By Rachael Hodson
Minimizing our carbon footprint can extend much farther than riding city transit to the ski areas. If you start looking, you’ll find many companies that offer environmentally friendly winter gear, which can make you feel good about the clothing you’re wearing and the equipment you’re buying. Here are several standout companies who are making the effort to search out sustainable products and produce them in a way that is kind to our earth as well as being progressive in design, functional and just plain cool!
1. Eddie Bauer’s Ultra-195 Merino Baselayer Top and Pant ($51.75-$59.25) will keep you toasty warm and dry on an adventurous day. This Merino wool, from New Zealand, is considered the softest wool around and won’t make you itch. Besides being comfortable in your britches, you can be comfortable in the knowledge that Merino is traceable right to the farm where it came from and assures consumers that environmental sustainability, social responsibility and animal welfare issues are being monitored closely. eddiebauer.com
2. Because SmartWool has made a conscientious effort to support sustainable farms in New Zealand, we’ve included their men’s and women’s ski socks, beanies and even ski gloves! Their soft PhD Ski Light and Ultra Light Socks ($18.95-$21.95) are a great choice for skiers and boarders. Our toes were comfortable and warm after 6 hours of skiing. SmartWool’s Winter Gloves ($90) are made of genuine leather and Merino wool and are toasty and stylish. One skier mentioned that these gloves were slightly itchy, so if you’re sensitive look for an alternative. smartwool.com
3. The Canadian company Nobis has found a niche for being unique in a world of black skull caps. Check out their site for their newest collection of beautiful headwear, which represents a company who has searched high and low for the most sustainable and eco-friendly materials on the market. Try the Madison or the Jaye for comfort and style while on the slopes. nobis.ca
4. Osprey Packs encourages all of their customers to Leave No Trace. This is very important to their company and to the land they care so much about. For skiers and boarders who love the backcountry, check out the Kode Series built specifically for snowplay. A diagonal ski carry, vertical board carry, hydration system, helmet carry, avy gear compartment and goggle pocket come standard in each pack. Osprey Packs were built to be ripping down Wolverine Cirque! We also loved the Helix Daypack ($69) and appreciated the recycled materials that went into its production. It’s light enough for school or work, but can still handle a full day on the slopes. ospreypacks.com
5. The name says it all, Planet Earth is committed to finding new methods to produce trendy, fashion-forward clothing while respecting the planet upon which they thrive. Their clothing is not ostentatious or flamboyant but rather reflects the colors and tones of nature. We loved the cool look of the Station Solid Insulated Jacket and the Division Solid Pant for men. Not only are they rugged and built tough, but they’re also made from 100% recycled materials! Ladies will love the Puffy Kitty Jacket ($289.95) that’s filled with sustainable down insulation and the warm and recycled Jersey Insulated Pant ($169.95). You’ll be taking a step in the right direction when you go to their website and pick out your next riding outfit. planet-earth-clothing.com
6. Patagonia has been committed to our earth for many years, but sometimes we forget that they can still deliver the goods. With the market full of newer companies trying to make a name for themselves, it’s nice to see the good ol’ boys still standing firm in their core values. Guys and girls, check out the Rubicon Rider Jacket ($275). If this jacket doesn’t brighten your day, nothing will. This soft, warm, breathable and fully functional puffy coat is made out of recycled materials and will put a smile on your face as you cruise down the slopes. patagonia.com
7. Because of Obermeyer’s business ethics we decided to include their beautiful and daring Lani Ski Pant ($159.50). The women’s Lani is flattering, warm and will keep the moisture at bay. Guys should try the Revert Ski Pant ($179.50), which offers features similar to the Lani in a men’s fit and style. When you purchase Obermeyer products you can be confident that they’re doing all they can to offset their carbon footprint by using hydropower, recycling waste, monitoring production and manufacturing. They also use sustainable fabrics and are researching and developing materials which will help them “step lightly on the planet.” obermeyer.com
Many companies are trying to make a difference, even if the costs are great. They understand that Earth’s beauty and dwindling resources outweigh the limitations and obstacles of creating products which are sustainable and marketable.
There are even some hard goods companies who are finding ways to be more responsible in their practices. Check out movementskis.com, Burton’s Green Mountain Project at burton.com, arborcollective.com and Rossignol’s new eco-friendly, Attraxion Echo bamboo skis at rossignol.com.