Every year, towards the end of January, independent Hollywood filmmakers take over the small town of Park City, Utah, for the Sundance film festival. And while most are not there to ski, I find it is the perfect time to take to the beautiful slopes of the Canyon resort, as they are so quiet during the festival. Given that one may be sharing a gondola with any number of important Hollywood executives, friends have recently asked me for my advice on ski style and this is my response.
I suggest choosing your ski wear based on three elements: fashion, function and features. I have seen many a hideous ski suit sail by this winter and I was particularly disturbed by the popularity of plaid. I understand the importance of being seen on the slopes and advise against the all-white ensemble, as it will make you difficult to locate in an emergency situation.
It is helpful to know the colors of the ski school in the location that you’re visiting and avoid wearing these colors as you will be bound to attract a barrage of unwanted questions from demanding tourists. Also, unless you’re obligated by sponsorship, don’t mix and match bold colors, as you’ll look uncoordinated, which is never a good thing. A perfect combination is a bright jacket with white pants. Nils produced a beautiful coral jacket this season, which I teamed with white pants and boots. Pairing black and white is always a safe and chic choice, on and off of the slopes. My favorite brand is Kjus who produce lightweight yet very warm and comfortable jackets with plenty of pockets, meaning you will not be obliged to carry a camel pack everyday.
The item that everyone needs to get right is eye protection. While large Dior sunglasses are perfect for post-slope parading, you will want a pair of sturdy goggle when you race down the hill against an on-coming blizzard. For this necessary accessory, Oakley and Zeal are the best on the market. If you’re willing to splurge to the tune of $500, you will not regret the fog-proof GPS super goggles by Zeal. They are rechargeable and will tell you the time, speed and direction of where you are at any given moment. If that doesn’t get you excited, then the D&G crystallized goggles most certainly will.
For extra protection, factor in a helmet, which are made with a built-in goggle clip. You may as well get used to the idea of a helmet as the US plans on making them a requirement in the near future. Already, you’ll see more helmets on American resorts than you will in Europe, as the US tends to be more concerned with liability. For the ultimate glamour statement, you will want to get your head in the Crystograph Bognor ski helmet.
When it comes to winter sports, cold hands are a major handicap. Not only are they distracting but cold fingers can decrease fine motor control and make it difficult for skiers to grip their poles. This is why heated gloves by Hestra or Venture are my recommended purchase of the season. Unlike the archaic hand warmer, which only heats the palm, these gloves are heated by a rechargeable lithium battery and warm the entire hand. Don’t expect to make any friends on the chairlift though as these gloves with flashing red lights are guaranteed to be the source of envy.
When it comes to toes, there are a wide range of boot heaters now available but I don’t advise purchasing these until you have arrived at your resort, Once there, find a local Sure Foot store, who specialize in fitting ski and snowboard boots and they will fit the re-chargeable boot warmers for you. The best boot warmers have three settings, which not only keeps your toes cozy but also protects your feet and ankles from injury because heated muscles are far more likely to survive a fall. For extra added warmth on those super cold days, invest in a heat trapping boot glove. Developed in Alaska, the thermal neoprene cover fits like a snug glove over almost any ski boot, protecting it from wind and snow chill.
To keep the rest of your body warm, you will want top of the line thermal underwear. Kenyon and Hot Chilly make excellent breathable, thermal crew tops and pants. Snowboarders will appreciate the wide range of padded shorts available with brands such as McDavid and POC offering the highest quality selection.
After a long day of weaving through the evergreens, you will want to peel off all of these layers, grab a hot chocolate and take a walk around the village. Après-Skiwear isn’t complete without cozy knits and cashmere, with my personal favorite being Ralph Lauren. Chanel have a fine line in winter boots this season and Dior have the monopoly on fashionable moonboots.
For a pre-dinner reading session, I can usually be found curled up by the fire under my Hermes cashmere blanket and Frette Coquette cashmere socks.
The biggest downside to all of these wonderful style choices is of course, packing. You will not want to be rolling a Louis Vuitton or Goyard case through the snow which is why I recommend opting for Burton waterproof luggage who also make carriers for skies and snowboards. To make your vacation that much smoother, I suggest shipping your luggage in advance using FedEx, WorldNet or UPS. That way you can arrive in style with a single, light carry on which you can weave seamlessly into your travel look.