“You could say that winter is in my blood,” says Chris Andersen. The Calgary native has been skiing since he was 2, snowboarding since 10, and is now the general manager of Vertical Drop—Greater Cincinnati’s authority on winter wear and ski essentials, and a Loveland staple serving pros and beginners alike. From the eyes of the expert, here’s the gear you need to complete your winter wardrobe.
Pro Tips for Choosing the Right Gear
“The difference between ski and snowboard coats—compared to a traditional winter coat—is waterproofing and breathability,” Chris stresses. “It’s going to keep you insulated, but also let your body heat breathe.” Look for jackets with moisture-wicking properties that get moisture out and keep it from coming in.
Winter athletes have a unique perspective on undergarments. “We look at it as a layer-based game—you start with a base layer, which can be of a couple different thicknesses. From there, it’s based on whatever the outdoor temperature is. When you’re going on a ski trip, these layers are crucial.” Usually made using synthetic fabrics with moisture-wicking properties.
When it comes to goggles, it’s important to think about when and where you’ll be using them the most. “You really want to look at where you’re going to be skiing,” Chris says. “During the day, at night, or a mix?” While some goggles are available with multiple lenses, others include just one. “Decide whether you want a lens for daylight or nighttime.”
“You’re definitely the odd one out if you aren’t using a helmet these days,” he admits. “Helmets today are super warm—you don’t even have to wear a hat underneath.” Standard features for most include adjustable venting and a fine-tuning dial for a snug fit. “It’s important to note that all helmets are designed for a single impact,” he adds. Meaning if you take a bad tumble, it’s time to get a new one.
“There’s nothing worse than having cold or wet hands—investing in a nice pair of gloves is a smart choice.” Prices depend on material—such as full-grain leather or goose down. “Mitts will keep your hands warmer—it’s more or less like an oven for your hands.”
Hoods, Gaiters & Scarfs
Like much of Vertical Drop’s inventory, these items are popular with those outside the skier crowd. “Even on a winter bike ride, a run or at a Bengals game, the Blackstrap gaiter is a phenomenal thing—you can have it in front of your face all day, and it won’t freeze, protecting you from the wind and the cold.”
Kids Ski Boots
“For kids, it’s all based on comfort—if your kids’ feet aren’t comfortable, they won’t want to ski!” Chris laughs. “It’s really just about sizing them up, and making sure they have a proper fit.” Thankfully, most kids’ ski boots are designed with comfort in mind.
VerticalDropOutdoors.com | 110 S. Second St, Loveland | 513.583.5822