Selecting the Right Winter-Weather Accessories

Often times when you hear the word “accessory,” it’s meant as an afterthought. But winter-weather accessories are not optional. In fact, accessories are critical gear that make you look and feel good.

Still, shopping for winter clothing and accessories can seem a bit overwhelming. New fabrics and insulations are constantly changing, and the latest lingo (you’ll learn what a neck gaiter is below) can be intimidating. But there’s no need to worry. Our winter-weather accessories guide makes shopping for versatile winter apparel easy and easy-to-understand.


Headwear: Up to 60 percent of your body’s heat can escape from an uncovered head, so wearing a hat, headband or helmet is essential when it’s cold. (Tip: If you wear a hat, you may be able to wear one less layer on your body.) There are thousands of styles of hats and headbands, usually made from fleece or wool. Many have non-itch liners. In a continuing trend, several manufacturers also feature organic cotton, hemp and natural dyes in their headwear lines. Helmets are becoming very popular, too. Not only do they protect your head from bumps, but they also keep your head warm. A fleece neck gaiter (like a collar) or facemask is a must-have on cold winter days.

Sunglasses and goggles: Sunglasses do much more than make you look cool. They also protect your eyes from damaging solar radiation. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes ultraviolet (UV) rays stronger, while increased altitude also magnifies the danger. Several manufacturers have developed products for women featuring retro styling with high-tech materials to properly fit a women’s face without sliding. Likewise, many companies have women’s products with a portion of the proceeds benefiting non-profit organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Boarding for Breast Cancer. For men, look for large-framed, fashion forward sunglasses in new color hues offering the maximum in eye protection. Finally, on flat-light days or when it’s snowing, goggles are vital. They protect your eyes and special lens colors increase the contrast so you can properly discern terrain features.

Gloves and mittens: Look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. Those with Gore-Tex and leather, featured throughout this year’s collections are particularly good at keeping hands warm and dry. Mittens, in general, are warmer than gloves, but offer less dexterity. Also, consider the type of activity you’ll be doing. Snowboarding gloves and mittens often have a reinforced palm because of extra wear from adjusting bindings and balancing on the snow. Some snowboarding gloves and mittens also have built-in wrist guards that are excellent for novice snowboarders. Cross-country skiing gloves tend to be lighter-weight for extra movement and better absorption.

Socks: One pair of lightweight or medium-weight socks works best for skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. Socks are made from a variety of materials, including polyester, silk, wool and nylon. Some socks have wicking properties similar to long underwear, meaning your feet will stay dry and comfortable.

An easy solution to selecting the right winter-weather accessories, visit your local specialty retailer and talk with the experts.

Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and

Choosing a Pair of Goggles for Skiing and Snowboarding

You might feel cool skiing in sunglasses, but you could be endangering yourself. Because you sweat when you ski and this sweat can collect as condensation on your glasses, you can seriously impair your vision. Not a good thing when you are coasting down a mountain at high speeds with other people and trees around.

Fortunately, optics makers like Smith, Scott and Electric make goggles that both help prevent snow blindness and do not fog up like regular sunglasses. Here are factors to consider when picking a pair:

1.) Ventilation
It’s important that ski goggles allow the water vapor from your sweat to escape. You will often see vents on the front and top of your goggles to facilitate this. Smith also makes a ventilated helmet which further prevents this condensation from collecting in your goggles.

2.) Lens Shape
As light passes through another medium (like a lens), it refracts, causing distortion. Many ski goggle makers curve the glass slightly in a spherical fashion to prevent this distortion. These goggles will cost more, but will allow you to see more clearly on the slopes.

3.) Durability
Just like any pair of glasses you put on, ski goggles can scratch. If you ski or board a lot or are rough with your gear, look for a pair with hard coating.

4.) Helmet Compatibility
Do you like wearing your goggles outside of your helmet instead of inside? Some goggles are meant to fit around a helmet.

5.) Size
Spy offers goggles for people with smaller faces. Kids should also not wear goggles meant for adults as they will fit much too loosely. If you wear glasses, be sure your goggles fit over them. You also want to make sure the strap will fit comfortably on your head.

6.) Lens Color
All About Vision has this great guide for choosing a lens color:
* In low light and fog, yellow, gold and amber lenses filter out blue light, emphasizing shadows in the snow so you can see bumps better. They also work well in moderate light.
* Rose lenses are excellent on low-light gray days. And they’re fun to wear.
* In bright light, dark tints (especially green) will keep your eyes more comfortable.
* Polarized lenses block reflected glare off the horizontal plane and are great when it’s bright out. But they may not be ideal near the end of the day when long shadows appear in the snow, because they are usually made with a darker tint than most sun lenses.
* Mirror (or “flash”) coatings will block some, but not a lot of glare. They are usually more of a cosmetic than a practical feature.
* For night riding and skiing, use only clear lenses.

Remember, the reflection of the sun on the snow is fierce. Always make sure to protect your eyes from UV rays while you are on the slopes.