Skiers say that even a bad day on the slopes is better than a good day in the office. And there’s always the après to look forward to. So no matter whether it’s fluffy powder, groomed runs or dicey ice you’re shredding – rock your look with key pieces on your next ski getaway.
Powderqueen 2.0 – the name of this women’s free-riding jacket alone will inspire you to carve new lines on every run. (The male version – dubbed Sogn, after the Norwegian fjord – doesn’t have the same effect.) But it’s the jacket’s sweet features that make your day in the mountains easier. Technical details (waterproof; breathable linings; stretch fabric; secure powder skirt; ski-pass arm pocket; vented pit zips, and so on) aside, the chest “Lifepocket” now keeps your phone warmer longer – prolonging battery life. So, more chairlift selfies, but also more time to track your vertical-stat app. (Available at hellyhansen.com, $450)
Bummed out when a bluebird day clouds over and you’re up the mountain with the wrong goggles? Bolle has your back. The new Phantom lens tweaks its partially polarized eye-covering to offer even greater visual contrast in cold weather – which lets you quickly adapt to changing terrain and flat light. If you can see where the powder turns to crust, you don’t have to find out the hard way. (Phantom lens available in three styles at select stores across Canada, bolle.com; $200-$240)
The base layers
You can go two ways here: This Norwegian-sweater style from Kari Traa will turn heads in the lodge amongst a sea of black base layers. The 60-per-cent merino wool, 40-per-cent modal synthetic material panels are styled to allow more venting where needed, which I found worked well. (Available at mec.ca, $100).
Alternatively, who doesn’t love the hygge of a onesie? Smartwool’s merino 250 one piece is a solid black cold-weather base layer, with the added fun of a buttoned and zippered drop tail for when nature calls. (Fumbling for those butt buttons with cold hands on a mountain-top pit stop will be tricky though.) The onesie is a natural for lounging by the fire (its close-fitting hood and thumb-hole sleeves will cue Catwoman jokes), and makes dressing quickly for first tracks a breeze. (Available at select Canadian retailers, smartwool.com; $274.99)
MEC apparel designer and off-piste skier Spring Harrison had a tough time convincing the company that a skirt was useful in the backcountry. Easily compressed into its own pocket, the Uplink skirt can be pulled out and zipped into place (without removing your skis) on lunch breaks or for long, cold lift rides. The water-resistant, poly-filled quilting “traps heat in areas that are vulnerable,” she said. It’s MEC’s first cold-weather skirt, which just as easily slips over base-layer leggings for quick, chic slopeside après. (Available at mec.ca; $79)
For men and women: Helly Hansen’s Lifaloft Insulator jacket is lighter, warmer and less bulky – the smaller Lifaloft fibre blends with Primaloft insulation, creating more air pockets which means less heat loss and even less weight. The jacket’s exterior is both silky, slippery and a little plastic-like unfortunately. But Lifaloft does a kick-ass job of moving heat and sweat away from the body, keeping you dry and warm when you need it most. Even better: it squishes up small for packing and the eye-catching quilt stitch indicates this is not just another puffy jacket on the mountain. (Available at hellyhansen.com; $270)
The lip balm
Whatever is on your body, don’t forget to protect those exposed lips. Lise Watier’s Hydraforce lip balm moisturizes with a glistening gel that holds up as you shush through mountain winds. The 10-millilitre tube is travel friendly and substantial enough that it won’t get lost in your one of your jacket’s many pockets. Reach for it on the lift ride back up – it’s made with Gaspé algae extract, which the company says prevents moisture loss and bolsters the skin’s protective barrier. It worked for me. (lisewatier.com, $22)
The ski socks
Rock your socks with Smartwool’s seemingly mismatched pair, designed by pro skier Angel Collinson. The winter-weight, soft wool in this PhD Pro Freeski pair keeps you warm (naturally), but it’s the snug fit that makes them useful: just right for a smaller calf and foot, with less padding in the sole for a better boot fit (heel slip is often a problem in ski boots). Extra padding around the ankle, heel, Achilles and shin provide more support and protection, too. (Available at select retailers, $32)