August 06, 2020

Snowscene prides itself by stocking only premium quality products and snow brands. For us, it comes down to ‘trust’. You have to trust the product to live up to the rigours and challenges of long days on the ski slopes. You have to trust snow brands to keep innovating and offering cutting edge solutions. With that in mind here are our ten favourite snow brands that we trust to keep delivering time and time again (in no particular order).


1. THE NORTH FACE

Drawing their name from the most inhospitable and unforgiving side of a mountain, The North Face have been a staple in the outdoor apparel market since the 1960’s. Despite having their origins in San Francisco’s North Beach, The North Face products are right at home in some of the harshest conditions the planet has to offer.


Beloved by explorers and adrenaline seekers the world over, they have transformed what was once possible in the world of recreational and professional sports. In was during the 1980’s, a time of neons, pastels and crazy hair, that The North Face forged their reputation as a leader in the extreme skiwear market, as well as becoming largely responsible for today’s culture of free-spirited snowsports athletes.


Their technical innovation is the reason why they have maintained this reputation in the decades since their inception. By strategically utilising the best insulating materials in conjunction with the most effective waterproofing technologies, they facilitated the exploration of far-flung, unexplored areas of our world, and gave the foundation for today’s company mantra; Never Stop Exploring.


The modern incorporation of technologies such as PrimaLoft synthetic insulation for lightweight warmth, DryVent fabric for breathability and water resistance and WindWall fabric for excellent wind resistance in highly versatile garments are all examples of their innovation in the creation of snow jackets, snow pants, snow gloves and winter accessories.


With such a strong history of supplying the best with the best, the future of The North Face is sure to be filled with remarkable innovation in technology, design and performance.


2. KARBON SNOW GEAR

In the past, winter sport athletes have been greatly limited by the apparel they had to compete and train in. The innovations that had occurred in many other sportswear markets had not yet been applied to ski apparel, and athletes were suffering as a result.


Schure Sports, the parent company of Karbon, sought to change just that when the founded the brand in 1997. As a family-owned business based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, they wished to interact directly with the athletes that would be wearing their ski apparel and understand exactly what they required to perform at their very best.

This direct interaction has allowed them to innovate in a specific and measured way. Karbon ski jackets, ski pants, thermal layering options and snow accessories are designed with the wearer in mind, to ensure that, regardless of capability or confidence, they are kept comfortable, warm and dry. This is captured by their ethos: #nolimits.


From the advanced stretch fabrics widely utilised in their snow jackets and snow pants to maximise range of motions to garment-specific insulation design that provides maximum warmth without the addition of excessive weight, Karbon have been at the forefront of wearable innovation. The premier example of Karbon’s unyielding dedication of tailoring their products to the demands of the wearer is their Karbonite waterproofing technology. Integrated into a wide range of their outerwear garments, Karbon tailors the waterproofness and breathability of each garment dependant on its anticipated use.


Choosing this Canadian powerhouse of design and innovation for your ski apparel needs is not a chore, it is a pleasure.


3. PICTURE SNOW APPAREL

The skiwear apparel market has been historically dominated by unsustainable manufacturing practices due to the materials used in the construction of water-resistant and insulated garments. The frequent use of materials that are plastic derivatives such as nylon, polyester and polyurethane, as well as their treatment with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) which have historically produced by-products that are toxic and likely to persist in the environment.


The founders of Picture Organic Clothing, a trio of friends from Clermont-Ferrand in the French Alps, were determined to use their love for snowsports and their entrepreneurial drive to create products unlike any other in the market: ski apparel that was utilitarian as well as environmentally-friendly in its production. The brand was established with strong values of environmental concern, innovation of design and value for money for the consumer.


A commitment to the environment is evidenced by the fact that all the materials used in the construction of their garments are 100% recycled, organic or responsibly sourced. This in no way detracts from the quality of their ski jackets, ski pants or snow accessories, but in fact, adds value to consumers with growing environmental concerns.


Gaining popularity in the youth ski apparel market due to their bold design choices and versatility, Picture has established a strong market presence in over 30 countries globally and are tireless in their pursuit of spreading environmental awareness through endorsement deals and collaborations with organizations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Henjl and Agence Innovation Responsible (AIR), renowned for their sustainability-related projects.



4. HESTRA SNOW GLOVES & MITTENS

Irrespective of your skill level on the slopes, a high-quality pair of ski gloves or ski mittens have the ability to heighten your enjoyment of the experience. Their ability to keep your hands warm and dry, without significant loss of dexterity is highly desirable, a fashion-forward design can also come as a fantastic bonus.


