Equipment Review: Blizzard Bonafides
Ski Dimensions: 180 cm; 133 / 98 / 113; 21 m radius; camber with early rise tip & tail
Tester Characteristics: 5’11”; 160lbs; likes to ski fast and take chances
It’s been a strange (slow) season around the country, but I feel like I finally have enough days on the Bonafides to provide a comprehensive review. Overall, I dig them. My first day on the ‘Bones was a West Coast hardpack day at Kirkwood (quick aside: I refuse to call anything West of the Mississippi “ice” – even if the locals incorrectly do). At first impression I was blown away by how quick these things are edge to edge. Turn transitions are incredibly fast for something 98 mm underfoot (and this is coming from someone who spent most of last year on race-room SL boards). They still have a good amount of camber underfoot which likely contributes to the turn-to-turn poppyness on hard pack. Carving medium fast GS turns was a breeze, and I never felt any of the tip flap you sometimes get on other early rise skis (I’m looking at you Rossignol S3). The very slight tail rise (~1 cm over the last ~20) meant that the tails were there when I needed them to be but it was still easy to disengage and scrub speed if got into trouble. There probably is a speed limit compared to something like a Volkl Mantra, but I never felt it.
Over the course of the next two weeks I was able to put the skis to the test in a much wider range of conditions, including two moderate powder days (8 inches and 13 inches), trees, chutes, crud, cut-up fresh, corduroy groomers, bumps, and one afternoon of corn (testing took place at Taos Ski Valley, Solitude, and Park City Mountain Resort). The skis excelled in almost every condition, with two minor exceptions. First, the good stuff: These things destroy cut up fresh and crud. The two layers of metal means they are very hard to knock off course, and there is just enough early rise to float over the really nasty stuff. I found that I could keep pretty consistent forward pressure through extremely varied pockets of tracked-out fresh without fear of getting bucked around. In the trees, the slight rocker and decent side cut made for a very nimble ride, although it’s definitely a ski that you have to stay on top of (i.e. not as forgiving as an S3 in the really tight stuff). Again, I really enjoyed them, but lighter or less aggressive skiers may find themselves in the back seat pretty quickly. Hop turns down chutes were a breeze, but there is definitely enough running length to get these things to dig in when needed. In untracked fresh they weren’t quite as smooth as, say, a Volkl Gotama, but that’s to be expected given the traditional camber underfoot and narrower waist. As a lighter skier they still floated plenty for my taste, and giving up the ability to completely butter fresh turns was worth it for me given their outstanding hardpack and crud performance. My other minor complaint came when trying to zipperline bumps. These are just a bit too big and heavy for that, and I found myself bucked around a bit. Of course, there is a lot of other fun to be had on the mountain, especially when these skis excel in almost every other type of terrain (and who wants to ski damp, skinny K2s all day just so you can show off in the bumps – wait I definitely did that in Vermont).
Bottom line: Rip up trees, steeps, crud, and boot deep powder, and lay down perfect GS turns on your way back to the lift. 4.5 Ski Bunnies out of 5.
Best New Bucket: Smith Vantage
Those who have been reading this post for a while know that I’m torn on helmets. I usually wear one on Western trips but tend to skip it in the East. Two recent events could make me a full time convert – a buddy ending up in the hospital last week, and the release of the Smith Vantage this winter. This has everything I’m looking for in a helmet – good ventilation, good style, and streamlined enough so I don’t feel like an extra from Space Balls. I usually don’t like helmets with brims but this one is subtle enough that it works. I’m also really digging the leather ear flaps, which surprisingly don’t block out as much noise as you’d think. All in all, a pretty sick helmet. Just please don’t cover it with sweet stickers. The park is the other way bro…
P.S. Possible storm hitting the greens this Wednesday / Thursday. Unfortunately company business is taking me to Montreal this weekend, but I’ll likely be at Killington mid week if anyone else is around. As always, look for the guy with the sweet style.
