What I Wear Downhill Skiing

What I Wear:
After downhill skiing and cross country skiing for most of my life I have perfected my gear. Of course this is all personal and not everything works for everyone, but if your feet are cold or your goggles are foggy, consider giving this stuff a shot!

Backpack First of course!: My Osprey Pack is somewhat new. I’ve been waiting for the perfect pack to come around and this was the one! I can’t offer a full review yet but so far it seems pretty solid. I am constantly skiing through the woods and my packs take some abuse carrying lots of gear, and so far it has stood up to the test! Here it is in blue (Osprey Reverb 18). Osprey is a wonderful company that offers lifetime warrantees with their gear. This pack also has an insulated area in the shoulder strap for your bladder’s hose so that it doesn’t freeze on you!

Boots: Rossignol Vita- These are actually my old boots from Sports Page in Glens Falls. They’re cozy but due for an update. Too much flex for my strong ski style. For a beginner or intermediate skier I recommend Rossignol’s new boots, find them here: (Rossignol Kiara Boots)

Socks: Smartwool Slopestyle- Darn Toughs are awesome, but these Smartwools have been my go-to for a very long time. Not only warm, these are extra padded in the shins to protect you from that achy pain later on in your day. These are my favorite but there are tons of styles: (Smartwool Slopestyle)

Warmers: I’m not a cold blooded person and have never needed professional boot warmers. If you are cold blooded, those $100 warmers work like a charm and they get better every year. If you’re not looking to spend the money or aren’t cold enough- a cheap trick I learned from my father, Papa B, for those bitter cold days: pull out your boot liners, grab a pair of those sticky foot warmers ($1-$2), paste them onto the toes of the liner or right inside of the plastic boot, carefully insert the liners so not to bunch the warmer, and enjoy toasty toes for hours. That whole -shove your foot into a bunched up warmer- crap never worked for me, and this was a great alternative. Here they are on Amazon: (Hot Hands Foot Warmers)

Leggings: My cold blooded mother, Mammas, stands by her hot chilis which I must say are cozy. They are nice on super cold days, but typically I am skiing too hard to be that hot. I alternate between the same two pairs of Under Armour winter leggings that I’ve had for years. They last forever and are super versatile. They’re also tight so on cold days I’ll throw on another pair of insulated leggings on top that I picked up at Marshalls for $10. The combo keeps me cozy even on the top lift. Here are a few different choices (Under Armour Leggings)

Snow Pants: My snow pants are probably my favorite piece of gear. These Spyder snow pants which probably were expensive when I got them in 9th grade!! are still in perfect condition almost 12 years later! They have suspenders which I recommend because when you fall the snow stays on the mountain and not in your pants! They also zip entirely off. Not super useful now, but when I was racing I loved this feature! They’re also super thick and waterproof. All in all, a great and well worth it purchase that I might have forever. Here are some that aren’t exactly the same but are somewhat similar and are currently on sale! (Spyder Snowpants)

Under Shirt: Once again, Under Armour winter is my go to for my base layer. They just make such quality and long lasting product, I’m more likely to lose this shirt before it’s unusable. A mock neck style will keep you warm on the coldest days. On warmer days I will use any hiking shirt I have, usually a tech wick turtle neck from EMS I got on sale! Check out this Under Armor under layer here: (Under Armour Shirt) and also see my EMS turtleneck here: (EMS Tech Wick Turtleneck)

Fleece: Depending on how cold the day is I wear two to three layers on top. If it’s 20 or under I wear my Under Armor base layer with my Patagonia Better Sweater (Super Super Warm!)(Also from HPC on sale!) find here! – and my EMS flannel (yes it’s mens! super comfy!) find here! or my Patagonia Fluffy Vest (LP Ski and Board) On sale here!. If it’s 30 or above I ditch the fleece (too warm for Bee!) and go with my base layer and just the vest or one of my Burton sweatshirts (LP Ski and Board) Example Here. I always, always pack one extra top layer because you never know how the wind will feel! Papa B always says to protect your core, he’s a huge vest advocate, and he’s totally right!

