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For as "ski and be seen" as alpine culture is, the sport of skiing has always been about the perfect balance of performance, safety, and style. We’ve assembled the ultimate list of brands putting out the best hard goods and soft goods with a few surprises tossed in. All from the latest local upstarts to centuries-old family-run businesses you may or may not have heard of.
These brands produce some of the best, high-performance, limited quantity gear to power your next mountain adventure.
Aether Apparel (Pronounced Ether)
Origin Story: Aether was founded by former movie producers Palmer West and Jonah Smith in 2009 Los Angeles as one of the pioneering brands blending a city aesthetic with mountain functionality. The brand's ethos is rooted in a love of beautiful design and that inspiration works its way into every piece they make. Their motto: “you only get one spin.”
We love: Descent Snow Bib
To buy: $425, aetherapparel.com
Frauenshuch (Pronounced frow-en-shoo)
Origin Story: The Frauenshuch family has a long lineage in the Austrian fashion business, dating back to 1950 in Kitzbühel. What started as a small leather operation has evolved into one of the most unique and fashion-forward ski and cold weather fashion brands featuring classic shapes with unmistakable European style.
We love: CiaraMulti-SR (women’s ski jacket)
To buy: $1,225, frauenshuch.com
Origin Story: This South Korean company has its roots (founded in 1973) in providing Himalayan ascenters with the gear they needed to succeed. Since then, Chairman & Founder Tae Sun Kang has built a legacy as one of Asia’s premier outdoor brands. This is gear purpose-built to exceed the need of over-achieving alpiners.
We love: ATA Jacket
To buy: $366, global.blackyak.com
Origin Story: Avalanche safety is serious business and the German duo of Gerald Kampel and Jürgen Wegner revolutionized mountaineering with the first dual-frequency avalanche receiver as the foundation of their company in 1980. Keeping safety in mind, the company has grown to include a variety of apparel, backpacks and other gear needed to safely traverse the backcountry.
We love: Fleece Plus Hoody
To buy: $270, ortovox.com
Origin Story: This women’s-only brand is less than a year old and already making waves in the winter gear world not just for their stylish on-piste apparel, but doing so in a practical, chic, and approachable way. The brand was founded by business experts Ariana Ferwerda and Karelle Golda alongside Olympic skier Kiley McKinnon, so there’s plenty of experience and mettle behind each colorful cut. They just launch base-layers in December 2020 and they are some of the best around.
We love: Lawrence Jacket
To buy: $345, shop.halfdays.com
Origin Story: Serious skiers know how crucial a good pair of boots are and many go straight to the oldest family-run ski boot manufacturer in the world. Ambros Strolz started the company in Lech, Austria in 1921 and the tradition has been passed down through multiple generations since then. The entire process is custom and perhaps the most luxurious fit you’ll find in a boot anywhere.
We love: Evolution S
To buy: $1,300, strolzboots.com
Origin Story: This German brand has 125 years of history making the sort of accessories (think baselayers, socks, balaclavas) that make a good day on the mountain great. Expert craftsmen and women oversee a process that has evolved a bit over the years, but stays true to the brand’s reputation for warmth, versatility and durability.
We love: Ergonomic Sport System Balaclava
To buy: $350, net-a-porter.com
Dr. Barbara Sturm
Origin Story: You don’t think about your skin on the mountain until it’s too late (read: chapped lips, sunburn, dry skin). German aesthetics doctor Dr. Barbara Sturm is considered a pioneer in skincare after transitioning from orthopedics (where she worked with the late basketball player Kobe Bryant) and she’s brought the two sciences together to create a functional skincare line ideal for high-level and novice athletes alike.
We love: Ski Essentials Kit in partnership with Perfect Moment
To buy: $180, drsturm.com
Origin Story: What do you get when you combine Swiss design and Italian craftsmanship? A ski boot company literally inspired by the mountains between the countries. Dahu boots are distinctively minimalist in design, but highly functional and technical as well.
We love: Écorce 01 W110
To buy: $899, shop.skidahu.com
Origin Story: YNIQ ski goggles get about as close as you can to haute couture without feeling gauche. Co-founded by freeskiing icon Jon Olsson, the brand’s style is playful and luxe, yet highly functional for discerning skiers and boarders. We hear Lindsey Vonn is a fan too...
