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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dress for Success on the Mountain | Ski and Snowboard Gear Tips

By: Ryan Centioli

Snowboarding fashion changes quickly; the sweet jacket you bought last year was out of style before this season began, and the theme print pants you bought a few years back haven't seen the light of day since you saw the guy in the lift line wearing the same ones back in '09.

While colors, prints, and styles change year after year there are a few pieces of snow fashion knowledge that will never go out of style:

1. You get what you pay for
2. Quality is equally as important as style
3. Do your research
4. Take care of your gear, it takes care of you

You get what you pay for!

In most industries the idea of "you get what you pay for" can be argued to be untrue, but in my experience, the saying holds true for snow clothes. For example, I have been wearing the same red, Sessions brand snow pants for 10 years. I can ride in rain, snow, powder, or sun, and I stay dry and warm all day! While I paid a serious price for these pants, I'm glad I did! Last season I purchased a pair of Bonfire pants for $60.00... Worst $60.00 I have ever spent. While I have no gripes with Bonfire (I love my Bonfire jacket), I got what I paid for. I tried to be cheap and I paid for it with wet shorts for the car ride home.


Quality is as important as style, so do your research

There are two reasons we buy snow clothes: to keep warm and dry and to look good. When trying to find the best of both worlds, quality and style, you need to do your research and find out what type of gear fits the type of riding conditions you ride in most. In the northwest for example, waterproofing is very important because our conditions are often wet. You also need to research the brand you are buying from as well. When I think of quality at any price point, I think of The North Face, Oakley, Sessions, and Burton, while other brands like Bonfire, Holden, and 686 gear isn't always up to the test. The simple version of what I'm trying to say is - don't jump at the first sale item you see, there might be a reason it's on sale.

Take care of your gear, it takes care of you

When they day is done you load up your ski rack or snowboard rack, undress and head back to town. The worst thing you can do is leave all of your snowy wet snow clothes in the trunk of your car. You would be shocked how fast your nice snow clothes will begin to mold when left wet. The same goes for boots and gloves, which are typically the sweatiest of snowboard essentials at the end of the day.

A simple trick I learned on a Whistler trip is to spray your outwear down with warm water in the shower and hang it up to dry with the bathroom fan running. Get a stain or two from a tree line? Take a damp washcloth and a little body soap and dab the area clean then rinse until no more soap comes to the surface.  The best thing to do to keep your boots from stinking is too remove the inner boot and put a little cup of baking soda in the bottom of the boot while they dry out.

Doing the trick above keeps your gear clean without having to put it in the washer and dryer, which is bad for the waterproofing of your gear.

Next time you are looking for the newest addition to your snow wardrobe, remember this post, you'll be glad you did.