These awesome accessories will get skiers of all ages excited to hit the slopes, whether you stuff them into stockings or put them under the tree.
Turtle Fur Balaclavas and Neck Tubes
With lots of fun colours and multiple styles to choose from, you’ll be able to keep everyone on your list warm with these balaclavas and neck warmers from Turtle Fur.
Icebreaker Base Layers
Okay, so these would be a super deluxe stocking stuffer, but they would be great for that extra nice person on your list this year! Available for both adults and kids!
These stretchy belts allow for lots of movement and make great gifts for the person who is constantly on the go. Perfect for outdoor activities like skiing and hiking, but also for someone who just wants a comfortable everyday belt.
Kombi Gloves and Mitts
These great glove and mitt options from Kombi will keep their hands warm and dry without breaking the bank.
Cover up that helmet hair at the end of your ski day with a stylish beanie from Orage; there’s one for everyone in your family.
These merino wool socks will keep their feet warm and dry in their ski boots so all they have to think about is their technique, not their cold feet!
Have a skier to buy for this Christmas? We have great picks to keep them comfortable and looking fresh on the slopes this season.
For the one who lives outdoors all year round
Smartwool Corbet 120 Jacket, $235
Smartwool Corbet 120 Jacket, $235
The Smartwool Corbet 120 is a super versatile piece; layer it under a jacket on a cold ski day, or wear it on its own while hiking. It also makes a great mid-layer for touring since it’s filled with SmartLoft, a high loft merino wool that provides both warmth and breathability. A must-have for the outdoorsy type.
For the guy working hard on the hill
The Diamond Fleece Half-Zip by Kjus will keep the sweat off his skin thanks to hydrophilic properties and diamond shaped material that wicks moisture fast. The flawless fit is just the cherry on top.
For the woman who wants a touch of glamour
Newland layers are elegant without sacrificing the functionality she needs while skiing. This thermoregulating shirt will keep her comfortable while cruising down the slopes, and she’ll love showing it off in the lodge too.
For the one who seeks out timeless classics
Dale of Norway Anniversary Sweater
Dale of Norway Frida Sweater, $299
A Dale of Norway sweater is for someone special on your list. These sweaters are beautiful and tasteful, sporting authentic Norwegian designs blended with contemporary style. Knit in Norway using premium wool, a Dale of Norway sweater is an excellent way to give someone the whole package; comfort, warmth, and class.
For the one whose hands are always cold
Level Coco Mitt, $170
Level Off Piste Glove, $170
These Level gloves are Italian-made, featuring beautiful leather and an excellent fit.
For the trendsetter
Flylow Betty Down, $310
Flylow Rudolph, $280
If they love to have the latest styles that no one else is wearing yet, they’ll love Flylow. An independent grassroots company started by two skiers in Colorado, their designs are fresh and ideal for the skier looking for less traditional attire.
For the nature lover
Icebreaker Oasis Crewe Ascent, $120
Icebreaker Zoya Crewe Tree Pose, $140
These tops from Icebreaker feature modern designs inspired by natural landscapes. Made from ethically sourced merino wool, they’re naturally breathable, antimicrobial, and stay warm even when wet, making them fantastic layers for skiing. And since merino wool is a renewable resource, they’re eco-friendly too. They also make great kids layers for your mini nature lover!
For little rippers
Spyder Boy’s Constant Hoody Stryke Jacket, $109
Spyder Girl’s Endure Stryke Jacket, $100
These great Spyder sweaters will keep them warm on the slopes and on the playground!
For the one who needs warmth and style in the city
Descente Preston, $950
Descente Quebec Coat, $1050
A long coat from Descente makes a truly exceptional gift for someone who needs to stay warm while looking sharp in downtown Calgary. A Quebec coat will lend her elegance and class, and with the length falling below the knee, her legs will stay warm all winter long. The Preston fits over a suit jacket, making it an ideal choice for businessmen who find themselves walking between buildings or waiting for the train. We know it’s not cold yet – but winter is definitely on its way!
Women looking for a ski jacket often ask me what the “in” colour is for ski wear this year. There isn’t always a clear answer; different brands favour different colours to best suit their image, so usually we see a good mix of colour. This year however, cooler tones like blue and purple are overwhelmingly the favourite colours. Pictured below are my favourite styles in cool colours this season.
As ski touring and backcountry skiing become increasingly popular, we are starting to see a shift in ski wear trends toward shells coupled with insulating layers. For resort skiing, especially here in Alberta, I still recommend an insulated jacket (not a two part system) for most skiers; that chairlift can be chilly, and you won’t be generating the heat that comes from climbing uphill. Wearing one layer that does everything can be beneficial; an integrated system usually works better than two distinct layers, especially when moisture from your skin needs to pass through all those pieces to keep you dry. However, the shell and mid layer system has obvious advantages for backcountry and touring skiers who need to shed heat while climbing but stay warm when resting (and bring extra layers for safety, too). So read on for more info about three types of insulation: down, high loft wool, and synthetic.
