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This Is ALL the Gear You Need to Survive Winter Sports Season
Before you can freestyle snowboard, before you can hike a 2,000-foot summit, before you can ski down an icy slope with laser-like precision. . . you kinda have to be dressed for the part. Sounds beyond duh.
But that niggling little detail is preventing legions of women from enjoying cold-weather athletics. In fact, recent research shows that a lack of confidence in understanding how to pick the right gear keeps us sidelined. But what, exactly, is the right gear?
It's a trickier question than you might think, because until recently, many ski/snowboard/hiking brands simply took the stuff they had tailor-made for men and sized it down and turned it (groan) pink—then sold it to women.
Beyond the fact that we like red and green and blue too, thank you very much, what women really need from their outdoor gear is far deeper: Everything from snowsuits to helmets should accommodate the anatomical differences of women's bodies (generally, that means we require lighter, more flexible materials that won't weigh us down) and our biomechanical differences as well. (Layman's terms on that last part: We tend to have a lower center of gravity and more weight in our butts than men, so the bindings on our skis need to properly support our natural stance on the slopes.)
Now here's the woo-hoo news: A raft of brands are finally answering the call with high-tech goodies designed with the female form in mind. Our discriminating editors went through the latest finds, tossing aside the good-enough so we could bring you only the can't-be-beat.
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1. The Snow Pants
Water-resistant nylon on the outside. Body-warming fleece on the inside. Happy bods all around.
Buy it: Adidas by Stella McCartney winter sport pants (0, adidas.com)
2. The Jacket
So adjustable, this one: the hood, the hem, even the Velcro'd sleeves.
Buy it: Whyte Spyder Bernese jacket (0, spyder.com)
3. The Skis
Cushy and bendy, this set can cut through pillowy, deep pockets of fresh snow.
Buy it: K2 AlLUVit 88 skis (0, evo.com)
4. The Base Layer
Slopes, meet chic: a no-bulk seamless layer with an oil painting-like print.
Buy it: Obermeyer Sage sport zip top (, )
5. The Ski Poles
Bamboo = lightweight and durable. Smaller handle grips = made for female hands.
Buy it: Rossignol Electra poles (0, )
6. The Snowsuit
The insulation is made of coffee grounds. Weird, but who are we to quibble? It feels oh-so-warm and has zipped pockets up the wazoo, and radar-enabled reflectors can channel a rescue crew should you (eep!) get stranded.
Buy it: Sweaty Betty ski all-in-one (5, sweatybetty.com)
7. The Goggles
No need to window-wipe away the mist with your fingers: These pups have a defogger.
Buy it: Oakley Line Miner goggles (from 0, oakley.com)
8. The Backpack
Who knew a slim 20-incher could be so accommodating? This backpack holds (and organizes) your helmet, skis, water bottle, and snacks.
Buy it: The North Face Slack Pack 20 (, )
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Ah, a down vest that understands warmth is not a synonym for bulk. The blue flowers? Fashion-y way to stand out, champ!
Buy it: Lands' End vest (, landsend.com)
Tapered for a woman's stride, these are a cinch to fasten and boast aluminum spikes that bite into shards of ice.
Buy it: L.L.Bean snowshoes (9, llbean.com)
(Start training for the slopes with Women's Health's !)
1. The Snow Pants
Do-gooder you will love that the insulation is made of 50 percent recycled fibers. Superficial you will love that the fit won't make you look like the Aspen version of a farmer.
Buy it: Obermeyer Sigi pants (0, )
2. The Boots
Old-school Vans sneaker style in a snowboarding boot. Gimme, gimme.
Buy it: Vans Encore boots (0, )
3. The Gloves
Grippy enough to hang on to a snowboard during a turn, sensitive enough to compose a tweet. P.S. Palm fronds in the palm of your hand? Kah-ute!
Buy it: Underhanded Super Palm gloves (, )
4. The Parka
Punk rock for your powder run. Taped seams and Thermolite insulation keep frostbite out; on-trend patches make it wearable off-slope.
Buy it: L.A.M.B. x Burton Riff parka (0, burton.com)
5. The Tracker
Measures altitude, distance, speed, and pace while cranking your fave mountain playlist.
Buy it: TomTom Adventurer tracker (0, )
6. The Snowboard
A favorite of Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark.
Buy it: Burton Feelgood snowboard (0, )
7. The Snowboard Bindings
Designed by women, these eco-friendly bindings have the best shock absorption around. So bring on that landing.
Buy it: Burton Escapade snowboard bindings (0, )
These frameless goggles maximize your peripheral vision so you can see through any whiteout.
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