By Spencer Hart
Winter isn't all that great - it's cold, dark and never ending, yet there is one particular plus point: the ski season. There's nothing quite like the first run down the fresh piste, snow cascading hence from your skis or board as you effortlesly dodge oncoming trees and clueless beginners. But there's more to skiing than just sitting on the first-morning lift, there's also impressing your fellow skiiers with some serious get-up.
If you're hitting the slopes this season, we've got your back. And your head. And, er, hands. Because from the best ski goggles to helmets and gloves, with a few other wearables thrown in for good measure, we've sorted your ski season with the best gear money can buy.
From goggles with built-in HUDs to gloves with built-in heating systems, this is the ultimate list of ski gear you need in your alpine life.
Along with big hitters, we've also got some other kit, like smartwatches and full-body protection. So, ditch that multi-coloured ski suit from 1987 and upgrade your winter wardrobe right now.
In this list we'll be starting off with the top protective specs, if you're after high-tech headware skip to page six, if gloves are what you're after head to page 11, and finally if you're after ski-related tech and other wearables page 16 is your best bet.
Oakley Airwave 1.5
Spending around £500 on ski goggles might seem excessive to some milquetoasts, but this eye protection is packing a high-tech surprise. The Airwaves 1.5s feature GPS, Bluetooth, and an HUD, beaming all sorts of important information into your 'balls.
On-board sensors will record your top speed, vertical drop, distance covered and altitude. More casual features include preloaded maps, music control, buddy tracking, smartphone notifications, and GoPro remote viewing and control.
Pretty smart, right?
In terms of visor tech, the goggles feature High Definition Optics (HDO), to give you a clear, wide-angle view of the slopes.
Price: £450 | Oakley ski goggles
MIGs from Anon look like something from a Special Forces uniform, and it packs some impressive techy innovations. Most notably an MFI (Magnetic Facemask Integration) connection, which uses magnets to create a seal between your facemask and goggles.
The strap is made from non-slippy silicon, and the frame is made from lightweight TPU.
Price: £130 | Anon ski goggles
Smiths I/O Recon
I/O Recon from Smith is another set of goggles which features an HUD. These do everything the Oakley pair can, because it's the same Snow2 HUD module inside, made by Recon. That means GoPro control, smartphone integration, Chrono timing, vertical measurements, and music control.
The optics feature a 5X anti-fog inner lens, TLT, spherical carbonic-x lens, and Purex filters to prevent optical distortion.
Price: £420 | Smith
Dirty Dog Renegade
Looking for something inexpensive to strap to your face? Try the Renegade on for size. We like them because it makes you look like a storm trooper.
Price: £50 | Dirty Dog ski goggles
These ski specs are packed with optical tech, so much so they're practically bullet proof (N.B. these are not actually bullet proof).
Virtuose lenses have an equalizer vent and P80+ to stop fog in its tracks, carbo-glas layer to prevent scratches and shattering, flow-tech venting for even airflow, double lenses to create a thermal barrier, and a wide field of view so you don't get taken out by a tree branch.
To make it cosy and comfortable there's triple density polar fleece padding to ensure an optimum fit, and a siliconised rubber strap to stop slippage.
Price: £100 | Bolle Europe ski goggles
Giro Range MIPS
If you're looking for ultimate protection from brain damage, a helmet with MIPS protection is essential. MIPS (not to be confused with nips *giggles*), is a technology designed by brain surgeons and scientists to reduce rotational forces on the brain caused by angled impacts.
The Range from Giro isn't the only ski helmet to include MIPS, but what makes this one stand out is the integrated GoPro mount. Perfect for recording your gnarly stunts (or epic fails).
Price: £180 | Giro ski helmets
POC Fornix Communication (with Beats audio)
Another ski helmet with some tech built in, this time in the form of Beats by Dre speakers integrated into the neck roll (bits covering your ears). With remote control, you can take calls, pause tracks, forward tracks, and adjust volume.
The helmet is constructed by applying aramid strings and molding them together with the foam liner, resulting in a lightweight and well-ventilated helmet.
Price: £200 | POC Sports
Want something simple and stylish with no bells and whistles? Check out the Smith Pivot. In basic form, it's an affordable helmet, if you wish to spend a little extra then you can also spec it with MIPS. It's also compatible with Skullcandy audio systems, and beanies. So it's truly modular.
Price: £100 | Smith
Bogner Helmet Bamboo
Boasting a classy European look, part of this helmet is constructed from actual oiled bamboo combined with a tough and protective polycarbonate middle. It definitely stands out from the crowd, which can often be tough on a crowded slope.
