What's New for Ski and Snowboard Wear Winter Ski Season 2022 - 2023
WHAT TO WEAR SKIING OR SNOWBOARDING IN 2023Recycle, repair, rent and only renew if you have to. This the mantra echoing around the mountains, which may not be great for ski apparel sales but, long term, it's essential for the environment.
If you do need new ski or snowboard wear, this winter, first check the label. If it doesn't have any eco-credentials, then do the planet a favour and don't buy it. The mountains are calling, choose the brands that are listening.
Main image, Winter 2023 ski wear from Dope, left, and Montec, right
Forget about what's new in the way of colour or style (and, trust us, there's not much that's new, here). Is your new high tech performance ski or snowboard jacket made from recycled materials, biodegradable and PFC free? Then you are channelling the biggest major trend for ski and snowboard 2023.
Choosing ski and snowboard wear with labels that have eco-credibility makes buying new seem less of a guilty pleasure and less painful for the planet. Just don't bin your old jacket and add more pollutants to landfill. Send if back to be mended as many brands will do, these days, give it away to a charity shop or sell on eBay and raise money for Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK) #SkiBay4DSUK.
If none of the above is possible, then your old ski jacket can be recycled, crushed up and turned into the cuff of a new hoodie. Or buy new SCOTT goggles with frames made from old SCOTT goggles, the straps from 100 percent recycled polyamide from the brand's ISPO award-winning, Shield Recycled range (image above).
Hurrah for the circle of ski wear life.
WAKE UP CALL FOR OUTDOOR BRANDS
It was six years ago that, in their mission to rid manufacturing of pollutants, Greenpeace carried out intensive lab tests on 40 mountain gear products including jackets, ski pants, backpacks and sleeping bags and found unacceptable levels of PFCs (Perfluorinated Chemicals) among major brands aimed at the outdoor market and claiming environmental empathy.
This was the wake up call that outdoor brands needed, like a face shot of cold pow. Then there were only a few trailblazing the environmental issues of manufacturing - notably Patagonia, Picture Organic and Paramo. Now there's a stampede among ski and snowboard brands to fill the market with their PC rather than PFC clothing.
But beware of green-washing and only support snow sports companies who really do walk the talk and reduce their manufacturing and packaging footprint on the environment. EcoSki is a good place to check out brands that have passed stringent planet-savings tests with ethical and sustainable credentials.
British outdoor brand Rab, owned by Equip Outdoor Technologies, have become so frustrated by the general lock of transparency that they have launched Material Facts. This is a call to all brands for clarity over information and to share the same data, making every detail of apparel content and manufacture available to the consumer including accurate recycled material content, fluorocarbon status and production location, getting into the details of sewing thread and trims.
As Rab (image above) moves towards new zero emissions by 2030, the Material Facts programme, already launched to the brand's retail partners, will be rolled out to consumers in autumn 2023.
NOT CHASING TRENDS
In the spirit of today's sustainability, some outdoor brands suggest that their gear is so technically advanced that you won't need to replace it any time soon.
This is somewhat counter-productive for ski wear manufacturers and retailers, yet not bringing out new replacement gear is now a trend in itself. For instance, Stellar Equipment do not update their ski wear without good reason. As the company declares: "We don’t chase trends. We only change a product if we find an even better material, or come up with an improved design. Two of our bestselling products, the Stellar Shell Jacket and the Ultralight Down Jacket, looked exactly the same from 2015."
Except they're not exactly the same as, this winter, the Stellar Shell (image below) now comes in green. The introduction of this new colour could, of course, put a spanner in the works when it comes to coordination of your gear resulting in the need to renew other layers to avoid clashing colours.
Clashing and mis-matching colours, though, are the ultimate eco-trend proving you don't renew for the sake of coordination. Wear with pride.
But do you actually have to buy new? Why not rent to reduce waste and help out the environment, especially if you're only going skiing or snowboarding for a week.
There are several retails who rent apparel as well as skis, including Decathlon, and now you can hire your kit directly from top brands online, as well. Picture Organic, always in the vanguard of all things planet-saving, rent out their gear from around €11 a jacket, but so far only if you're in France.
Being stuck with the fuchsia ski jacket that's the only one in your size, however, may be the best reason to buy new. Unless you're hiring for your kids in which case, yay, it's pink! Or you're an eco-warrior, so ditto above and wear with pride.
