The term “piste” comes from Europe and refers to the groomed and/or packed snow trails that resorts offer riders and sliders. With avalanche concerns handled by the ski patrol and lifts/gondolas efficiently taking you to the top of the mountain, resort skiing should be a relaxed and enjoyable experience. Yet having savvy resort gear can enhance a trip and make the difference between just a day at the hill and an epic day to remember forever. Recently we spent some time at Sunshine, Banff, testing out new gear—here are favorite resort pieces that bridge the status quo to an intrepid outing.
Hestra Heli Ski Mitt
The fact that your extremities are some of the most important body parts to keep warm is common knowledge. Having cold hands can quickly ruin a run and can often be hard to recover from. The Swedish brand Hestra has been offering some of the warmest, most functional and durable gloves since 1936. Resort skiing doesn’t involve much finger dexterity, so mittens (which are warmer than finger gloves since the heat from fingers is not separated) are the way to go. The Hestra Heli Ski Mitt is a plush, yet slim-fitting with cuffs just wide enough to secure over a jacket.
Aether Peak Down Jacket
Some highly functional ski wear can lack in the aesthetic department, but this isn’t the case with Los Angeles brand Aether. From motorcycle to cycling and ski gear, Aether applies the same thought and style as they do with their lifestyle pieces. Inside their technical Peak Down Jacket are all the luxuries one would want in a resort coat. Insulated with 800-fill down, equipped with RECCO, perfectly placed pockets, a powder skirt and pit zips, the Peak Down Jacket also has extra features like an oversized neck zip collar with a soft back facing and slick thumb loops at the cuffs. On the outside, the jacket is made with waterproof three-layer Japanese nylon and boasts clean lines, making it an unassumingly high-tech piece.
Giro Stellar Helmet
Using MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection Systems) technology, the Giro Stellar women’s helmet is designed to disperse energy and absorb, rather than just take on direct impact. It does this with a slip-plane inside the shell, that mimics the brain’s own protection (which is the cerebrospinal fluid encasing the skull.) From a design perspective, the Stellar is simple, lightweight and polished with subtle colors to choose from. To accompany the Stellar, Giro has made goggles (Ella) that fit with the helmet seamlessly. The Ella goggles are frameless and utilize VIVID lenses for optimal visibility.
Wild Rye’s Lora
Up-and-coming women’s outdoor apparel brand Wild Rye is the brainchild of two avid outdoors women, Katy Hover-Smoot and Cassie Abel. Their technical products feature aesthetic-driven designs and unique colorways. The Lora sweater is mid-weight, making it a versatile layering piece. This sweater is crafted from a 89% merino and 11% poly-blend jacquard, and has an asymmetrical snap button collar. Breathable but warm, it’s ideal for high-output activities, yet looks sophisticated enough for après.
Sego Skis Up Pro 92
Founded by brothers Peter and Tim Wells, Idaho-based company Sego Skis has been bucking the ski industry with their handcrafted skis since they first opened. All skis are made in Idaho and are winning industry awards over bigger brands. The Up Pro 92 are super-versatile skis that can be used in just about any condition. Designed by freeskier Lynsey Dyer, the Up Pro is a far cry from the typical “women’s skis” with a playful pop and a rocker tip perfect for hard-pack. The graphics were designed by Dyer and feature her signature unicorn.
Arc’teryx Astryl Pant
The Canadian company Arc’teryx has never been shy when it comes to executing thoughtful new designs. Their Astryl pants are a prime example. Made with Gore-Tex and a flannel backing, the pants are warm and waterproof, but feature a new pocket system that makes zipping almost obsolete. The Astryl’s oversized pockets have two sections with one zipper. Due to the placement of the pockets, contents stay inside even when the pocket is accidentally left unzipped. The slim cut of the pant makes for comfortable skiing without the bulk of many ski pants.
Images by AV Wakefield