Best Picks for Pants – 2011 Edition
Two days ago the CEO and I made some turns together at K-mart. The company was excellent, but I wish I could say the same about his slope-side style. His pants are in major need of an upgrade and I figured I would point him in the right direction. This one’s for you CEO. Maybe next time we can sit together at Apres…
1) Norrona Narvik Performance Shell
As stylish as they are rugged, these 3-layer full gore-tex shell pants are the new hotness. These things are bomb-proof, relatively light, and guaranteed for 5 years. Most importantly, I’m digging the color for this season. Pair these with a dark solid coat and you should be in business.
2) Mammut Dobson
Probably my favorite new pant out there. Mammut makes top quality gear but has been always a little hit or miss on style. Well, they finally nailed one with the Dobson. Pair this 2-layer shell with a white or gray jacket and you will be slaying the apres scene with the best of them.
3) FlyLow Gear Magnum
Love these if you don’t need the full waterproof protection of hardshell (read: you’re not in New England or the Pacific NorthWest). Very light weight, breathable, and can effectively set off a bright top. If they didn’t match my jacket I probably would have already pulled the trigger. Tell me these things wouldn’t look great over a pair of baby blue Langes. That’s right, you can’t.
C.E.brO here, writing in for C.F.O, who is on assignment in Whistler –
Ski Bunnies on City Slopes(NY Time article link below)
It appears the Snow Bunny style has hit…… yes wait for it….. New York city’s trendy and stylish district of SoHo. This NY Times article, sent in by Apres Manchild, Mansfield supports this claim. “Is it difficult being on the front lines of fashion over at Apres,” Mansfield asked apres, alluding to our strong fashion presents and snow bunny focus. Well, Mans, yes, paving the way for New York City fashion is no small load to tow, but the team over at Apres is up for the challenge.
New Hotness from Flylow
We here at Apres have been fans of Flylow gear since they started out, catering almost exclusively to the local Colorado knee dropper scene. While tele has never been our thing per say (I actually eat red meat, shave occasionally, and I don’t drive a Subaru) – the gear is undeniably bomber. New for this season is the TC Micro Puff vest shown above. I’m really digging the color scheme on this one – given my muted outer layers it is important to put a little flair in the mix for Apres purposes. This vest certainly checks that box, while oozing the laid back retro style that is in right now. Could be the next purchase after my Apres performance bonus check clears.
First Purchase of 2010/2011 Season: New Mammut Shell
I’m getting ready to spend my second season as Apres’s Northern Correspondent, living and working 45 minutes from K-Mart and under an hour thirty to Stowe, Jay or Magic. Of course my primary duty will still be as Chief Fashion Officer, and as such I couldn’t go into this season cold (or at least wearing last year’s shell). This little number above is my first major purchase of the season – the Mammut Nirvana Powder Hybrid Jacket (tough handle, great jacket). This piece has the right mix of technical features (full powder skirt, great helmet compatible hood), but is light enough to pack easily. Most importantly, of course, it looks sick – the white on white is even better looking in person. Pair this piece with a dark hat or helmet, white goggles, leather gloves, and any color pants as long as they are black. Seriously if this outfit doesn’t get me laid at Casey’s Caboose this season nothing will.
You heard it here first.
Style on the Water: Chaos Boats
Here at Apres HQ we spend almost as much time on the water as we do on the slopes. Now that summer is upon us and we can get the white pants back out of retirement it is time to talk boats. You don’t have to know me well to know that I am center console guy. My perennial favorites include small Whalers and mid-sized Jones Brothers (is there a better pure flyfishing boat than the 1910 LT??). This season, however, I’ve come across a new manufacturer that is making the best looking center consoles I’ve seen in sometime – Chaos Boats. In fairness I haven’t field tested these yet (the Apres / Chaos pro-deal is still in the works – our Business Dev. intern assures us he is working around the clock on it) but I am immediately struck by a couple of features. I love the Carolina flare around the bow, the clean lines, and the simple cockpit layouts. There are only two models available: the Chaos 21 (shown above) and the Chaos 16 (below). I love the looks of the 21 for longer jaunts to the Vineyard or for chasing school bluefin in Mass Bay, and the 16 may be my new favorite skinny water / harbor & bay run about. Pending sea trial I could see myself in a Chaos 16 before the summer is over (note that the absolute meat-stick they have driving the boat in the pic doesn’t hurt).
