Winter apparel has long been known to be louder, brighter, and braver than your normal everyday attire. And why not? It’s great having that color contrast against a white back drop while you huck a huge 360 off a cliff under the chair. Skiing is fun, so why not have your outfit share the sentiment, right?

However, this year we are seeing some changes. More muted, neutral tones are taking the stage. Rust-colored jackets and pants with a more work wear-inspired edge are more prevalent. The great thing about this style change is that your outdoor apparel will be a bit more timeless and will go with more options as your closet evolves. But don’t fret if you like bright. It hasn’t gone away. In fact, we are seeing a lot of toned down neutral colors sparked with really bright accents! It allows your jacket or pants to pop without it going over the top and makes a piece special.

Photo courtesy of the Spokane Alpine Haus.

Photos courtesy of the Spokane Alpine Haus.

Along with these color shifts, expect to see improvements to the technical side of outdoor apparel. We live in a cold and often wet environment here in the Pacific Northwest. Our days are short and the sun is not out for long. However, companies have kept up with the need for keeping us warm and dry and are continually exceeding our expectations. Brands like Flylow are a great example of this. Flylow’s roots stem from the backcountry. As tech gear advances, apparel gets tighter and lighter, which is not always the best combo for hiking around in the snow. The founders of Flylow started the company with a simultaneous emphasis on fit and comfort. This translates well into their all-mountain apparel. The success of their company has shown that, while people want to be protected, the fit and style of their outdoor pieces is incredibly important as well.

Whether you are just getting into winter sports or are a longtime outdoor enthusiast, take the time to go to your local outdoor stores to speak with a representative about the pieces you are looking for. There are so many changes and advancements in apparel. And at the end of the day, we’ll help you look good, too. Because, let’s be honest—that’s also kind of important! // (By Rachel Harding)

Tips for Staying Warm on the Mountain

One of the biggest misconceptions we see when it comes to apparel is what you’re supposed to be wearing right next to your skin. Being cold is probably the number one complaint I hear from skiers and snowboarders. Staying warm actually starts from the inside out. You’ll want to find baselayers that are masters of moisture movement. Stay away from fabrics like cotton, which stay wet for hours and don’t breathe. Even be wary of fabrics that “wick.” Wicking just takes moisture and spreads it over the fabric. The plus is that your garment will dry faster because the moisture is spreading. The downside is that you end up colder (and often smellier) because you’re now wet all over while you’re waiting for your garment to dry. Brands like Helly Hansen make baselayers with fabrics like Polypropylene and Marino Wool that transfer moisture away from your skin immediately, which keeps you warm and dry.

Rachel Harding was born and raised in Montana and skied competitively in Freestyle in college before moving to Boise to open a Helly Hansen store. She and her husband, Drew, now live in Spokane and own and operate the Spokane Alpine Haus.