More than two feet of snow dumped in parts of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana yesterday, which was bad news for people trying to fly out of the Denver airport, but great news for folks looking to fly down the mountains on skis.
It was the first major storm for the region and powder hounds hope it’s just the beginning because as nice as a white Christmas by the fire can be, it’s even better when you’re carving turns through the trees.
To get you ready for the season, we pulled together the best ski gear of the year. No matter what style of skier you are, this equipment will help you have more fun on the mountain and look like a stud for those snow bunnies. And if you prefer one plank to two, check out our picks for the best snowboarding gear.
BLIZZARD BONAFIDE SKIS
The all-conditions ski used to be a myth, but manufacturers like Blizzard are making it a reality. The new Bonafide integrates carbon fiber in the tip and the tail to make the skis more stable and easier to maneuver. From the powder at first chair to the chewed-up chunks at the end of the day, the Bonafide powers through it all for a super fun ride.
LANGE XT 130 BOOTS
Ski boots can make or break a day on the mountain, which is why the prices for a good pair can rival those of the actual skis. Lange’s XT 130 has all the drive that skiers expect from the brand, and a redesigned cuff that makes them easier to hike in when you’re trying to earn your turns.
SMITH VANTAGE HELMET
The Vantage checks all the boxes you’re looking for in a helmet: protects your noggin, fits comfortably, and looks great. The Aerocore technology offers increased impact protection while also providing the ideal amount of ventilation. And the Boa fit system allows for precise adjustments to fit any dome shape. Finally, the low profile design ensures that you won’t look like a bobble head out on the slopes.
SMITH I/0 GOGGLES
The best way to ensure that your goggles and helmet play nice with each other is to get them both from the same brand. Fortunately, Smith creates solid products in both categories. The I/O goggles have a spherical lens shape that enhances your vision, anti-fog technology, and easy-to-swap-out lenses. But the retro ‘80s strap might be our favorite part. It makes you feel like you’re in Hot Dog…The Movie.
BLACK DIAMOND MISSION SHELL
What looks like a minimal jacket at first glance is actually a feature-packed shell. Black Diamond uses a three-layer Gore-Tex fabric to make sure snow stays out. It also has clever pockets designed to be accessed on the go and a hood that can be easily cinched even with gloves on.
PATAGONIA KNIFE RIDGE PANTS
Think of these pants like trying to get into a club. The rugged outer material is like the doorman keeping people out and saying, “Sorry, private party.” The soft inner lining is like the comfy banquette you sit in once you finagle your way inside.
ARC'TERYX LITHIC GLOVES
You didn’t know your hands could be this comfortable on the mountain. The Lithic Gloves are mapped to each individual finger to provide optimal dexterity and grip when you’re planting your poles. The fully taped seams and hydrophobic material ensure that no water or snow gets inside and your hands stay dry as a bone.
GOPRO HERO4 SESSION
Video or it didn’t happen, right? The GoPro Hero4 Session lets you check out your greatest hits (and misses) from the slopes back at the lodge. The camera shoots high-def 1440p at 30 frames per second and can even capture 100 frames per second at 720p. The best part is the compact camera size. The Session has approximately the same dimensions as an ice cube so you can discreetly attach it to your gear without looking like you have some growth coming out of your body.
THE NORTH FACE SNOMAD BACKPACK
If you’re heading out into the backcountry, this is the pack to have on your back. The Snomad holds skis in either an A-frame or diagonal shape and has dedicated areas for avalanche rescue equipment, ice tools, and gloves. You can access the main pocket via the back panel so you can get the pack off, grab what you need, and keep moving.