Are you fanatically checking the local ski resort websites and watching the forecast, eagerly awaiting the first big snowfall of the season? Bide your time until opening day by picking up some new ski and snowboard gear from those who know our Pacific Northwest terrain best. And if you have a powder hound on your gift list, it’s a great time to get an early start on Christmas and Hanukkah shopping.
Here are some standout finds from Seattle’s best winter sports companies.
K2 Mindbender Skis (starting at $400 at k2.com). K2 created this family of skis with the goal of improving pull on the front end and the ability to drift on the back end — letting you go faster with more control. The company is using two different tech solutions to create a stiffer tip than tail, which creates the effect — a Carbon Spectral Braid or a Titanal Y-Beam. The tech is cool, yes, and so are the looks, with a classic, back-to-basics styling on the 13 variations in the line.
Lib Tech T. Rice Orca ($600 at lib-tech.com). This all-terrain snowboard can take on any condition with a floaty nose and powerful tail — just like the majestic mammal that inspired artist Kim Krans’ gorgeous paint job.
Evo Pagosa Leather Mittens ($80 at evo.com). Great-looking and practical, these mittens have PrimaLoft insulation, a reinforced palm and a water-resistant, membrane-backed goatskin leather shell.
Pow Glove Company Alpha GTX Glove ($160, available Dec. 1). If you prefer a glove to a mitten, this waterproof leather pair is top of the line, filled with PrimaLoft insulation and lined with merino wool. A clever waterproof venting zipper lets you cool off between rides, and an etched, reinforced palm adds durability.
Helly Hansen Powderqueen 2.0 Jacket ($450 at hellyhansen.com). If you’re in the market for a dream jacket, try on this luxe piece from the Norwegian company that has its U.S. headquarters in Seattle. All the bells and whistles are here — lightweight, breathable insulation, a high collar, sealed seams and the Life Pocket that keeps your cellphone functioning in the cold.
Outdoor Research Refuge Air Hooded Jacket ($229 at outdoorresearch.com). Go anywhere and everywhere this season in this versatile jacket that can take on warmer wet days, or layer under a shell to insulate in clear, cold conditions.
Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry Merino Hybrid Baselayers ($80–$90 at eddiebauer.com). Stay warm and toasty in these super-soft base layer pieces made from a merino wool and polyester blend that wicks moisture and repels odors. Crew and quarter-zip tops, as well as bottoms, are available for men and women.
REI Co-op Midweight Half-Zip Long Underwear Top ($35 at rei.com). If your kid always seems to run warmer than you expect, wrap them in this base layer that can be zipped open to cool off during hot cocoa breaks. It comes in gender-neutral gray and heathered blue.