Price: EUR590 | Bogner
Sweet Protection Trooper Mips
Every cyclist knows wearing a more aggressive looking helmet makes you faster, and it's scientifically proven that the same applies to skiing.
This lid from Sweet Protection is on the weighty side, but it's packed with technology. Made from multiple layers of thermoplastic laminated carbon fibre, featuring EPS liners with Impact Shield inserts, Occigrip for a firm fit, and Coolmax liner for anti-allergenic comfort.
Perfect if you're particularly bad at skiing.
Price: £170 | Sweet Protection ski helmets
Outdoor Research Lucent Heated
If you literally want your palms dripping in sweat while on piste, you're going to have to get some electrical assistance. With built in AltiHeat, these rechargeable battery-powered heated gloves will make you feel like you're in Majorca (well, your hands, at least).
Gore-tex keeps everything waterproof, while EnduraLoft adds warmth and insulation.
Price: £180 | Outdoor Research
Arc'teryx Lithic Glove
If you think heated gloves are for wusses, but still don't want your little pinkies to get chilly, these Lithic gloves from Arc'teryx are for you. Stuffed with three types of insulation (PrimaLoft Gold, Silver, and Hi-Loft) to make them flexible in the right places, but also well protected from the cold.
The gloves also feature Tri-Dex dexterity and Gore-tex for flexibility and waterproofing properties.
Black Diamond Trekker
If you want something lightweight for when you're really building up a sweat, these Trekker gloves from Black Diamond should do the job. They're simple, breathable, but still provide increased grip and blister protection.
Price: £17 | Black Diamond ski gloves
Black Diamond Legend Glove
With a name like Black Diamond Legend, it's hard to imagine those hand accoutrement being anything but awesome. This under-the-cuff glove is warm, waterproof and built to handle any conditions. It's got a goat leather shell and a neoprene cuff, with a fixed, breathable Gore-Tex insert.
Price: £75 | Black Diamond
The North Face Revelstoke Mitt
Sometimes it's fun to put some mittens on and pretend you're a child again, well you can with these Revelstoke mitts from North Face. What you lose in dexterity you'll gain in warmth - tough decision, we know.
Price: £45 | The North Face ski gloves
Forcefield Pro Shirt X-V
Fed up of being black and blue apres ski from spending a worrying amount of time on your arse? Get some full body protection from Forcefield. This (albeit slightly excessive) armour features eco-venting and a BeCool base so it doesn't suffocate you. Removable modular pads and an ergonomic design ensure premium comfort as you tumble down the side of a mountain.
Price: £150 | Forcefield ski body armour
Sweet Protection Bearsuit Soft Back Protector
Maybe the Pro Shirt body armour is a bit much? This soft body shell is a little more enthusiast. Made with 'SAS-TEC visco-elastic shock absorbing foam' which we, errr, guess is a good thing.
But, please note: don't be fooled by the name. This will not protect you from bears.
Price: £100 | Sweet Protection
Garmin Fenix 3
The Garmin Fenix 3 is a brilliant all-rounder. It's currently residing in our best GPS running watch list, but it also makes a stab at tracking other sports, including cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and snowboarding.
The Fenix 3 can record your speed, distance, vertical drop, as well as using sensors to tell you the temperature, air pressure and altitude.
Price: £280 | Garmin
We won't rest until absolutely everything is electrically heated here at T3. We've already seen the gloves, now we're presenting the socks. Made by Therm-ic, these socks have warming systems spread evenly across the entire sole of your foot.
There are three levels of heat, and the battery lasts between 3.5 hours and 16 hours, depending on your heat setting and battery size.
Price: £40 | Therm-ic
PIQ claims to be the most advanced ski wearable, capable of tracking your runs, as well as analysing your turns and jumps. For each activity you complete you'll get a PIQ score, with accurate data, G-Force, air time and rotation.
You can preorder the device now, with deliveries expected to arrive in February.
Price: £149 | PIQ
Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp
We raised an eyebrow when BlackDiamond described a headlamp as 'revolutionary,' but we figured we'd hear them out. Firstly it's rechargeable via USB and, when that's not an option, it'll take AAA batteries. Not bad. There are three modes: “Distance mode is powered by one TriplePower LED, two SinglePower LEDs power proximity mode and two SinglePower red LEDs power night vision mode,” the company claims.
Price: £36 | Black Diamond