Lead Photo Credit: Blake Elrod
Every year around October, visions of snowflakes start to dance in our heads. Winter is coming and with it, ski and snowboard season. After what seems like an eternity, thanks to this global pandemic, it cannot come soon enough. Start dusting off your old gear and getting it ready. Better yet, maybe it’s even time for an upgrade. If you’re in need of a new helmet, gloves or maybe even a whole new kit, we have you covered with our three part winter gear guide.
Skiing and snowboarding is about the experience and we want to make sure that you have the best time on the slopes as possible. With that in mind, here are our picks for all of the little things that make a big difference. Helmets, goggles, socks, base layers, and mid layers (just to name a few!) should never be overlooked. They’re crucial to an epic day on on the mountain and these are a few of our favorites.
Layers Upon Layers
Flylow Brosé Work Shirt – $130
Photo Credit: Flylow
A midlayer with a little style, this is the shirt that you can wear from the mountain right to the bar. Not a true flannel, it has a tough synthetic brushed corduroy outside which is perfect for hiding the soft technical flannel on the inside. This makes it the best of both worlds and you won’t look exactly like everyone else in your mountain town tuxedo.
Spyder Alps Full Zip Hoodie – $179
Can a fleece really be waterproof? The Alps can. The use of Spyder’s environmentally friendly EMPEL makes this one of the most durable water repellent fleeces on the market. The sherpa fleece interior is soft and comfortable while the exterior is made more durable by the denim overlays in high wear and tear areas. Combined, it makes the Alps the only fleece you’ll need this winter.
Photo Credit: Helly Hansen
A good base layer can make or break your day. Helly Hansen’s two in one midweight base layer is the ultimate in technical comfort. The merino wool on the exterior provides the warmth you will need while their patented Lifa technology on the inside is moisture wicking and itch free. The addition of the hoodie means even more added warmth for your dome.
Photo Credit: Voormi
Colorado based Voormi has taken the merino wool trend and run with it. Using a proprietary wool blend the High Country Henley is an excellent piece for your mountain endeavors. On the mountain it’s functional odor wicking properties, comfort and warmth make it a solid mid-layer. Combine that with it’s sleek, three button henley look and you’re good to go from the slopes to the bar.
Photo Credit: Louis Arevalo
Aspen based Corbeaux knows what’s up when it comes to layering. The Chinook hoodie is an excellent piece that performs in many ways. It’s next to skin stretchy fit is comfortable and durable all while wicking sweat away with ease. The hood also serves as a balaclava which is excellent for staying warm on the lift. The real key is the thumb holes and watch window which keeps your hands and wrists warm while checking you fancy smartphone for how much vert you covered that day.
From Your Head to Your Toes
Photo Credit: Sweet Protection
There is no doubt that Sweet Protection is at the top of the helmet game and this year’s newest model is far more affordable than others in year’s past. Not only is it lighter on the wallet it’s lighter on your head too. Traditionally a heavier helmet, this year’s Looper uses a two-piece shell construction to eliminate unnecessary weight while still maintaining it’s signature top notch protection for your dome. Pair it up seamlessly with their new Boondock goggle. This semi-frameless goggle offers a sleek look for small to medium faces along with crystal clear views of the trail.
Smith X Kinco Gloves – $50
Photo Credit: Smith Optics
Kinco has been making durable leather gloves since 1975. This year they teamed up with Smith Optics to give you a pretty sweet pair of gloves that are friendly to your hands and your wallet. The lobster style mits keep your fingers nice and warm while allowing your thumb to have the freedom it needs to still be able to function. Plus at only $50 a pair you’re getting top quality at an excellent price.
Hestra Falt Guide Glove – $160
Photo Credit: Hestra
Known for its durability, warmth and comfort this is one of the best gloves on the market. The interior wool liner is not only comfortable but also keeps your hands very warm in harsh conditions. The waterproofing on the exterior repels water like a boss and once broken in, they are a great fit with excellent dexterity that allows you to still actually use your hands when out in the cold.
Smartwool PHD Pro Ski Socks – $30.95
Photo Credit: Smartwool
If you are looking for a sock that will allow you to hit the slopes hard then this new sock from Smartwool is the way to go. Ultralight with excellent moisture wicking capabilities, it does a tremendous job keeping your feet dry. That said, despite its lack of insulation, the PHD pro still does an excellent job keeping your feet warm as you transition from the trails to the lifts and vice versa.
Photo Credit: Danner
A solid pair of boots is a very underrated component of your ski day ensemble. Something comfortable, warm, dry and grippy are a must and the new insulated Mountain 600 checks all of those boxes. A combination of Vibram SPE midsole and Nisqually outsole offers the ultimate grip for all conditions. And with an insulated Primaloft upper that is also waterproof these good looking boots will keep your feet warm and comfy all day long.
You Need to Accessorize
Koala Phone Harness – $25
Photo Credit: Hangtime
If you are a wannabe influencer or someone who just has to pull their phone out every time they ride the lift then the Koala phone harness is for you. It’s simplicity is astounding. The silicone harness fits any phone and attaches to a tether that holds up to 45 pounds and can stretch out to four feet. On the other end is a clip with teeth that hold tighter the harder you pull on them. Totally foolproof!
Photo Credit: North x North
Any outdoorsy person knows that merino wool is fundamental to a positive experience. So a kerchief that is 100% merino wool and boasts 100 supposed uses comes in very handy on the mountain. Soft, comfortable and, most importantly, not itchy, a product this versatile is a must when it comes to protecting your face and neck.
Rich Stoner is the founder of the après-ski lifestyle clothing and media brand, All About Après. No stranger to the ski and après-ski scene, Rich has been a long time contributor for many publications on topics like skiing, gear, beer and food. However, his passion is on the slopes and enjoying good times with good people. You can find him perfecting his craft carving turns and drinking beers in the Green Mountains of Vermont. @allaboutapres