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February and March are the best months to take a ski vacation: you skip the holiday crowds and ticket prices, and typically you can access more terrain, thanks to deeper snowpacks. Plus, even if snow conditions aren’t spectacular, milder weather means a better outdoor après-ski scene. So whether you’re just heading out for a long weekend or planning the ultimate spring-break trip, here’s what to throw in your bag for brews at the base village or hot toddies back at the chalet.
Patagonia Recycled Wool Shirt ($90)
I live in this shirt all winter—it looks great, keeps me warm, and, best of all, is incredibly durable. Given that the ski industry is particularly subject to the impacts of climate change, you can feel good while looking good since it’s made from 100 percent recycled materials.
Smartwool Ripple Creek Tunic Sweater ($120)
Your midlayer needs to be warm enough so you don’t freeze when you take your jacket off at the bar. Enter Smartwool’s Ripple Creek Tunic sweater. Its blend of nylon and merino wool will keep you toasty, and its cut is long enough that you can wear it with leggings or base layers. Or so my wife tells me.
Flint and Tinder Sherpa-Lined Waxed Trucker ($248)
Save the bright colors and puffy jackets for the slopes, and go with a classic waxed-canvas jacket for the bar scene. You’ll get all the weather protection you need and won’t look like you jumped out of an REI catalog. There are plenty of good options, but this one earns its price tag with a tough sailcloth outer lined with Sherpa fleece and quilted polyester, which is plenty warm enough to keep you cozy.
Burton Bixby Down ($284)
The Burton Bixby gives you the warmth of 650-fill down without the Michelin Man look. The outer polyester-twill fabric is weather resistant for mountain-town exploration, and the microfleece-lined pockets keep your hands warm.
Eddie Bauer Flannel-Lined Flex Jeans ($55)
Spring skiing may mean warm weather by day, but once the sun sets, temperatures drop quickly. Keep your lower half warm while barhopping well into the night with Eddie Bauer’s Flannel-Lined Flex jeans. My friend swears by them: just enough insulation to keep your butt toasty and stretch built in to help keep those tired legs comfortable.
Athleta PrimaLoft Alpine Valley Tight ($98)
My wife loves these tights. First, they’re fleece-lined, so they’re warm enough to double as a base layer for skiing, which makes transitioning into your après kit after a day on the slopes quick and easy. Second, they hold their shape better than any other tights she’s tried, so you won’t get that baggy-bottom look.
Patagonia Recycled Wool Ear Flap Cap ($49)
Stand out from the sea of trucker hats with the Ear Flap cap. It’s the perfect inside-outside transition headwear, and you’ll be the envy of all the cold-eared ski bros at the bar.
Turtle Fur Whirlaway Pom Beanie ($60)
If you’re noticing a wool pattern here, that’s because there’s no better winter material. This beanie from Turtle Fur not only looks great but will keep you stink-free and warm even if it gets wet from dumping snow.
Outdoor Research Aksel Work Gloves ($65)
There’s a good reason leather work gloves are having a moment right now: they’re warm and weather resistant, and if you treat them right, they will last forever. This pair from OR has a wool, acrylic, and polyester liner that’s warm enough for skiing, which means you can get away with packing one set of gloves on your trip.
Astis Muchu Chhish ($165)
Astis’s gloves are works of art. Hand-sewn in the U.S. and featuring stitched beadwork on the back, they definitely make a statement—everyone I know who owns a pair is constantly stopped and asked about them. The Polartec Thermal Pro High Loft insulation means they’ll work just fine for actual skiing, too.
Kamik Yukon C ($110)
There is really only one thing that makes for a great après boot—how easy it is to get on and off. This Canadian-built pair slips on with no laces to fuss over, a nice change after a long day of battling the buckles on your ski boots. They also feature completely waterproof leather uppers and are rated to minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit, so your toes are guaranteed to stay warm.
Bogs Sweetpea ($70)
Slip-ons that are both moisture wicking and waterproof, the Sweetpeas are so comfortable that my wife wants to buy a pair in every color. Better yet, their lightweight design means they can easily be tossed in your carry-on for quick trips.