Olympic Style Update: Men’s DH
The Men’s DH was today, and I won’t ruin the results for the 5 of you that can hold off checking until tonight’s replay (thanks for not making it live NBC, you are the best). I did, however, want to comment on some of the style exhibited here. Steve Nyman has a lot of things going right in the above photo. I like the US team’s suits – the use of asymmetry is great, and they are nice and understated compared to some competitor’s outfits (is Sweden serious? do they know these games are televised?). More importantly, however, notice the black and white gloves, goggles, and helmet. I love the coordination, and I love the simplicity. Oh yeah, and they are made by POC – a company mentioned here 6 weeks ago. Lastly, the flow is exactly what I’m looking for out of an Olympic skier. Shades of Canadian slalom skier (and friend to Apres) Patrick Biggs with this salad, very well done Steve. This kind of thing can be the difference between dominating the winter games or just showing up (I’m obviously talking about the bar scene).
Pat Deneen Says Hello!
US freestyle skier Pat Deneen may have crashed and burned after a D-Spin on the lower jump of Vancouver’s bumps course, but just look at the style he rocks in the off-season. You literally can’t coach this stuff.
Somebody Get Me These Goggles!
Whoa, Smith does it again. I love everything about this goggles: strong red and white frame and a sick old school strap. Its hard to tell, but the straps have the old school Smith logo with “1960” next to it. I accidentally stumbled across these Friday while getting the sticks tuned, they are absolutely unreal in person. Seriously, if my non-existent intern doesn’t have these on my desk by 8:00 am tomorrow she will be fired so fast your head will spin.
Also, one quick thought from Sugarbush yesterday. I consider myself a fairly open person, but if I see one more NJ Gape-piece rocking the backpack & downhill pole combo I am going to lose my mind. The CEO has reported ad nauseam about the ridiculous of wearing a backpack with shovel, avy beacon, probe, and whatever else in the East, but until yesterday I had never seen anyone pair this set up with super bent DH ski poles. What is the idea there – that the aerodynamic savings provided by the poles will offset the increased drag of a backpack? This must be it, because Lord knows aerodynamics are critical when you are doing stem christy’s down a blue square.
Oh, Hey Sugarbush – CFO Defies Expectations and Doctors Orders
I headed to Sugarbush yesterday to celebrate my eight month anniversary of left ACL reconstruction (allograft if anyone cares – email for strong opinions on this choice). Yeah I know, skiing on MLK weekend is amateur hour on the East Coast, but I needed to get back on the sticks and this was the first time I felt remotely comfortable trying it. All in all it went well, crushed a few surprisingly good groomers before heading up Heaven’s Gate to rip a few steeper turns. Everything went fine, and I even headed into the Paradise woods for half a run before realizing I didn’t have anywhere near the necessary strength / coordination back to be doing steep trees. It was incredible though, nothing will make you appreciate simple blues like getting to ski for the first time after 6 weeks of crutches and 7 months of grueling PT.
Of course, lots has happened in the ski fashion world since I’ve been gone. This week look for my thoughts on the proper way to wear gloves on the slopes, as well as a sneak preview of the staff’s outfits for our favorite Colorado event each year: the Thriftstore Ski Party at A Basin.
Lastly, I need a free pass on the hat and goggle combination in the above photo. It was such a disaster getting myself coordinated to ski for the first time yesterday that I somehow misplaced both my varsity goggles (heavily mirrored Smith Phenoms) and my 1st string hat (Swix, obviously…). Believe me, I spent the hour twenty drive to the Bush sobbing softly to myself as a result. Talk about a bad first impression on the season….
