This is the year of the domestic ski vacation, the year when we’ll need reservations to ride the lifts to ski and snowboard. With on-mountain restaurants limiting service and access, you’ll be spending a lot more time outside than normal, so you’d better plan to bundle up. Uphill skiing on alpine touring equipment has been taking off and you can also expect the backcountry to go off the charts this season, as more people head way off piste in pursuit of powder and solitude. Every outdoor adventure requires different equipment and the sage advice is to plan accordingly with a ski jacket that can get the job down. To round it out, I’ve added a few cool accessories as well.
Arc’teryx Cassiar LT Jacket
You may be masked on the lifts at Deer Valley or Telluride this winter, but at least you’ll be styling with this new lightweight, Gore-Tex jacket with a trim profile and a flannel liner from a company that makes some of the most handsome ski wear in the business. Designed for both skiing and snowboarding, the Arc’teryx Cassiar LT Jacket is windproof and waterproof courtesy of the N70p 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric. Expressly designed for resort skiing, it doesn’t weigh you down with bulk or excess storage pockets. You get two hand pockets and one sleeve pocket with an RFID sleeve for your pass, as well as an internal mesh dump pocket and laminated zippered pocket. It’s designed to move with you, with enough stretch to offer an incredible range of motion. Yet there’s still enough room underneath to add an extra layer or two. The jacket has a helmet-compatible and removable DropHood and a powder skirt to seal out the snow on those treasured big pow days. Zippers are watertight, welcome indeed when the temps change and the flakes turn liquid. $599.
Spyder Jagged GTX Shell Jacket
If you’re heading into the backcountry, check out the Spyder Jagged GTX Shell Jacket. It’s part of the Spyder Freeski line and it’s constructed with 3L Gore-Tex fabric, along with a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) finish with taped seams. Spyder uses stretch polyester Pertex Shield+, a three-layer fabric for enhanced waterproof-breathability. There are YKK Aquaguard zippers to help keep you dry when the snow (or rain or sleet) starts to fall and it comes with a built in Recco Avalanche Rescue System. Whether you’re in the backcountry around Jackson Hole or tackling a run in New Hampshire’s White Mountains as the temperatures fluctuate, this jacket has been designed for stormy days and changeable mountain weather. A removable powder skirt, adjustable hem and cuffs, and adjustable helmet-compatible hood make it very functional, while the pit zips for underarm ventilation on those uphill climbs seal the deal. $600.
OR Outdoor Research Helium Down Hooded Jacket
Some days, you just want to stay warm. This winter, when many of us will be booting up in the parking lot of Wildcat or Alpine or most any other mountain because the lodge is closed, a jacket like this will come in handy. OR designers, including former free ski competitor Charlie Berg, came up with the very lightweight OR Outdoor Research Helium Down Hooded Jacket that boasts an abrasion resistant shell, with waterproof Diamond Fuse fabric on the hood and shoulders for weather protection. They filled it with 800+ fill premium RDS (Responsible Down Standard) insulation, and made sure it could be easily adjusted at the waist. There are elasticized cuffs and hand warmer pockets for when you’re standing around trying to stay toasty. The hood is adjustable, there’s an external chest pocket, and dual internal stash pockets. When the temps drop but the skies are blue, this jacket is a go-to works for skiing, winter climbing and as a great layer under a shell. $279.
Amundsen Peak Anorak
The Norwegian outdoor clothing brand Amundsen is named after Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer who became the first to reach the South Pole in 1911. You might not have such an ambitious winter agenda, but even if you’re only planning to explore the backcountry of Montana or head uphill at Aspen Mountain this winter, the Amundsen Peak Anorak is worth considering. This Euro-style piece is a midweight shell that perfect for uphill skiing, ski touring, and yes, even resort skiing. It has a great deal of stretch thanks to its 3-layer c_change fabric from Schoeller Switzerland which is another way of saying that it’s quite breathable and a much better idea than Gore-Tex if you’re pushing it uphill. It’s also 100% seam sealed, good to know before the wet snow falls. The chest pocket is remarkable useful – stash your phone or your lunch, since most mountain restaurants will likely be doing only grab and go food this year. It has a helmet-friendly adjustable hood and the two side ventilation zippers not only making venti8ng a breeze but also make it easy to put on or take off. The pass pocket on the arm is a more 21st century touch. $529.
Obermeyer Fairweather Shell Bib Pant
Klaus Obermeyer will turn 101 on December 2 and still he shows no signs of stopping. The ski design pioneer’s eponymous company continues to innovate as they have for more than 60 years. For those looking to pair ski pants with one of the above mentioned jackets, consider the Obermeyer Fairweather Shell Bib Pant. These are a technical 3-layer removable bib pant that features a highly waterproof and breathable stretch fabric, outside thigh vents, a removable bib, and a Recco reflector for avalanche backcountry safety. They rely on fully coated hydrophobic laminations and a superior DWR polymer coating. They utilize HydroBlock® Elite, for waterproofing, breathability and will stretch. There are YKK® AquaGuard® zipper(s), a double slider zipper for venting and they are fully seam sealed. The adjustable, removable bib is a godsend for fickle ski days, which may deliver powder in the morning and warming temperatures in the afternoon. There are hem gussets, water-resistant powder cuffs with elastic, zipper hand pockets and reinforced scuff guards. These are really well-made ski pants that cover all the bases, a great choice for heading into Colorado backcountry or using on the corduroy at Stowe this winter. $359.
Icebreaker Men’s RealFleece® Merino Descender Long Sleeve Zip Hood Jacket
Looking to layer? This is a technical hooded mid-layer for those chilly days. The Descender Long Sleeve Zip Hood features merino wool RealFLEECE® for both warmth and breathability. It has thumb loops and a hood designed to fit under your helmet. The drop tail hem adds to its style, as does its trim fit. $215.
Fourlaps Level 4
You always want to go lighter on that first layer and that’s why Fourlaps Level Tech Half Zip is probably one of the best things to wear for any outdoor winter sport. The company has grown into one of the best high end men’s fitness brands and this multi-use piece utilizes 37.5 ® technology, which uses active particles to vent heat in warm conditions and retain it if it’s cold. Better yet, when you’re shedding layers, it looks great by itself. $98.
SPY+ Marauder Snow Goggle
Goggles can make or break a ski day. SPY+’s Marauder has the company’s patented Happy Lens technology, something we all need after 2020. It is a special color and contrast enhancing lens design that the company claims is “scientifically tuned to boost mood and alertness by harnessing the natural benefits of long-wave blue light (the suns beneficial rays).” I’m willing to accept that’s but what I discovered is how much I like the incredible clarity and peripheral vision that these googles offer. $180
Mountain Hardware Exposure 2 Gore-Tex Glove
Those long days on the slopes demand premium hand protection. The Mountain Hardware Exposure 2 Gore-Tex Gloves are waterproof and have a remarkable amount of flexibility. They used Pittards™ goat leather in critical abrasion points and the seams are inside-out, which Mountain Hardware says increases dexterity and mobility. They’re made with Gore-Tex and have Primaloft Gold™ insulation and 4-way stretch fabric for abrasion resistance and maximum dexterity. These are full gauntlets and can be tightened with a loop at the wrist so nothing will get inside except your hands. What I can add is these are one tough pair of gloves that even utilize Kevlar thread. If you plan to ski the trees at Big Sky or Sugarloaf this winter, these are the dream gloves. $170.