When it comes to picking gear for the slopes, a few key factors come to mind: warmth, comfort, and durability to list a few. Below you’ll find a few of the items I love for these reasons, including jackets, pants, and accessories. Get ready for the 2018-2019 ski season, but getting the right gear.

1. The Outdoor Research Blackpowder II Jacket

blackpowder outdoor research jacket in Breckenridge
The Blackpowder II by Outdoor Research. Photo Credit: Kimmy Saavedra.

From fit to warmth to function, I can honestly say the Outdoor Research Blackpowder II jacket is my top pick among the ski jackets in my closet. It’s got a comfortable snug fit that hugs the body in a way that still allows a wide range of movement, and despite its slim profile, it’s really warm. I generally run warm, but I was able to spend an entire day on the slopes in single-digit temperatures with nothing but a t-shirt and this jacket on my chest. If you’re looking for a solid all-around jacket that will be able to take you through the entire season, the Outdoor Research Blackpowder II is for you.

2. Native Treeline Goggles

“Treeline” Goggles by Native Eyewear.

Consistently producing some of the slickest goggles on the market, Native has another hit with their Treeline ski goggles. They’re functional, stylish, and best-of-all, they fit over most prescription glasses. That means that if you’ve got specs on while you ski, like I do, these are the goggles for you. I’ve tested these several times on the slopes throughout the past year and they’re still my favorite pair by far.

3. The Phunkshun Neck Tube (pictured in first photo of Blackpowder II jacket, red)

When the cold winds start blasting on the slopes, the Phunkshun Neck Tube will have your back…face. Unlike other similar products, the unique material (recycled water bottles) that Phunkshun’s neck tube is made out of prevents the collection of moisture, which prevents the layer from freezing. If it’s going to be a frigid day on the ski hill, this is the item in my bag that I’m most thankful to have.

4. Cat Crap

Seriously, that’s what it’s called…Cat Crap. If you’re a glasses-wearer like me, you’ll find this stuff essential to a good time on the slopes – it’s anti-fog that is easy to apply and lasts all day. You apply directly to the lens of your glasses, and then you’re able to wear the glasses under your goggles without having to take your goggles off to wipe down condensation every lift and every run. I believe this also works on goggles, but I haven’t tested that as the aforementioned Native Treelines do a great job of keeping the fog away on their own. (Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this product – I forgot to zip and pocket and lost it to the ski hill).

5. My Good Ol’ Kinco Gloves

Gloves - OutThere Colorado
Kinco mittens and gloves are a ski instructor’s best kept secret. Your hands will never be cold again!

I know what you’re thinking…another recommendation for Kinco work gloves to be used as ski gloves. Well, until another company gets a glove on my hand that comes close to the functionality of Kinco gloves coupled with their ridiculously affordable price, this will remain my glove pick.

Technically, Kinco gloves are probably considered cold-weather work gloves, but with a little waterproofing, you’ll have your new favorite pair of ski gloves for less than $25. They’re extremely durable, they’re very warm, and they’re flexible, giving you plenty of dexterity for most on-slope scenarios. It’s no wonder that a ton of ski gear companies are now styling their ski gloves after this local’s secret.

If you’re not wanting to do the waterproofing work yourself, but want a glove in this style, Fly Low seems to have the best look-a-like option and they’re only $35. That being said, I have no experience with this pair of gloves, so do some additional research before making the purchase.

6. The Bern Heist Brim Helmet

Rocking the Bern Heist helmet on a relaxed late season day at Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort in Colorado. Photo Credit: Jeff Gratzmiller.

Always protect your head on the slopes! Just because you see other people not wearing a helmet, doesn’t mean you should follow suit.

My favorite helmet on the slopes is the Bern Heist Brim. It’s got the perfect snug fit while also allowing for plenty of cooling airflow. Plus, it’s got a relatively compact design, which allows it to fit under most hoods. Comfort meets function, the Bern Heist Brim is the perfect all-day helmet. There’s also a non-brimmed version if that’s more of your style.

