SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLE:

Hurrah! Choucas! Official Headwear USSSA National Snowshoe Team

Promising to be the brightest, best-dressed U.S. Snowshoe Association National Team yet, Choucas (“shoo kah”) tips their whimsical, colorful hats to honor the sport of snowshoeing.

Snowshoeing fast as a bird!

Snowshoeing fast as a bird!

With their status now as the official headwear for this élite group of 22 winter endurance athletes from ten states, expect to see Choucas flying around qualifying races throughout the country. National team members earn their slot by first qualifying for the USSSA National Championships, then finishing in the top five of the senior mens/women’s class or the top three of the junior boys/girls group for the grueling national championship event. 2015’s USSSA National Championship races in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Luckily, we more-mortal snowshoers can get in on the action, too.

The Choucas GLIDE grabs attention with its intricate mix of colors and designs awakening silent woods and white snow with a needed dose of panchromatic whimsy. No more dead for your head; these lightweight toppers carry a palette of tones wild enough to buck one out of bed.

Choucas GLIDE wakes up the forest.

Choucas GLIDE wakes up the forest.

In addition to making you brighter–don’t we all want to be brighter?–Choucas will keep you warmer. Mixing Polartec Wind Pro fleece headbands with a beanie-style head cover, a unique hat results: a headband that is wind resistant to the extreme along with a crown that breathes, exhaling moisture from your noggin.

A GLIDE PLUS look

A GLIDE PLUS look

The headband does not block out sound so you won’t miss the USSSA’s Sports Director Mark Elmore’s call of your national championship race finish. Plus, he will be able to spot you coming from a long way off.

In a race or out for a day on the trails, there are multiple times where a snowshoer may want to wear a hat or not; with the GLIDE, stuff it in a pocket, pull it out when you need; it’s fleece and it’s friendly.

Now there is another style choice: GLIDE PLUS. The PLUS provides a double band of the very special wind resistant fleece Choucas uses. The crown design, sporting extra space for a looser feel to it, may offer an advantage to some.

Racing double BANDIT style

Racing double BANDIT style

But what to do when the wind swirls like at the Colorado Dion USSSA National Championships in 2012? Leave that boring brown lapel down; instead add a Choucas BANDIT! Call it a neck gaiter, a scarf, maybe bandana . . . just don’t call it boring. A little stretchy, double-thick but light-weight, these scarves continue the Choucas fan-of-color. Use the BANDIT in the summer to block out the sun and heat. Wear it every time you race in one of the UMTR Gnarly Bandit Ultra Trail Series events or other ultra races.

Trails get dusty? Pull the BANDIT like a mask to filter the air. Special Ops soldiers do.

Polartec has a long history of development, though its modern times tick from 1981 when Polarfleece popped up. More than 200 patents protect the product’s development, promoting more creativity.

From there, Malden Mills, established more than 110 years ago, continues to create, differentiate and promote this powerful material with names like 1991s Polartec, Windbloc in 1995, along

Choucas headband on-the-rocks

Choucas headband on-the-rocks

with “super fleece” Wind Pro that in 1999 partied like Prince sang, though by blocking wind while breathing. Prince never seems to breathe.

In 2007 Malden Mills updated its name to Polartec LLC, but its history is not forgotten. The Malden statue lives on to award those who push the dynamic creativity of this material to the extremes like Choucas, a winner of a 2014 APEX Award. Receiving a Malden—Polartec says “Winning a Malden is like magic”—validates the creativity of Choucas. These individual handmade statues are unique; no two are alike.

Look for more creations from Choucas as new fleece fabrics continue to pour out annually; new inventions make this material grow younger every year, not older. New age Polartec is not your parent’s fleece coat.

In the meantime, get your Choucas now. Fly high this winter, just like the raven-like namesake for this company. Soar on the snow . . . and go.

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About Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition including drag racing, his favorite motor sport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING:Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING:Keys" in a unique way. Currently he has two books in the works. Twitter: @iHarmonizing

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