Three Most Important Things in Ski Fashion: Accessories, Accessories and Accessories
Accessories say a lot about a guy on the slopes (and, of course, equally as much at Apres). This season, I’m really digging the goggles from POC. POC is a fairly new Swedish company that makes sick protective gear for skiers, riders, and dirt sports (motorcross, mountain biking, etc.). Most of their ski stuff was developed for racers and tweaked for free-skiers, and it is as functional as it is fashionable. I’m particularly enamored with their Iris X Goggles in either black or white. Remember, for lens color anything will do as long as its ridiculously mirrored (think call sign Sundown’s shades in Top Gun). Sure, these aren’t the best for flat light, but here in the east we only ski bluebird days anyway right? Regardless, the heavily mirrored lens will pay dividends when trying to surreptitiously scope out the topless hot tub scene at A-Basin’s annual Thrift Store Ski Party. POC also makes pretty sick helmets, if you are into that kind of thing.
One more note, and this should go with out saying (although my feelings on the matter could easily be a post in and of itself) – under NO circumstances should you wear your goggles upside down and backwards for Apres. That is definitely top five quickest ways to let everyone in the bar know you are a complete Gaper, and that you have more than likely spent significant time in New Jersey (oh, Hey Killington…).
White is the New Black
One of the perks of living in the mountains is the ubiquitous Thursday Night Race Leagues that take place at every local hill. As my knee gets stronger and the weather colder, I am beginning to gear up for a season racing under the lights at Whaleback Mountain (near Hanover, NH). If you thought I’d go into this venture without a new set of gear, well then you haven’t been reading this post. I’ve had my eye on the above beauties from Hestra for a while now. White is a lot to pull off on a GS course but no one ever said being Chief Fashion Officer / 2nd Mate of Racing for a major media conglomerate was easy. Here’s the crazy thing though – I actually dig these gloves for free-riding as well. I think with the right jacket and potentially some white goggles to match these could slay on the hill. One thing is for sure, having a pair of these clipped to your waist during Apres really separates the man from the boys, and the awkwardly feminine from the possibly Canadian. I say rock these, and do it with pride (just not in the whaleback league – don’t need anyone crowding my style).
Tunes for the Slopes
A critical decision that any Apres Enthusiast makes is what jams to play on the way to and from the slopes (as mentioned in a previous post, I don’t ski with headphones). These, in no particular order, are the top 10 tunes that I rock out to on the way to the mountain. No matter how hungover I may be (and I’ve tested this) I can jump in my ride, crank these, and by the time I get to the hill I’m ready to slay. Thoughts? Comments? Additions?
Oh My God – Michael Franti
Hillbilly Deluxe – Brooks & Dunn
Bullet and a Target – Citizen Cope
Sympathy for the Devil – Stones
Deep End – Swollen Members
Right Where I Need to Be – Gary Allan
Strugglin’ – K’naan
What Was I Thinkin’ – Dierks Bentley
Time to Pretend – MGMT
Love and Memories – OAR
Get By – Talib Kweli
Note that these are not the same tunes that I use to get me to Apres – look for those to debut next week.
Things We Want: Shell Edition
Anyone who knows me can attest to the problem that I have with ski jackets. I’m currently 2 hard shells and 4 soft shells deep, but still very active in the market. This year I’m feeling solid, bold colors on top. The above is a perfect example: great style and one of the new breed of fully waterproof softshells. As soon as Apres bonus season rolls around I’ll likely pull the trigger. Yeah, the park rats and new-schoolers are all about the crazy patterns, but I’m not really into that scene. Frankly, unless you ski exclusively switch, can’t carve for sh*t, and spend all your time talking about the sick steeze you drop in the park you shouldn’t be into that scene either. Instead, do yourself a favor and go with solids – but don’t be afraid to mix and match colors with the pants.
Bonus Content: Quick East Coast Weather Report
After a very promising start to October (read: cold with flurries), the weather Gods have unfortunately turned against us. Killington still has some snow up top, and I know of a few folks that have hiked in to poach, but a huge low pressure rolling in this weekend might put an end to that. At this point I’m hoping for the cold to return mid next week when the next high pressure zone arrives. If it does Killington will no doubt start blowing again, but I’d say we’re at least 3 weeks out for every other resort. Think Snow!
