What’s New for You in 1997-’98

When it comes to women’s snowboard apparel, manufacturers began figuring out what women wanted almost four years ago. Today, not only have women-owned and designed apparel companies turned a profit, such as deep, Bombshell, Betty, Prom, and Cold As Ice, but there are more technical features added to all of them, including co-ed companies, such as Burton, Bonfire, Minx, and Yang. This season, powder skirts, ventilation systems, and waterproof fabrics, such as Cordura, which you used to see in clothing only from The North Face, Burton (although Burton uses it’s own special “Gore-Tex” called Tri-Lite¨) and Bonfire, are now found in most every brand for women.

More good news this season is the style. Baggy is so far out it’s hard to even remember wearing such huge, unattractive clothing. Now, we’ve got a choice of funky colors like Betty’s Diva Jacket, to more sophisticated styles for older women snowboarders from Holly Smith, to fitted silhouette jackets from Yang. Overall, there’s so much style to chose from, according to Sportswear International Magazine, women’s snowboard apparel is greatly influencing the fashion world. Not that a skinny 6-foot+ model necessarily cares about staying warm on the top of a snow-capped peak, but you do. So remember to choose your clothing based on your region and ability level. Generally speaking, if you live in warmer areas, you won’t need all the technical features, say in Burton’s Tri-Lite series, and you might be better off with an outfit from Cold As Ice. If you’re a beginner, make sure you’ve got Cordura and/or double-stitched seams in the butt-features you’ll find in apparel from deep and Bombshell. If you prefer the backcountry, look for removable hoods (without Velcro, which will rip your hair out), good ventilation systems, powder skirts, and snow cuffs in pants.

Getting Technical:
If you’re not Kate Moss and you actually do want to stay warm in the Rockies or Vermont, you might want to check out what deep, Bombshell, Burton, Betty, Yang, Sessions, Minx, and Bonfire have to offer this season. In a nutshell, they all offer technical coats (long, over-the-butt coats), plus shorter, retro-fitted coats, pants with side zips for ventilation and/or bibs to keep you cozy. From Burton, the Tri-Lite series ($290-$370) is their most technical line. You’ll see Victoria Jealouse in the Alaskan backcountry sporting Tri-Lite’s women’s pants and convertible jacket. Their Outland series ($210-$250), which a lot of Snowbird, Utah, riders wear, is notable for its articulated knees and no-seam shoulders, which avoid pressure points when carrying a pack. (Burton also has a kids line called Backhill.) Bombshell’s top-o’-the-line is their Mosaic group, which offer powders skirts, leg gaiters, and “hot” pockets-tricot mesh lining that keeps your hands warm ($112-$250). deep’s clothing fits most women my size (5’6″ athletically built-$164-$270). The seams of their pants and bibs are double stitched and have a quilted insulation that feels super cozy in the backcountry or on frigid days. Yang pretty much maintained their ’70’s-style success. But thanks to the influence of pro rider and designer, Wendy Powell, Yang’s women’s line did add some technical features this season, including pit zips, hoods, and powder skirts in the jackets ($100-$239). Session’s women’s technal line, Summit, also stayed relatively the same. Which may a good thing since Sessions is one of two companies that have a license to use Gore-Tex fabrics ($289-$369). Big surprise this season was how technical and fashionable Betty Ride’s Diva Series and Princess Parka became. The hood on the Princess is big enough to move around in for great peripheral visibility, but won’t hide your face, plus it has a powder skirt and a Walkman pocket ($170). Their pants have internal snowcuffs, and 14″ seam venting systems. Finally, Bonfire, which was purchased by the giant ski company, Salomon, last year, has bibs with snowcuffs and venting systems that fit a little bigger than most women’s sizes. So if you’re tall or size 12+, check it out. Also, their color scheme has improved since they added grape, rose, and peach-which gives the Bonfire women’s collection a more feminine appeal than in the past ($280-$305). (Bonfire also offers a kids collection of apparel.)

Fashion-Friendly:
As the snowboarding population got older, Holly Smith manufacturers realized there was a market for clothing for the thirtysomethings and up. Their focus is for “mature women snowboarders,” according to director of sales, Kim Dvorak. Their most developed line is the Starlet collection, called the Marilyn, Audrey, and Rita-apparel that matches their names with a combination of A-line style, ’70’s jackets, vests, and pants in colors like honeydew green and passion blue ($140-$160). Minx, Wave Rave’s women’s line, falls in-between fashion in function. It is the only company that somehow combines fur collars and other unique styling features like vent zips on Gore-Tex fabric coats and pants ($110-$340). Cold As Ice’s Bikini Jacket may be one of the coolest looking snowboard jackets this season, thanks to its long, silhouette-forming appeal. The colors are also worth mentioning: rumba red, melted butter, and lip-sync lime (now that’s imaginative). Look for more women’s snowboard apparel companies to copy the Bikini Jacket’s style and colors next season. Roxy, from Quiksilver, came up with a truly unique outfit this season-the mechanic-looking one-piece suit called “Rosie the Riviter.” It has arm venting systems, interior gaiters, and an extra long zip in the front to get in and out of it pretty easily ($200). Eden Basics’ apparel stays with that So-California theme, complete with silver metallic piping, and satin pants made from a material called Westech. Most of Eden’s clothing looks as good worn as streetwear as it does riding on the mountain. Betty Rides’ wool stretch pants a la ’50’s style, also fits into the snowboard fashion category. Finally, I must mention Montoya. For some reason, I’m never clear about their snowboard apparel, or if they even have a line, but I know the owners, Dana Montoya, Megan Pischke, and Paige Clay all ride. They always have a booth full of the hippest suede skirts, shirts, and jackets, plus puffy down coats.

As for accessories, there are too many to mention. But I will list three items that have their own special appeal: DaKine’s women’s snowboard gloves, Jane Doe sunglasses, and Bugz-they look like big swimming goggles that you wear snowboarding. DaKine’s women’s Ranger gloves fit women’s hands because they’re narrower and shorter in the fingers, yet have removable liners and long powder cuffs (“gauntlet style”) with cords to cinch out snow ($69.50). Jane Does are for girls only, they claim, but mainly because they fit a woman’s face because it has shorter arms. Best thing about the Jane Doe’s is their retail price: $25. Bugz, on the other hand, work well in snowy conditions, yet aren’t big like goggles ($60). Perfect for powder turns in the trees because they don’t stick too far off your face. Bugz also provide that Amelia Earhart look-a pioneering style any woman snowboarder would love to have.

well in snowy conditions, yet aren’t big like goggles ($60). Perfect for powder turns in the trees because they don’t stick too far off your face. Bugz also provide that Amelia Earhart look-a pioneering style any woman snowboarder would love to have.