When searching for the product that can deliver on all these criteria, look no further than Hestra. A family-operated business founded in their namesake town of Hestra, Sweden, the Magnusson family has been designing and manufacturing gloves since 1936. Their family value of quality is evident in their continued practice of personally sourcing all the leather, wool and fabrics used in the production of their entire product range. Demand has become so immense for their products that they have been forced to expand their manufacturing operation to four facilities, each producing a portion of Hestra’s 400 different styles to meet the everchanging and unique demands of their loyal customers.


Their products range from elegant leather Après-ski gloves, which utilise materials such as deerskin leather, lambskin leather, wool and market-leading PrimaLoft synthetic insulation, through to highly technical gloves which feather robust external waterproof membranes, DWR-treated leather palm panels and strong detailing which contribute to the utility and durability of the glove.


The 80 years of glove-making history that Hestra has gained allows their customers to be reassured that they are buying garments that are constructed with passion and care by the most experienced glove-makers in Europe. 


5. SWANY SKI GLOVES

As any seasoned skier or snowboarder will tell you, the ability to keep your hands warm and dry without the need to forfeit dexterity is a seemingly never-ending search. The team at Swany America sought to create a product that was able to keep up with the demands of the professional and amateur skier alike. Swany established a strong market presence within the ski glove market through strategic collaboration and endorsement deals with organizations such as the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and the National Ski Patrol, as well as the Olympic Speed Skiing teams from the United States of America, Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. What made Swany unique was their dedication to innovation.


The integration of their proprietary Tri-Plex technology into their range of ski gloves, ski mittens, snowboard gloves and snowboard mittens utilised PrimaLoft, a leading synthetic insulation renowned for its lightweight warmth, in conjunction with Dryfinger Reflection membranes. This allowed for a product that gave the wearer incredible warmth due to its ability to reflect heat back onto the wearer, whilst ensuring that insulation throughout the palm would not interfere with the dexterity and overall utility of their product.


Swany are also willing to listen to the concerns of their customers and cater their product offerings to their needs. The LaFemme range of gloves have been specifically designed to fit women’s hands, with notable differences in the proportions of the glove to ensure a tailored fit that allows a Swany ski glove or mitten to live up to its justified high reputation in the snow glove market. Swany strive for excellence in the products they deliver, and customers from around the world are happy to verify this quality.


6. OAKLEY SNOW GOGGLES

To ensure that you are able to fully experience a snow holiday, it is paramount that you can see a clear path in front of you. Whilst also serving to keep you safe on the slopes, it also allows you to immerse yourself in some of the most beautiful scenery that this planet has to offer.


Snow goggles can allow you to gain far more enjoyment from your experience, but this is predicated on whether your goggles utilize the best technological innovations available in the market. When you purchase Oakley ski goggles, you know that you are buying a product that does just that. The Oakley brand was established in 1975 and has acquired in excess of 850 patents since this time, an indication as to their commitment to technological innovation in the technical eyewear market.


One of their most innovative and versatile technology is Oakley PRIZM, their latest innovation in colour-and-contrast enhancing lenses. This technology has been incorporated into their snow goggle range with resounding success. The PRIZM lenses allow for contours to be shown in contrast to the rest of the mountain in all conditions from bright, sunny bluebird days to overcast and white-out conditions. This gives the wearer an unparalleled level of confidence on the mountain and thus ensures they can get everything they wanted out of their skiing or snowboarding experience.


Oakley was acquired by global eyewear conglomerate Luxottica in 2007 and have been able to continue their pursuit for innovation with renewed vigour with access to Luxottica’s immense design, manufacturing and distribution network


7. ICEBREAKER

As any experienced cold-weather traveller can confirm, layering is the key to the warmth that still allows you to get on with your life. While a heavily-insulated coat is fantastic at holding body heat to keep you warm, a thinner, lighter, more user-friendly jacket paired with multiple other layers can achieve the same level of warmth without restricting your ability to move freely.


Technical garments for layering were traditionally constructed from synthetic polyester and polypropylene, both made from plastic, and as a result, were sweaty and prone to smell after a single wear. The founder of Icebreaker, Jeremy Moon, discovered a product that solved these problems. Layering garments constructed of merino wool were soft to wear, odour resistant even after multiple wears and were not reliant on plastics to be produced. Icebreaker has established themselves as a market-leader in merino wool technical garments that are ideal as layering options underneath ski jackets, ski pants and snow boots.