Early Fall Trout with the CFO
The cool nights we’ve experienced recently in Vermont and New Hampshire have really woken up the local trout. After a weird summer of lots of rain and little sun, it finally feels like the hatches are picking up, and the fish are following suit. The dry fly fishing has been excellent, with trout busy trying to pack on the winter weight. Add to that the fact that most fisherman have put away their gear for the year and you’ve got the right combination for some good outings. This little ‘bow was taken on a 22 blue wing olive dun in small creek south of Rutland, VT. My route home last night took me past Killington, and the temp dropped into the mid 40s (and this was just at 8:30 pm). Get it in while you can!
CFO is currently pursuing a career as a rodeo cowboy somewhere in southern Colorado…
Time of Year for Ski Deals: The CFO’s Frontside Pick
For the hardcore Apres enthusiasts (and those with intact ACLs) the 2009 season is far from over. Snowbird is skiing very well right now, and much of Summit County, CO still has a lot of snow. Even here at the Apres Ski Global Headquarters there is decent skiing to be had at nearby Killington (not to mention great spring time Apres). Regardless, however, of whether or not you’ve put away the sticks and dusted off the clubs or the fly rods, there are some sick ski deals right now. If you need skis I would be trolling the web pretty hard these days. Since that is more or less 50% of my job here at Apres, I’ve decided to share some deals that I’ve found and make it easier for you. This week: my Frontside Ski Pick of the Season. As everyone knows, I’m a huge Volkl whore. Yeah yeah they moved their manufacturing to China, but they are still designed in Germany and for my money, the best turning skis on the market. For groomers, I’m particularly enamored with the Tigershark series, which is a quick turning, narrow, stiff, quasi slalom ski (one step below the Race Tigers). The caveat is that these will dive in powder and crud, but obviously any ski has its weakness. I like the 10, but I like a shorter turning ski than most people, so try the 12 if you are more into a GS style turn. Right now, I’ve found the ’09 10s as low $559 with bindings, which is a pretty sick deal (click here for the site). At the very least, check them out and compare them against other deals out there.
Next week, my pick for All Condition / Mid Fats.
It is Official: Keystone 1, Left Knee 0
Well, after days of speculation, contingency plans, and ibuprofen, I finally got the results of my MRI: torn ACL and fractured tibial plateau. To recap, this happened on my first run at Keystone Mountain two weeks ago today. I went down in what can only be described as a tremendous crash, twisting my left leg in the process. I heard and felt the “pop”, but I didn’t believe it to be too serious and continued to ski for the rest of the day (of course, this meant a painful 5 runs and then beers at the summit, the lodge, and a bar across the street). It’s funny, after a lifetime total of ~300 days on skis this is my first serious injury, so I guess I was due. Granted, after skiing 50 degree terrain at Alta and Breck this season I didn’t suspect that a groomer at Keystone would be the trail that did me in, but such is life. In any case, my season is obviously done, so I will have to live vicariously through the rest of the staff here and through you our readers, as it continues to just dump out West. For me, it just became fishing season, at least until my surgery in mid-May.
Apres Ski Facial Hair Throwdown
As everyone knows, we here at Apres are huge fans of long flow, sick ‘staches, and chin music. As the season starts to wind down (at least this side of A-Basin) and the weather turns nice, there is no better time to rock some sweet facial hair. Of course, you know us well enough by now to know that we would not throw you out in the cold without some guidance on what facial hair works and what doesn’t. So without further ado, here are the top 5 ski ‘stache looks of 2009:
The guy has a look (and a ‘stache) that says he’s seen it all. He’s lived and shredded through deep freezes, mid-winter thaws, several world wars, and the hot-dogging craze. Throughout, he has been committed to one thing and one thing only: getting his ski style right. Don’t try to rattle this fella – he’s a rock of the mustached ski scene.
The Family Man
Who says fathers don’t party? Two things are immediately clear when I look at this pic. One: that child was conceived in a Gondola (probably at Steamboat, but I’m just playing the odds here), and Two: that guy would throw down a kegstand in front of his family so fast it would make your head spin. Let this be a lesson to all of you ski town crushers out there – you CAN have your cake and eat it too.