7. The 686 Authentic Smarty Cargo 3-in-1 Pant

They’re ski pants that fit and feel as comfortable as real pants – and that’s hard to beat. I bought the 686 Authentic Smarty Cargo 3-in-1 Pant during a labor day sale and was looking for nothing more than another option in my gear closet. That being said, when I finally got the chance to test them on the slopes, they blew me away. The way they fit is so natural, allowing movement, but feeling tight enough to not get in the way. This coupled with the Black Powder II jacket made for the perfect combo (Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of just the pants, but you can see a quick glimpse of the khaki version in the first picture of this piece). Warm, comfy all day long, and stylish, the 686 Authentic Smarty Cargo 3-in-1 pant are my recommendation for your next pair of all-around snow pants. Plus, they’ve got pull strings that let you adjust the length depending on the situation. This makes them great to wear once the boots come off for the day.

8. The Deuter Freerider Lite 25

Deuter Freerider Lite 25
The Deuter Freerider Lite 25.

I’m a big fan of bringing extra layers when I ski, which means I always need a backpack. Unfortunately, a lot of ski backpacks end up with an oddly unbalanced profile that can make throwing your weight around feel a bit off. The Deuter Freerider is at the opposite end of the spectrum. With an extremely sleek, but somehow spacious, profile, it’s easy to forget this backpack is there. It gives you plenty of room to carry whatever you need for a day of skiing at a resort, while also being unobtrusive. The Deuter Freerider works with the movement of your body, not against it. It will set you up for a great day on the slopes.

9. The Daehlie Jacket Extend

The Extend jacket and wool pants in action on a Nordic skiing trail. Photo Credit: Daehlie.

Looking to hit the trail on some Nordic skis instead of heading downhill? The Daehlie Jacket Extend is the perfect option, with extra coverage in the back to keep the lower back covered, thus warm. It’s lightweight, but surprisingly insulated, great for everything from a warm day on the slopes to cross-country skiing to snowshoeing to the late season bike ride.

One thing that I really love about the design of this jacket is the hood. It fits the head snug, almost as if it were a beanie. Yes, this makes the hood warm, but it also provides a hugely wide range of vision in a way that I’ve never experienced with a hooded jacket before. As you turn your head, the hood turns with it, giving you the same view you’d get without the jacket on. I’m not much of a runner, but I’d imagine this would be a great feature for those on the lookout for cars. It would also make a lot of sense in competitive cross-country races, where you’d need to be highly aware of what’s going on around you.

I’m still waiting to get a good picture of this jacket, but for now, check out the Daehlie Jacket Extend on their site. If you’re looking for a combo set, the wool pants offered by Daehlie match the Jacket Extend in comfort and in function.

10. The DryGuy Force Dry

DryGuy Force Dry
The DryGuy Force Dry.

For whatever reason, my feet seem to sweat 200% more than anyone else’s while I’m exercising. Skiing, rock climbing, and hiking are no exception. Thankfully, I’ve been using the DryGuy Force Dry lately to dry my footwear quickly, keeping it mold and smell free. You’re able to use the Force Dry with a range of products, able to dry two things at once with each of its arms (note the picture above). It’s also great for drying out gloves. Nothing is worse that putting on wet boots or gloves for a second day of skiing, and the DryGuy products can help prevent that. Visit their website for an entire line of similar products with a range of drying power and portability.

*** With regards to gear-related pieces, OutThere Colorado staff may receive product for testing purposes at no cost. Per our editorial ethics policy, receiving product in no way guarantees coverage, positive or negative. All selections made on gear lists are made by the author solely based on their experience with the gear. If you’re interested in purchasing one of these packs, you’ll find links in the articles. OutThere Colorado does not receive any sort of commission on sales made coming from this page.


Leave a Reply

What We Believe

We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More