Ski fashion: What to wear (and what not to wear) at the snow

 Are you a gaper and you don't know it? Fashion faux pas give gapers away at the slopes.

Skiers and snowboarders can be a judgmental lot. Laughing from the chairlift at beginners frozen in pizza pie ski formation on the slopes below, sniggering at the fashion faux pas in the lift queue and generally forgetting that they too started their ski resort life as gapers.

If you don't know what a gaper is then chances are you are one. It's American for gumby, which in Canada is known as a joey - someone who is clueless while those around them are not.

Navigating the foreign world of skiing and snowboarding is as challenging as walking up those steel grid stairs in ski boots while carrying your skis, incorrectly, across both arms and wiping out those on either side of you. It is inevitable that you will make mistakes you won't even know you're making. Thank God the non-gapers are there to put you down.

First up, there's a certain way to carrying the skis or snowboard that must be mastered in order to be accepted by the non-gapers who, by now, are cruising that chairlift overhead. We've all been caught in our early days carrying our skis upside down, or worse, trying to click into them back to front.

Then there's the art of getting on and off the chairlift. The telltale alarm and sudden mid-air chairlift stop is a giveaway that a gaper just alighted taking a handful of punters down onto the snow for the count.

But what really gives the gaper away is fashion, or lack of it. Before I was educated in the ways of the ski and snowboard world I dared to ski with an empty backpack, my jacket wide open and my hair flowing under a beanie. I was even caught out with the legs of my ski pants tucked up high above my ski boots. Lord knows how I was allowed back in the national park gates.

Lucky for you I survived my gaper days, so I can advise you on what not to do. Under no circumstances are jeans ever OK on a ski field. Texan ski pants (jeans) just scream clueless. Besides, denim gets wet and retains the cold.


Ugg boots should remain in your ski lodge, they are not for apres bars, and Moonboots don't even belong in your lodge. They were ugly the first time round, never really took off the second time round and should not be given oxygen to even contemplate a third revival attempt. Burn them as a sacrifice to Ullr the snow god; we need all the help we can get this season.

To fur or not to fur? This isn't Aspen and quite frankly all those fur shops in Aspen just make me ill. The mere fact you are skiing or snowboarding at all reveals your socio-economic status, a fur is just rubbing it in when the coyote, mink or rabbit could do with their skin back.

Helmets are a must. Goggles are too. A gap or space between your goggles and your helmet is not. This is known as a gaper gap.

Please zip your jacket up. If you are warm then open the pit zips, if you don't know what a pit zip is then you bought the wrong jacket. Skiing with your jacket wide open or even halfway down like a Greek Adonis just looks plain foolish.

Onesies are contentious. To some they are back in fashion, to others they never went out, to the remaining few they should be reserved for retro ski days only. The call is yours but be warned, if you wear one then you had better be a damn good skier or boarder or you'll never pull it off.

Dancing in your ski boots just shows a lack of organisational skills or accommodation in the boon docks too far away to change your footwear. It may be OK in Europe, and really only then for tourists, which is just another term for gaper anyway.

You know those people skiing with backpacks? Well, they're ski patrol. They have a shovel, a probe, various medical supplies and a bucket load of granola in those packs. You have a stick of gum and a trail map. Put them in your pocket and leave the backpack at home.

Please constantly check your ski pants. If the legs have risen up over your ski boots to reveal your entire boot then ski to the side and pull them back down over the top of the boot. It is rude not to.

You know those other people, the ones wearing Lycra onesies? Well, they're ski racers, or think they are. Turn a blind eye and under no circumstances consider wearing Lycra on the slopes unless you plan to compete at the Olympics.

Of course, being a gaper, you'll forget all of the above anyway. The exhaustion of just getting down the bunny slopes while remaining vertical is tiring enough. Trying to look the part at the same time is not high on the agenda.

Instagram2Win a ski trip to Whistler

We've partnered up with SkiMax this season for the annual #misssnowitall Instagram instagram competition. You could win seven nights for two at the swanky Fairmont Chateau in Whistler plus lift passes for two people at Whistler Blackcomb for six days and return flights for two from Sydney to Vancouver thanks to SkiMax.

Just tag your winter-inspired Instagram pics #misssnowitall #skimaxholidays to enter. We'll publish five finalists each week with one winner at the end of the season. See this week's top entries in the gallery at the top of the page.

The Fairmont Chateau in Whistler.

The Fairmont Chateau in Whistler.

Pro photographers can win a Sony 4k Action Cam with Helmet Side Mount and Board Mount worth $697 (they are not eligible for the Whistler prize) by tagging their pics #misssnowitall #skimaxholidays #pro. We'll choose one pro shot a week as a finalist with one overall winner at end of season.


The Sony 4k Action Cam.

The Sony 4k Action Cam.

Click here for competition terms and conditions.

Follow on Instagram and Twitter @misssnowitall

See also: Rabbit's amazing run through avalanche caught on camera

See also: How Tinder has changed ski resorts