The Total Package
With a look that says “I’m good” and an attitude that says ” and I know it” the Total Package teaches us all what it means to accessorize properly on the slopes. The hair, the headband, and the shades all tie together an already strong ‘stache. I’ll tell you one thing about this guy – I wouldn’t want to be on the far side of the pong table from him when he gets a hot streak going. Just an ice cold killer right here.
More than anything, the Natural just makes it seem effortless – “yeah, I have a sick ‘stache that I grew without trying, but what is the big deal here?” Carefree and good looking, the slopeside bars are this guy’s oyster. Probably the purest style of the whole group, and that is saying something.
The “Don’t F with Me”
What else can I say about this guy? I’m downright terrified, but I know I would want to be friends with him. Just as likely to spend an afternoon chopping wood as he is ripping the slopes. Whatever you do, just don’t tell him to zip up.
The Winner (and bonus profile)
Just an all around incredible showing from this guy. Let me start by saying the last time I saw salad like this it had a fork in it, I mean sheesh. The perfect shades only help complement what was already a first ballot hall of fame moustache here. I can honestly say that this guy makes me want to be a better man.
Please let this serve as a guide to you all. Co-Founder Andrew and I got an early jump on Moustache March out in Breck, but there is still time left. I, for one, will be rocking the facial hair until the skis get put away (likely mid-April for me).
P.S. MRI results come back Tuesday. Until I get a definitive answer from a doctor, there is still time to help us decide whether or not to make the westward migration for Thrift Store Ski Party 09.
Fashion Preparations for Thrift Store Ski Party Continue Despite Unknown Attendance
With April 4th fast approaching, the Fashion Dept. over here at Apres is working all hours of the night to ensure the right outfits are assembled for Thrift Store Ski Party 2009. Yes, it is true that my attendance at said party is still a question mark, but preparations must continue regardless of the fact that my left ACL, MCL, and meniscus are hanging on by a thread (health update to come after initial x-rays this afternoon). This party is the event of the year, and if I can go I’m not goingto blow it with a half baked outfit. Neon gloves are being gathered, SteepTech pullovers dusted off, and bright white Scott poles dug out of the garage. This is a time to see and be seen, and I insist on being seen in only the latest styles. And of course by latest, I mean if this were 1986.
So to echo co-founder Adrew’ssentiments, you need to get yourself to this party. A-basin is one of my top 3 favorite mountains, and no party (on-slope or otherwise) competes with TSSP. Please note that fashion consultations will be available to confirmed attendees (email firstname.lastname@example.org subject line CFO). So who is coming with us?
Fashion Tragedy Almost Sidelines CFO on Breck Trip
As you can read in Co-Founder Andrew’s post, we just had a great trip out west (my 3rd of the season, but who’s counting). It was not, however, without tragedy – and I’m not even referring to my left ACL which is still somewhere up at Keystone. Rather, day 2 of our trip saw the kind of fashion emergency that comes along only about once a decade. I was rocking chair 6 at breckafter a couple of successful Lake Chutes runs when the disaster struck. At the top of the chair lift I stood up and started to ski away, but found myself pulled backwards down the hill. I dug in my poles, heard a huge snap, got hit in the back by something, and fell over – wildy confused, scared, and a little hungry. Well, as I picked myself, I slowly discovered what had happened. Needless to say, I had been wearing my suspenders the correct way – hangingloose out of the back of my jacket. Somehow, one of the suspenders attached itself to the chair, and tried to pull me back down the hill. The suspender eventually pulled free, but not before splittingmy pants down the side. In hindsight, I was only inches away from having the Chute to Thrills ripped completely off of me and carried back down the chair lift. Needless to say, I was devastated by this, as those are my favorite pants. So, I did what any true Apresenthusiast would do – skied to the park, crushed a few kickers withmy pants sagginglow, and proceeded to the bar. 18 hours, 13 Coors Lights, and half a roll of duct tape later, I managed to fix my pants (as you can see above). I did not, however, change the way I wear my suspenders. Moral of the story: sometimes ski fashion has its price.
