There’s a certain type of adrenaline rush that comes with gliding down a fluffy, snow-capped mountain—you’re outside, breathing in the fresh alpine air, and taking in unparalleled views of the world around you, all while donning the best ski outfits for women. But how, exactly, does one get here?
While one might need to endure a round (or two) of ski and snowboard lessons to build the skill set required for a fun—and safe—jaunt down an icy gale or fresh powder, there’s no doubt you want to look good while doing it. Because, if you ask this fashion editor, looking the part is approximately 80 percent of the experience. There’s nothing quite like rolling up to an idyllic ski resort (Aspen or Jackson Hole, anyone?) or a lush, wintry restaurant in a bold ski jacket or an elevated ski suit—but not at the cost of comfort. Or, more importantly, practicality.
Whether you plan to take on some bunny slopes, double-black diamonds, or sip on hot toddies in full-on après-ski mode, it’s easy to get overwhelmed prepping for a ski trip. Fret not, as I—a newly minted snowboarder and all-around gear girl—with some additional input from a couple of ELLE’s resident skiers, break down everything you need, for both skiing and snowboarding, to make your slope sessions (and the moments before and after) an effortlessly chic breeze. Consider this your fashion girl-approved winter sports starter pack.
No matter where you’re going this season—be it the Swiss Alps, Japan’s Hokkaido region, the Catskills, or the Rockies—traveling with your gear (if you aren’t renting, that is) can be a hassle. Make those days on the road easier with the right baggage.
As I said, dressing the part makes up for a significant portion of the fun. However, you do want to make sure you’re prepared for the elements—and anything else that may come your way in the middle of your runs down the mountain. From chic puffer jackets to more technical shells with GORE-TEX materials, these are sure to keep you warm, dry, and looking cute all day long.
Sleek Bottoms and Ski Suits
There’s always the potential for falling into a bank of snow. (Just me? Okay…) In which case, having the right bottoms makes all the difference. Yes, your ski jacket may have a built-in powder skirt, but give yourself an extra layer with water-repellant bottoms—or perhaps a full-body ski suit. Future you will be grateful.
Comfortable Base Layers
When it comes to dressing for winter weather, proper layers are the name of the game. And the same applies to snow sports. There are warm days, there are cold days, sunny days, and windy days. These base pieces will keep you ready for them all.
You have the most stylish ski apparel on the market—why shouldn’t you have the best ski and snowboarding gear, too? From designer skis and boards that’ll serve as great luxury gifts for her to sleek but practical protective accessories, these will keep you feeling fresh.
Ah, yes—perhaps the most-discussed area of ski season. Sure, skiing and snowboarding are where the action is, but can anything else compare to the cozy warmth you get after a long day on the mountain? Maybe some recovery time in the hot tub, but I’d be hard-pressed to say anything more, especially when you’re bundled up the best après-ski pieces to take you from walking around town to enjoying a fresh pot of fondue.
Extreme Winter Beauty Staples
Now, one cannot embrace the alpine way without first gearing up on beauty essentials to keep your skin protected in the extreme cold—or, at least, it’s ill-advised. So, we asked professional skier and two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin to weigh in on her must-haves and then included them, below.