We love: The NINE - Black All Gold
To buy: $711, yniq.se
Origin Story: Founded in 2013 by David Roth and Heifara Rutgers, Aztech Mountain is Aspen-born, Aspen-bred, and European made. The skiwear brand prides itself on high performance outerwear and classic alpine design for men and women alike.
We love: Matterhorn Leopard Turtleneck
To buy: $525, aztechmountain.com
Origin Story: With a mantra of 'Aim Beyond,' Bomber has set their sites on becoming a globally recognized brand that sets a new standard for elevating the alpine lifestyle. From their selection of the world’s finest materials and an unwavering attention to detail throughout the entire design and production processes, Bomber’s commitment to deliver the perfect balance of luxury and performance to the world of skiing is infused into every product they create.They’re also known for partnering with the estates of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, among other artists for special collaborations.
We love: Jean-Michel Basquiat in Italian 78
To buy: $2,200, bomberski.com
Origin Story: When you think of Austrian après style, you probably think of some of the designs that come from Steffner. Founded in 1928, the family-run company makes classically handsome sweaters, scarves and more that are crisp, clean and perfect for chilly alpine nights.
We love: Fjord-Z (sweater)
To buy: $390, steffnershop.com
Burton Family Tree
Origin Story: You’ve undoubtedly heard of Burton—one of the most important names in snowboarding. What you may not have heard of is the Family Tree line, which includes an array of snowboards that pay homage to the earliest days of the sport. Think deep cuts, wide tails, and the sign-off of elite Burton athletes.
We love: Burton Family Tree Big Gulp Camber Snowboard
To buy: $550, burton.com
Origin Story: Ever wonder how the pros recover after a long day taking turns? It’s probably with a Hyperice air compression sleeve. The recovery brand got its start early in the 2010’s when word spread among athletes about entrepreneur Anthony Katz’s new compression sleeve that was helping elite athletes recover faster and more efficiently. Now? It’s a go-to for the top of the top in just about every sport. The recent acquisition of competitor brand Normatec propels that even further.
We love: Normatec x Hyperice Leg Pulse 2.0
To buy: $995, hyperice.com
Origin Story: As one of the leading names in Swiss skiing, Stockli has 80 years of history in building some of the finest racing skis in the game. What started as batches of 50 skis now makes more than 60,000 pairs annually with something for every level of amateur and elite racer.
We love: Laser AR
To buy: $1,249, stoeckli.ch
Origin Story: In 2012, emergency room doctor Sarah Villafranco founded Osmia Organics in Carbondale, Colorado after a series of life events led her to a desire to help everyday people make better and more informed decisions about their skincare choices (including mountain enthusiasts). What’s transpired since is the development of one of the most respected natural and organic skincare lines anywhere with clean and pure natural products that are full of everything you need and nothing you don’t.
We love: Sunset Body Oil
To buy: $75, osmiaorganics.com
Origin Story: Taking its name from an abbreviation of “fuseau of the alps” (after the skin-tight “fuseau” stirrup pants) Fusalp is impossibly chic and undeniably French. The brand started in 1952 and has built a reputation for top-line tailoring in some of the most eye-popping and form-fitting ski clothing you’ll find anywhere from the Alps to the Rockies. 2020’s collaboration with iconic fashion house, Chloé took the vibe to the next level.
We love: Chloé x Fusalp Ski Suit
To buy: $2,550, fusalp.com
Origin Story: Goldbergh is the end result of a unique blend of Dutch active style and high-fashion confidence. The women’s-only brand was started in 2009 by sportswear designer Lieke van den Berg and entrepreneurial retailer Sandra Peet as an option for elite athletes who want to look a little less … athletic. Expect bold colors, form-fitting fits, and just the right amount of bling.
We love: Mondriaan Jacket Rainbow
To buy: $591, goldbergh.com
Origin Story: You’ll see the letters “POC” adorned on the helmets and goggles of those taking Black Diamond turns more often than anywhere else. This is because the Swedish brand (started in 2005) is known for top-grade protective gear built on the cutting edge of science and research. The highly-awarded brand is respected in the cycling space as well for similar protective wares. You can’t miss anything emblazoned with “POC.”