FOREVER SKI WEAR
It does seem kind of wrong to be even talking about what's new for ski and snowboard wear because the point is to dampen our desire for new, new, new all the time and to slow down the commercial juggernaut that creates so much waste in the clothing industry and pollution in manufacturing.
But even if you have your forever ski wear, all the ski or snowboard wear you need for a week's holiday, or even for a whole season in the mountains, there'll always be a zip that's failed but can't be replaced, the ski sock that the dog chewed, the puffer that's lost it's puff, the added layers if you're getting into ski touring - and, therefore, at least one new item you need to complete your ski or snowboard kit for winter 2023, so read on.
SUPER TECH SKI WEAR
Are your new snowboard pants wind resistant, water resistant, breathable AND packable? Phew, because that means you're in with the tech crowd heading into the backcountry in 2023.
Most super techies already own every layer of ski/snowboard outerwear from a merino base to uber-insulating hero jacket. But if you need to add or replace any layer, then there are plenty of brands talking the tech talk, this winter. Check out Artilect, created in Boulder, Colorado, who have introduced their own Artilect Systems, A/SYS for 'thermoregulating' your layers.
A freeride championing brand such as SCOTT (image above and below, left) is always going to have off piste tech cred especially with their new Line Chaser GTX 3L outerwear, all extremely waterproof, robust and with an articulated fit, fully feature-packed and built for the backcountry.
If you're doing more ski touring you might need to change piste pants for ones with a looser fit allowing for max kickturn swivel action and, also, with side vents for letting off steam on spring touring days. Choose backcountry-orientated brands such as Montec (image below right) whose new Kirin pants have the loose fit, side zips and generous pockets, essential for ski touring.
And you can count on the Swedish brand, Elevenate, created by Sara Rönngren, former competitive free skier and Jimmy Odén, IFMGA mountain guide. As well as current gear, they have super-priced tech wear in their 'Achive' items on line, which are from past seasons, reducing the waste for the planet and the cost to you.
BEAM ME UP: SMART TECH SKI WEARABLES
So what's the one new gadget you need, this winter? Where do we start with smart tech wearables for skiing?
Do you have an avybag, GoPro 360, Garmin InReach Mini, avalanche transceiver and, on piste days, at least one earbud to listen to the feedback from your Carvs boot inserts? Then all you need is an extension lead to take all your chargers.
You doubtlessly already have a smart watch that works for the gym but, for skiing the backcountry, how about the latest military grade durable Suunto 9 Peak Pro (image above) with map feature that shows areas that are steep enough to avalanche and heatmaps to show popular ski tour routes?
Of course, you might have all the technical gadgets for skiing and snowboarding and absolutely no idea how to ski technical snow but, hey, you can download a ski coaching app for that.
'GNAR' TECH GEAR
When the going gets really tough, the tough get 'gnar' tech. Gnar tech is extreme high performance ski and snowboard wear that you could literally live in while off-radar ski touring and/or ski mountaineering, in gnarctic conditions boldly going where no man and/or woman has ever skied and/or snowboarded before.
So what new gear do gnarcissists need to buy for this ski season 2022-2023? New gear? Gnarcissists are guardians of the environment, champions of sustainability, so they're not the best customers for new gear this winter - or any winter. They'd rather wear what they have until it falls apart - and then stick it back together with duck tape.
But brands that will tempt them are those with gnar tech mountain pedigree ie test their gear on extreme expeditions in minus 30C degrees and gale force blizzards. BTW, gnarcissists are the ones who tested that gear in the first place, on extreme expeditions in minus 30C degrees and gale force blizzards.
They are mountain guides and ski mountaineers such as Andrzej Bargiel (image above) whose recent attempt in October to summit and ski down Mount Everest without using oxygen or the backup of Sherpas, was cut short because of strong winds and heavy snow, a danger to the lives of his team but exactly what his Salomon gnar tech gear was made for.
TECH WEAR ON STEROIDS
Gnar tech is tech wear on steroids. Fibres must wick, absorb and breathe; any finish must be waterproof/water repellent; any fabric has to be lightweight and compressible. Must-have detailing includes taped zips, inside sealable stow pockets and reinforced seams. Layers are essential to top up in sub-zero gnarctic conditions.
Weight is key, lack of it, that is, which is why Rab's Mythic Ultra jacket (above) will be on gnarcissists' radar, this winter. A winner of this year's ISPO award, it's a 900FP down jacket with ultralight construction designed for those who count every gram, using heat reflective TILT heat reflective layer technology to achieve the best warmth to weight ratio. The 900FP European goose down inside is ultra-high lofting and treated with a Nikwax fluorocarbon-free hydrophobic treatment.
