Ski gear is something not to be trifled with. The technical features of your boots, bindings, skis and outerwear truly matter, and the quality of your gear can make or break your session. We sifted through what this winter had to offer to bring you the best of the best.
Black Crows Atris Birdie ($770)
Why We Chose It: Black Crows is a ski company based in Chamonix, France, that only recently has made the leap overseas to North American ski shops. And skiers are psyched. Black Crows are known for versatile skis that charge in the high-alpine terrain of the alps, but still have a fun, playful vibe that makes ripping a run inbounds a blast.
Why We Liked It: The Atris Birdie hits the sweet spot of an everyday ski that works in all conditions—hard pack, groomers, windblown, powder, and more. It has camber underfoot, which means you can lean into your turns, but a subtle rocker in the tip and tail make the ski forgiving and playful.
Tester Tip: The top sheet is a three-dimensional chevron pattern that mimics the sidecut of the ski. The lines are thicker in the middle, where the ski has camber, and gradually get thinner as the ski rockers toward the edges.
Dissent Ski GFX Compression DL-Wool ($50)
Why We Chose It: They have all the benefits of compression socks without all the claustrophobia.
Why We Liked It: Designed by bootfitters and skiers, these merino socks help manage moisture inside your boot to prevent blistering and will maintain their shape and fit after regular washing. They never bunched up or wrinkled in our boots. Lofting padding provides increased warmth.
Tester Tip: Never wear two pairs of socks.
Hestra Fall Line ($150)
Why We Chose It: Hestra has been making gloves since 1936 and have a solid reputation among ski guides and burly mountain folk thanks to their durability and warmth.
Why We Liked It: The lobster-claw design keeps most of your fingers together for warmth, while allowing for improved dexterity that makes a big difference when fiddling with zippers or buckles. The waterproof leather is soft while still durable, making these gloves a worthwhile investment that will last for years. Hestra also sells a waterproof wax for their leather gloves, so there’s no reason to ever give these up. The elastic cuff keeps snow and wind out, and makes it easy to slide these inside your jacket sleeve for a low-profile fit and look.
Tester Tip: Hestra gloves come in sizes 6 through 11. Use the measurement guide on their website to make sure you get the right fit.
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody ($299)
Why We Chose It: Patagonia spent almost 10 years developing this synthetic insulation layer they claim has a “previously unattained balance of warmth, weight and compressibility.”
Why We Liked It: The hype is real. The lightest insulated jacket we’ve worn, it doesn’t skimp on warmth when worn alone or layered. At 8.15 ounces, it packs up easily so it’s a no-brainer to throw in our packs as an extra layer and when we pull it out, it doesn’t add bulk or limit mobility. The elastic hemming on the waist, sleeves, and hood help this water-resistant, windproof shell seal in warmth.
Tester Tip: The left pocket that doubles as a stuff sack with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop.
Patagonia Active Mesh Bra and Barely Bikini ($39 | $22)
Why We Chose It:A soft, moisture-wicking set made with Polygiene for permanent odor control that provides a comfortable foundation for whatever other layers you may add—and most importantly, won’t bunch up.
Why We Liked It: The seamless construction of both the bra and bikini make them some of the most comfortable underwear we’ve ever worn without sacrificing support. (The Mesh Active Bra is best for a B cup or smaller.) The bra’s thin straps stay in place without digging into our shoulders while the 90 percent polyester (76 recycled)/10 percent spandex fabric of the bikini provides just enough stretch that our skin can breath and our bodies can move.
Tester Tip: In a pinch, this combo could get the job done if you find yourself poaching a hot tub at après. They’ll be dry by morning.
Scott Punisher Ski Pole ($89)
Why We Chose It: For the most part, poles are poles are poles. Scott makes them strong and light.
Why We Liked It: Made with aluminum, they’re light and durable, and the Notch Strike grip fit easily into our hands even when wearing thick gloves. The SRS releasable strap will pull out when needed and not when you don’t.
Tester Tip: Make sure you have the right size. While standing in your ski boots, turn your poles upside down and grab them under the basket. Your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle.
Tecnica Zero G Guide Pro ($549)
Why We Chose It: A stiff-enough hybrid boot that is compatible with both alpine and tech bindings, these are light for the up and strong for the down.
Why We Liked It: This is a ski boot that actually improved our skiing, whether in bounds or touring into the sidecountry. With about 10 minutes of boot work to ease up the heel pocket in the boots, we were comfortable and warm in these hybrid boots all winter. The rockered rubber soles kept us safe on hiking traverses.
Tester Tip: Keep in mind this boot is stiff. The 105 flex skis more like a 120.
Fly Low Billie Coat ($400)
Why We Chose It: A three-layer hardshell jacket made with stretchy Poly Intuitive fabric, the Billie Coat is a ski jacket that will keep you protected in the burliest of storm days and comfortable when the sun is out. Flylow is also an independent startup that makes some of the best ski apparel around.
Why We Liked It: The fit is long and slim. The pocket placement is straightforward and sensible. It has all the features you’d expect out of a ski jacket—like fully taped seams, underarm vents, a removable powder skirt, and a helmet-compatible hood.
Tester Tip: Don’t be afraid to wash your jacket. So long as you use the right kind of soap, washing your outerwear preserves the waterproofing and keeps your gear performing for more than one season.
Giro Ella Goggles ($180)
Why We Chose It: Giro is making some of the best goggles on the market, and the Ella is their best frameless design for women. The medium fit accommodates a wide range of faces, while the spherical frameless design boosts peripheral vision. Made with Zeiss glass, clarity doesn’t get much better than this.
Why We Liked It: If we can’t see, we don’t ski. The Ella comes with two lenses, both made by Zeiss, for sunny and stormy conditions, which covers the gamut for what we need to ski all day, every day. Anti-fog coating is a good tool to defend against moisture.
Tester Tip: The best trick for not fogging up your goggles is to regulate your body temperature. If your goggles are fogging, chances are high that you are emitting too much body heat that is clashing with the cold, moisture-heavy air of the storm. The Giro Ella goggles have good venting to release body temperature, but also try taking off a layer and make sure your outerwear has a good waterproof/breathability rating.
Giro Stellar MIPS ($250)
Why We Chose It: Conform Fit Technology uses a two-piece shell and a dial so the skier can tune in the right fit. It also comes with MIPS, which means it protects your head in even the weirdest of falls and angles of impact.
Why We Liked It: It fits seamlessly with the Giro Ella goggles—so no goggle gap, which is a must. Additionally, the vents line up so moisture and body heat can transfer through the vents of your goggles and out of the vents in the helmet. It’s a system that works.
Tester Tip: Helmets are cool.
Dakine Beretta GORE-TEX 3L Bibs ($450)
Why We Chose It: Dakine is known for a muted color palette, with design that blends function and fashion, ""Pacific Northwest-style."" And the Beretta, made with the best material on the market, 3L Gore-Tex, are a pair of bibs that look good, go with just about any color jacket, have great pockets, can be worn inbounds or in the backcountry.
Why We Liked It: Skiing in a pair of bibs is the way to be. They are comfortable. They keep the snow out. They fit well around the hips and are long. Plus, the dropseat in the back makes it easy to pop a squat in the backcountry so peeing is almost as easy as a dude. Almost.
Tester Tip: Size up. Dakine’s outerwear sizing notoriously runs small.