Ski Season Preview: Ski Gear Buyer’s Guide
Despite the heatwave hitting the East Coast, it really is winter in some places. We’ve been hard at work testing some of this year’s best ski gear to find all the best apparel and accessories for every skier on the mountain. This year’s Ski Gear Buyer’s Guide is a collection of our favorite pieces for everything from chasing deep storms, to looking like a pro even if you’re just on the bunny hill.
The Powder Hound
The powderhound lives for deep snow. Whether he’s chasing the latest storm in Jackson Hole or chatting up a snowbunny in Aspen, his gear is always on point. We love the Mountain Hardwear Hellgate Jacket for deep days due to its extra pockets, oversized cut, and voluminous hood. The FLyLow Gear Baker Bib is likewise a good stormday pick for its reinforced knees and instep – you’ll be staying dry long after your friends call it quits. Rounding out our deep days picks is the Cochise Light Pro boot. With the heart of a free ride charger, interchangeable soles for alpine and AT bindings, and a generous walk mode, this boot will have you chasing powder in comfort all season.
The Weekend Warrior
If you’re holding down a nine to five but still hold a season pass and rip the terrain park every saturday, this gear’s for you. The Eddie Bauer Telemetry Jacket and Pants are our go-to kit for every day resort riding. They can handle weather from cold Vermont days to fluffy Telluride, CO powder. To complement that, we put on the Beyond Clothing Alpha Sweater. Using Polartec insulation originally designed for US Army Special Forces, this breathable puffy jacket will be a favorite for years to come. Finally, any good ski bum needs a pair of boots that can stand up to abuse. The Salomon X Pro 120s will charge everything from freshly groomed corduroy to choppy moguls with ease.
The Backcountry Addict
From steep ski mountaineering lines in the Tetons to deep Utah powder, the backcountry skier is always out of bounds, always looking for that stash of fresh snow. Arc’teryx’s venerable Procline apparel that launched this year has been put through the wringer on early morning tours for the last couple of months, and we can’t find a better jacket and pants for the skier who spends more time going uphill than down. The Procline Comp Jacket is a hybrid of GORETEX and softshell fabric, breathing well in the cold and sealing moisture out. The Procline FL Pants are fully softshell, keeping snow out, but providing ample stretch when the going gets steep. To haul all your avalanche safety gear uphill, our favorite pack is the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32. Its harness easily accommodates heavy loads, and it is ready to attach an Avalung kit for added safety. The Salomon Mountain Lab Helmet is the perfect addition for the ski alpinist, as it is the first helmet to be certified both for skiing and rock climbing.
The Jetsetting Rider
You can spot the jetsetter anywhere there are luxury resorts and serious restaurants slopeside. From Deer Valley, Utah to Zermatt, Switzerland, it’s all about skiing and being seen. The Helly Hansen Ted Jacket is understated elegance for the skier who has it all, and serious insulation and racer inspired design make it a timeless classic. Our favorite Under Armour Nimbus Bibs pair nicely, provide GORETEX Pro protection from the elements and a clean silhouette. The Abominable Labs A-Bom Goggle is all about function, featuring a a battery powered fog free system, but also just happens to be one of the best looking goggles on the market right now.
The Best Accessories
You may have the nicest apparel on the mountain, but it’s the little comforts that will keep you skiing through nasty storms and early mornings. These accessories and comforts are never out of arm’s reach all winter long. Warm hands seem to be a constant problem. That is, until you grab a pair of Arc’teryx’s Beta Shell Gloves. With room to fit light fleece or heavier Primaloft inserts, These gloves will pull duty all winter. The biggest problem skiing always seems to be your feet. Cold, sweaty, hot spots, you name it, we’ve dealt with it. Farm To Feet’s Waitsfield Ski Socks are the only we we wear anymore. They wick excellently and keep us warm no matter how much snow is falling. Visibility can also be an issue, whether it’s glaring sun or flat light due to fog. Giro’s all new Contact Goggle features an innovative magnet system for swapping out lenses (more on that and a few other goggles soon), and is the most comfortable pair we’ve ever worn. They’re hands down the best goggles of the year. You can’t neglect nutrition out on the slopes, and we’ve always got a snack or two stashed somewhere. Our favorites? Field Trip Jerky is a welcome departure from energy bars and gels. We recommend the Cracked Pepper Turkey and Honey Spice Beef. Finally, caffeine. When you’re getting up before dawn to climb a few thousand feet and ski down all before work, you need a little jolt. We discovered Voke Tabs earlier this year, and can’t seem to put them down. Using a proprietary blend of Green Tea, Acerola Cherry, and Guarana, this little chewable tabs provide as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. They have perked us up on many a backcountry ski tour, and we never feel jittery or crash after using them. Even better, you can carry seven of them with about the weight of your favorite travel mug lid.
Lead Image Courtesy of Green Goat Collective.