My brother and I at Crystal Mountain, Washington. I am wearing an insulated jacket from Arc’Teryx and an insulated Flylow Pant. He is wears a Mountain Hard Wear shell jacket.
Whether you like insulated, shell, layering, or minimizing – everyone’s different – so, I’ll map out my favorite brands and items for this season. In case you aren’t familiar with some terminology of some of this gear, here’s a quick run-down:
– Shell – The main purpose of a shell is to provide a strong wind breaker outer layer, where you will layer with an insulator underneath, and a base layer against your skin. It provides the versatility in which you can adapt your outfit to the everyday changing climate. I also love shells because you can wear them year round – on chilly days or in the rain.
– Insulated Jacket – The opposite of a shell. These jackets will not require much layering because the insulation within the jacket will keep you warm. One base layer is usually enough, depending on the type of insulation. People who don’t like to layer usually go with this option.
– Insulator – A layer that goes underneath a shell to add insulation. Usually a “puffy” jacket. This can also be a heavy fleece.
– Base layer – The layer of clothing that goes against your skin. Usually an athletic material that is good with wicking – with the purpose to bring the sweat away from your body when you are performing high intensity activities.
The first two products are from the brand Arc’teryx (http://arcteryx.com). This is one of my favorite brands for not only snow sports, but for any sorts of outdoor activities. Although it can be a little pricy, the quality of their products are worth it – the life span of these items are pretty much endless. They started out as a hiking and climbing company before adding snow sports to their itinerary, so they provide the quality and durability for the most intense activities out there.They also make their products in pretty unique colors, so you can venture away from black or grey. Here are a few of my favorite items from this season.
Photos provided by arcteryx.com
The Beta LT shell (above) is a GoreTex shell that provides the versatility of a four seasons jacket. It is durable, warm, and easy to move in. The hood is large enough to fit over your helmet when you are skiing, but you can since it to make it smaller when you are wearing it otherwise.
My favorite insulator to wear under the shell is the Atom Jacket (below) – it’s light, but surprisingly warm, and won’t leave you feeling too bulky. It is a very breathable material, so you find yourself not getting so warm that you sweat – but it always seems to regulate your body temperature when the climate changes. This is also a perfect fall or spring stand alone jacket in chilly temperatures.
Photo courtesy of arcteryx.com
What I like to wear against my skin underneath these two layers is a Helly Hansen (hellyhansen.com) base layer (pictured below). It is somewhat fitted, so it stays close to your body at all times. It is great with wicking the moisture away from your body and letting your body breathe, so you don’t get too warm. It also comes in some cool colors, too.
Photo courtesy of hellyhansen.com
As for the bottom half of your body for outfit #1, I suggest sticking with an Arc’teryx shell pant. It serves the same purpose as the shell jacket as I described above. I really love a good bib pant. The Arc’teryx Theta SV pant is pictured below. The bib and suspenders ensure that no snow gets down your pants if you are sitting, falling or in deep powder snow. It also has some useful pockets on your chest to put chap stick, your phone, money or whatever else you want.
photo courtesy of arcteryx.com
If you’re wearing a shell pant, you want to make sure that you have a warm insulator underneath. A heavy fleece base layer will provide you with enough insulation to keep you warm, while the shell pant will block the wind from contacting your body. My favorite is the Arc’teryx RHO AR bottom, pictured below.
Photo courtesy of arcteryx.com
OUTFIT #2 –
For an insulated jacket, I’d like to draw attention to Powderhorn – a company out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Below is pictured the Powdersmoke jacket. Under this jacket, one layer will suffice (two layers on those reeeaaally cold days, or for those who freeze easily.) I love the puffy look of this jacket, however, when you put it on, it is comfortably fitted and not boxy and marshmallow-y like many other puffy jackets. Check out the other colors in this jacket and some more awesome products at powderhornworld.com.
photo courtesy of powderhornworld.com
Under this jacket, I suggest you wear the North Face Warm crew or zip neck base layer (pictured below). Its a Merino wool blend that is great for fast moving activities. It will help wick the sweat from your skin and help regulate your body temperature. There is also an expedition weight of this base layer (just a thicker fleece) if you feel like you need a little extra.
Photo courtesy of thenorthface.com
The insulated pant that I wear, and LOVE, is the Daisy pant (pictured below) from FlyLow (flylowgear.com.) With previous pants, I always had trouble with waterproofness. These pants I have no problem at all with – the water practically bounces off them. There are also hand pockets with zippers so I know that my things are always secure in them. I only wear one layer underneath, and I’m perfectly warm all day.
photo courtesy of flylowgear.com
Lastly, underneath these pants, I suggest a Helly Hansen base layer. I like the 3/4 length pant because it doesn’t get all bunched up with your ski sock. I try to have the least amount of material in my snowboard boots because it’s way more comfortable. The pants below are what I wear under my FlyLow pants – they’re super warm and regulate my temperature. I also use them for jogging, yoga and hanging around the house!
photo courtesy of hellyhansen.com
Outfit #3: Après-ski
One of my favorite parts of the day is Après-ski (french for after skiing), where you get to hang out, have a beer, socialize and wind down after a long day on the mountain. Being comfortable at this time is key – but there are also some practical ways to be comfortable and stylish while you’re out!
After wearing a helmet all day, you are bound to have some helmet hair. Throw on a beanie to help tame your mane a little bit. They’re practical and really cute. I like slouchy beanies with pom poms like this O’Neill Brana Beanie –
photo courtesy of oneill.com
A comfy hoody is perfect to throw over your base layer that you’re already wearing, or a tank that you brought with you. This one from O’Neill is one of my favorites. It’s somewhat light, but that’s perfect because you are going to be surrounded by people and it will most likely be pretty warm in there. I love the pop of color this gives your outfit, too.
Photo courtesy of jackssurfboards.com
Pair this hoodie with some patterned leggings from Picture Organic (an environmentally conscious company.) They are fleece leggings and come in really cute patterns. You’ll be helping the environment by supporting this company, so you really can’t go wrong.
Photo courtesy of picture-organic-clothing.com
For shoes, you definitely want to stick with something waterproof or water resistant. You will be slipping out of your ski or snowboard boots into these shoes, and walking outside – where you will most likely walk through snow or slush. You don’t want your feet to be wet and cold for the rest of the night, so stick with some good outdoor shoes. Sorel is one of my favorite outdoor shoe companies, with boots that are stylish, warm and functional. The 1964 Premium boot is my favorite style –
Photo courtesy of sorel.com
I am not a fashion major – but I like to think I know what looks good and what is, more importantly, functional on and off the mountain. In case you missed it, here is a list of all the websites of the companies i mentions:
Thanks for reading!
Until next time…