The ski season is fast approaching, and I think I speak for us all when I say that new equipment is finally on the cards for those of us who spent the last month or so of winter patching up holes in our equipment using gaffa tape and hope. Next season’s outerwear is under a month away from hitting the shelves, and whether you’re fashion focused or you’ve worn your jacket to shreds, this is an important piece of kit.
So, what are you looking for? Fitted and insulated? Hard shell? Soft shell?
In terms of fitted ski jackets, the après ski crowd tend to sit at the intersection of ski wear and fashion. In terms of ski jackets, that means form fitted or belted with synthetic or down insulation; it can get pretty chilly if you’re planning on spending long afternoons on the terrace with a gluhwein. If you’re on a budget, I’ve heard good things about Sweaty Betty‘s ski range, which looks good and keeps warm on piste.
Otherwise, and this is where my real knowledge base sits, there are a few stand out companies making backcountry ready ski wear. Arc’teryx has a superb reputation for being one of the best in the business in terms of function and fit, but they’ve got a price tag that might be off-putting if you’re still working at the local ski bar.
Having got the lowdown on how last season’s Arc’teryx Sidewinder performed (very well, even in the wettest of wet conditions), I’ve got every hope that this season’s Beta SV will be every bit as reliable. Elsewhere, I particularly like Faction ski jackets; the price is ski bum friendly, and they’re comfortable in any weather (I’ve checked).
If your style is a little less St Moritz and a little more Chamonix, Black Crows have spent the last few years bringing the ‘cool factor’ (that illusive thing) back to skiing. All I know is that Cham’s local superstar brand makes outer wear as brilliantly as they do skis, and that’s saying something.
I realise I haven’t exactly pin pointed the more established ski brands in this piece, but I’m a big believer in promoting the stuff I know works. At the end of the day though, whatever your style, you should probably just choose something you’ll feel comfortable wearing.