The winter skiing and snowboarding season is officially in full swing. Are you ready to ride or will this winter season mark another year where you’re left sitting at home or scrambling to cobble together the right gear when the opportunity arises to hit the slopes? This year, opt for being prepared.
Unlike summer, where you could realistically leave the house wearing board shorts and a tank top and be good to go for the whole day, winter is a little more complicated — and yes, more expensive. But think of gearing up for winter as an investment, especially if you’re starting from scratch.
The old adage, you get what you pay for, couldn’t be more true when it comes to buying your winter sports essentials. With the right gear, you’ll stay warm, dry, comfortable and protected while on the mountain — and that equates to being able to focus on all the right things, like the epic scenery, the black diamond trail in front of you and having fun with your friends — not on how cold your toes are.
So to help you get your winter gear game in top form and to confidently get you out the front door and on your way to the slopes without thinking twice, I’ve compiled every single item I personally wear, love and trust while I’m snowboarding and skiing. Here you go:
1) SmartWool - NTS 150 Micro Boxer Brief - $50 - Keep your package packaged in these super comfortable and warm jersey knit, marino wool briefs. They’re the fundamental first layer.
2) SmartWool - PhD Snowboard Medium Socks - $25.95 - These are some seriously smart socks. Designed specifically for snowboarding, with extra reinforcement and cushioning in all the right places, these warm socks will be all you need, forget doubling up. If you’re predominantly a skier, try the PhD Ski Medium Socks.
3) SmartWool - NTS Mid 250 Crew - $95 - Ultra warm, unrestrictive and comfortable with chafe-free seam construction, this is my go-to upper body base layer.
4a) SmartWool - NTS Mid 250 Bottom - $100 - Exact same material as the top, but for your bottom half. Just these and a good pair of snow pants (see below) should be all you need to stay warm. No need for an extra layer, like jeans.
4b) Opedix - DUAL-Tec 2.0 3/4 Tights - $225 - For particularly grueling days on the slopes, an alternative bottom base layer with some seriously scientific benefits, Opedix tights are designed for proper activation of your kinetic chain (in a nutshell: keeping your joints aligned). This helps reduce wear and tear on your body, increase endurance and decrease fatigue. You can learn more about the science here.
1) Eddie Bauer - Radiator Fleece Hybrid 1/4 Zip Pullover - $80 - Incredibly soft and surprisingly warm, this fleece is the perfect mid layer. It’s so comfortable I also like to wear it around the house without a shirt. Photos below.
2) Eddie Bauer - Slim Fit Eddie’s Favorite Flannel Shirt - $60 - Every man needs a quality flannel shirt (or about 15 quality flannel shirts in my case). When temperatures drop, I’ll add this flannel underneath the Radiator Fleece for extra warmth.
1) Eddie Bauer - Neoteric Shell Jacket - $449 - Eddie Bauer’s best shell jacket, the Neoteric has tons of handy pockets, a removable snow shirt, a large hood, plus it’s warm and breathable. A+ all around. Photos below.
2) Ride - Westlake Slim Fit Pant - $219.95 - You probably wear fitted or slim fit pants in your daily life, so why when it comes to snowboarding do you revert back to the Jnco Jean look popular from your middle school days? These pants are slim fit, but not overly skinny, well-built, warm and very waterproof.
1) POC - Fornix Communication Helmet - $240 - Go to any major ski town and you’ll see the locals (and the people who know what they’re doing) wearing POC. Jam packed with features like a size adjustment system for a custom fit, generous ventilation which can be opened and closed to regulate temperature and built-in Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, this helmet isn’t missing a thing. If you don’t listen to music while on the slopes, go for the regular Fornix Helmet which includes all the same features, minus the Beats headphones ($160). Photos below.
2) POC - Retina Big Goggles - $150 -These goggles aren’t just great looking, they have a massive field of view so you won’t miss a thing, plus they’re treated to resist scratching and fogging up. Seriously, the best goggles I’ve owned. Photos below.
3) Buff - Wool Buff - $29 - This extra long, marion wool buff can be worn 12 different ways (like as a bandana, scarf and headband), but when it’s cold, pull it over your head and around your neck, or up around your face to block wind and snow.
4) Eddie Bauer - Claim Touchscreen Gloves - $159 - Taking a photo, sending a text, checking a map, answering a call — it’s all possible without taking your gloves off with the leather and nylon Claim Touchscreen gloves. Plus they’re soft, comfortable, warm, and look great.
A special thanks to Eddie Bauer, POC and Smart Wool for hooking me up with such incredible gear. All opinions are my own and I’ll be wearing this gear on the mountain for a long time to come.