We love: Obex Spin Communication
To buy: $280, pocsports.com
Origin Story: As the name suggests, this brand is rooted in Norwegian heritage, although it’s anything but predictable. Designer Tove Grane founded the wool-driven company in an effort to highlight modern Norwegian values in practical clothing that’s made with the planet and longevity in mind. The end result is functional, consciously-made clothing.
We love: Women Ski Zip-Up
To buy: $199, wenorweigans.us
Origin Story: First imagined in Sun Valley, Idaho by skier and Creative Director, Jane Seim and co-founder Cody Seim. Both weren’t content with the way technical, boxy mountain gear fit, so in 2016 they started Cordova to develop old-era ski clothes that flattered instead of flamed out. Sustainably sourced from manufacturers in Switzerland, France, and Italy, and assembled in New York City, and Vancouver, BC, the shapes and styles are so wide-ranging that any piece you pick is sure to make you a standout on the slopes.
We love: Mont Blanc Metallic
To buy: $910, cordova.co
Origin Story: There’s a certain amount of danger in heading off into the backcountry and having reliable communication is crucial should something go wrong. Somewear’s relatively new technology (founded in 2017) is an app-and hotspot-based system that gives you critical info (weather, location, etc.) anytime, anywhere. If you’re a serious explorer, it’s peace of mind worth the investment.
We love: Somewear Global Hotspot
To buy: $350 + data subscription, somewearlabs.com
Origin Story: Foggy goggles have been a problem for mountain athletes for as long as goggles have been an essential part of their activities. Abom’s take on a solution is a battery-powered film coating between the goggle layers that heats up when turned on and defogs in under a minute. It’s a novel solution that’s gained popularity with those in the know.
We love: Heet Goggle
To buy: $289, abom.com
Origin Story: Taking the idea of high-performance technical gear one step further by making breathability the focal point of every piece it designs. All of your favorite waterproof garments typically lock in heat (even when you don’t want it), so Beyond has developed its own fabric systems based on plenty of trial and error (dating back to the company’s inception in 1996).
We love: Guide Glove
To buy: $135, beyondclothing.com
Origin Story: Although this Italian company is rooted in the country’s cycling culture (since its founding in 1985), their technology transfers just as well to cross-country skiing. A smaller, but no less important, part of their trade includes unbreakable ski lenses complete with superior air venting for fog-free treks.
We love: Klonyx Snow
To buy: $260, rudyprojectna.com
Origin Story: Ogier’s quintessential French style is as timeless as the transition since the company’s 1948 founding. The brand’s dedication to high-fashion silhouettes and exceptional craftsmanship means these garments (and their price tags) are meant for those looking for something truly distinctive.
We love: Badrutts Coat Navy
To buy: $4,990, us.ogier-og.com
Alps & Meters
Origin Story: Although Alps & Meters is Swedish by birth (founded in 2014), the brand takes inspiration from all of Europe’s iconic mountain destinations. There are gorgeous mountaineering and après pieces across their entire range and each fills the soul with warm memories of turns taken at Chamonix or an overnight trek in the Dolomites. If you stay at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, you’ll notice the distinctive designs on the staff who work there.
We love: Ski Race Knit Patrol
To buy: $275, alpsandmeters.com
Origin Story: Climbing and skiing guide Lotta Giornofelice founded Houdini as an underwear brand first—making the fleece gear her and her friends couldn’t find. Those first pieces became an instant hit and the name took off as an homage to a call out her mountaineering friends say when they’re in a tough spot. All these years later, Houdini has greatly expanded its offerings and is still innovating. The company has used its spirited ethos to quietly become an industry leader in transparent and sustainable production.
We love: Purpose Pants
To buy: $450, houdinisportswear.com
Wagner Custom Skis
Origin Story: Founded by Pete Wagner in 2006 in Placerville, Colorado, and now in its permanent home in Telluride’s Mountain Village, Wagner skis are 100% custom and handcrafted. Go in person, or set up a call with your ski designer, and after just a few questions they start to hone in on your “Skier DNA” which informs everything about your custom sticks from materials, shape, profile, and construction. No two pairs are alike, and your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed, or your money back.
To buy: Starting at $1,995, wagnerskis.com