Down is the warmest insulation, period. The warmth to weight ratio is superior to both wool and synthetic, so you’ll be toasty warm without being weighed down. It’s also highly packable so you can tuck it away in your pack and put it on when you stop moving. The quality of down is measured in fill power, which confuses many people because it sounds like a measurement for the quantity of down in the jacket. The fill power number actually quantifies how much the down will puff back up after being packed down. The more air space the down can fill, the higher the loft, and higher loft equals higher warmth. This means that in a jacket with a high fill power, the high quality down is taking up more space than a lower quality down would, thus maintaining the same warmth. And of course, if you are frequently packing away your insulator, it’s important that the loft is regained when it is unpacked. With that said, more down is warmer than less down, even when that down is of lower quality. The bottom line: a very puffy down insulator with large baffles is going to be warmer than a lightweight down insulator with more streamlined baffling. If two insulators are very similar in weight, the insulator with the higher fill power will be warmer. My pick is the Peak Performance Helium Jacket, available in both men’s and women’s sizes. While there are definitely higher fill powers out there (for example, the Mammut Broad Peak Light at 850+ fill power for $350 CAD), the Helium strikes a nice balance at 700 fill power and a price point of $280 CAD. It looks a little puffier due to its larger baffles, but the warmth to weight ratio is incredible. I recommend looking for at least 500 fill power when buying active wear insulated with down; anything less will be too bulky and uncomfortable, or not warm enough.
Peak Performance Helium Jacket
Mammut Broad Peak Light Jacket
Down’s weakness is its susceptibility to moisture; when down gets wet, it loses its heat retaining potential. If you want to wear your insulator while you’re getting sweaty, down may not be the right choice for you. It is, however, a fantastic option to stay warm after you finish your activity for the day.
High Loft Merino Wool
Merino wool is a miraculous natural fibre; it’s highly breathable, it stays warm even when it gets wet, it’s an environmentally-friendly renewable resource, and it’s naturally anti-microbial, so it won’t smell even on multi-day trips. When the fibre is pulled apart, it creates a high loft insulation that can be packed into an insulating layer. Icebreaker’s version is called MerinoLOFT™ and can be found in many of their pieces including the Helix Zip for $300 CAD. Smartwool also makes its own version of merino insulation called Smartloft, which can be found in the Corbet 120 Jacket, for $235 CAD. Both these styles are available for both men and women.
Icebreaker Helix Zip
Smartwool Corbet 120 Jacket, $235
The bottom line: these layers have a more streamlined design, meaning less insulation, and may not provide enough warmth if you are only wearing a shell, depending on your level of activity. On a very cold day, these could be layered under an insulated jacket as well.
There are many, many types of synthetic insulation, each with their own benefits and disadvantages, but here’s the simple explanation. A synthetic insulation is made of polyester fibres that are spun to create loft, which traps warm air. Synthetics perform better than down in damp situations, and dry out faster; some are even hydrophobic, like PrimaLoft®, which repels water. It does take more insulation to get the same level of warmth as down, however, which means you either add weight or lose warmth. Blending retro style with functionality, my pick is the Dexter Jacket by Flylow for $250 CAD, which uses PrimaLoft® insulation.
It’s that time of year again. Leaves are changing, pumpkin-flavoured goods abound, and temperatures are dropping, making way for my favourite part of autumn; changing my wardrobe over to those snug warm sweaters and jackets that I’ve been missing all summer long.
Wool sweaters are an age-old tradition in cold climates, and no wonder. The natural properties of wool are superb; it is a top-notch insulator, and it stays warm even when it gets wet. Wool is antimicrobial so you can wear it over and over again before washing, and it breathes better than synthetic garments. If you choose Merino wool, itchiness is a thing of the past; merino feels soft and cozy against your skin. The best part? Wool is a renewable resource, so you can shop guilt-free.
If you want a classic look this fall, look no further than Dale of Norway. The company has been around since 1879, and their garments are made right in Dale, Norway. My favourite this season is the Christiania; the details are impeccable, from the beautiful patterning to the cording that runs throughout the sweater.
Looking for something a little more edgy and bold this season? The trend this year is toward geometric designs, from zigzags to offset stripes to more tech-looking patterns. Icebreaker’s “flurry jacquard” print reminds me of computer code with a touch of alpine charm; their Affinity Half-Zip sweater is an especially flattering style. Smartwool also has some great designs this year, including the Isto Sport Stripe Sweater, which features an off-set zipper for easy layering.
Affinity Half-Zip, Icebreaker, $200 CAD
Isto Sport Stripe Sweater, Smartwool, $170
My top pick for the guys is the Tor by Dale of Norway, which combines traditional elements and modern style. The sweater is decorated with the Norse runic symbols for victory and protection.
Of course, when winter arrives, these styles will be ideal for the mountains, whether you love the rush of racing down snow-covered slopes, or you just want to look fabulous sipping cocoa in the lodge. For now, you’ll enjoy the comfort and warmth of wool on those chilly fall days here in Calgary.
Have a cozy fall! See you at Ski West!
Kimberley Adams is a winter-wear enthusiast working in the apparel department at Ski West.