Testing gear is vital - not just prototypes but also existing products in new conditions. The unexpected extreme weather in the PNW in the last 3 months allowed some good conditions for testing in harsher conditions.
One of those testing trips was an overnight trip to Eagle Creek trail, Oregon, from the trailhead to 7.5 miles camp site and back the following day. Half the trail from Tunnel falls to the camp site haven't been used for a while so it involved breaking trail in 2-3 feet of snow. The above conditions were great for working the Vertex carbon poles hard in powder snow and the very cold night allowed testing a prototype for a new winter sleeping pad (Edit: no longer in production). More information to come, but until then: a little video from the trip.