Every year, my family vacations in Florida. Every. Year. I’m not trying to sound ungrateful, but it gets old. This year, my father suggested we venture on a ski trip in lieu of visiting the sunshine state. Being the avid skier I am and because it wasn’t Florida, I was incredibly excited to go.
After donning my skis and my apparel, I hit the slopes only to be shocked at the atrocious choices made. Don’t get me wrong, the mountain isn’t a runway, but your apparel is the difference between a fun ski trip and pneumonia.
When designing a snow outfit, start with the innermost layer and work your way out. I always wear a long spandex shirt. Long spandex is great because it’s thick enough to hold in heat while wicking sweat away. For those who have yet to try, skiing and boarding are an incredible workout. Despite the cold, I sweat like a Broad Street runner in the ninth mile.
Next, consider your bottom layers. If it’s super cold (like on the verve of freezing your Kahlua and coffee cold), long spandex is a must for the bottom layer. If not, sweat pants and ski pants will do.
Under no circumstances should you wear jeans to a mountain. When skiing, everyone falls. Whether you’re a beginner, or an Olympic athlete, your butt will become very good friends with the snow. Ski pants are designed to keep the moisture separate from your skin and keep you warm. Some even breathe to let in refreshing air as you glide down the mountain, yet retain heat on the lift.
Snow sports require strength, agility, and coordination when drifting down the mountain. Your body produces a significant amount of heat as you combat the terrain, but getting to your slope on the lift requires virtually no effort. The lack of movement combined with the intense wind speed, height of the lift and elevation of the mountain cause temperatures to drop significantly. The right ski jacket can make or break the experience.
Most people flock straight to down, but I like to keep the fowl feathered. Originally designed for the frigid temperatures and brackish water involved with competitive sailing, the Swedish company Sail Racing designed a series of breathable yet waterproof and insulating jackets perfect for the huge temperature change of skiing. The jacket also keeps its inside dry despite the number of times my skis decide I need to spend some quality time with the snow.
Much like the Little Black Dress, the right accessories are vital. Part of dressing for tearing up the mountain involves knowing your body. For example, my hands sweat a lot, like more than a middle school boy dancing with his sweetheart. Keeping that in mind, I chose gloves that will vent while still keeping me warm. When planning a ski trip, consider how your body reacts to stimuli, and plan accordingly. I wear a pair of wicking gloves underneath my ski gloves to keep my extremities warm while keeping moisture at bay.
The final accessory is not an option. Helmets aren’t cool, but they’re literally the difference between life and death. Snow sports revolve around snow, but beneath the powder, the mountain is almost all ice and rock. Falling on ice is incredibly painful, to add insult to injury, ice doesn’t allow as much control as powder. Natasha Richardson and Sonny Bono both died as a result of skiing accidents; neither wore a helmet. I literally beg everyone on the slopes to please wear a helmet. I’m not going to lie, I hate mine, but it gave me an incredible amount of peace of mind when traversing the seemingly vertical drop of Jack Frost’s black diamonds.
As with any hobby, snow sports aren’t cheap, but the right apparel can be the difference between comfort and life or hypothermia and death. I highly recommend trying a snow sport. There’s nothing better than racing your friends down the mountain to see who’s going to buy a round of shots at the bar. The proper attire might just be the difference between a free round and an empty wallet.
After two days in Mexico City and spending the last 36-some hours in Cabo San Lucas – with another 5 days to go here – one fact has become abundantly clear to me: Americans are among the worst travel offenders, ever. This is especially true on resort vacations, the reason for which I have yet to unearth. The charges against Americans are as follows:
Ugly Floral Shirts
What is it about American tourists and ugly, faux-Hawaiian patterns? Upon departing the airport, most American tourists dash to their luggage and dig through a sea of over-sized button-down T-shirt Hawaiian florals for the fugliest one of them all, and don it for the entirety of the trip. And let’s not even get started on the flat-front khakis.
I understand resort vacations are an opportunity to relax and escape from the stresses of the 9-5 bump-and-grind, but I must say, Hawaiian floral is not acceptable anywhere, in Hawaii, Cabo San Lucas or Long Island. In the words of fellow PW Style blogger Mark Longacre: “That’s not a thing.”
Disney just couldn’t wait and has given you your 2009 birthday present early!
Next year your birthday celebrations are on them. Well, within reason. Pick your coast, don some mouse ears, and walk into the wonderland of your choice free of charge. Birthday boys and girls (and moms and dads and 30 somethings grasping at youth) will receive free entry in honor of their special day.
Start here and register for your 2009 birthday treat.