Luxury skiwear can looks good, answers the technical questions and wears well. Make sure you are kitted out correctly in the best available.
Luxury skiwear that fits well, lasts for eons and looks stylish is always a plus on the slopes. We know what to wear out hunting and what to wear when shooting, but that unerring sense of what’s right comes unstuck on the slope. The best luxury skiwear brands have the technical know how that makes them just the ticket for moguls or the St Moritz. But of course, if you’re attempting The Cresta Run then tweeds lead the way.
And if you are heading to the slopes a nip of something tasty can do wonders when presented with a mogul field. Take note of The Field’s Hip Flask Championships 2013. Winner – Off-piste: Beetroot and Horseradish Vodka which packs a punch, or for a quick and fun idea to take on your alpine expedition try The Field’s Hip Flask Championships 2013. Highly Commended – Off-piste: Toffee Vodka. It will be sure to keep the chill out.
A man who can handle a pair of skis is a reassuring companion. If he can balance a pair on each shoulder, so much the better. But even one who can handle the Vallée Blanche with ease will come unstuck if he insists on hauling out the rather dodgy all-in-one that has seen better, foxier days.
LUXURY SKIWEAR FOR FIELD FAMILIARS
Most sporting blades are familiar with Schöffel in the field, and their luxury skiwear is a great place to start. The Whistler jacket in blue (£490) is made from windproof and waterproof Venturi two-way-stretch material with a zip-off padded hood and a wealth of extras. Apart from standard snow features there is a goggles pocket with spiral cable and lens cloth with press studs for easy fastening, a key hook in another pocket, a zipped pocket on the left arm for the lift pass and the Recco system on the right arm. More than 600 resorts and rescue services use this system. The reflector on the jacket bounces a signal that directs the rescue party. Team the jacket with the Irving Dynamic II salopettes (£200) in black for a purposeful look.
For the stylish skier Moncler luxury skiwear combines fashion with performance and will be on show in the season’s hot spots. It has been producing its famous duvet jackets since 1952 and uses only the best down. The Alben jacket (£1,135) is made from nylon laminate with and ultra-lightweight, high-performance membrane, sheepskin inserts and feather/down inner. The sleek look won’t suit off-pisters (there is only one internal pocket) but for those cruising the red runs in Les Trois Vallées it works. The casual trousers (£450) are slim fitting and suitably technical.
Swiss luxury skiwear brand Mover works with natural fibre in its skiwear using wool rather than synthetic padding material in its Gore-Tex jackets and trousers. “Wool is important because it works,” says Mover CEO Nicolas Rochat. “It is sustainable, long-lasting, odour-resistant. There are no disadvantages, only advantages for the skier.” The Mover Swisswool jacket (€990)comes in black, blue, an understated olive green or a “make sure you’re up to the job” neon and comes out on top for breathability and warmth due to the natural fibres. Mover’s wool trousers (€600) are merino wool lined. Pair them with a merino T-shirt (€85) or longjohns (€95) and even the early season chill will be kept at bay.
And the best place to take your Mover kit this year? “For safe free-riding, Verbier, the backside of Mont Fort. Or, for safe heli-skiing, Betren in the Spanish Pyrenees,” says Rochat.
The right base layers are essential, and for home-grown comfort go to Dhu. Launched in December 2012, Dhu designs cashmere performance base layers that are manufactured in Scotland. The perfect addition to your luxury skiwear wardrobe. The pieces have been rigorously field tested and fill the gap between high-end fashion and traditional knitwear. “Dhu is unique in that it combines traditional knitwear expertise with innovative cashmere garment design,” says director Ian Moore. “We fuse performance cashmere with technical clothing components more commonly seen in outdoor and sporting wear. The result is active-wear cashmere clothing which offers innovative design and modern function.”
Cashmere was used on the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 and the British Mount Everest Expedition in 1953. The Dhu men’s Performance Jersey (£229) and men’s Touring Gilet (£235) are covetable pieces and sensible investments for the skier and would not be amiss in the field on an icy shooting morning.
The best luxury ski gloves are also home grown. Alexski is based in Hampshire and has a wealth of discerning advocates (look at those Royal ski snaps). The black leather men’s gloves (£285) are lined with possum fur and Gore-Tex, maintaining an extraordinary level of warmth and comfort for even the most cold-fingered. The women’s version (£265) comes in a chic range of colours. To crown the look many now don a helmet on the slopes, but if you still ski au naturel the William & Son Inverni wool hat lined with rabbit fur (£270) hits the mark.
And if you are looking to update your ski eyewear then Costa’s renowned fishing glasses double up as great lenses for the slopes. “The Blackfin and Permit [from £199 to £269] with wraparound frames and vents to aid airflow are the best,” says Steve Chance from Costa. “And the 580 Silver Mirror lenses are perfect for snow conditions as are the 580 Green mirror.” For selfies the exceptional Zeal Optics HD Camera Goggles (£319) makes sure all your action on the slope is recorded and can be relived.