Deep Threads: Eight essentials for powder-day touring

Ultrawide skis and swallowtail boards draw all the hype surrounding deep-snow gear. But a day breaking trail through waist-deep fluff requires more than just floaty tools underfoot. Fresh and falling snow can make an ill-prepared skier a soggy mess, and turning back early due to wetness and cold is even more lame than doing it because of foggy goggles. Enter the following eight essentials to stay dry and comfortable when the mountains look like a snow globe.

Stormy Kromer Original Cap

Snow blowing into your eyes while skinning on a powder day is perhaps the most trivial annoyance of privileged fortune. But it’s irritating nonetheless. The brim on Stormy Kromer’s Original Cap is just the right size to hunker beneath when the flakes are flying heavily. The cap’s outer is made from wool and nylon, so it won’t become sopping wet, and the tied band can be snugged down to keep a biting chill off your ears. $45,

Ortovox 185 Rock’N’Wool Overall

The best way to keep fresh snow from creeping into your layers and down your drawers? Eliminate those seams altogether. Ortovox’s one-piece baselayer keeps things tucked right where they need to be and is knit fully with midweight merino wool for seamless top-to-bottom comfort. Both men’s and women’s versions have a large, zippered drop seat, full-length, two-way chest zipper and a hood that fits snugly or doesn’t feel bulky when tucked beneath a jacket. $200,

Arc’teryx Alpha SK 32

Arc’teryx designed their Alpha SK with damp conditions in mind—it’s built with urethane-coated nylon and seam taped to be as waterproof as possible. Beyond that standout storm resistance, its feature set is refined and well appointed, with an easy-to-access internal safety-tool sleeve (with probe, shovel-handle and saw dividers), a goggle-sized top pocket and removable waist belt and diagonal ski-carry system. The padded, contoured back panel and low-profile straps sit snugly and carry even heavy loads comfortably. $325,

Black Diamond Equipment GlideLite Mohair Mix STS

Fast-gliding, low-profile mohair plush is ideal for soft, grippy powder conditions. So are skins featuring a reliable hot-melt adhesive (versus increasingly prevalent glueless options) for their tenacious ability to remain sticky when wet. Black Diamond’s GlideLite features both, pairing a 65/35 mohair/nylon blend with BD’s signature, tacky glue. Unlike their heavier, full-nylon Ascensions, these skins glide more easily and pack down roughly 20-percent smaller. $180-185,

Giro Contact

Visual clarity when conditions are flat or white can be a powder-day deal-breaker. Giro’s Vivid lens treatment aims to enhance contrast and definition, and their S1 Infrared lens is their best bet for low-light storm days. But these goggles offer one key pow-day feature beyond the venting and antifog coatings that are standard across any goggle worth owning: the lens is retained by six magnets, so if they get foggy or otherwise need changing, swapping between two options takes just seconds. $240,

Patagonia Powslayer Bibs

With a name like Powslayer, these bibs hardly hide their purpose—they’re made from three-layer Gore-Tex Pro for industry-standard weather protection. To further keep unwanted snow and moisture out, the slight bib rises just above the belly button. But they hardly feel like waders, with a not-too-baggy, not-too-tight fit through the legs and a thin weight that’s comfortable for all but the warmest touring temperatures. $599,

Black Diamond Equipment Guide Finger

When snow is swirling everywhere, a pair of over-the-cuff, gauntlet-style gloves is the surest bet for keeping hands dry. Black Diamond’s Guide Finger, a dexterous alternative to mittens, meets that requirement and more: a Gore-Tex insert enhances waterproofing, and the goat-leather palm can be treated again and again for bonus water resistance. It’s warm, too, with a fleece lining and a removable liner made from wool and synthetic insulation. $170,

DryGuy Travel Dry DX

Sweat happens. Especially when you’re layered up to keep the wetness out. But at the day’s end, set things up to do it again tomorrow with these portable or at-home essentials. DryGuy’s 1.3 lb. travel drier puffs warm air into boot toes and is compatible with either a regular outlet or a car jack to inject a little extra warmth while en route to the trailhead. $40,

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