3.13.09 – 8:22 AM Mountain Daylight Time
Live Update from Breck: Early Morning Footwear Decisions
Not even 20 minutes into our trip and Co-Founder Andrew and I are starring down the barrel of our first fashion conundrum. We woke up early due to the time change and are going to go look for a solid breakfast before skiing (don’t worry its not a powder day – in that case all eating / sleeping / dressing gets thrown out the window). The problem is, what footwear is appropriate for walking around the town for breakfast? As you can see from the above, both Andrew and I are somewhat limited in our footwear selection, but there are clearly no easy decisions to be made. Advice?
Next post to come from the Apres spot of choice.
Fashion Tip of the Day: The Proper Way to Wear Suspenders on the Slopes
And now, an issue near and dear to my heart – the correct way to wear suspenders when skiing or boarding. If you havepurchased ski pants in the last decade, chances are they came equipped withsuspenders of some sort. These diminutivepieces of fabric actually serve one of the most important functions in all of skiing: they let people know you aren’t f-ingaround. There is nothingmore fashionable, more stylish, and frankly more quietly intimidatingthan ripping down a moguls line while your suspenders casually flap in the breeze behind you. Now that we are in mid-Feb, the snow is soft and the weather is warm, there is no reason that you should be wearingyour suspenders as they were designed. Instead, rock them as God and Johnny Moseley intended – worn down around the waist and legs. Just be ready to back up your style with a willingness to go very deep in the bumps, powder, or trees.
Cheap Gear Deals: Your Chance to Make a Fashion Impression this Season
Ladies and gentlemen, stay tuned to your fashion pages and web deals. We are entering the best six weeks to be a slope-side fashion connoisseur. The skiing is excellent (although to be honest we’ll see what this recent thaw and the upcoming vacation week does to the East Coast snow), and the fashion deals are starting to pile up. Especially in this economy retailers are feeling the pinch, and there are some good finds. If you’vebeen living under a rock PataGucci is in the middle of its Winterfest sale, and last time I checked the stocks weren’t too picked over. A personal favorite right now: the Light Smoke Flash shell in white and slate (I’m all about the muted tones these days). This jacket has been marked down to $150.00 from $300.00 – so you almost can’t afford to not buy it. Pair this with a set of spring leather work gloves, and be very surprised if late night shenanigans don’t take place in a hot tub sooner or later.
Of course, the best part of any near-term purchase is that you can show it off this season – much better than having some sick item burning a hole in your closet all summer.
Say No to Camo: You’re Only Hiding from Yourself
Last weekend the First Lady of Fashion and I made a quick trip to Killington for the powder, which was lovely. Unfortunately, on Sunday I bore witness to one of the worst fashion atrocities since jumpstreet. I was mindingmy own business on the Canyon Quad (the glades were very good last weekend) and I happened to witness an outfit that literally made me want to jump from the chair and strangle a guy with my ski-pole strap. This cowboy was wearing a full camo outfit, a backpack, and skiing on Big Feet. I was sad for myself, sad for the great state of Vermont, and sad for the sport of skiing (if that is how you classify bigfeet). I mean honestly where do I start with this guy? Other than actually fighting a war, I can’t think of an appropriate time to wear camoanything – least of all on the slopes. It just screams the fact that your first time on skiis / a board was 2 years ago, yet you talk about the sport like you’re Bode. Of course, this particular guy-piece’s problems did not end there. As Co-Founder Andy pointed out, there is really no reason that this guy should be carrying a backpack. Look, I know you need to store your Shaun White bandanna somewhere, but do you really think the shovel and avi beacon are necessary at Killington? Lastly, Big Feet (on a powder day no less!). I mean honestly, at some point you just need to look down, see 65 cm of ski underfoot, and simply ask yourself what you are doing with your life.
Bottom line: leave the camo to the hunters, and dress like you’ve been there before on the slopes.
