What We’re Wearing, Skiing 23/24: Kara Williard

Some of my Skida neck warmers have been washed upwards of 50 times and while they may have faded a tiny bit, they are just as soft. I am pretty sensitive as to what material is touching my face, particularly in cold and windy conditions, so something this soft is important.

On cold days, I will wear a BlackStrap balaclava, often layered with a neck warmer. This balaclava is great for locking a bit more heat in around my head (especially my ears), and it’s made a huge difference on really cold days (say -10ºF with windchill).

(5) Gloves / Mitts

I have spent time in a broad range of gloves and mitts throughout the past several years, and this has resulted in having a sort of glove quiver where I rely on several options, depending on the day and conditions.

Most often, I opt for a midweight, insulated leather glove like the Black Diamond Spark Glove. It’s a simple but warm-enough glove that provides great dexterity. I use this glove for resort and touring days alike, and I appreciate that it provides a pretty snug fit and allows me to do quite a bit without having to take off the glove.

My hands and feet are (unsurprisingly) the coldest parts of my body and generally require a bit more care and warmth than just about anything else. On really cold days, I have been a huge fan of the Gordini Polar Mitt. It is a very warm mitten and can cause me to overheat on less-frigid days. But on the days that do justify wearing it, I have loved how warm and insulative this mitt is, and after three seasons of use, it has proven quite durable. It’s a pretty thick mitt and definitely doesn’t lend itself to much other than keeping my hands super warm, but it does a great job of this and I am glad to have it in my glove quiver.

I also sometimes just prefer a mitt, but on days when the Gordini Polar Mitt would be overkill, I opt for the Swany Calvin Mitt. This is an insulated leather mitt that is more breathable and offers far better dexterity than the Polar Mitt, making it a good option for a lot of storm days or colder days. I have used this mitt extensively for the past 3-4 seasons and it has held up reasonably well, though I have had to re-waterproof it and there are now a couple of holes in the interior of the mitten.

On warmer spring days, I will opt for a pretty simplistic leather glove such as the classic Flylow Tough Guy Glove. We recently got a bunch of Flylow’s overhauled glove collection, so stay tuned for more about those pieces this season.

(6) Ski Socks

I only wear one model of ski sock, with one exception. 95% of the time, you’ll find me in the Bridgedale Ultra Fit. I have been pretty loyal to this sock for the past 8-9 years. It’s ultra thin, but does a great job of wicking moisture. More than anything, it doesn’t add volume to my already super-snug ski boot fit and provides a really smooth, seamless, and uniform fit. It’s one of the few socks that I haven’t had any issues with in terms of rubbing or abrasion. And despite how thin it is, each pair has lasted a very respectable amount of time.

To be totally honest, I am not the best at washing my ski socks very often, especially in the heart of ski season. Given that, I have always been impressed by the Bridgedale Ultra Fit’s ability to mitigate odor and continue to feel comfortable, even when it’s a few days dirty.

The aforementioned exception to this 1-sock quiver is when it’s really cold and the safety of my toes is a concern above all else; in those instances, I have been appreciating the Therm-ic V2 UNI S-1200 Sock Set (a heated sock). For the past two seasons, I have been relying on these socks for cold days and I’ve been really impressed. It’s a pretty simple heating system and the sock itself meets the mark as far as being somewhat thin, anatomical, and good at wicking moisture.