By LL Editorial StaffI’m sure anyone familiar with the wonderful world of Skiing and Snowboarding understands the importance of Snow Style. While exceptional technical skill is vital to gaining respect on the slopes, it’s really only half the battle to becoming king of the mountain. Riding’s not just about mind-numbing backside rodeos and charging through narrow tree runs, or scaling verticals and dropping treacherous cliffs—it’s about how good you look doing it. In layman’s terms, if you’ve got no style, you’ve got almost nothing, my friend. If you want to hang with the big boys (and girls) you need to rock super-stylish threads that say you’re up with the times and down to ride. But we know that even the fiercest fashionistas among us may, on occasion, have trouble navigating through the ever-changing world of unique mountain trends. And it goes without saying that certain rules of snow style will undoubtedly leave you scratching your head (but don’t worry, you’re not the only one). So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to play your fashion guru for the day and de-mystify some of the get-ups you see on the slopes so you’ll never have to ask “What is this outfit saying?”. Just don’t take yourself too seriously, as many serious style points come from garb that’s seriously ridiculous. Check out our guide to Snow Styles of the Chic and Fearless.
Wait, did I just see my Grandmother hop spritely off of the chair lift? It can’t be—last time I saw her, scaling the stairs was a big deal, let alone a mountaintop. Then how and why does that person bare a striking resemblance to Grandma in that old photo of her skiing with my young father in the 80’s? Oh, maybe because she, wait, I mean he, is wearing a vibrantly colored onesie. Did no one tell this young chap that he looked like a female senior citizen on his way out the door this morning? If seeing such a one-piece spectacle elicits the same reaction from you, I have a news flash for us both: trends (even bad trends) recycle, apparently. But I guess the onesie deserves a little bit of credit: the bright colors are going to attract a lot of attention when it’s this skier’s time to shine, and if he has a massive fall while coming down the mountain, he’ll get no snow down his pants. The suit says he’s daring and confident. So perhaps this is the practical (and now stylish) choice. After all, Grandma knows best, right?
Most trends come and go, but some stubborn styles just seem to stick. Perhaps it’s because it leaves so much room to grow that the trendiness of “baggy” just keeps hanging around. As if the baggy pants (discovered in the nineties and subsequently exposing an entire generation’s undergarments) weren’t enough, this elephantitus of the garment has infected the upper extremities as well, now leaving its colossal mark on snowboarding jackets. Are these snowboarders trying to look like they’re draped in parachutes? Or perhaps they enjoy the feeling of drowning? Or, even better, maybe this is merely a manifestation of a repressed desire to revert to childhood and play dress up in oversized adult attire? I wish I knew. But again, let me pay some credit to such a massive jacket. For one, if it reaches all the way to the knees, snow has no hope of breaking the cloth/skin barrier. And two, getting ample elevation off of a jump in the park must make those mammoth sleeves flail like wings, making the sensation of flying through the air feel even more incredible. And finally, even if these boarders grow another six inches, there will be no need to discard the snow gear, even if the trend’s long gone out of style. Is it ridiculous? Perhaps. But forward-thinking? Most certainly. So cheers to that.
Halfway down the mountain the other day I had to stop abruptly and blink furiously because I was seeing sunspots (and it was a cloudy day, believe me). Either I had unknowingly bashed my head against an ice patch and this was the beginning of a concussion, or something extraneous had blinded me. Curious (and now somewhat concerned about my own health) I regained my bearings, shaded my eyes and looked around me. There it was: a neon pink, high-gloss finish jacket radiating like a single fluorescent light bulb in a black-out. After a moment, my initial relief at being non-concussed quickly evolved into profound confusion. Why was this skier wearing what could have easily been an over-sized plastic trash back splattered over with outrageously colored paint? In the natural world, such ostentation can mean one of two things: either you’re poisonous or poorly adapted to your environment (i.e. about to be consumed by a predator). This snow-enthusiast may just have been a mix of both—poisoning my day and about to be chastised by the fashion police. Ok, so maybe I’m being a little too harsh, and not giving enough credit to this electric get-up. There are, after all, obvious perks. The spotlight’s hers and she couldn’t get lost in an avalanche even if she tried. Certainly no one’s going to run into her. What’s more is that after my eyes got used to the glare, she became like a little ray of light cutting through the cloudy day. So maybe the newest snow style got something right: safety and faux sunshine. Not bad, not bad at all.
So, we promised to de-mystify those bizarre snow styles that make us all do a double take on the mountain, but here’s the truth: like most avant-garde fashion trends, they simply remain, well, quite mystifying. But what we have figured out is this: mountain fashion today is all about distinguishing yourself and having a fantastic time on the slopes. Whether you’re trying to protect your midriff or dying to feel like a bird soaring through the sky, the onesie and over-sized jacket do the trick. Or, if you’re brand new to the sport and just trying your best to not get lost from your group, a fluorescent jacket keeps you well connected. You’ll definitely fit right in by standing out in these stunning threads that are much more practical than first meets the eye (though they certainly deserve of a good laugh or two).