Backcountry Access Companion, the Giro Nine.9 helmet, Oakley's Straight Jacket, Smith Triad goggles, and Mountain Hardwear's Monkey Phur Vest
Ski and snowboard equipment continues to speciate for riding style and ability. Lucky for us, we like to hike for turns, stay out all day,and perfect the carve. The gear we pickedlike Schoeller stretch-woven jackets and Salomon side-mounted bindingsis technical but, worry not, it's comfy too.
Gore-Tex works great, but how often do you really ski in the rain? The new generation of soft, form-fitting snow wear, like Salomon's STL-550 jacket ($549) with removable liner and the women's STL-551 ($279), replaces the crinkly-sounding nylon- and Gore-Tex-lined shells with quiet, stretch-woven fabrics that improve breathability and durability while retaining water-resistance.
Matching hot pants? The Patagonia stretch-woven Salopette ($245) and Cloudveil IceFloe bibs ($325) are not skintight, but they don't droop like garbage bags either. If you keep moving and maintain your core temperature, stretch-woven fabrics obviate traditional layering, but you'll need a moisture-managing base layer like Mountain Hardwear's eXtend ($52 crew top, $45 bottoms). For extreme cold or sitting on a ski lift, midweight layers like The North Face Aurora Zip Neck ($75) or Mountain Hardwear's Monkey Phur Vest ($80) are light and breathable. Wrap your feet in the SmartWool Snowrider socks ($17), which outperform all synthetics in transporting moisture away from the skin. When it comes to brain buckets, vents are crucial, and the new Giro Nine.9 ($125) features a dozen you can open and close at will. Fresh powder, however, demands an insulating and wind-blocking fleece lid from Shred Alert ($24). For your hands there's the Marmot Ultimate Ski Glove ($149), or get a grip with the goatskin palm of the new breathable and waterproof SmartWool Backcountry Mitten ($95). After a day of skiing, only slipping into a hot tub comes close to donning the new omon Powderslide s ($65). The ley Straight Jacket's ($95) iridium lenses ensure clarity and contrast on snow and that je ne sais quoi for the sundeck. But up on the mountain, off the groomers, goggles perform better. The lenses on the helmet-friendly Smith Triad ($90) mimic the curve of the eye for more precise vision, plus unsurpassed airflow eliminates fogging.