Kim Fuller
Daily Correspondent
VAIL CO, Colorado

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November 17, 2011
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Ski fashion: On Vail's slopes, the cool kids go bright

Flat light snow is no match against a fuchsia jacket and a pair of cyan pants. In fact, nothing matches, and that's the point.

Bright colors of every shade are back on the slopes this season, so you should have no problem making a statement on opening day. You really don't have to worry about what colors you wear, but the brighter, the better. So even if your form or fitness could use a tune-up, you'll always know how to look good in the lift line.

Combine vivid hues with plaid patterns to take on this season's trend --a statement that will meld fashion and flannel into your mountain wardrobe.

"Bright colors are still in, and flannel is still rockin' hard," says Ty Cabrera, the store manager at Burton at Arrabelle in Lionshead. "It's all just about being loud and having fun out there."

Multi-colored clothing and gear helps increase the visual effects of freestyle skiers and riders, making it easier for their moves to be seen against the snow and sky. But this season's style meets fashion with function, all the way from the double blacks to the bar.

"These products have all the tech features built in, so you can go ride all day and then head straight to apres," says Cabrera about Burton's ATF-Analog Technical Fleece-collection.

This year, mountain-rustic meets the street. Flannel patterns are covering everything from base-layers to technical outerwear, but the fit is much looser than lumberjack standards. Baggy jackets and pants are in for both skiers and snowboarders, so all it takes to change up your skills this season is a boot and gear swap.

"A lot of the skiers these days are even wearing baggier snowboard clothes," says Barclay Rabin, an employee at Buzz's.

Even telemark skiers seem to be buying into the trend. Ethan St. Germain, Buzz's store buyer and manager since 1998, says that since the tele skiers have to drop down on every turn, they are starting to come into the shop to look for looser pants.

Side-zips are also making a statement for style and comfort this year, so you don't have to have a zipper flapping in your face when you're flying down the hill.

Women's style combinations always seem to be a little more coordinated than men's (surprise, surprise), but colorful clothing and gear accessories give snow bunnies plenty of opportunity to be both trendy and tasteful.

Feminine flannel patterns come in purples, pinks blues and yellows, making it easy for women to wear warm layers with fashionable patterns underneath their jackets. Just make sure to show off the pretty plaids where your jacket hits your pants and your sleeves meet your gloves.

And don't forget to accessorize. CandyGrind gloves out of Denver are a hot new item in Buzz's Boards and Ski Shop. The Handbag Mittens are full-leather and come in plain and multi-colored varieties. The gloves even unzip them easily around your fingers to make use of pipe gloves underneath. St. Germain, Buzz's store buyer and manager since 1998, says he has been seeing these gloves and other colorful clothing and accessories at ski shows for the upcoming season.

Floppy pom-pom hats and "trucker beanies" are still in this year, so you can coordinate or mismatch them to go underneath your helmet, or just keep them in your jacket pocket until you're off the mountain.

Goggles are also going a little more vintage. Large and boxy frames are replacing the round, streamlined look, and they are adorned with bright colors and patterns. The women's Dragon Rogue Leanne Pelosi goggles even have peacock feathers hanging from their sides.

The young skiers and riders at Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy are always in on the trends. Popular POC helmets help these adolescent athletes stay safe and stylish, according to local resident Jennifer Berger. Her daughter, Natalie, is a freestyle skier for the academy. When it comes to color, Berger says, all the cool kids are wearing it bright.

"In the past few seasons, funky patterns and crazy colors were really popular," says St. Germain. "But now the patterns are going and the neons are staying."

There will still be some camouflage and plaid designs showing up on clothing this year, but patterns won't be showing up on helmets like they have in the past.

The brightness doesn't stop there. Your boots shouldn't go unnoticed, and a model like the women's red Burton Sapphire snowboard boot will keep you riding hot. Function meets fashion with the men's Nordica Firearrowski boots-combining high-performance technology with loud color and style.

Vail resident Vance Billings bought a new Volcum outfit for the upcoming season. He said he wanted something that wasn't all black, so he combined cyan pants with a black, cyan and green jacket.

Billings says the outfit caught his eye and fit well, but knows that most of his friends won't be spending money this year just to be stylish on the slopes.

"My buddies will probably just be wearing the same old stuff they've been wearing for the last few years," he says. "But it's great, cause you can get away with wearing stuff up there that you can't get away with in life and work."

Kim Fuller is a Vail based freelance writer. Email comments about this story to cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Nov 17, 2011 05:35PM Published Nov 17, 2011 05:28PM Copyright 2011 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.