Ski town essentials: Clothing and gear for the apres Vail crowd |

Ski town essentials: Clothing and gear for the apres Vail crowd

Kim Fuller
Special to the Daily

Editor’s note: Some items featured here have limited quantities. Call ahead to stores to ensure availability.

Yes, your gear closet is overflowing, but do you have what you need to survive in a ski town? Spring break is upon us, so whether you plan to lounge on a patio or live like a local (or a little bit of both), here’s how you can prepare for a season finale that’s filled with snow, sun and a lot of fun here in the Vail Valley.

Sweet shades

• XX2i Optics — Protect your eyes in style. The casual line from XX2i Optics has sunglasses such as the Bahamas1 and the Bermuda1 that look sleek but are also very protective and functional. And the price for these glasses is more reasonable than most of this quality.

Find it: $99.99,

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Cozy pullover

• Melanzana — If you live in the Colorado Rockies, then it’s pretty essential that you have a Melanzana piece. Everything in this clothing line is made domestically, including the fiber, yarn and fabric, and the production shop is right down the road in Leadville. The High Loft Hoodie sells out every season, so act fast while they still have some.

“The High Loft is super warm and it’s super breathable, so it’s a great layering piece for cold weather, but also, like, the ultimate sleeping bag and camping wear,” said Fritz Howard, founder of Melanzana. “It’s so cozy and warm, and you can wear it with the hood up when you’re sleeping in the cold.”

The Hard Face Hoodie is another good layer to have in your collection. It blurs the line between a light soft shell and a warm fleece mid-layer, with Melanzana’s signature hood design that snugs up tight up around your face in nasty conditions.

Find it: $99 (High Loft Hoodie), $136 (Hard Face Hoodie), Melanzana, 716 Harrison Ave, Leadville, 719-486-3245; or online at

Comfy pants

• Lululemon — From athletic leggings to sweats and slacks, Lululemon has pants that fit the casual and functional category of your mountain lifestyle. For men, check out the City Sweat Jogger for training sessions or simply running errands, and for women, the Dance Studio Pant gives lots of extra room to move, while the Jet Pant can take you straight to happy hour.

Find it: $98 to $148, Lululemon, 193 E. Gore Creek Plaza, Unit A, Vail Village, 970-476-7040; or online at

Ski town sweaters

Dale of Norway — You can’t be in Vail without the proper European ski sweater. The Rondane Sweater is named for a Norwegian national park with steep mountains and deep valleys. Made in Norway and machine washable, this merino wool gem is soft enough to be worn next to skin or as a layering piece. It is sporty and elegant, and comes in styles for men and women.

Find it: $239, Christy Sports, 182 Avon Road, Avon, 970-949-0241; Beaver Creek Sports, 111 Beaver Creek Plaza, 970-754-5400; or online at

Packable boots

Pakems — Julie Adams, founder of Pakems, loves to apres ski, so she designed these boots to make off-mountain time more comfortable. Pakems are a Colorado-born brand, and all of the boots are water-resistant and have a rubber outer sole for good traction in snow. The Cortina Brickell Boot style for women focuses on fashion and has a small built-in pocket, and the Extreme styles work for both men and women. Kids’ styles are also available.

“Their most important attribute is that they are packable,” Adams said. “They come in their own bag, so you can take them with you — you can walk to the mountain with these boots, you can get out of your ski boots at lunch, and they are awesome for getting off the mountain and going to The Red Lion or wherever you’re going to apres.”

Find it: $40 to $65, Pepi’s Sports, 231 Bridge St., Vail Village, 970-476-5206; or online at

Casual footwear

• Chaco — Chaco may be known for its summer sandals, but the brand has also come out with mountain-ready shoes for the colder seasons. Check out the Hopi, a women’s pull-on boot with an outdoorsy-chic style. Adjust the lateral buckles depending on your pants, and the sturdy, grippy sole means you’re not slipping too much on snow. For men, the Brio Boot is mid-height and full-grain leather. It’s stylish yet sturdy and can stand up to light trail use and full-on town time.

Find it: $160 (Hopi), $94.99 (Brio), both boots on sale for spring at

Good socks

• Darn Tough — Work hard and play hard in merino wool socks by Darn Tough out of Vermont.

“Comfort, durability and fit make Darn Tough socks a slam dunk for any activity, in any condition Mother Nature will throw at you,” said Kelcey Everson, of Ptarmigan Sports in The Riverwalk at Edwards.