In addition to their capable insulating properties, Icebreaker garments are odour-resistant, soft against the skin from the first wear and have highly effective moisture-wicking properties. All of these characteristics contribute to a garment that is a joy to wear regardless of the activity being undertaken. Further showcasing the value and versatility of merino wool, Icebreaker have developed a natural insulation for winter garments that acts as an alternative to duck down. MerinoLOFT was developed as a highly breathable insulating material made from merino fibres that could be incorporated into Icebreaker garments to allow them to provide greater warmth than their standard layering garments without the need to use synthetic insulation materials.



8. ROSSIGNOL SNOW & SKI WEAR

Whilst the French are world-renowned in numerous ways, two standout areas are their fashion and their skiable mountain terrain. Resorts such as Val d’Isère and Chamonix Mont-Blanc are widely known by snow lovers for their picturesque terrain and endless ability to excite. Rossignol has been able to blend French fashion with quality ski apparel to create snow jackets, snow pants and snow accessories that allow their customers to transition from the mountain to nightlife seamlessly.


The French national colours of red, white and blue are liberally used throughout their product offerings to create garments that are classic in their design, ensuring that they will never go out of style. This fashion focus is supported with ample technological features that make their ski jackets and ski pants practical and utilitarian. While Rossignol’s brand roots lie in ski manufacturing, dating back to their namesake Abel Rossignol, the brand has sought to expand since the 1980s through the acquisition of market-leading brands in the ski apparel market. Brands such as Lange, Look, RaidLight-Vertical and Dale of Norway have contributed their specialized expertise to the expansion of the Rossignol brand and allowed them to gain market strength in numerous sectors of the Snowsports market.


Rossignol ski jackets utilize 3M Thinsulate Synthetic Insulation in their construction, which results in an incredibly warm garment well suited for the conditions of the French Alps and beyond whilst ensuring breathability is still possible in the warmer climates of Southern Hemisphere ski resorts. Consideration has also been made of the human anatomy during the design process, with their snow jackets, snow pants and ski gloves all possessing ergonomic designs to ensure the wearer’s comfort and freedom of movement.


9. HELLY HANSEN SNOW GEAR

When a brand boasts a 140-year legacy to back their products, you can buy with confidence. Established in 1877 by Helly Juell Hansen and Margrethe Hansen, a sea captain and his wife from Norway, Helly Hansen has become synonymous with the creation of apparel that allows wearers to brave the harshest weather conditions this planet can offer up.


User confidence is so strong in their range of ski jackets, ski pants, snow gloves and snow boots that they are now found in more than 200 ski resorts globally, with an estimated 55,000 ski professionals placing their faith in Helly Hansen to keep them warm, dry and comfortable. Technology development has been crucial for Helly Hansen in cultivating such a positive worldwide reputation. Helly Tech is their material of choice when constructing the outer layer of their snow jackets and snow pants due to its threefold capability of remaining waterproof, windproof and breathable in varying weather conditions. LifaLoft is an insulating material developed in conjunction with PrimaLoft which, when used in Helly Hansen Ski apparel, allows for greater warmth whilst remaining lightweight and comfortable.


Helly Hansen integrates LifaLoft insulation into their ski jackets in conjunction with the H2Flow temperature regulation system to ensure that body temperature is able to be easily regulated regardless of the activity being undertaken. The H2Flow system incorporates ventilation zippers and air pockets to aid in cooling or warming the wearer depending on their personal requirements. All of these features work collaboratively to ensure that any skier or snowboarder will find a Helly Hansen garment waiting to fulfil their snow apparel needs.


10. KJUS COMFORTABLE SNOW GEAR

Gone are the days that consumers are forced to make do with ski apparel that is uncomfortable to wear as well as not being able to perform as sportswear should. Technological innovations had been predominantly focused on activities such as running, swimming and golf. Kjus sought to change that.


Launched in 2000 by Lasse Kjus, an Olympic skiing champion from Norway, and Didi Serena, an entrepreneur from Switzerland, Kjus announced itself as a brand with an ambitious goal: "To provide the market with ski apparel that provided comfort and freedom of movement in addition to warmth, functionality and breathability. "


The integration of 4-way stretch fabric in their ski jackets and ski pants allow for a more tailored fit to be achieved without having to compromise on freedom of movement. Kjus integrate Fast Thermo Core insulation into their snow jackets and snow pants which provide an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio that keeps the wearer toasty warm without weighing them down. One of their most recent technological innovations, Freelite, has once again confirmed their reputation as one of the most innovative ski apparel brands globally.


Constructed from a single yarn, the Freelite range of ski jackets and ski pants offer all the technical features you have come to expect from Kjus apparel with the comfort of a knitted sweater. When purchasing any Kjus apparel, you can rest assured that you are wearing apparel that was designed to ensure your enjoyment in any snow conditions you may find yourself in.


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