Some things I wore this season were new, some were tried and true. Combined, this was the gear I reached most for in-bounds ski days during the best winter of my life.
The Hard Stuff
Skis: Salomon QST 106
I got on these skis at a demo day two years ago when they first came on the scene and I knew right away they were my skis. They were also one of the top skis at Powder Week in 2016. You can read the full review from our 2016 Buyer’s Guide here. I love the QST 106 because they fall into that sweet spot that works no matter the conditions—from hard pack at Big Sky to deep powder in B.C. They’re light and easy to maneuver, and most important to me, they hold a solid edge in the steeps and feel secure at speeds.
Boots: Tecnica Zero G Guide W
Isn’t it awesome when you find a ski boot that actually improves your skiing, rather than sits on your feet like two wet blankets? A road trip through Idaho that was going to be mixed with all types of skiing pushed me to finally, finally get a new pair of boots and I happily landed on Tecnica’s Zero G Guide series. The 105 flex skis more like a 120 and with 10 minutes of boot work to ease up the heel pocket on my right boot, I was comfortable and warm in these hybrid boots all winter. The rockered rubber soles kept me safe on hiking traverses and work with a tech binding and a touring binding so I only bring these, no matter what type of skiing I’m doing. Here’s a review of the men’s version.
Bindings: Look Pivot Dual WTR
These aren’t the lightest bindings on the market, but they kept me locked in all winter and the turntable heel protects my knees… even if they can be a pain to step into when not perfectly aligned. This binding is compatible with my old boots and their alpine standard soles, but also my WTR hybrid Tecnica boots. Read our Skier’s Choice review here.
Poles: Scott Team Issue
Poles are poles are poles. This crew of skiers doesn’t even use them. But having a solid pole you can depend on, like these from Scott, means I don’t have to think twice about this piece of gear. Made with aluminum, they’re light and durable, and the Notch Strike grip fits easily into my hand even when wearing thick gloves. The SRS releasable strap will pull out when needed and not when you don’t.
Jacket: Faction Popova
I lived in this jacket on mild storm days, sometimes adding this Helly Hansen puffy underneath, and threw it on over a sports bra for spring skiing in Aspen. Faction's Popova jacket looks and feels like streetwear with its long cut, oversized hood, and cotton-like feel. There are almost zero bells and/or whistles in this jacket. It’s simple, and easy. For those of us who feel like we live in our ski gear, this is a major plus. The big win is that this jacket performs as well on the mountain as it does in town. I got a ton of use out of the massive front kangaroo pocket as well. It holds gloves on the chairlift, and also a surprising amount of beers. Read the full review from our 2016 Apparel Guide here.
Jacket: something insulated from Flylow
Coming winter 2017. Standby. (I can tell you already I love this thing).
Pants: Flylow Daisy
Flylow’s newest women’s pant is made for skiers who usually wear two layers of long underwear. Unlike the rest of my body, my legs run cold and these pants keep me super warm. I even wear them on the skin track or short hikes and don’t overheat thanks to good venting. The slim fit is flattering but doesn’t restrict my movement and these pants (thankyougod) are long enough for me at 6 feet tall.
Pants: Strafe Cloud Nine
For a company started by a bunch of young dudes from Aspen, Strafe’s women’s line is very dialed. Again, I feel for these pants because of their length. A baggier fit than the Flylow Daisy, the Cloud Nine uses Polartec Alpha insulation that makes them freakishly warm while still breathable. The cuff guards took a beating from ski edges and general wear this winter, but are still holding up great.
Base Layer: Element Pure
The new base layer line from Element Pure is the softest, most comfortable long underwear I've ever worn, processed in a way I feel really good about. I was warm, I was dry, and I could get away with a whole week of wear before needing to wash out the funk. Element Pure uses a material called Tencel in all of its products, including the Ultrafine Tencel Nanofiber Long Sleeve Crew and Baselayer Bottom I wore all winter. You can read more about their awesome eco-friendly process here.
Footwear: Sperry Duckboots
These low-profile boots are casual and stylish enough to wear straight on to the plane, and are functional in the mountains, so I only need to pack one pair of shoes when I travel. The waterproof rubber outsoles keep my ski socks dry when I'm trudging through parking lot puddles, and spilled beer from a quaffing mug runs right off. Serious traction on the bottom originally designed for slippery boat decks also makes them eat-shit-on-ice-proof. Read my full review here.
Helmet: Anon Helo 2.0
Anon slimmed down the Helo model for 2016, dropping the weight to just 370 grams. I love the sleek, low-pro look of this helmet. The two-piece shell with an adjustable in-shell fit system works with or without the ear pads. I left them in all winter because they’re so soft and comfortable, but can also be too warm when hiking around. Newer models have improved ventilation, which is definitely a good thing.
Goggles: Anon M2 Tatonka
This was my second season wearing these googles and I have only good things to say. The M2 uses 16 magnets to hold the lens in place, which makes swapping lenses (something I do a lot) extremely easy. Even in a few hard falls, the lens has never popped out unexpectedly. They also fit well with my Anon helmet, so no goggle gap to worry about there.
Dome piece: Free beanie
No idea where this black hat came from, but we spent a lot of time together this winter. I like something pocket-packable so I can easily whip it out to hide helmet hair during apres.
They have all the benefits of compression socks without all the claustrophobia. Yes, it exists.
Mittens: Dakine Galaxy Gore-Tex
These low-profile mitts fit well under the cuff and I trusted them even on my coldest days this winter. I’m talking minus 20 degrees, and my hands were always warm thanks to 360 grams of wool lining. Too warm to tour in, but great for everything else, including keeping my fingers dry in wet snow and drying out quickly after.
Head gear: Skida headband & buff
Skida's lightweight headbands and neck-warmers are made of double Lycra layers, with fleece-lined options for colder days, and come in a wild kaleidoscope of prints that keep things fun and funky. Plus, they are made in the USA by a bunch of rad skier chicks, so they’re covered in good ju-ju.