2016 Powder Ski Wear. A friend of mine once told me the ritual of putting on his ski gear was one of the big reasons why he loved the sport so much. He confessed he felt like a medieval knight preparing for battle every time he put on his ski suit, helmet, goggles, gloves, and boots. That was a light switch moment for me. I instantly reconnected with my 6-year-old self—the kid who ran around the house with a towel caped around his neck howling Batman music. It also hit me that fantasy and my inner child always have a say in whatI wear when I go skiing. This year’s collections for men remind me of fantastical arenas where knights and warriors slay powder. A place where rockstars and racers rip corduroy, and ski iconsand secret agents drop cliffs. If you fantasize as you ski, you’re gonna love what you see when you go shopping this season.

Kit Harington as John Snow

Alpine Knights

Everywhere I look these days I see echoes of Jon Snow, the character from the HBO television series Game of Thrones. The spirit of Lord Eddard Stark’s bastard son, with his iconic black fur collar, has haunted the runways of Mihara Yasuhiro, Dolce &Gabbana, Dries Van Noten, Givenchy, Rick Owens, Saint Laurent, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Versace this season. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Lord Commander from the Night’s Watch has also materialized in the world of skiwear. One place I’ve seen whiffs of GoT is at Aztech, Aspen fashion wunderkind Heifara Rutgers’ ground breaking ski label. Aztech’s standout looks are swathed in dark colors, quilting that mimics body armor—Aztech’s Nuke ski jacket is straight out of Stannis Baratheon’s closet, Go T’s wanna be king—and black Astrahkan wool collars. It’s the perfect look for standing guard at Castle Black, patrolling for White Walkers and Wildings beyond the wall, or for a day ripping slopes in Vermont, Verbier, or Colorado.

Quilting, by the way, is one of the key looks in men’s ski wear this year. It is everywhere, with stitching that’s a lot more intricate than the horizontal lines on that North Face puffy you bought 25 years ago. Top brands have taken ski jacket stitching to a new level. I’ve got my eye on Mountain Force’s Barrier Jacket with its faux-ab-quilting in blue or grey denim for those days I want rock out and pretend I’ve still got a six pack. I know if I don’t have something that’s beautifully quilted in my closet, I’m missing out on one of the hottest trends in skiwear.
2016 Powder Ski Wear

Snow Warriors

Mad Max is back and the blast wave from the post-apocalyptic hero’s return to movie theaters will be felt from the mountain boulevards of St. Moritz to the stylish slopes of Aspen this season. The Road Warrior’s classic Perfecto style motorcycle jacket is one of 2016’s key looks. This season, for example, SOS lead designer Anita Heske has mined the world of biker chic, bondage wear, and military surplus, updating the brand’s trademark Black Snow collection with several pieces Seal Team 6 would sport if their next mission involved mountains and skiing. My favorite piece from SOS: the Pilot Fur jacket, a WWII-inspired bomber with faux shearling. It’s very vintage, very retro, and very chic.

Speed is always sexy and the MotoGP racer look will also make heads turn this year. The sexiest men’s ski suit on the planet rightnow is Lacroix’s café racer-inspired black Evolution jacket and pant combo. Super snug-fitting and mimicking the swerves and curves of a MotoGP race track, this look is fast and furious. Bogner’s body-hugging Ricci-D jacket is a marvelous interpretation of the classic café racer coat, complete with Mandarin collars and racing-inspired quilting.  J. Lindeberg enters the race with a racy Foraker Mid jacket and quilted down Bona Hybrid jacket—perfect pieces for those days you want to channel Valentino Rossi, MotoGP’s most famous road warrior.

Another branch of the snow warrior look is camouflage. A staple of urban hip-hop chic since the S1Ws took the stage with Public Enemy in late 1980s, camo is still relevant. Anyone ever see style icon Rihanna not wearing camo when she goes out to buy a milk carton? Aether’s quilted Alto jacket, for example, in graphite or blue camo, is inspired in a Cubism-meets-camouflage kind of way. If Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso went skiing, they’d be loving this look.



Yellow is the New Black

And last but not least, especially if you’re still using the word extreme in your skiing vernacular: Remember Scot Schmidt? He was skiing’s Mad Max of the early ‘90s—the guy who put extreme skiing on the map dressed in those iconic yellow-and black North Face Steep Tech numbers. Based on the amount of yellow in this season’s collections, you’ll want to see if you still have that old Scot Schmidt suit in your closet. Otherwise, get ready to buy a new one.

On the yellow band wagon in a big way this season are top brands, including Sportalm and Toni Sailer. Colmar’s collection is so rich in brilliant yellow, I’m wondering if James Bond—remember his banana-yellow onesie in The Spy Who Loved Me?—is designing skiwear at the Colmar offices in Italy. Its slim-fitting selections in yellow are proof that yellow is the new black.

Sportalm’s lemon-lime colored Crest jacket is also a stand-outlook with retro ‘70s-inspired ski racer quilting on the elbows—the perfect balance of vintage and modern.

But the battle-ready ski suit that’s got me most stoked this year is Toni Sailer’s yellow-and-black Blake jacket matched with their yellow Nick pants. It’s a super sleek, cutting-edge take onScot Schmidt’s classic combo—a “rad” 1990s look re-revisitedin the 21st century. Dressed in the Blake and the Nick, I’m really gonna slay me some powder.