20 ski and snowboard essentials for the season ahead
It's not all the goods — we're leaving skis and boards to the discretion of your personal and first-hand preference — but it's the goods that'll make hitting the slopes a whole lot more enjoyable.
For the Body:
Whether it's to stay warm, dry, or in tact, these are what to wrap yourself in.
X-Bionic Energy Accumulator Evo L/S Zip + Pants Medium + Ski Energizer Long - $330 + $225 + $99
The base is your most important layer, and this the best available in that it actively balances out the ambient cold with your own body heat. The top and bottom are a snug fit, engineered to understand how each muscle group reacts to different circumstances and built to respond in kind. The socks hug your feet, ankles, and calves in such a way to keep everything warm, secure, and blister-free while maintaining airflow.
Icebreaker Legend Long Sleeve Zip - ~$288.32
This is a serious mid-layer that's guaranteed to keep you toasty when you're cruising down as well as sitting still on the chairlift up. The 100% merino wool is lightweight and not bulky like a lot of super warm mid-layers are, so it's versatile and as perfect for the lodge as it is on a ridge during a whiteout.
Dakine Synchro Jacket + Ace Pant - $350 + $250
When layered well, the outerwear should need to do only one thing: keep you dry. These Hood River Hawaiians know a little about both the elements (external wetness) and high activity (internal moisture). Tech features such as gaiters/powder skirt/gussets and openings for breathability alongside modern features like media/goggle pockets combine with a traditionally relaxed fit to make sure there's nothing holding you back from enjoying every slope and turn. And on top of all that, these both have a great weight to them, making sure you're warm and comfortable as well.
Spy Optics x Airhole Raider Goggle + Balaclava - $139.95
The peripheral vision of the oversized goggles is reason alone to snag the Raiders, but when they come with a Aloha-print balaclava from Airhole, not only are you going to be seeing (and riding) pretty, but you won't have a chapped, wind-burnt dome to tend to at night. They also come with both Red Spectra and low-light lenses, so you're set for all sorts of conditions.
Poler Worker Man Beanie - $20
100% acrylic means 100% warm.
Analog Adler Mitt - $60
The 100% nylon oxford has a water-resistant coating for guaranteed warmth while its polyester thumb panel serves as a nose wipe, and it has a stash pocket on the wrist for those small extras/necessities. That's a good glove that does its job right.
Smith Optics Vantage - $220
This noggin guard — we highly recommend a noggin guard — gives you the best protection while not feeling like you squeezed your head/ears into a football helmet. The Aerocore tech features Koroyd for some premium protection that also breathes. And the BOA FS360 fit systems makes sure you're comfortable. With the goggle integration to boot, this is the helmet to wear right now.
Outdoor Tech Chips - $129.95
Bluetooth speakers that fall neatly into place on any helmet with an audio liner (which is a lot these days). Basically like bumping to a boombox without having to carry a boombox. And these have a built-in mic if you need to take a call from that job you called in "sick" to.
For the Emergencies:
We're hoping you don't need these, but if you do, these are what you need.
Leatherman Hail + Style PS - $47
It's your snowboard tool on steroids, made in collaboration between a brand that's known for reliable tools and Signal Snowboards. On top of the typical pliers, drivers, and scrapers, there are tweezers(?) and a bottle opener as well as a smattering of other this-is-nice-to-haves. And they're TSA friendly in case you're traveling for the snow.
Black Diamond Anthem AvaLung Pack - $269.95
There are a lot of "avalanche packs" out there right now, with shovels and probes, even full-on airbags that deploy a protective field, but the AvaLung is perfect for the everyday type. It doesn't come with the bells and whistles that in your inexperienced, untrained state would probably lend to a detrimental panic, but it does have a new system that offers you potentially life-saving air in the case of an emergency. That way you let the professionals do what they're trained to do: rescue you.
Ortovox Zoom+ Transceiver - $199.99 (Sold for ~$299 elsewhere.)
This is the simplest and easiest transmission device on the market. With two buttons, there's nearly no room for human error in sending and receiving signals. This and your new backpack instantly raise your odds — and significantly — in dangerous, dire circumstances.
For the Commute:
Be nice if we were ski-in ski-out, but...
The Douchebag - $229
This thing is a product of not only skiers and snowboarders, but airport baggage handlers as well, making for the most convenient (and lightweight) carry, and safest delivery. And with adjustable sizing, don't worry about your skis or board swimming in excess space.
Whispbar Flush Bars + Aero Mid-Size Carrier - $419 + $999
We're talking about umpteen dollars of precious cargo in your skis and snowboards, might as well invest to make sure they're not ending up on the road. And it also keeps unnecessary snow and slush outside of the car, which is a good thing.
For the Bar:
You're ready for a drink, but there's no way in hell you're going to do a complete change.
Arbor League - $75
A water-resistant fleece with thumb holes? That's the kind of post-slope comfy we're talking about.
adidas Blauvelt Hiking Boot - $109.95
Like the sweater you threw on after stripping layers, this is rugged enough to stay mountain-appropriate while comfy enough to make you damn glad your ski or snowboard boots are off your feet, drying out. Also, D-ring eyelets: even frozen fingers are able to tie shoelaces through those.
Dublin Dog Simply Solid - $24
Wolfie probably won't be cozying up on the chairlift with you, but he'll be the first to greet you every run to the bottom, and be your hand-warmer buddy when getting post-slope beers on the bar deck after. 100% waterproof and nonporous, these will take a beating and never smell up the carride home.