FOR PARK AND PARTY
From snow park table top slides to dancing table top vibes, ski and snowboard wear Gen Z style has to have an easy loose fit so a 360 off the rails doesn't mean, like, straining at the seams AND be totally easy care, essential if you're, like, riding in it all season as a digital snomad.
It all has to cut it for sustainability as well as style for this eco-woke generation, hence the appeal of brands such as Picture Organic, Dope and 686. Currently, 95 percent of all Dope's shell material is recycled, 100 percent of insulation in recycled PET and lining fabrics are made with Solution Dyed Nylon with 46 percent less water consumption, 92 percent less chemical consumption, 59 percent less electricity consumption and 63 percent less CO2 emission. So put that in your pipe (but, meh, don't smoke it).
These are environment-saving statements that their customers want to hear - and ride in. Dope, also, have a range: Repair. Renew. Reuse. Renewed, featuring refurbished products that have been inspected, mended and restored so they’re ready for action again.
However eco-conscious they are, most Gen Zeds (or Zees, rhymes with skis, if you in the U.S.) have been programmed since birth to want the latest toy aka gear. They are going to want to update with at least one banging new jacket for winter 2022-2023 because there's the 'gram and no better way to notch up likes than doing a nose butter 180 in a stand-out design such as this winter's stylised camo (image above featuring Dope, left, and 686, right).
And, if you remember when Ed Leigh was editor of White Lines then get out of the camo - and the park.
A new pair of rad goggles - the kind that covers half of your face - might be another essential purchases if, dude, you got a bit wasted and left them in the bar, last winter (good reason to keep goggles permanently fixed to your head, whether in snow, sun, après bar, whatever).
Also, might need a new brain bucket, aka helmet, after that yard sale on the icy hard-pack in the park, last season.
HOT TUB TREND TIME MACHINE
As well-groomed as the blues they love to cruise, the glossy posse thinks bluebird days are for champagne lunches at Chez Vrony. The closest this glamorous crew gets to a white-out is co-ordinating their Goldbergh glacial white ski jacket and bodycon pants with matching gloves and ski boots (image above).
It's all about lux looks for skiwear because let's face it, snowboarding is fun but, seriously darling, leave it to the teenagers. To tell you the truth the luxury vibe hasn't changed since Roger Moore sported a white Bogner ski jacket with fur-trimmed hood in A View To Kill. The only difference is that fabrics are more contemporary and breathable so you don't 'glow' in the spring sun on the restaurant terrace with a view to kill for. Also, hopefully, the fur's synthetic.
The glam squad likes to keep their skiwear as traditional as log fires and St Bernards in five star mountain lodges. This is why pure wool knitted sweaters with retro mountain motifs are the new faves from New England brand, Alps & Meters, inspired by a vintage ski sweater discovered in the village of Åre in Sweden
So it's no surprise that the new must-have UK skiwear brand, My Sunday Ski, was created when Ellie Lindsay-Wood was constantly stopped on the slopes in Meribel with her co-founder, Cassie Easton, and asked where she bought her ski outfit. It was her mother-in-law's vintage ski suit, now the basis of their sell-out luxury ski wear collection (image above).
BARBIECORE ON SKIS
Fitted one-piece suits, belted jackets and skinny pants, all in white, black and metalics, it's like getting in a hot tub on a St Moritz terrace and transporting to circa 1984. And, prepare for even more retro glam vibing to come via Barbiecore when Barbie, the film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, is released in the summer of 2023. Yeah, Ken, you too.
So what's the one item to buy new for cruising the blues, this winter? Hello, hold the heli, did you say one?
Reducing new purchases for skiing may be an eco-step too far for the heli-set Instaglams. At least, they do care about waste (though maybe not, cough, carbon footprint) as they always recycle last season's ski wear to the nanny. .
Check out this year's ISPO winners with the latest award-worthy innovations for winter sports including skiing. And most of the awards go to...yes, the eco-conscious brands. According to ISPO: 'More sustainability and thus the attempt to reduce one's own ecological footprint is driving more and more manufacturers. The focus is on mono-materials for easier recycling, new compostable bio-based or synthetic materials, lower resource consumption while maintaining or even improving performance.'
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