Style on the snow
Gone are the days of big, bulky, over padded Michelin-man style ski wear and low hanging pants for snowboarders. Block colours are still in with a mix of tweeds and prints and vintage cuts.
Outerwear brands no longer sacrifice style for function and many have teamed up with international designers to prove it. In recent years Adidas shook hands with Stella McCartney, Puma teamed up with Alexander McQueen and snowboard brand Burton paired up with Paul Smith.
There is a sense of play and 'anything goes this season so long as it fits' - with extra kudos given to Scandinavian designers.
It's what's on the outside that counts
Victoria Beckham may prefer to wear Chanel ski wear from head to toe, but others are adding the Parisian brand's snow accessories including black leather gloves (available in Australia RRP$940) and rabbit ear muffs (overseas only RRP$940) to add style when in the village and off the slopes.
North American brands have some serious competition from Scandinavia this season. Web style doyenne, Net-a-porter.com (and Mr Porter), stocks one ski brand only, Mover from Sweden.
The cult brand has been around since the 1980s. An injection of fresh fashion blood was had in 2004 when Swiss entrepreneur, Nicolas Rochat, took over. Expect the unique patented Swisswool blend of wool stabilized with corn insulating Gore-Tex jackets sported by the likes of former French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
Look out for the J.Lindenberg lifestyle brand, also from Sweden and now available in Australia. The fashion sports brand was founded in 1996 by former Diesel marketing manager, Johan Lindenberg and the design team headed up in 2004 by Fredrik Dahl previously from The North Face.
If you feel the cold then you only need two words – Helly Hansen. The Norwegian brand is tempting skiers and boarders this season to their website to win a trip to Aspen. If we win we'll take the Strand Down Vest - a sleeveless warm torso feather down solution for the après skier around town.
American outerwear snowboard brand new to the Australian market last season, L1 is inspired by classic Americana with military cues and vintage finish. Again, 2012 is about fit for function with slimmer cuts, tailored fits and stretch fabrics including articulated knees in L1 pants which gives snowboarders more movement. Gone is the excess and bulk that once trade marked snowboarders.
Snowboarding mega brand, Burton focuses on four fits for both men and women in 2012. The relaxed Team Fit, Signature Fit for layering, Mid Fit for urban snow and Slim Fit for streetwear on the slopes. The eco snow warrior will love Burton's Green Mountain Project, an eco influenced range using recycled materials and artwork applications.
Best feet forward
Australian and New Zealand snowfields get their fare share of incremental weather, otherwise known as rain. Unisex Wellington boot brand, Hunter offer complete waterproof protection with a snow tread in their winter boots for running between bars. Stylise your own look with a Welly Sock in camouflage fleece, cable knit, Fair Isle or faux fur.
Eye on the slopes - goggles
You can't ski or snowboard without goggles and competition is tough for the best performance and fit. Smith Optics have led the market with the I/O goggle, a spherical interchangeable hi tech anti fog lens goggle with a sleek rimless design in a range of funky band colours and designs. This season Dragon Alliance have gone one step further with the frameless APX goggle, no rims and no frames to help with peripheral vision.
Stylemeisters protect the face from wind and cold with the Australian made, White Ninja 'bandeanie'. With soft felt against the ski on one side and a cool fabric print on the other and an elastic band to keep it firmly placed on the neck or face, the bandeanie is an Aussie must have and a great alternative to those who can't handle the heat of merino wool.
Safety is paramount and this season's helmet's come in big bold colours or blacks, browns and nature style hues. Matt has taken over in 2012 where glossy finishes left off. Giro Helmets Surface range combine form fit, vents and hard shell protection in eight colours.
Just because it can't be seen doesn't mean it can't work for you. Snow SKINS (an Australian created brand) is a technical under layer compression garment brand. The S400 series is designed to reduce lactic acid build up while skiing and boarding, SKINS features long pants and long tops worn as a thermal garment under pants and jackets. If it's good enough for the Austrian Ski Federation for the Sochi Olympics then it's good enough for muscle weary Aussie skiers.
Tech is as big this season as fit is. If you can't shoot and share your time on snow then it didn't happen, right? GoPro Helmet Cams shoot in broadcast quality in video, rapid stills and slow motion and come with a waterproof casing. They can be mounted on the chest, helmet or pole however there is no playback screen (yet) to check your progress.
Nikon's AW100 is the toughest pocket cam in the market. It's waterproof, shock proof and cold proof and even comes in camouflage print to channel the inner Rambo.
Real warriors need real watches. The type that tell you how brave and mighty you are. Suunto Ambit HR watch features full GPS, 3D compass, barometric altitude, temperature and waypoint navigation that can be stored in the watch and on movescount.com. It can record speed and distance, heart rate and even make you an espresso (ok, that last bit isn't true). Did we mention the water resistance and rechargeable lithium battery?
Perhaps the most bemusing new product for 2012 is the Douchebag - got your attention, right? The revolutionary new ski transportation bag has been developed in association with Swedish skier Jon Olsson and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The premise is a collapsible ski bag that is tough and easy to carry with a shoulder strap system that leaves the hands free for other luggage.
STOCKISTS IN AUSTRALIA
Chanel - for stockists call02 9233 4800
J.Lindeberg – for stockists call Snowsport distributors 02 6457 6393
Hunter Boots – for stockists Luda Productions 03 9386 5544
L1 Outerwear – for stockists call Sport Factor 02 9531 5600
Burton – for stockists call 02 9935 9000
Smith Optics – for stockists call 02 6639 5555
Dragon Alliance – for stockists call 1800 032 065
White Ninja for stockists visit www.whiteninja.com.au/stockists.html
SKINS – for stockists call 1300 852 100
GoPro – for stockists 02 4964 2227
Nikon – www.nikon.com.au 'authorised dealers' page
Suunto – visit www.suuntoservice.com/dealerlocator/
Douchebag – contact Bent Square 0449 519 574
Giro Helmets - for stockists call Sport Factor 02 9531 5600