Gear That’s Doing Good

When the pandemic hit last spring, Jon Schaefer, the owner and general manager of Berkshire East and Catamount ski areas in western Massachusetts teamed up with Stowe-based  software developer Inntopia to launch Goggles for Docs. Their efforts went viral and more than 50,000 goggles have since been donated to hospitals in neary every state, as well as to health care facilities in Canada, France, Mexico and beyond. These Vermont companies have also been doing their part. Want to show your support? Check out their latest gear.


When Vermont’s bars and restaurants shut down due to Covid-19, its burgeoning beer industry was left holding… the kegs. Farrell Distributing, the region’s largest liquor distributor had 5,500 kegs (or 70,000 gallons) of draft beer that it couldn’t sell before it expired. So it did what distillers around the state started to do: it made hand sanitizer. Farrell transferred the kegs to Citizen Cider in Burlington then drove the cidery’s tanker (now full of beer) to Aqua Vitea Kombucha in Middlebury where their centrifuge spun out the alcohol from the beer. They then took the alcohol to Caledonia Spirits (maker of Barr Hill gin, vodka and spirits) in Montpelier, which was already making hand sanitizer. The result: a Spirited Response hand sanitizer—made from some of Vermont’s finest brews.



During Jake Carpenter Burton’s life, the family behind Burton got to know hospitals all too well. Last spring, Donna Carpenter, the president of Burton had their prototype facility develop 500 face shields and their binding manufacturer deliver 500,000 KN 95 face masks which they donated to those hospitals and others. The Burlington-based company  recently converted to B Corporation (meaning it balances social and environmental benefits with business profit) but it has long been known for its political activism and environmental mission. In September, Burton also announced it will be closing its U.S. offices and retail stores on election day (Nov. 3) and is partnering with the ACLU and other organizations to help get out the vote and encourage voter education. Another good cause Burton’s working on: a collab with Protect our Winters to both educate voters around environmental issues and to combat climate change. This fall, Burton launched a Protect Our Winters hoodie ($79.95)  short sleeve shirt ($54.95) and beanie $26.95—all good ways to support a good cause.


Stylish, lightweight and backed by Darn Tough’s lifetime guarantee, the Darn Tough Vermont Foodbank Farmer’s Market Crew Sock, $22, is one we’d buy anytime for fall hiking, biking or running.  But there’s an added reason to buy it now: in response to the pandemic, Darn Tough has been donating 100 percent of the sales of this sock to the Vermont Foodbank. That’s in addition to the 10,000 pairs of socks that the company donated to health care workers around Vermont.


Dave Dodge was one of the first to make custom ski boots out of carbon fiber and Dodge Ski Boots ($995) are known for their light weight and thermoformed construction, as well as their remote app-enabled fitting program and custom-fit promise. When the pandemic hit,  the Essex Junction-based company used their thermoform expertise to help Beta Technologies develop and deploy an automatic bag ventilation machine (ABVM). Now, the company is  back to making light, warm and stiff skiboots.


Burlington-based accessories company Skida turned their expertise in making hats and neckwarmers to making face masks. On top of that, the company offered health care workers 25 percent off on their products. Skida Face Masks ($22) are as fashionable as their neckwarmers and headwear with patterns that range from a soft teal Moon Flower to a pattern of Puppies in Space that will definitely bring a smile to anyone you meet.


Vermont Glove Last spring, Vermont Glove paused manufacturing of its double-stitched goatskin Vermont Gloves, $100 – work gloves so strong they have historically been used by linemen. A family-run business based in Randolph, Vermont Glove instead ordered reams of cotton and worked with a network of home sewers to make cotton masks. They even shared their patterns in a DIY video and payed home sewers $1 for every mask. Now, the Randolph-based company is back to making their sturdy but incredibly soft goatskin gloves – a must for wood stacking or trail building.

Lisa Lynn

Editor of VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports.

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