Annika’s Winter Essentials
It finally feels like winter here in Idaho, we just got about 12” of snow with more on the way. With the cold weather arriving after a long wait, I am excitedly pulling out all of my go-to winter items. My dad says there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, and this is one dad-ism that I tend to (mostly) agree with. Having the right winter gear is directly related to my overall enjoyment of cold winter weather. After many years of spending a good deal of my winters outdoors, I have high expectations for the gear I use, and I don’t like to waste my time with equipment that won’t keep me warm and dry, or endure the general abuse I put my gear through (tools not jewels! another dad-ism).
Enjoying a long backcountry day in a foot of fresh powder!
Luckily for me, for a lot of my favorite gear, Enjoy Winter has me covered! I don’t believe in making recommendations for the sake of marketing, so all the items I list below I genuinely use
and enjoy almost daily, and my reviews are an honest assessment of how well they work for me. So with that being said, here are just a few of my skiing and racing essentials that really make a difference for me enjoying my winter!
For the stylish skier: Bliz Sunglasses
A classic, but not to be underrated essential for me. Growing up in Idaho, finding a lens that was dark enough was my biggest priority. However, having spent six years living in the East, and racing a lot in the Midwest, my priorities have shifted to needing a lens that can handle low light, flat light, and changing weather conditions . My go-to sunglasses are the Bliz Matrix (small face for me!) with the photochromic or the nordic light lens.
The Photochromic lens is perfect for low/flat light days, and unlike a simple clear lens, it will provide some contrast to help with overall depth perception. This lens will also adjust to changing light, so you don’t have to worry if the sun suddenly comes out or if a snow squall blows in.
The photochromic lens was the perfect choice for the 20k Freestyle mass start at US Nationals last week in SOHO. On a cloudy day with flat light, they did their job perfectly.
The Nordic Light lens is great for almost all conditions, except the sunniest of days. I wear this pair of sunglasses more than any other pair because they work so effectively to provide contrast with the snow or trail and keep my eyes protected from the sun. Both these lenses are my go-tos in the summer as well for mountain biking and rollerskiing!
The Nordic Light works well even on a bluebird day!
Both the photochromic and the nordic light lenses are available on most models of Bliz sunglasses, so you can choose the style that you like without compromising any performance.
For the Stylish Aprés: Lifestyle Sunglasses
It is always nice to swap out your sport sunglasses for a pair of casual sunglasses after a long activity or race. I’ve always struggled to find a pair of casual sunglasses that fit my small head and so I was pleasantly surprised when I took a risk and ordered the Bliz Ace. They fit perfectly and were just what I was looking for; functional, stylish and durable.
Staying well protected from the sun in the Dolomites with the Bliz Ace and a lightweight
I definitely put their durability to the test and besides a few scratches from some Mexico sand and TSA, they have fared extremely well. So if you’re looking for a do-it-all pair of shades - the Bliz Ace is a solid choice.
For cold hands: Kinetixx Gloves
Thanks to US Nationals in Houghton 2015 (if you know you know), my hands are perpetually cold and even moderately low temperatures turn my fingers and toes into ice cubes. I have pretty much retired all of my thin race gloves and almost exclusively train in mittens. I recently tried out theKinetixx Lobster Gloves, and the Kinetixx Over Mitten and I really like them for daily training or for my pre-race warm up. The lobster gloves add a bit more dexterity while still keeping your hands warmer than in a five finger mitten. The over mitten is lightweight and keeps my hands warm without them overheating. They both fit nicely under a pole strap and I have yet to have cold hands while wearing them!
The Kinetixx Lobster Mittens keeping my hands warm on a Christmas Eve ski in Idaho.
And for the coldest of hands - there is always theKinetixx Heated Ski Glove, great for the coldest days on the trails, downhill skiing, or spectating!
Bonus Essential: Face Tape
Sometimes the simplest items can be the most essential. Winter can be a brutal time for your skin, especially the skin on your face that is constantly exposed to harsh winter weather. While sunscreen and weather protecting products like Dermatome usually do the trick for me, some days I need a bit of extra protection on my nose, ears and cheeks.Anti-Freeze Face Tapeis a
simple but very effective way to keep the frostnip at bay on the cold days, and your skin protected.
Plus, you get a nice exfoliant when you rip it off at the end of the day!
All of the items above have a hyperlink, so you can check them out here at EnjoyWinter.com. And if anything catches your eye, for you or the winter enthusiasts in your life, you can use the discount code ALANDIS20 for 20% off anything on the Enjoy Winter website!
And if you have any questions about what gear might be the best for you, drop a question in the comments below!