Ski Apparel: What to Wear On and Off the Slopes

I miss the mountain air. There is something about it that is so crisp and energising; it’s no wonder the cast of The Sound of Music skipped through the Austrian hills so briskly, shrilling about pedagogical techniques of sight-singing and ‘raindrops on roses’. An Alpine atmosphere is a feel good tonic if ever there was one.

My rose-tinted ruminations of areas of altitude do not stop at the quality of oxygen either; I miss winter sports bitterly. It has been a good long while since I last skied. I must have slipped down a few notches by now – more red and blue than black these days. And yet, despite my trepidation concerning my downhill technique, I can’t wait to be back on the slopes again.

And it’s not just about the ruination of knees through parallel turns that tempts me. The après-ski, the exhilarating lifestyle, the cosy lodge fires, the warm punch and hot Jacuzzis catalyse my resolution to return to the winter sporting world with relish.

I am worried though. The skiing does not concern me; moguls or no moguls, I shall maintain. It’s the complete lack of appropriate skiwear. Concerned as I am not to shame my own skiing further with graceless choices of apparel, let me share with you the light research I have completed into concocting modish slope attire.

On slope

There is no schussing away from it: on-slope gear needs to be practical. You can’t be a frosty fop but, damn it all, you can give your style conscience a fighting chance. A lot of clothing on offer for the winter sports market is heavily sport-focused. What I mean by this ugly hyphenated phrase is that large writing, meaningless numbers and frustratingly ineffectual flashing lines and shapes prevail. A Savile Row tailor would shiver at the frighteningly cheap looking clothing that, due to the patented technology involved, can cost over $1000 to buy.

If you’re going to invest in ski-wear, it’s best to invest in styles and materials that are going to last. Cheap jackets are not only a poor investment, but they also tend to make the wearer look like an out-of-work second division soccer coach.

Unfortunately, unlike other areas of fashion, very affordable and stylish snow-wear is like the Abominable Snowman; people claim to have seen it, but when they return to prove their sighting, the evidence has vanished.

For jackets and pants in skiing and snowboarding lines, Ralph Lauren’s RLX range combines sleek style with the best in clothing technology.

Off slope

Après-ski clothing type depends on where you are staying. Larger and well established resorts often have heated pavements, largely, it seems, in order that frail maidens of the mountains can teeter along Main Street in Manolos. However, despite this, there are plenty of remote resorts and snowy streets that call for practicality. Gucci, Giorgio Armani, DSquared and Ralph Lauren are examples of sturdy and elegant options for times off-slope.

The key is to keep the footwear practical, and retro-looking, and also to add a little colour or exoticism to the ensemble to avoid it looking mercilessly functional; striped scarves, traditional patterns, fur and leather add sufficient spice to keep the cold at bay.