On stormy days, powder days, and bluebird days, the right ski gear helps you leave it all on the mountain. Afterwards, you want an equally savvy system to maximize comfort and optimize your après session. For big-mountain pro Kalen Thorien, the best kit is none at all. "Preferably I'm dipping my toes into a hot spring with a beer in hand."
But when backcountry, clothing-optional soaking isn't an option, think warm, dry, cozy fabrics that are easy to layer, with just the right amount of slouch. "The art of après apparel is something one cannot take lightly," advises Thorien. "Skiing at Alta has a tendency to make you extremely snow covered and eventually damp so I make sure to have a nice oversized hoodie in the car, my party tights ready underneath the ski pants, fresh beanie, and dry boots."
Here are her picks, and ours.
Discrete Clothing Bernie Hoodie ($80)
Thorien's go-to piece, the Bernie is a mid-length, mid-weight cotton hoody that's high on style and low on fuss. "The material is incredibly soft and it's not too thick, so you don't feel like the Michelin man waddling around the bar. The flattering fit shows off your curves, upping your post-après date chances." A roomy hood does double duty as a neck warmer, and the clean, simple styling makes it easy to wear over tights or skinny jeans.
Teeki Tights ($72)
Made in the U.S. from recycled plastic water bottles, the always-sassy Teeki Hot Pants have "beautifully weird designs and make your butt look awesome," says Thorien. Priorities, ladies. Almost any of the original graphics—we love the Northern Lights Retro and the Haze—offer a head-turning alternative to boring black leggings. And giving new life to old trash? "Hashtag bonus."
Stio Idyll Merino Hooded Sweater ($179)
Possibly the world's most slimming sweater—even after you've just wolfed down a plate of post-powder nachos. Made from soft, washable merino, the lean, tunic length sweater is longer in the back than the front, covering your bum and draping you in warmth without the bulk. Textured, basket-weave cuffs and a garter-stitch yoke elevate this from functional gear status to high style, equally sweet over ski pants, yoga tights, or skinny leggings while navigating the city's mean streets.
Big Agnes Sunshine Hooded Jacket ($450)
Because being cold is a deal breaker after a long day charging the slopes, the Big Agnes Sunshine belongs in every serious skier's quiver. The lofty-yet-compressible 850-fill down is treated with DownTek, which absorbs less moisture and insulates even when damp—ideal for snowy evenings—and the hood slides on easily but hugs snugly. Ultralight and stowable, this is the ultimate approach jacket that will get you from your warm bed to first chair—so cozy you won't want to take it off, so squish it in your pack, just in case—and the perfect consolation prize after the lifts close.
Skhoop Mini Skirt ($139)
If you've been losing sleep wondering when the down skirt will make its triumphant return, it's back! By far the best of the bunch is this sassy little number from Skhoop, a Scandinavian company that has figured out how to make insulated skirts that are actually flattering. Grazing your mid-thigh, the Original Mini avoids the usual pitfall of too much puffy material in the wrong places. The full front zip makes transitions from ski bibs to skirt seamless, and offers a visual break from all that poof. Rock it over Teeki tights or your ski pants. And yeah, you can rip in it, too.