Find it: Multiple styles and colors, $15 to $26, Ptarmigan Sports, 137 Main St, Unit C-104, The Riverwalk at Edwards, 970-926-8144; Haute Route Gear and Apparel, 82 E. Beaver Creek Blvd., Avon, 970-949-1282; or online at

Dry feet for kids

• Sorel — Keep your little ones comfortable through winter and chilly mud seasons with Sorel boots. Insulated, waterproof and durable, these boots keep feet happy all day long, whether your little one is sledding or splashing in puddles.

Find it: $100 (girls Tofino II), $75 (boys Yoot Pac), Ptarmigan Sports, 137 Main St, Unit C-104, The Riverwalk at Edwards, 970-926-8144; or online at

Rain jackets

• Marmot — Don’t let springtime weather keep your kids inside. Get out and get dirty in the kids’ PreCip Jacket by Marmot. Fully waterproof, windproof and breathable, this jacket is a must for any adventure.

Find it: $65, Ptarmigan Sports, 137 Main St, Unit C-104, The Riverwalk at Edwards, 970-926-8144; or online at

• Helly Hansen — The Vanir Reisen Jacket is named after a coastal area in Norway and is made of Helly Tech Professional three-layer moisture vapor permeability. This jacket is waterproof, windproof and breathable, so it’s really the ultimate when it comes to being exposed in the elements. For men, the Odin 9 Worlds Jacket is all you need for outer layer weather protection.

Find it: $300 (Reisen) or $400 (Odin), Helly Hansen, 675 Lionshead Place, Lionshead Village, 970-306-0118; or online at

Casual vest

Patagonia — The quilted Patagonia Bivy Hooded Vest is durable and warm, filled with 600-fill recycled down. An insulated hood and stand-up collar wrap your head and neck for an extra cozy feel. The vest comes in men and women’s styles, with a variety of color combinations (and the men’s version is reversible).

Find it: $179 (women’s), $189 (men’s), Patagonia, 675 Lionshead Place, Lionshead Village, 970-477-5744; Patagonia, 286 Bridge St., Vail Village, 970-331-0836; Minturn Anglers, 102 Main St., Minturn, 970-642-3014; or online at

Down jacket

• Stio — The versatile Stio Hometown Down Jacket is a go-to, grab-out-of-the-closet jacket. Made in different styles for men and women, and also in a hooded version, the Hometown Down Jacket is 650-fill with responsibly sourced, water-repellent goose down from Allied Feather. This lightweight outer layer is functional and fashionable — an ideal combination for the jacket that will serve you in your backcountry kit and as an everyday cold-weather companion.

Find it: On sale for spring starting at $157.50, Stio is out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and sells direct-to-consumer at, 307-201-1890.

Soundtrack sidekick

• Decibullz — Bring your music with you for both leisure and adventure with Decibullz Wireless Earphones. These earphones are easily and quickly molded to the exact shape of each ear — just heat them in hot water and shape them to your ears. The snug fit makes for full noise isolation, and the Bluetooth technology means you can connect to your phone or watch without a cord.

Find it: $119.99,

Durable tote

• Arc’teryx — The Arc’teryx Blanca 19 Tote is waterproof from the inside out — so much so that you can even fill it with ice and use it as an over-the-shoulder cooler.

Find it: $99, Arc’teryx, 675 Lionshead Place, Lionshead Village, 970-477-5743; or online at

Functional pack

• MHM — Denver-based direct-to-consumer backpack maker MHM promotes the Slay 24 pack for “slaying it” on snow or on a hiking trail, but the pack is perfect for your everyday commute and carrying your work gear, as well.

Find it: $139,

Drink insulation

• Yeti — Stay hydrated (or caffeinated) on your way to and from the mountain with the Rambler series from Yeti Coolers. Featuring tumblers with stainless steel, double-wall vacuum insulation that will keep beverages hot or cold on any adventure or walk to the dog park.

Find it: $39.99 (30-ounce), $29.99 (20-ounce), Minturn Anglers, 102 Main St., Minturn, 970-642-3014; or online at

On-the-go energy

• GoMacro — Quick and easy food options are definitely an essential part of mountain-town life. GoMacro Macrobars are available at City Market, and are a wholesome and delicious option for a snack when you’re dealing with a busy day or playing outside. Some bars have high protein, such as the Protein Pleasure, with peanut butter and chocolate chip, and some are more fruit-forward, like the Sunny Uplift with carries and berries.

Find it: Around $3 per bar, City Market, 2109 North Frontage Road W., Vail; 72 Beaver Creek Place, Avon; or online at

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