Jacket: Two years ago I bought this beautiful long grey Burton coat from Lake Placid Ski and Board. It has adorable foxes inside of it and is decked out with pockets. Burton is extremely reasonably priced, and LPS&B are so great to work with. This jacket is more of a shell and and allows me to layer as I please while blocking the wind for me and covering my butt on the chair, how kind! On warmer days I don my little red Patagonia jacket (HPC 50% off!) which isn’t as wind protectant but allows me better movement. I don’t like getting overheated or over cold so nailing down what I need for temperatures on the mountain has been great for me! The same Burton Jacket isn’t available on their site but here’s a similar one on sale! (Burton Prowess Jacket) also here’s the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody.

Helmet: Another sprig of advice from Papa B- $10 helmet for a $10 head. This is one piece of necessary gear that you don’t want to cheap out on. I highly recommend Smith. Such a quality and well done brand with great materials and add ons. Also buying the right helmet will provide you with adequate warmth so you won’t need a hat underneath causing discomfort. Smith has been making lenses and helmets for awhile now and can be trusted with such precious material! On sale here!

Goggles: Once again, Smith forever. After skiing my newest pair of Smith ‘Phase’ goggles  now called ‘Prophecy’ with a vent (Cunninghams Ski Barn) I will never go back. Sean at Cunninghams recommended these to me. He really knows his gear. These goggles NEVER fog and are so comfortable on my face. They were a bit pricey but totally worth it. Trust me. Here’s the new ones (Smith Prophecy Goggles)

Skis: Volkl Kenja — Titanium core and perfect for the skier I have become. These skis have been all over Whiteface, in the glades, on the slides and getting some air. They wouldn’t be amazing in powder, but they would be just fine enough. As for Eastern conditions, I highly recommend. They are sturdy, fast, and easy to control. I feel like I could stop in a second flat or carve through the tightest trees. Having been a racer in middle-high school most of my skis were built similarly, but I have to say these are by far the finest I’ve skied. Sean from Cunninghams also recommended these– once again the guy really knows his gear!! He also chose to sell me the previous year’s version rather than selling me the newest and much more expensive ones. I found that to be very commendable. Here are the new ones but if you run into a used pair or last years go for it, it’s a great ski. (Volkl Kenja 2016/2017)

Gloves: My gloves, also from Cunninghams, are Dakine. Mittens. I say mittens because truly, they are much warmer than gloves. Your fingers all get to cuddle inside of a warm fleecy blanket. Gloves sometimes offer more control, but these mittens are tight and feel like they’re molded to my hand. Even on cold days my hands sometimes sweat. They’re wonderful. Another perk is that I got them for $12 on sale! Here’s a page full- they’re all great just choose mitten! (Dakine Mitten)

Neck Warmer- This is up to you personal preference. I’m currently using a Buff, which is great. It’s thin so I can use it in the summer too. Skida out of Vermont makes really really cute stuff I just haven’t come in contact with the one for me yet! Turtle Fur is also and always will be warm and amazing! Check these out, they’re cute and somewhat local! (Skida Neckwear)

–Side note: Those cute little wellies are from Keene- and they’re lined! They don’t sell them anymore but if you find some they’re called Coronado and they’re awesome! I’ve had them for several years. —

So when it comes to layering it’s definitely preferential, but don’t waste your time buying 3 different things. Get some of this awesome gear, layer up, and be warm forever.

Hugs and Backpacks,

B.Bee

 

 

 

Buy Warm Gear Near Lake Placid! (and Support Small Business)

 

 

All of these exciting outdoor winter sports get cold sometimes, and it’s completely inevitable- as we all know. Regardless of this fact, it’s still difficult to locate the best warm gear. The choices are difficult to work with because we only have 2,
1. Spend tons of money for quality gear, or,
2. Buy a less expensive gear and have to replace it often

These aren’t great choices. When it comes down to it, I’ve learned that it’s better to save up and buy from better brands. This can be lifesaving gear so it’s best not to mess around with cheap crap.  Some of them (Osprey, L.L. Bean, etc.) come with lifetime warrantees and will replace your gear. Other quality brands I’ve worked with (Patagonia, Sorel, Spyder, Burton) are also more than happy to replace or repair gear that has been damaged while being used for its purpose. Most of these brands are offered at local gear stores in the area which I love to support. They often have sales and it’s wonderful to try on expensive items before purchasing.

