Welcome to winter Snow Riders!
The season of hot chocolates, beats downs and mulled wine is upon us, and according to recent forecasts the Aussie Alps have a serious system working its way through. I don't know about you, but it’s been a while since I’ve gone toe-to-toe with a mountain, so I’m keen to see how broken I’m going feel once I get Day One under my belt. I mean, I love summer but I live for winter because tanning is soothing but snow riding is empowering which makes it ironic that I'm in Indonesia as I write this.
One of my favourite things about the start of the colder season is getting to stop in to my local snowboard stores and binge on all the new and exciting things stocking the shelves. Every year without fail, I find my self becoming obsessed with a new board, a new jacket, new googles or socks. And every year my friends take up the mission to talk me down from spending every dollar I have and don’t have on things I already have. But alas, they aren’t perfect, or maybe I’m just that good at pleading my case, and every year I manage to give a few select items a new home.
With opening day of the Australian season now being in our rear view mirror, I spent the weeks leading up to m South East Asia Tour reviewing all the newest stock for this season, whether it was by heading into stores like Twelve Board Store (which is located dangerously close to me) or by scouring the internet and other publications.
Where My Ladies At?
Speaking of publications, has anyone else received a copy of the first annual Mount Hotham magazine? I'm kind of loving the effort and ideas that Mount Hotham are putting out there this year, from the JUCY SKI4FREE deal to the new First Time Riders Deal. I was really enjoying the Magazine without complaints, until my friend asked what I thought about the Recommended Clothing and Equipment spread. I thought this was a bit of an odd question, since I actually had glanced over it and I thought I quite liked most of the gear they had listed there. My friend then asked me to take a look at it again and when I did, I immediately got what she was getting at.
See, I had looked at the Clothing and Equipment, but I'd only really looked at the first page which had the all snowboarding gear, and so naturally that was all that registered with me. But on the second examination of the Recommended Clothing and Equipment spread, I realised I was looking at the recommended gear for guys. Being a lady myself, I started pouring over the clothing and equipment that was being recommended to me. I asked myself why was I not interested in any of the items making up their list, and the best answers I could come up with were:
I don’t ski and apparently Hotham doesn’t believe girls snowboarding, or at least not enough to include some snowboarding gear for the girls; and
Everything was either pink, baby blue, or white.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with skiing, or with pink, baby blue or white, but it made me ask: is there no other colours available for women other than the ones convention threw upon us as little girls?
The Do-Over List by All Mountain Pass
So, allow me to present the my own Clothing & Equipment List for the Ladies, the 2016 Edition:
Goggles: EG3.5 Snow Goggles in by Electric
I’ve been a major fan of Electric since I started using them about 5 some years ago. And to my continued frustration, my goggles are are still in wonderful working order and so other than buying different coluored lenses, I have yet to replace the frame.
Advertised on the company's website at AUD 300.
Helmet: Freeride in blueberry by XS
XS is an awesome company that designs helmets just for WOMEN, which means they combine performance and style.
If you're not already wearing a helmet because you think they look stupid, check out XS's range and skip any avoidable concussions!
Advertised on the company's website at USD 99 (so about AUD 131.50 at todays exchange rate)
Jacket: Era Ins Jkt in burnt sienna by Volcom
This jacket is a list item that I personally vouch for. It's flattering and functional and is the envy of my friend that wanted to buy it and my sister who repeatedly stealsborrows it.
Advertised on the company's website at USD 160 on sale (so about AUD 212.50 at todays exchange rate).
Pants: Deerwood Pant in ochre red by Nikita
Nikita is another one of the rare companies that design clothes just for women. This another item I can personally vouch for; I love it's slightly loose fit which makes running around the mountain crazy comfortable.
Quick note: check them on Instagram: @nikitaclothing / #nikitanation.
Advertised on the company's website at USD 199.95 (so about AUD 265.55 at todays exchange rate).
Gloves: The Kana Mitt in oxblood by Oyuki Apparel
This is a brand that was born out of Niseko, Japan where they were designed and tested. The brand name itself means Big Snow...so you know you're hands are gonna be toasty warm.
I myself haven't had the opportunity to buy a pair since my current gloves still work, but as soon as they show signs of wearing I will be all over these as they are super soft, not bulky, and have a wrist leash that is streamline and comfortable. I have repeatedly been found fondly fondling these beauties every time I find them in a store.
Advertised on the company's website at JYP 12,900 (so about AUD 164.00 at today's exchange rate - but I'll tell you I found them for AUD 129.99 at Rhythm Snow Sports).
