* Stay warm, dry, and under budget
* Safety that doesn’t compromise appearance
* Gear that helps you get to the mountain without a hassle
The temperatures may be warming up, but that shouldn’t stop you from hitting the slopes. Yes, spring skiing is officially a thing, and there are more than a few reasons why it’s a great time to get in a solid ski vacation. The warmer weather means no more frost-bitten fingers, while the snow is more gentle this time of year — great for beginners just finding their footing.
A fun day on the slopes though requires more than a solid pair of skis. From the tips of your toes to the top of your head, you need gear that can fight back against harsh winter conditions over and over again. The unique nature of skiing requires everything on your body and in your hands to endure excess moisture (from sweat), extreme cold (mountains, anyone?), and rugged terrain (rocks, trees, and moguls, oh my).
From wool socks to balaclava, gear that keeps you warm is essential to maximizing your pleasure while skiing. If you’re tired of juggling gear on your trek to the lodge, check out the boot carrier on our list; it’ll save you some sweat.
If safety tops your list, don’t miss the goggles and helmet in our mentions below. Best of all, everything here costs less than $100 — and of course, everything receives the BestReviews stamp of approval.
1. Spy Optic Marshall Ski Goggles
These goggles are built to withstand tough use, from the anti-scratch lenses that stay intact in spite of spills to the moisture-wicking, fleece-covered Isotron face foam that contours to your face and keeps sweat out of your eyes. The spherical dual lens reduces fog, but notably, the lens size does limit your peripheral view somewhat.
2. Euro Sock Ski Zone Ski Sock
These socks hug your calves without limiting circulation, yet they support your heel, arch, and toe. They keep your feet warm, shielding your tootsies from blisters yet allowing them to breathe. They stay in place, yet they’re thin enough to feel comfortable in well-fitted ski boots. The natural moisture-wicking properties and the warmth of the wool protect you from the cold. What’s more, the price is hard to beat.
3. Smith Optics Gage Adult Ski Helmet
The Smith Optics Gage ski helmet brings both safety and functionality to the table. Good ventilation keeps the right amount of air moving over your head without compromising warmth. The visor performs double duty by blocking some sun and preventing snow from resting on the top of your goggles. A generous fit gives you some leeway in size. In fact, the largest size has enough room for a head with a wider circumference, which can sometimes be hard to fit.
4. Arctix Men’s Essential Bib Overall
These bibs do what you need them to on the mountain: they keep out the cold and damp, so you can concentrate on enjoying your skiing. Adjustable shoulder straps and elastic on the sides keep them comfortable. You might expect thin insulation at this price, but the Arctix holds heat well. These bibs do tend to run small, so you might want to size up if you decide to order a pair.
5. Outdoor Research Ninjaclava Balaclava
Harsh skiing conditions? No problem. The Ninjaclava lets you stay on the slopes when the weather turns. A thick layer of moisture-wicking material retains heat while maintaining breathability, cutting down on fog. The fit across the nose keeps cold air out but doesn’t compromise your mobility. Whether you’ve got the face shield up or tucked under your chin, this balaclava stays comfortable.
6. Athalon Everything Boot Pack
Skiing requires a lot of gear, and this boot pack keeps it all together. Each ski boot nestles in a separate compartment with drain grommets at the bottom. The center section holds the rest of your stuff — snow pants, jacket, hat, gloves — with room to spare. Carry this pack on your back and use your free hands to carry your skis to the lodge.
This guide is brought to you by BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review website that reviews and tests products purchased with their own funds in order to provide consumers with completely unbiased advice.