What the sport scientist wants for the holidays

Cross-country skis and buffs are the ideal present for ski buff Michael Kennedy.



Michael Kennedy, lead sport scientist for the Golden Bears and Pandas swim teams

What he wants

I would love to get a pair of Salomon RC Skin skis and buffs. These skis are a game changer for cross-country skiers of all levels.

Skin skis take the "old fishscale" concept but instead of a fishscale pattern on the skis it has been replaced with synthetic mohair, which means no more dragging when gliding and superb grip when you need it. Besides giving superb performance, they’re hassle-free because you don't need to kick (grip) wax them.

Buffs were made famous by the reality TV show Survivor; since then, they’ve become a key piece of clothing for cold-weather activities like running, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snowshoeing, outdoor skating, tobogganing or fat biking. They’re made of a high-quality polyester microfibre that provides high breathability without getting saturated with sweat or water vapour from breathing. The most popular use in winter activity is pulled up to protect your neck and cover your mouth and cheeks.

Why he wants it

The skis: One of my favourite days of the year is "winter is coming" day—where the wind has that extra bite that stings the cheek but also inspires the spirit because you know with that cold wind will come snow and skiing. But I notice that our river valley is a lot less busy in the winter than the summer. It’s my eternal hope that families and individuals who get skis for Christmas explore, share and enjoy the beauty of cross-country skiing.

As an exercise physiologist, I also know how a winter of cross-country skiing can contribute to long-term health and fitness, as well as balance and co-ordination. And those Salomon RC skin skis—they are revolutionary!

The buffs: Health benefits associated with wearing a buff include appropriate coverage of exposed skin on the neck, ears and cheeks to reduce the chance of frostnip and frostbite, and to ensure protection of lungs from the risks of inhaling cold, dry air while exercising. By covering your mouth with a buff you can feel confident in exercising in cold temperatures (less than -15 C) without harming your immediate lung function or your long-term lung health.

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