Snow gear has come a long way since the bulky insulated puffer jackets and high-waisted jumpsuits of the ’70s and ’80s. With a strong pull from the elite sport sphere, high-end technology and design has been made accessible for the everyday skier or snowboarder to ensure protection from the harsh elements on the snowy peaks. Any expert or even second-time novice will tell you that what you wear is crucial to how comfortable you will be, especially in minus-14 degrees with 65 km/hour winds. And why do I know this? Because I tried and tested some of the best offerings on the market.
Enter in: Oakley. Donned by some of the most successful athletes across a number of disciplines worldwide, it is easy to see the signature ‘O’ logo emblazoned across Olympians and world champions, even from the small screen. American Snowboarder, 17 x X-Games medalist and, 2 x Olympic Gold medalist, Jamie Anderson, is one of those proud ambassadors.
Speaking to Anderson, post-my own ski adventure, the athlete attests to this. “I love Oakley’s snow gear because it’s engineered for performance… I also love that the brand is known for pushing the boundaries with snow gear.” According to snowboarder, shredding the gnar comfortably comes down to three important components when it comes to apparel. “Breathability, insulation, protection from harsh conditions.”
Thanks to years of technological advancements on the world stage, GORE-TEX has become one aspect of this. Used for the shells of Oakley snow performance gear, it repels water and prevents wind exposure. For its insulated jacket iterations, either Thinsulate or Primaloft is used and believed to be twice as warm as other materials. Key features of the silhouette also boast, fully tapered seams, waterproof zippers, a ventilation system which allows for breathability when sweating as well as a numbers of handy pockets including an inner arm card slot for easy accessibility to lifts. No matter how many tumbles and falls you experience – for me, I have eaten snow many times – you stay dry.
As for layering, Anderson suggests that for weather such as Australia (considered more mild than other countries) a thermal layer and t-shirt may be enough. “Depending on the conditions, you shouldn’t need many layers under the Gore-Tex Shell Jacket. It’s protective and insulated enough that a thermal and a tee underneath should do the trick! If it’s fresh conditions, you might want to throw a sweater in the mix too.”
A helmet is a must-have for the slopes in any conditions, as are goggles, particularly in “white out” conditions and blue bird days where glare can be problematic for visibility. Wearing the Oakley Flight Deck XM Goggle using PRIZM technology, you instantly forget you’re wearing anything as fog build up is a thing of the past.
“The technology of snow apparel has seen incredible progression over the years. These days, apparel is so much lighter and more breathable than what it used to be, which can have a huge impact on performance. One of my favourite improvements to snow gear has also been how dry it keeps you! Even on wet or snowy days, I never have any snow or moisture make its way underneath my pants or jacket, which can make a day on the slopes so much more enjoyable.”
Ready to hit the snow? Explore the latest snow collection from Oakley, here.