Starting on the skin, you can’t go wrong with any merino wool layer. Yes, that’s wool, NOT synthetic. Big difference here. Wool is warm, eco-friendly, and somehow stays (relatively) smell free after heavy use. While some medium-weight tights will easily keep your lower half happy, the upper body can be a bit harder. Start with a lightweight wool t-shirt, and then add on either a thin longsleeve layer or a quilted quarter zip option. It never hurts to be over prepared, so throw a packable down layer in your backpack for emergency scenarios or extensive safety meetings. Smartwool and Icebreaker are a couple of the industry favorites for anything merino wool.
Moving on to outerwear, Argentina does a great job in posing the age old question: hardshell vs. softshell… the answer? Each have their advantages and disadvantages, so ultimately it comes down to the purpose of your trip. While less breathable, hardshells protect against all elements in ski territory: wind, water, wooly mammoths, etc. Stretchier, softer, and much more breathable, softshells aren’t quite as protective, but are more versatile, catering to both uphill and downhill skiing. So if you’re going to stick primarily to inbounds plus some short hike-to sidecountry terrain, stick with the hardshell. But if you’ll be bagging 2000+ ft approaches on everyday of your trip, go with the softshell. If you’re joining us at SASS Argentina (or if you really can’t decide), bring both and you can always sell one to a local at the end of your trip, likely for a pretty good chunk of what you paid for it.
For your lower half, spend the extra $50 and buy a pair of bibbed snowpants. Bibs will make your life easier in a handful of different ways… they’ll keep powder out from the areas that matter, provide core warmth on windy storm days, hold your pants up without the need for a belt, and look incredibly stylish for your ever important après outfit. TREW Gear and Strafe Outerwear make some great technical outerwear, with product lines that include hardshells, softshells, bibs, hoodies, hats, and everything in between. These two companies are two of our staff picks.
Gloves are easy to overlook, but the warmth of your fingers is one of the biggest factors in your overall warmth. We recommend always having an extra pair of gloves in your pack, and if you’re touring, be sure to pack a thin pair that you won’t sweat too much in for the approach. Hestra and Black Diamond make some of the best full-warmth gloves in the game, but if you want to save your money for cervezas and earn street cred by looking like a true ski bum, pick up a pair of Kinco’s from your local home improvement shop. Just remember to bake and Sno Seal them before you put them through the wringer, otherwise you’ll be an unhappy camper. It’s unlikely you’ll need the thickest down mitten on the market in Argentina, most days you’ll be just fine in a medium-weight glove from a reputable company. While most everyday ski companies make a thin glove, don’t rule out Under Armour and their line of cold weather athletic gloves.
Normally we’d include goggles here, but as they are such an important item in your setup, we’ll save that for it’s own blog post down the road, stay tuned for that! As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you’re considering a ski trip to Argentina! We are the masters of skiing in Bariloche and would love to help you out with planning your excursion. Check out our SASS Argentina program and all the deals we’re offering here.