With ski season in full effect, it can only mean a couple of things. One, the excitement that comes with tackling fresh snow and the cold, crisp mountain air. And two, putting together a couple of clean, comfortable looks for arguably the best part about a skiing holiday: après ski.
Sure, carving down a steep cliffside is great fun and all, but who doesn’t love getting cosy by the fire, drink in hand and cheese fondue slowly melting away in front of you? But what should one wear for the relaxing part of the trip, where comfort and practicality is arguably just as important as looking the part?
Here, we break down every aspect of the look, from knitwear and jackets to accessories.
What is apres ski wear?
Apres ski is quite a simple concept. A French phrase, it translates as ‘after ski’, and refers to the activities and frivolities that come after a day on the slopes. Apres ski could mean drinks around the fire, or board games and food. What you wear for it is largely up to you, but there are plenty of garments that can make your apres ski attire that much more comfortable, warm and of course, stylish.
Depending on what you’ve got planned for the evening, apres ski wear can vary slightly, but generally, it’s always a casual affair, with the idea of staying warm and comfortable at the top of the agenda.
Key Apres Ski Pieces
A warm, insulating parka is a core part of any ski wardrobe. You’ll wear it all day on the slopes, and it can double up as your evening jacket as well. Of course, you can take it off once inside if it’s too toasty, but it pays to take it with you at all times throughout the day.
The parka isn’t a tricky garment to get right. Whether you go for a fur-hooded one or something more technical, ensure it has plenty of pockets on both the exterior and interior for your on-person valuables. Zipped pockets are preferable, especially if you’ll wear it skiing, while details such as adjustable waists, hems and cuffs always come in handy.
Again, this is a garment you could wear on and off the slopes. You’ll have enough gear to pack as it is for a ski holiday, so taking pieces you can wear during the day and evening just makes sense.
With that in mind, we would encourage you to pack a couple of chunky rollnecks. That way you can alternate them between the day and the evening shift, so they get a chance to air out in between.
As for the style of rollneck, the chunkier the better – heavy ribbed lambswool and cashmere blends are preferable for their warmth and comfort.
While not a prerequisite for any apres ski activities, sweatpants are incredibly handy for any skiing trip. If you’ve been out all day on the slopes, chances are you’ll want to head back to the room, take a shower and chill out for a bit.
Pull on a pair of sweatpants and you’ll instantly feel more relaxed, thanks to their inherent comfort. Go for a black slimline pair and you can wear them out and about too, either first thing in the morning for the coffee run or later in the afternoon.
To complete the loungewear set, don’t forget to bring a sweatshirt or hoodie. Both staple pieces of casualwear, these sportswear classics are comfortable, easy to style and will layer with pretty much anything.
There are two kinds of fabrics to look out for here. While both are typically made from cotton, look for those styles with a fleece texture on the interior, which is generally warmer and heavier and allows it to be worn as a top layer.
For something slightly lighter and easier to layer though, opt for loopback cotton, which has lots of tiny cotton loops on the reverse of the fabric, which makes it more breathable and pliable. Layer it up over your thermals and under your parka so you can quickly adapt your body heat to the environment.
If you’re spending any amount of time outdoors in sub-zero temperatures, thermals are essential. You’ll want to pack a couple of sets of long johns and thermal tops, which can be worn both on the slopes and during any apres-ski activities.
The best thermals will be made from natural fabrics – either 100% cotton or, even better, merino wool. The latter is a natural performance fabric that will keep you both dry and warm.
Hiking boots are the only sensible choice for a ski trip. Featuring a high ankle, robust rubber sole and waterproof upper, hiking boots are perfect for walking in the snow and traversing the landscape after a day on the slopes.
Go for a pair made from waxy leather with waterproof Gore-Tex lining and you can wear them in the ski lodge, on a walk to the shops and slot them straight into your wardrobe when you get back home.
The beanie is a bonafide winter must-own for any man. They keep out the cold, keep your head and ears warm and can be used to bring a pop of colour or personality to any look.
Go as wild or restrained as you like with your colour of beanie, but for practical reasons we would suggest skipping the smaller fisherman styles as they aren’t going to offer enough protection in freezing conditions.
As for material, you may be wearing this item a lot, so prioritise soft, natural materials that aren’t too irritating or scratchy. This may mean swerving 100% lambswool styles in favour of cotton blends, cashmere and merino wool versions.
We don’t need to tell you the virtues of a good pair of gloves. When your hands are cold it’s difficult to get the heat back into them again, but quality gloves will instantly negate this issue altogether.
You could go for a classic leather pair, either in black or brown, or for something more technical either in glove or mitten form. The latter is the more practical option, as a nylon or polyester pair will be waterproof and will dry out quickly on the radiator at the end of the night.
No matter what style you go for, however, we would encourage you to go for a pair lined with a warm, comfortable material like wool or fleece, or one filled with down feathers. Touchscreen compatibility will also be a godsend when you’re trying to operate your phone at the top of a run.