BY MANDY MOHLER

For millennia, humans have used tools for outdoor adventure. Primitive carvings found in Norway and Sweden depict skiers with a single pole as early as 5000 B.C. Beginning in the mid-1800s, outdoor activities, such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing and snowshoeing transitioned from survival pursuits (hunting, nomadic travel, surveying) to sport and recreation.

Over the years, we have continued to use some of the same basic tools as they have improved over time. Until recently, most of this equipment was fabricated from natural fibers. Garments and footwear were made from silk, wool, waxed canvas and leather. Skis, poles and axes were constructed from wood, iron and sinew. Climbing protection consisted of soft iron pitons and hemp ropes.

Today, our outdoor garments consist mostly of synthetic materials, such as nylon, neoprene and Gore-Tex. Our tools are made of aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber and plastic.

With technology that can now withstand inclement weather while providing lightweight support, cold-weather sports are more accessible. These images show how gear has evolved in recent decades, when exploring the outdoors for the sake of adventure has gained popularity.Evo2

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Downhill Skis

Above left to right:
Wooden skis and poles with leather boots circa 1930s
Wooden and fiberglass skis with metal edges; hybrid leather and plastic boots circa 1960s
BLIZZARD Cochise Flat skis 2014 $749.99; LINE Dart poles 2014 $64.95
Gear courtesy of The White Room Mountain Shop in Whitefish – 406.863.7666

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Downhill Ski Boots

Above left to right:
Leather boot circa 1930s
Leather and synthetic hybrid boot circa 1960s
FULLTILT Dropkick Downhill ski boot 2014 $449.95
Gear courtesy of The White Room Mountain Shop in Whitefish – 406.863.7666

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Nordic Skis

Above left to right:
Wooden skis circa 1960s-1970s
Wooden and fiberglass racer skis circa early 1980s
Rossignol Carbon Skate Race skis 2014 $500; Swix Race Poles 2014 $250
Gear courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outfitter in Kalispell – 406.752.2446

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Nordic Ski Boots

Above left to right:
Norronna Tour leather boot circa 1970
FINN Ski Racer cloth and plastic boot circa 1980
5C. Salomon RS Carbon Classic boot (synthetic materials) 2014 $249
Gear courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outfitter in Kalispell – 406.752.2446

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Snowshoes

Clockwise from top:
MSR Lightning Ascent 2014 $280
TUBBS Summit circa 1990s
Sherpa Lightfoot (aluminum tubing, neoprene) circa 1970s
Michigan Trailer (wood and rawhide) circa 1950s
Gear courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outfitter in Kalispell – 406.752.2446

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Ice Screws, Ice Axes, Goggles, Boots & Crampons

Top row, left to right:
circa 1960;
circa 1980;
2014 $60 each

Middle row:
Bamboo shaft picker circa 1970
Carbon shaft circa 1980-1990
Black Diamond Viper 2014 $240 each

Bottom left, left to right:
Cloth and plastic goggles circa 1920
Plastic and foam circa 1970s
Plastic and foam 2014

Bottom right, left to right:
Caliber Superguide leather mountaineering boots circa 1970
Kayland M 1100 leather and synthetic hybrid mountaineering boots 2014 $550
Grivel Vertical Ice crampons 2014 $175

Gear courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outfitter in Kalispell – 406.752.2446

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Alpine Stoves

Top row, left to right:
Primus kerosene stove circa 1950 (maybe older)
SVEA 123 circa 1970
Optimus 111B circa 1980

Bottom row, left to right:
Hank Robert circa 1975
MSR Dragonfly circa 1995 (still in use today) $90
JetBoil 2014 $100

Gear courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outfitter in Kalispell – 406.752.2446