Gifting doesn’t have to fall only during the holidays. Sometimes, it’s a nice way to nudge your significant other into turning your interest into a shared interest. Or, maybe you just want to show you care about her passions without need a reason (this is a good move, guys). Our female editors took to the mountains of Breckenridge and to Vail’s backcountry in Colorado to put some new ski and snowboard gear to the test. We threw in a few cute items for post-ski (or the non-skier) as well. Here are a few of our favorite pieces.
Contributions by Ali Carr and Meg Lappe.
Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew
This simple all-black shirt is toasty on the slopes thanks to Merino 250, Smartwool’s heaviest knit fabric. It’s not much thicker than a regular tee you’d throw on to go running, and the feel is soft, not scratchy, even after multiple washes.
Corbeaux Centennial Pant
As a petite female, finding the right pair of long underwear is daunting. The Centennial pants from Corbeaux, a ski company based in Aspen, are delightfully short. For women that are over 5’5″, these athletically cut leggings will fit like a cropped pant — perfect for layering socks on top. And for women 5’4″ and under, these pants won’t need any rolling or cuffing, which means no uncomfortable bunching in boots. The wide waistband didn’t move despite long runs, seemingly hundreds of moguls and all the chair lift rides. Pick from eight colors and patterns.
Falke SK2 Ski Knee-High Sock
The blend of acrylic and wool mean these ski socks are slimmer than expected but provide enough cushion for your feet in sturdy ski boots. While many people think the thicker the socks, the warmer they’ll be, that’s not the case — it’s the materials that determine how feet feel on the slopes. Falke’s SK2 sock blend protection and comfort with the proper padding under the heel and on the shin — exactly where you need it.
Smith Optics Vantage Women’s Helmet
This helmet has been a mainstay on “Best Helmet” lists for years (case in point, here) and it still doesn’t disappoint. With closable vents, plush ear-pads (that can integrate audio) and easy-to-use adjustability, every bell and whistle is here. The best part, though? Its safety system — MIPS is the most innovative technology when it comes to minimizing concussions. Unlike foam, MIPS is constructed of an interior shell that moves independently of the exterior shell, which means a blow to the head won’t translate as severely.
Snowboarder Base Layers
Merino Ninja Suit
Throwing on this one base layer instead of two makes sense; it’s fewer things to worry about in a sport that already requires a lot of juggling. We liked the thumb gaskets, high collar at the neck and built-in hood when the wind picked up and the 350-degree waist zipper was super convenient when nature called in the backcountry.
On the Mountain: Skier
Aether Nordic Jacket
This water- and wind-resistant jacket comes in all black, which means when she’s done with all those black diamonds, she can wear this jacket to work the following Monday. A nylon stretch material paired with a slim cut is flattering. The Primaloft Gold wool and side body panels ensure warmth even when the winds hit 50 miles per hour.
Aether Descent Snow Bib
Gone are the days of slouchy unflattering bibs. These Aether overalls-like pants are high-waisted with adjustable straps to work with your height. While they’re a bit long for women 5’4″ and under, they’re ideal for all-day wear — even off the mountain. Despite intense windchills on the Breckenridge ski lifts, our legs stayed comfortable, even against the metal seats. Whether walking or skiing, the pants are super flexible, so you’ll never felt constricted or stuck.
On the Mountain: Snowboarder
Burton Gore-Tex Kimmy Anorak
Anoraks are hot right now and we loved this one— snowboarder Kimmy Fasani’s pro model — for the sunny, warm-weather days in the backcountry. When paired with the Burton Women’s AK Gore-Tex 3L Kimmy Bib Pant, we got tons of compliments on our kit. And it worked well, too, for aggressive riding, when you want full freedom of motion. Once a storm rolled in, it was easily to add a mid-layer under the anorak for insulation. Beware: anoraks are notorious for difficult on-and-off.
Holden Lotus Bib
Petite women, rejoice! There is a pair of snowboard bibs out there that aren’t overly baggy and didn’t require any rolling of the bottom hem (for our 5’2″ tester in XS). Welcome, the Holden Lotus Bib, which is hardcore enough for the burliest of storms and features plenty of stretch for all-day comfort at the resort or in the backcountry.
Stio Sweetwater Fleece Cowl
Whether your apres involves bar hopping, exploring the town or cooking up a meal, this sweater is just the right amount of cozy. A cowl neck eliminates the need for a scarf, and the fleece inside is incredibly soft. Three quarter length sleeves ensure you’re not dragging the ends in your food or drink, and a drop-tail hem works great with leggings.
Eddie Bauer Hunt Pac Mid Boot
The duck boot gets an upgrade with a fabric upper and waterproof membrane to protect feet from any winter precipitation. A non-marking molded traction outsole gripped on icy parking lots and along sidewalks as our team hit up local hotspots like The Canteen, Rocky Mountain Underground and The Crown in Breckenridge. The Eddie Bauer boots blended in with each changing environment from breakfast up through bar hopping. As temperatures dipped below 20 degrees, the foam cushioning underfoot keeps the heat inside, so all you need is one layer of socks.
Patagonia Los Gatos Fleece Vest
Whether you need an added layer over a sweater or base layer or need to have more pockets on your person, a fuzzy vest is an easy add. With nine colors to choose from, there’s bound to be an option that matches everything you own. The soft exterior doesn’t get caught on jackets and maintains its look — even after a handful of washes.
Tory Sport Down Bomber Jacket
Tory Burch is synonymous with preppy, and her sports line exemplifies that. This puffy coat takes its inspiration from the varsity jackets everyone wore in high school, but much more flattering. The oversize fit means you can wear your chunkiest knit sweater underneath and the fleece lined pockets provide an added means of hand protection from harsh winds.
Free Country Marbled Polyblend Crew Socks
After a day of trekking up the mountain in tight boots and constantly flexing toes to make some space in your socks, the stretch and plush-feel of these blue and tan socks are exactly what feet crave. The polyester-spandex blend creates a cushioning that doesn’t cram up in shoes or boots. The socks work double duty as slipper socks at the end of the night.
Point Sur Boxy Pointelle Sweater
Taut clothing after a day on the slopes is the farthest thing anyone wants. That’s why this silky-soft oversize sweater is ideal for apres activities, whether you’re lounging around the cabin in leggings or heading out on the town for sushi dinner.
Teva Foxy Waterproof Boot
Waterproof leather boots that don’t scream “snowmaggedon” and require leg muscles to lug around are high our our list of favorite things. These translate whether you’re bopping around New York City on a dreary day or window shopping in Aspen on a slushy afternoon. Comfortable, low-key, but dressy enough to wear out to dinner, these boots are a wardrobe staple.
Spy Optic Hi-Fi
One the slopes = goggles. Always. On the deck drinking a beer or eating lunch? Glasses. No matter what you’re doing, defending your eyes at wintry high altitude where snow blindness is a real thing is key. We like Spy Optic’s Hi-Fi model for their stylish looks and low price tag.
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