A Treatise on Turtle Fur: Lose the Neck Warmers
Last Monday a Co-Founder of Apres and myself made an emergency trip to Killington to enjoy the fresh powder. The skiing was the best I’ve had on the East Coast in years, but it was balls cold. Two degrees at the summit without windchill, and it was blowing 20 – 30 MPH. I can’t do that math, but it was cold. And yet, Andrew and I skied all day, our bare faces in the wind. At no point did either of us consider neck warmers. In fact, I haven’t worn one since I was 7, and I never will again. Neck warmers have no place in the repertoire of the Apresenthusiast – nothing screams “first time skiing” like a turtle fur pulled up to the goggles. Look, I know it’s cold out there, but wouldn’t you rather freeze in style than be ridiculed in comfort? And where do you plan on putting that thing when you head to the bar? And how will you show off your sweet ‘stache if it is covered up?
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and I’ve put together this handy guide for the Apres reader to know when it is acceptable to use a neck warmer. You may wear one if, and only if:
You are younger than 8 or older than 80
It is literally your first time skiing / riding, and you want everyone to know it
There is a raging sand storm taking place (unlikely, but you never know)
You are female (I’ve never considered female fashion my forte, I’m actually pretty sure this still applies but who knows)
It is below 10 degrees with windchill*
*obviously, if you have been reading this post, you know that this is not actually true. To reiterate, there is no temperature at which it is acceptable to wear a neck warmer. Unless you are a complete novice.
Fashion Advice of the Day: Ski Boots at Apres
A fashion question as old as skiing itself – what is appropriate footwear for the Apres scene? I have pretty strong opinions on this one, and I know the blogfounders agree – with one exception* ski boots are always the best choice for Apresoutfits. Nothingsaysthat you mean business at the bar like a pair of unbuckled white rear-entries. It lets people now you couldn’t spare a single second getting to the wings and bud heavies. It screams that you’vebeen there before, and that you likely aren’t leavingfora while. Is there anything better than kicking back on a bar stool, one Lange-clad foot propped on the stool next to you, while people stop to admire your dedication to Apres? This is the height of Apres fashion, and a decision not to be taken lightly. One additional benefit is that this moveprettymuch guarantees you won’t be the one driving everyone home, so go ahead and drink up in those bad boys of bar traction.
*The one exception to this rule applies only at the more rural and rustic of the Apres locations (Steamboat, Jackson, Telluride, Crested Butte if you are pushingit). Of course, I’m referring to a sick pair of cowboy boots. Needless to say, the taller the heel the better.
Introducing Your Source for All Things Style – The Apresski.US Fashion Page
A fashion page on one of the most prominent skiing blogs stationed this side of the Tobin Bridge? Believe me, I had the same reaction. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized how closely fashion and the Apressceneare linked. Having the right outfit makes you a drastically better skier, and parlaying that into the right Apres style can mean the difference between true Apresandsimply having a few beers. They say clothes don’t make the man, but I can assure you Patagonia Chute to Thrill pants worn over powder blue Langes make the Apres Enthusiast. Fashion is as big a part of the Apres scene as actually skiing, if not more so. And that is why it gives me great pleasure to introduce this page – the guiding beacon for all wayward Apresstyle questions. Everythingand anything skiing style will be hashed on this forum, and I encourage your feedback and participation. Features will include Slope Style of the week, Gear / Outfit Reviews, One-piece’s Found on Ebay, What Not to Wear, and many other topics critical to the Apres Connoisseur. Welcome, and enjoy.
When I was first approached to serve as the inaugural C.F.O. (Chief Fashion Officer) of the media juggernaut known simply as “Apres”, I was flattered but quite surprised. Sure, I’ve worn my fair share of neon pull-overs, white rimmed goggles, powder blue boots, I heart NJ cut-off T’s, and truckers hats worn backwards on the slopes of New England. And yeah, I could find myself wearing a Toga by the time you finish this blog. But to serveasFashion Chief to a major publication? It comes as a surprise, and as an honor. I am confident, however, that I can share my personal knowledge and experience of all things slope-side style, and keep our readers on the cutting edge of Apres Fashion. Remember, in Apres as in life, what really counts is how you look doing it.