Bindings: GU in acid by Flux Bindings
I myself have not used Flux Bindings, however I have only heard rave reviews about them, and I mean RAVE. My next board will be sporting these bad boys. My friend Katie, has also recently purchased some GS Flux Bindings, so I'll provide an update on how they handle once I get to test drive them :).
Advertised at Twelve Board Store at AUD 369.99.
Snowboard: 2017 Rapture by Ride
This great looking board is the women's version of one of Ride's favourite snowboards in their 'guy range', the Machete. So be sure that with the 2017 Rapture you too can cut up the mountain.
Advertised at Twelve Board Store at AUD 499.99, noting that this specific board is not listed on Ride's website as they haven't released the 2017 Rapture worldwide, yet.
Snowboard boots: Cadence by Ride
So wonderfully fitted with their heat-moldable Intuition Foam Liner that you can mold to your feet at the start of the season. I particularly love the Boa system so you won't struggle with any laces, and the advantage of the double Boas is that you can better control the pressure around your foot.
Advertised on the company's website at USD 299.95 (so about AUD 395.45 at today's exchange rate).
Glove Liners Ultra Liners by Oyuki
What can I say, I really like the design and comfort of Oyuki’s goods.
Advertised on the company's website at JYP 3,200 (so about AUD 40.70 at today's exchange rate - but I'll tell you I found them for AUD 37.99 at Rhythm Snow Sports).
Neck Warmer: Shnig in ollie concept by Oyuki
Love, love, love these things. They are light and thin but still sufficient enough to break the wind.
Advertised on the company's website at JYP 2,000 (so about AUD 25.15 at today's exchange rate).
Sweatshirt: Trim Hoodie Sand by Yuki Threads
This is an Australian company that started at Mt Buller in 2010 and has spread it's reach beyond our shores. I first came across this specific hoodie in Hakuba, Japan. It's designed for true skiers and boarders with underarm ventilation, and zippers on the pockets so you don't accidentally loose any loose change.
Advertised on the company's website at AUD 124.99.
Beanie: Emanuel in olive green by Blak Headwear Co.
This is an Australian company based out of Melbourne that offers a range of cool clothes that can easily transition from your favourite mountain to your local corner pub.
Advertised on the company's website at AUD 35.
Thermals Shirt: Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe Stripe in metro heather/patina by Icebreaker
When it comes to thermals, I can't go past merino wool, and as a result I am a true believe in Icebreaker Merino. I bought my first Icebreaker Merino thermal shirts and leggings back in 2007 and I'm still wearing them! (and no, I don't think that's gross).
Advertised on the company's website at AUD 89.95.
Thermal Pants: Christy Leggings in pinot/mint/charcoal by Mons Royale
Like Icebreaker, Mons Royale started in New Zealand and offers up fantastic merino products in unique and cute designs. I'm excited to pick up this particular pair of leggings to replace my old Icebreaker ones that have been worked to the point that it is now covered in holes!
Advertised on the company's website at NZD 120 (so about AUD 114.60 at today's exchange rate).
Socks: Womens Ski+ Light Over The Calf by Icebreaker
I tried Icebreaker's socks for the first time in January and they have quickly become my favourite pair. They have good padding to make your ski and snowboard boots comfortable and warm, but not too much that you lose that extra bit of control of your board.
Advertised on the company's website at AUD 39.95.
Boots: Women’s Winter Carnival Boot in pewter and black by Sorel
I bought this particular pair of boots on my most recent trip to Japan in Hakuba because my Gore Tex boots that I've been wearing for 4 years, while still waterproof, are suede . The issue I found with the suede was that snow would really cling to it, and as it melted, the suede would retain water, and would make my feet so, so cold. And they would stay cold because they took forever to dry. Once I picked up Sorel's Winter Carnival Boot I was all smiles all the time. Sure, everyone seems to have them on the mountain nowadays, but there really is a reason for that; they are that good.
Unfortunately the price is not advertised on their website, but I can tell you I purchased my pair for JYP 12,000 (so about AUD 150.90 at today's exchange rate). If you're in Melbourne, you can find Sorel boots at The Walking Company or at Adventure Megastore (which also has several other locations around Victoria and New South Wales, as well as free shipping for online purchases over AUD 99).
So there's my List of Recommended Snow Equipment and Clothing for the Ladies out there. If you have any favourites that aren't on this list, tell me all about them! (seriously, I want to know about them!!)
Keep praying to the Snow Gods for more snow, and I hope a lot of you get to hit the slopes this week knowing that I am painfully jealous. I mean, I'm almost kicking myself for buying that last minute ticket to Indonesia because I'm being forced to enjoy the tropical weather when I could be getting euphoric on the mountain. #FirstWorldProblems, eh?