Functional, fashionable, versatile |

Functional, fashionable, versatile

Laura A. Ball
Laura A. Ball/Vail DailyTan and white fur boot, $299, Gorsuch in Beaver Creek

In 2005, I will look good on the mountain.OK, so looking stylish on the slopes might not be high on your list of New Year’s resolutions, but with these up-to-the-minute looks, it is so effortless you might as well cross it off your list right now.With access to some of the world’s best skiing and riding terrain in our backyards, it is only fitting that Vail skiers and riders set the example in ski- and snowboard-wear trends.

Ski savvyTrends in street clothes are inspiring a lot of ski apparel, making it not only more fashionable but more comfortable. Which begs the question …

Function vs. fashion on the mountain. Which is it?Luckily, you don’t have to choose.Various technical fabrics are giving way to functional soft shell jackets, polar tech powershields and power stretch fabrications. Even the improvement in fabric is influencing the way jackets look, with the most fashion forward coats looking technical.These breathable, yet warm fabrics are revolutionary for the slopes and are key for every layer you put on.

And while shaped and fitted attire garbs most skiers, it still provides movement.Skiers aren’t hard to spot on the slopes this season with vibrant jewel-toned apparel leading the way. Right off the street, pink is a must-have this season. Purple, chartreuse, fiery red and orange come in second, not to mention white – always classy. Fur trim, also street-inspired, is in at the moment, but won’t last for too much longer.Tapered pants. You won’t see them. You don’t want to. Even ski pants have surrendered. The freer, baggier pant snowboarders prefer have led to the boot cut ski pant. Not to mention, a lot of people take on both sports, so gear needs to be versatile.

And please, spare everyone else. No jeans on the mountain. I don’t care what you have to do – don’t do it. We’ve come too far from the Bogner stretch pant and from the long woolen skirts women donned 100 years ago.Keep your ski bunny look well into apres. Slip into some warm furry boots and bring a vest and hat to keep you warm and stylish.With the sport’s long history, relative to snowboarding, skiers don’t have much to prove other than evolving and improving is not above them.

Boarder patrolSnowboard fashions are maturing along with the sport and the attitude of riders. When the sport was new, riders wore an array of random ensembles, mostly because they wanted to differentiate themselves from skiers and express themselves, but also because ski wear wasn’t generous enough for the movements. Snowboard gear isn’t as monstrously baggy as it used to be, but still offers plenty of room to ride. It’s also a lot more high fashion, with the “look I’m poor attitude” subsiding. The leather studded belts have been put away in exchange for a more self-asserted outlook.

Boarders are sporting everything in earth tones. From brown to sage green to purple. You can be one with nature in or out of the trees. But that doesn’t mean boarders are low profile.Just when you’ve finally convinced your mom that matching everything is a thing of the past, you’re wrong.Snowboarders are going for matching jackets and pants. Especially the guys and especially in prints. From the trendy suit-influenced pinstripes to camo to the root system, riders are wearing it head-to-toe.

And if they aren’t coordinating colors or prints, boarders are brand conscious, going for separates by the same company.Hoodies – always in. Snowboarders are still layering with a base and a hoody under their jackets. Many compa nies took the cue and are now making fleece hoodies, which breathe a whole lot easier than cotton.Cargo pants are big, as in hot not overly-sized. Burton plays with a Gucci-inspired logo boot and the Ugg-inspired boot for girls this season.

For eyewear, what else? Goggles with pink-tinted lenses have been flying off the shelves at local retailers.Whatever method you prefer to get down the mountain, high quality, durable, rip-stop, breathable fabrics are paving the way to success for skiers and riders, and all in style.Who knows? That new jacket may just give you that extra boost of confidence you need to finally get that 360 (or 540, or 720).

Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or, Colorado

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