Field Tested: Best Women's Ski Apparel

Jan 12, 2010
Outside Magazine

I took a little sojourn to Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia and brought along some key items to test out on the slopes. Fortunately, for testing purposes, I was greeted with blizzard-like conditions on both days, so I could really see how the gear would hold up. The temps were in the single digits, the wind chill was below zero, and the wind was harsh and relentless. Here's how my stuff stacked up to the elements.

--Aileen Torres

WFreeze1:2Zip_brownwhite Helly Hansen W Freeze ProWool 1/2 Zip Turtleneck: This base layer is good on performance and style. The inside is made with LIFA T3 fiber, which wicked away sweat when I was working hard, and the outside is made with Merino wool, which kept me warm. Scoring high on style points are the raglan sleeves, which complement broad shoulders, and the fit, which shows off the body's contours.; $80

WIceCrew_Cream Helly Hansen W Ice Crew: There's nothing fancy about this one. It's a basic long-sleeved crew that looks and feels like thermal underwear, but it did the job well of keeping me warm and dry (it's also made of LIFA T3 and Merino wool). The stripes running down the sides of the arms give it subtle design distinction.; $70

WProwoolPant Helly Hansen W HH Warm Pant: This bottom base layer is meant to go with the turtleneck and the crew. It's got the same combo of LIFA T3 and Merino wool, and the fit is snug and sleek. I felt very comfortable and warm the entire time I was wearing it--and I wore it a lot. This will be my go-to piece throughout the winter.; $70

Icebreaker Icebreaker_GT320 Vertical Hood: I'm a big fan of this outer layer. It's expedition weight and made with wool, which really keeps the cold and wind at bay. Front pockets on each side are great for extra protection for your hands against frigid temps, the hood comes in handy if you don't want to wear a hat, and the thumb loops give this hoodie a very stylish look.; $224.99

North face The North Face W Flux Power Stretch 1/4 Zip: This is a basic pullover, which is something that The North Face does well. It's part of their Summit Series, and it's made of Polartec Power Stretch, so the inside is very soft, while the outside stretches with your bodily activity. It's lightweight but keeps you warm. And it's got a Napoleon chest pocket to store your keys or iPod.; $160

Spyder Spyder Stunner Jacket: This monochrome jacket is cut for women, so it shows off your contours. It's got good insulation, soft microfiber at the collar lining to prevent chin chafing, an inside mesh pocket for your goggles, a chamois wipe, and a key clasp built into the right pocket. The thumb loops are fun, and so is the color, if you get it in green (I got a lot of compliments on that one).; $399

Stoic W's Insulated ski pants (side view) Stoic Bombshell Insulated Ski Pant: From's new label, this ski pant kept me warm, comfortable, and, most importantly, dry in blizzard-like conditions. It's got side zips so you can get your boots on easily, inseam vents to cool down when you need to, and it fits nicely at the hips. The many pockets came in very handy--two front, two back, one cargo--for storing keys, credit cards, cash, and other random things.; $219

Image SmartWool Women's PhD Skiing: These socks kept my feet completely dry, and I never felt my toes get cold in them. They're super comfortable and long, too--they cover the calves. They're very thick, and great to wear around everywhere, if you can stuff them into your regular shoes.; $23.95

Glove Spyder Women's Synthesis GORE-TEX Glove: These gloves were thick enough to protect my hands when I was really active. But whenever I took a break or had to stand out in the snow for whatever reason, the cold easily seeped through. They probably weren't meant for sub-zero conditions.; $75

Polar buff Polar Buff: This thing is essentially a turtleneck without the shirt. The outside is made of Polartec, and the inside is a thinner polyester fabric. You can do all sorts of crazy things with the polyester to create various headgear, but I stuck with the straight and narrow and just used the Polartec to keep my neck warm. I also pulled it up sometimes to shield the lower half of my face. The softness and warmth of the Polartec is very comforting when you're facing a howling wind and arctic wind chill.; $26

Smith Phenom Smith Phenom: This goggle is good for larger faces. It's got adjustable top vents and excellent anti-fogging properties. The strap adjusts easily and quickly. It kept the blowing snow well out of my eyes.; $140

Giro Coy Giro The Coy: These sunglasses marry sporty with high style. They're made with an oversized Italian frame, and they've got ovalish rectangular lenses. The view from them is very sharp, and although they've got an opaque tint on the outside, from the inside, you're not overwhelmed with a darker world. Everything looks clear and bright (just not too bright).; $90

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