red blood cells to increase circulation. The short answer is, high elevations stress the body.

To ensure your next visit to the mountains is free of altitude-related woes, follow these tips:

  • Hydrate – with water, not soda or other sugary beverages – then hydrate some more. Amounts vary depending upon your gender, activity level and weight; 2.5 liters a day is considered a rough daily estimate necessary for good health at sea level. If you’re seriously shredding the pow, then a sports drink with electrolytes at day’s end is also a good idea.
  • If you have health concerns, acclimate slowly, if possible. Try to spend a night at a lower elevation before heading to your destination. Example: Fly into Denver (5,280 feet), before heading to Aspen (7,890 feet).
  • Go easy the first 48 hours, as you acclimatize.
  • Since you’re burning and expending more calories, be sure to eat small, regular meals or snacks when you’re out there tearing it up on the slopes.
  • Reduce (I know better than to say “avoid”) consumption of alcohol. At altitude, one drink has double the impact. This makes for a cheap date, but it can do a number on your head and body. Pace yourself, and drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage. You’re welcome.
  • Take Diamox, ibuprofen, or aspirin, which will eliminate many of your symptoms such as headache, sluggishness, or dizziness. When I attended culinary school in Vail, one of our classrooms was located at 11,000 feet. Our first week of school, most of us were nodding off due to the altitude, and aspirin was far more effective than caffeine.
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping, you can try an OTC, or avail yourself of the local hot tub or a warm bath before bed (remember to hydrate afterward!). If you already have insomnia issues, be sure to bring your prescription or regular OTC with you.
  • Slather on the sunscreen. Not only is the sun far stronger at elevation, but its reflection off the snow can reduce your skin and eyes to cinders. Know what else a potent sunburn does? Speeds dehydration. As well as photoaging and skin cancer, but that’s a topic for another article.
  • Don’t get cocky. I live at 5360 feet, and sometimes, even I forget to follow my own advice – a certain crushing hangover in Vail two weeks ago comes to mind. Just because you live at altitude doesn’t mean you’re used to higher altitude. You’ll be better conditioned, yes. But you still need to hydrate regularly, and for the love of god, go easy on the bourbon rocks.

For more detailed information on altitude sickness, including extreme elevations, click here.

Wishing you a safe, happy snow season!

[Photo credits: skier, Flickr user laszlo-photo; tea, Flickr user Kitty Terwolbeck]

Video: New Zealand Train Plows Heavy Snow From Tracks

While those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are basking in the warmth of summer, our friends on New Zealand‘s South Island have been dealing with record low temperatures and heavy snowfalls.

Earlier this week, a blizzard hit the Christchurch area, closing schools and businesses while blanketing the region in deep snow. It was so deep, in fact, that in order to open the railroad line through Arthur’s Pass, a Kiwirail train actually had to be used to clear the route. The video below shows that process as the powerful locomotive spectacularly slices through the heavy powder, leaving clean tracks in its wake.