Winter equipment to protect you from ice, snow, the dark and cold

Prepare for the winter elements with the latest cold-weather gear, including lighted gloves

We're a little arrogant about our fitness here in Southern California. While millions of other Americans bundle up against the Arctic chill blasting a swath of the country, we happily keep on cycling and running and skating in shorts and tank tops. But now it's December; nighttime temperatures are skirting 50. Bottom line: Winter's coming, and you have to be ready. Here are a few innovative winter products for runners, snowboarders and skiers.

Light-up gloves

180s CRG convertible running gloves LED: Full-finger, cold-weather, stretch-fleece gloves for runners and cyclists that include a white, flashing LED light on the index-finger knuckle.

Likes: Very effective. Press the button on the back of the wrist once to activate the light and once again to make it blink. It includes a retractable wind/water-resistant hood to keep fingers warm in rain and cold.

Dislikes: Wouldn't a red light be more visible?

Price: $35. 180s.com

Tailbone guardian

Ass Armor Tailbone short: Unisex snowboarding compression shorts, worn under pants, with a built-in padded tailbone protector.

Likes: A good idea — and about time. Newbie snowboarders (and veterans too) fall so regularly that tailbone injuries are legion. Embedded in the shorts is a ½-inch-thick foam pad, curved and plastic-reinforced, that extends 9 inches down from the waist. Form-fitting, it looks natural and feels comfortable to wear.

Dislikes: None

Price: $89.99. assarmor.com

Head for the slopes

Giro Combyn Helmet: A "softshell" ski and snowboard helmet made of a flexible, dual density, impact-absorbing vinyl nitrile foam and a flexible outer shell material.

Likes: Super comfortable. The soft shell molds to your head better than hard-shell helmets. The soft, padded strap includes ear warmers. Eight small vents allow air flow. Includes removable goggles strap and compatibility with all Giro goggles and after-market sound systems. Handsome matte finish comes in many colors.

Dislikes: None

Price: $119.95. giro.com

Grip, don't slip

Kahtoola Nanospikes: Pull-on rubber traction device, studded with tungsten carbide spikes, worn over running shoes to prevent slipping during runs and walks on icy roads and sidewalks.

Likes: It works, packs small and slips on in seconds. With 10 spikes of 1/16 inch to bite into ice and icy-slick frozen roads, you run and walk confidently in dicey conditions. Very lightweight (8 ounces per pair in a medium size) and convenient to carry when not in use, they pack into a 6-by-4-inch zippered tote (included). For more bite in snowier and icier conditions, a good choice is Kahtoola's Microspikes ($60), which bundle a similar stretch-over-shoe rubber ribbing with car-like ice chains and aggressive ½-inch-long spikes.

Dislikes: None

Price: $49.95. kahtoola.com

Wallack is coauthor of "Healthy Running Step by Step," with Santa Monica physical therapist Robert Forster. roywallack@aol.com

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