Lake Placid Gear Discounts:

If you’re looking to find some of the gear I’ve purchased at a cheaper price, try out these awesome gear stores in or near Lake Placid. They’ve treated me well and will do the same for you!

    • High Peaks Cyclery-
      • High Peaks is across from the Bowling Alley Bowlwinkles, on lower Main Street, Lake Placid. It’s a high quality shop offering brands like Patagonia, Arcteryx, Deuter, and more. They’re known for their mountain bikes and AT gear, but they also offer a guide service and tuning both of which are extremely reputable. All of that being said, I have found some of the best sales of my outdoor buying career at HPC. Every couple of months they offer a 50% off rack with tons of great buys. They also offer one of the only discount rooms in Placid. This “Recyclery” is in the back of the shop on the right side and is filled with all kinds of shoes, clothes, and gear. The owners are knowledgeable, kind, and super active. This place promises a good deal.
    • The Mountaineer-
      • The Mountaineer in Keene is on 73 about 35 minutes from Lake Placid. This is a huge gear shop filled to the brim with awesome outdoor goodies. It is expensive as all gear shops are but conveniently placed are a couple of sale racks on the second level of this shop. On my last visit there I picked up a beautiful Woolrich sweater for only $35! Also- the employees aren’t pushy as I’ve noticed elsewhere. They’re helpful and genuine.
    • Lake Placid Ski and Board-
      • This shop has been in town for a long time and for good reason. The owners are super knowledgable and remember locals. This is a great spot for all of your downhill gear. They have awesome jackets and snow pants, under layers, helmets, bags, skis, poles, and boots. They always offer great deals and have sales on last years items. Well chosen gear for a cool little Main Street shop.
    • Cunninghams-
      • Cunninghams has been hit or miss for me since moving to Placid but I need to shout out to them for my awesome skis. I was searching for the perfect skis when I fell into an amazing deal at this shop. ‘Last year’s’ skis, same as the new but with different design and less than half the price. They are still the best skis I’ve owned after 3 years of use. Don’t mark the ski barn off, they have great deals and great service.
    • Placid Planet:
      • Placid Planet carries the best alpine race gear in town and they also offer a wonderful tune-up. Their road bikes and tuning are highly regarded as well (spring is coming)!
    • Blue Line Sport: Saranac Lake:
      • If you are in town for a couple of days (Or years! You may just love it here and stay!) definitely check out Saranac Lake. It’s a wonderful town with history and quirkness. The restaurants are delicious and the stores are super unique. Blue Line Sport is one of them. They have tons of great base layers, sweaters, and slippers. My family got many of our ski clothes and other outdoor gear there growing up. Definitely worth a stop– frequent sales!
    • EMS-
      • While EMS isn’t a local store, it’s a great option for gear that you might not be finding at other spots in Placid. EMS isn’t great for downhill gear, but is great for downhill clothing like Smart Wool and Darn Tough socks (often on sale). They have the best spread of hiking boots, climbing gear, and Osprey packs in town. EMS is known for being expensive as other gear stores are, but if you shop right it can be cheap! Becoming part of their rewards program gifts you $10 when you build up points (I have $40 saved right now!) and furthermore they have great seasonal sales. Head to the secret gear spot downstairs and in the back usually there are a couple of sweet sale racks! You never know what you may find.

Aside from all of these awesome shops be sure to check out the other small businesses in our beautiful surrounding towns. Their character and originality are so inspiring. The shop owners and employees are so practiced, knowledgeable, and helpful.  #shoplocal #shopsmall !!

Check out my next post for what I wear to the mountain and how you can find similar gear!

Thanks for viewing!
Hugs and Backpacks,
B.B