Want to look sensational on that black diamond trail—but remain dry and warm?
Longtime skier and retail buyer for 47-year-old Hickory & Tweed ski shop in Armonk, Michaela Beitzel, shares her best tips for assembling a ski wardrobe that’s both fashionable and functional.
How have ski fashions changed over the past five years?
The fabrics have become so technical and much more lightweight. And even though they look thinner, they are just as warm as the old, bulky, packed-with-insulation skiwear.
What’s the best way to keep warm on the slopes?
The first layer is most important; good long underwear is going to help keep you warm and dry. And then, layering is key; every layer traps heat.
What clothing should every skier own?
There are seven basics that no skier should be without. There can be an initial sticker shock, but it’s really a long-term investment.
One: a good pair of long underwear in either merino wool or a high-tech polyester.
Two: a lightweight fleece pullover to be worn over long underwear.
Three: a good pair of quality, water-resistant ski pants.
Four: an insulated waterproof ski jacket.
Five: ski socks that wick moisture away from the skin. Choose a pair made from synthetic material or merino wool—but never cotton, which absorbs moisture and makes you feel colder.
Six: a pair of waterproof gloves whose seams are sealed tightly enough to prevent water from seeping into them.
Seven: a fleece hat or one made of wool that’s lined with fleece.
What are the most fashionable women skiers wearing on the slopes?
A fitted stretch ski jacket with wonderful detail. We have some beautiful hand-embroidered and gemstone-embellished ones. And plaid is also very fashion-forward for ski jackets—as it is off the slopes. And there are some jackets with beautiful fur collars, but you can’t ski in them; they’re more for the ski bunny.
Are you afraid of global warming and what it’s going to do to your business?
No. Last year was an epic year snow-wise, and the season ran longer than usual—there was skiing through March.
What’s the latest hot new thing in ski wear?
The stretch ski jacket. It’s all synthetic but not your typical crunchy hard nylon on the outside; it’s a very soft woven stretch fabric that’s very comfortable and offers a much tighter fit.
What colors are big for ski apparel?
Every year it changes but most people stick to the basics—black is most popular and about ninety-percent of what we sell—also navy and red, and for people who want brighter colors on the slope to stand out for safety reasons, light blue. And for kids, black with hints of neon is coming back.
What former ski apparel trend would you like to see revived?
The one-piece combination jacket-and-pants went out about five years ago, but it will be back. Personally, I like them because they are warmer—there are no gaps where air can get in—and they’re easy to put on.
What looks are big for men?
Bogner and Patagonia make lighter-weight insulated jackets and shells—no more puff ball look. Because men tend to perspire so much, they like to layer using the lighter weight shells.
What’s the most popular piece of ski clothing you sell?
Long underwear—everybody needs it—then gloves and then hats.
What’s the least expensive piece of skiwear you sell?
Socks for $18.
A Bogner ski jacket with beautiful embroidery and some crystals on the sleeves ($TK). We also have $1,000 ski jackets by Vogner, a European company.
What’s your busiest time of year to sell ski clothing?
We sell apparel when the weather gets colder. The season kicks in in November and December is our busiest month.
What about cross-country skiing—why are the ski outfits different and what do you recommend?
We don’t sell cross-county ski wear per se, but, in general, cross-country skiers like layers they can shed and tie around their waists if they get too hot and vests so they can move their arms.