Style and substance: can the two co-exist in skiwear? Not so long ago, it was an either-or situation: either look like a Bond girl at the risk of hypothermia (and you thought a smooth-talking spy was the biggest hazard) or go for technical gear that wasn’t terribly sexy, but did the job.
Thankfully, the two aren’t so mutually exclusive any more. The kit is constantly being tweaked for the better on both fronts, and there’s now more choice than ever – which makes shopping for it doubly fun. Moncler has been instrumental in fashioning tech-specs into elegant designs (so elegant that their jackets have become the ultimate city staples in winter). The upmarket label has boutiques at some of the world’s swankiest ski resorts including Courchevel, Zermatt and Chamonix, catering for über-discerning customers.
There are others, too: Bogner (fabulous coloured jackets), M Miller (one of the sleekest ski labels around) and Stella McCartney, who has made designer skiwear accessible with her long-running partnership with adidas, are a few highlights.
If you’re heading to the slopes for the first or fortieth time this winter, our guide will have everything you need to know about what to pack – and why. Because having a soggy bum from a jacket without a snow skirt (all will be explained below) is the last thing you need…
How to choose the right ski jacket
It’ll be the hardest working piece of your gear, so your jacket needs to be technically spot on: as it’s nippy, it needs to be warm and windproof; if you fall, it needs to be waterproof. It should also be light and breathable, because you’ll get sweaty racing around on the slopes.
Attention to detail counts for everything. Every jacket should have a snow skirt – a width of waterproof fabric that buttons up around the waist and keeps the cheap moncler jackets secure so snow doesn’t go up your back if you fall over. Pockets are crucial: a zippered one on the wrist arm means you have somewhere to tuck that pesky ski pass; inner pockets are handy for sunglasses or phones. Cuff seals – basically wrist warmers with thumb loops – will act as another barrier to the cold, and waterproof zips are a saving grace.
Moncler’s supremely chic jackets from Grenoble, its specialist ski range, are the dream here because they have all these features and many boast figure-flattering nipped waists.
More affordable but no less technical are adidas by Stella McCartney’s ski jackets. Some have in-built Recco, a reflector chip which allows search teams to locate you if you get buried.