GPSing, altitude-reading, iPhone-integrated gadgetry is great. But, be it blizzard or bluebird, a winter day in the mountains—even lift-serviced ones—can get serious in a hurry, so dress appropriately. Freezing fingers, soggy shoulders and foggy goggles will keep you from field-testing any trinkets, but these solid basics will serve you tirelessly. And, if you stick to them, you’ll save enough money to hit the hills while your tricked-out buddies are tapping out time on a keyboard.
Patagonia 3-in-1 Snowshot Jacket
Out to aprÃ¨s ski, on the mountain or in an avalanche, this jacket’s got your back. Synthetic insulation zips into a waterproof, breathable shell cut for optimal mobility. New this year: an integrated avalanche rescue reflector to help ski patrol dig you out of a jam.
Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody
This toasty hoodie is a great addition to your arsenal of mix & match snowriding wear. The abrasion-resistant, four-way-stretch, quick-dry fleece is smartly cut and easy to layer. A neck gaiter/balaclava—your ultimate champion on bitterly cold days—is attached to the hood.
They’re back in style for a minute, and what bibs lack in longevity they make up for in practicality—no powder shots to the belly here! Take advantage of the current high-tech offerings. Constructed from waterproof, breathable soft-shell, this bomber set sports zippered vents, articulated knees and internal gaiters.
Dakine: Annie Boulanger Women’s Team Heli Pro 18L
A sandwich, a few layers, shovel-beacon-probe; the backpack is where it’s at. This bag, made specifically for women, is especially well considered. Set up for diagonal ski and vertical board carries, the steezy pack (designed by pro-boarder Annie Boulanger) also features a fleece-lined pocket to safely stow goggles.
The 2014 Westmark was created for intermediate/advanced riders to grind through hard-core park sessions before riding it out on the groomers, and it does its job well. With a 30 percent bio-film (i.e., plant-based, not plastic) topsheet and 60 percent recycled steel edges, the planet likes it, too.
All that’s old is new again. In the case of the one-piece base layer from Patagonia, that’s a good thing. Wearing this plush, recycled polyester fleece is like hanging out in cozy, breathable, performance-enhancing PJs.
RAMP Peacepipe Skis
RAMP produces its skis right up the hill in Park City, on demand. New sticks are ready to ship two weeks after ordering. Peacepipe, one of RAMP’s newest offerings, floats in powder and has plenty of hard-core bamboo core to deliver on groomers.
Outdoor Research Riot Gloves
It’s easy to forget your hands until they’ve become freezing, worthless balls of pain. Slip into a pair of waterproof, breathable riots—a pull-loop helps settle the under-the-cuff design in place—and you won’t give them a second thought all day.
Giro Battle Helmet
This helmet is every bit as tough as it needs to be. Fully padded and featuring eight vents, tune-happy ear-liners and a Skittles-like color selection, these brain-buckets have enough bells and whistles to hook you up without making you pay for more than you’ll ever need.
Zeal Optic’s Level Goggles
These on- (oversize) trend goggles are anti-fog, impact-resistant, UV-blocking and seriously stylish. A lens that big—offering what Zeal calls a “textured color palette”—is sure to up your game, or at least make you feel like you’re in one.