A number of resorts, even here in California, opened over the weekend. Ski season is officially here. Below you will find eight apparel essentials for both resort as well as backcountry skiing. For those heading out into the backcountry or even sidecountry, please check out our accompanying backcountry snow safety essentials.
1. Black Diamond Vapor Point Shell ($399): This winter, Black Diamond finally released their first line of women’s technical apparel. And what a great line it is. Made from Gore-Tex Active, this lightweight and extremely breathable jacket won’t cause you to overheat when earning your turns but will protect you from wind, rain, and snow. The seamless Cohaesive technology keeps cinch cords concealed within the jacket for quick and non-invasive adjustments of the helmet friendly hood, collar, and hem. The classic, tailored styling will ensure you look like a pro on the mountain.
2. Black Diamond Front Point Bibs ($549): If you are skiing backcountry powder, the only way to keep yourself dry is with a good pair of bibs. Made from Gore-Tex Pro, these bibs are ready for the harshest of weather. Two cargo pockets on the thighs remain out of the way of your jacket for quick and easy access. With an extremely comfortable elastic shoulder harness and waist, these ski bibs fit like a nice tailored pair of pants but offer plenty of stretch for hard shredding. Reinforced kick patches cut down on potential wear and tear over the season, while internal elastic gaiters with boot hooks help to keep your feet dry on those deep pow days. Don’t worry ladies–the bibs feature a full zippered drop seat for when nature calls.
3. Columbia Parallel Grid ($250): For crushing double black diamonds at the resort, nothing is better than the Parallel Grid Jacket. Inspired by the U.S. Olympic Freestyle Ski Team, the ski and snowboard jacket uses a blend of waterproof breathable fabric in the shell, is packed with 80 grams of insulation, and uses a thermal reflective liner for added warmth. You don’t need to wear anything more than a baselayer beneath this jacket. Trust me.
4. Columbia Veloca Vixen Pants ($150): These waterproof-breathable pants are fully seam sealed, stuffed with 60 grams of insulation, and lined with body heat-keeping Omni-Heat thermal reflective. Adjustable leg gaiters and the Back-Up waist keep snow and cold out of either ends. Zippered leg vents come in handy when the day warms up or for the occasional boot pack when you need to dump extra heat quickly.
5. Columbia Kiry Neve Gloves ($95): Waterproof and windproof, theses gloves feature Pittards goatskin and sheepskin leathers on the palm for tow rope worthy durability. The Omni-Heat thermal reflective and fleece liner keep your fingers toasty warm throughout the day.
6. Smith I/O Goggles ($225): Seven years ago, goggles were revolutionized when Smith Optics introduced the first rimless interchangeable goggle to the world. This season, they continue the trend with the release of the new I/O7, the next level in rimless interchangeability. We like the goggle for its minimalist design and easy ability to change out the lens. Plus they look great and the optics are crystal clear.
7. POC Fornix ($160): Coming in a variety of fantastic colors, this classic POC helmet is lightweight, aramid reinforced, and well-ventilated. The size adjustment system makes it possible to customize the fit of the helmet to make sure it stays safe and comfortably in place. A rear clip keeps you from losing your goggles, while two front vents keep them from fogging up.
8. Outdoor Tech Arctic Yowie ($14.95):These crazy patterned, fleece lined neck gaiters keep your face and neck warm when the biting wind whips up. I am always warmer outside in winter when wearing a neck gaiter.