Necessities for every downhill adventure

"Protective ski apparel is at the cutting edge of design for both form and function." Henri Tai

Words by Samuel Bakowski
Photography by StudioStudio

It is a testament to how far the industry has progressed that it is easy to forget that skis were originally made from wood, ski poles from bamboo, and helmets, due to the slow speeds, were not deemed a requirement.

In today’s modern ski industry the landscape has changed. Skis are now constructed from lightweight carbon fibres and the speeds that can now be achieved mean investing in good quality, well-designed protective gear is now considered a necessity.

Below we showcase some of the best helmets and ski masks that will be gliding down the slopes this season. From action sports giant Oakley, the Swedish innovation of POC to the Rockies’ stalwart Smith Optics; the companies creating modern ski apparel are relentless in their innovation.

The Oakley MOD5 ski helmet is a hybrid shell that seeks to remove any excess weight and deliver on performance and comfort. The integrated Modular Brim System not only makes the helmet compatible with any ski mask but also utilises brim ventilation to keep your vision clear.

The Oakley Airbrake XL ski mask features large lenses that enhance peripheral vision. The goggles utilise Oakley’s Switch lock interchangeable lens system, making it easy to change lens to suit differing light conditions. In addition, the ski mask features triple-layer face foam that wicks perspiration away from your skin and keeps you comfortable in even in the most hazardous of conditions.

POC, a Swedish company with a firm reputation for creating protective apparel and clothing for a wealth of action sports, have released the Skull X race helmet in six bold colours. This helmet is in a petroleum shade of yellow and features specially designed ear chambers to limit the effects on hearing so you can keep your balance on the slopes.

For the style-conscious, the only ski mask to be worn with this helmet is the POC Lobes. The location of the large lenses on these goggles - lifted to the outside of the frame - enables extra wide peripheral vision and clarity.

"Smith Optics has been manufacturing masks and helmets in Idaho since 1965." Henri Tai

Having built a reputation for creative eyewear, Smith Optics then moved into the ski helmet market where they have earned kudos for setting new industry standards for style, function and fit for their burgeoning roster of professional athletes.

The Smith Optics Vantage ski helmet is constructed with the modern skier in mind. As ski styles become faster and more aggressive, Smith Optics has produced a helmet that offers a perfect blend of technology and elegance. As with many of their products, Smith Optics utilised the knowledge of their athletes to create a performance-led helmet. The air vents, removable earpieces, and goggle integration settings allow you to adjust the helmet to match different weather conditions.

The Smith Optics I/0 ski mask was released in tandem with the Vantage helmet. Both are a collaboration launched through Woolrich and feature the brand’s detailing. These goggles feature anti-fog and anti-scratch lenses, suitable for both bright and low light, and the integrated Porex filter system ensures no optical distortion as you race down through differing altitudes.

For those that like to ski to their favourite music, the Smith Optics Outdoor Tech Wired Chips work with every Smith Optics helmet. With over 10-hours of playback and compatible with your mobile phone connection, these are a must-have for those wishing to glide down the slopes to a bespoke soundtrack.

"Skiing is going through a style renaissance. Elegance has returned to the mountain." Henri Tai

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