Women get cold, it's a top complaint I hear from my skiing gal pals. "I love to ski Heather but I hate the cold." Well ladies, I get cold alpine skiing too. Sometimes my hands turn white from lousy circulation. But I have discovered a few survival ski items. Like Oprah's favorite things, but she doesn't ski, here are Heather's must-haves on the mountain, just in time for Christmas shopping. Your galpal, girlfriend, or wife for life, will thank you for any of these winter warmers.
Skiing comfort starts from the inside out. I love Hot Chillys as a base layer bottom - great technical fabric with a seamless finish. SmartWool ski socks are a favorite too, I recommend you make sure they are smooth under your long undies, no gaps. I recently discovered adea, a Shrewsbury Mass company, that makes beautiful base layer tops with Italian style and quality. Their tops are silky soft, but offer moisture wicking and UV protection, and unlike so many fabrics - the adea microfiber doesn't pill, fade or lose its shape. The base layers are super light, perfect for travel as they are stylish enough to wear to après ski, and you can hand-wash them and they dry in an hour.
My friend Julie, a Sugarloafer, has invented the warmest bra on the planet, my accolade - not hers. I challenge you to find a warmer cover up for your mammalian protuberances on the mountain than this Polartec fleece bra. Leave it to a Loafer to come up with this, but its wicked warm, 100% fleece, soft and fuzzy on your skin too. You can find the Fleece Sports Bra on Amazon or Etsy.
For the cheap but thoughtful date, I still swear by disposable pocket hand warmers and toe warmers. HotHands keep firing up heat inside your gloves and boots for 8 hours, excellent ski vacation value at a buck a pair, even cheaper by the case, saving you potentially costly trips inside the lodge between runs. I have a pack a day habit.
The Seirus Snowdana is my security blanket neck warmer, it looks pretty stylish as face protection goes, better than the bank robber balaclava, and provides lightweight cover from the wind and cold, and SPF. The Snowdana is easy to wash and pack.
Those are just a few of my favorite ski things.
For the Guy on your ski gift list:
The Ski Bumper is a cool gadget. It's a magnetic strip that you place on your car to keep your gear upright when you are unloading and packing. Haven't we all watched our skis slide along our car, scratching the paint job before hitting the ground. The Ski Bumper is $16, totally detachable and eliminates that problem. The same guy, Bo from Colorado, also invented the Prep Pad for $13 that you can stand on in the parking lot while putting on your skis boots- keeping your ski sox, boots and your car carpet clean - priceless.
For the Kids on your ski gift list:
My kids loved skiing Legos and wicky stix, bendable ski figures that take up minimal room in the car, ski bag, etc, but allow the kids to use their big imagination. I think your kids will love Shredz, pose-able snowboarding action figures that come with their own detachable helmet, snowboard, and ID card. You will like that they start at $10. Kids can play with the snowboard action guys inside or out on the snow, and they have steezy free rider names like Brody, Chase, Luke, and Shane.
Happy snowy holidays! See you on the slopes.
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.