I’ve chased winter most of my life. As a life-long alpine ski racer and then a journalist that covered World Cup ski racing, my world revolved around snow-covered slopes and sub-zero temps from California and Maine to Austria, New Zealand and Chile.
Finding winter gear to fit my curvier figure has always been a struggle.
Even in my most fit and athletic days, I wore a size 10 or 12. The only ski pants that would fit me were generally men’s pants that were too baggy. My speed suits were generally the same size as World Cup men. I envied the women that could find the trendiest jackets and fitted ski pants in their size.
When I stopped racing competitively after graduating college, I gained weight like so many former athletes. You start a full-time job where you sit at a computer all day and the regular workout schedule with your team disappears. You have a nice salary, so you go to a lot more happy hours. These are very normal things, but it does mean that I changed sizes. Winter gear became even more difficult to find.
Like so many retail brands, it’s taken outdoor gear brands too long to offer plus sizes (and very few offer above a 3X). I generally believe there’s been a slow adoption because of the general and FALSE belief that fat people don’t like to get outside and being active. I believe that a lack of access to winter-appropriate clothing keeps many fat people from being able to enjoy and participate in winter sports.
Major retailers like The North Face and Helly Hansen offer dozens (if not hundreds) of jacket styles and only offer a handful of plus sizes outerwear jackets. Luckily, there are a few outdoor gear brands that offer an expanded size range and selection of winter jackets, ski pants, thermals and more.
"Major retailers like The North Face and Helly Hansen offer dozens (if not hundreds) of jacket styles and only offer a handful in plus sizes."
Columbia. Columbia was the first brand I purchased plus size ski gear from. Their ski pants were designed to fit my curvy figure and provide easy movement on skis. I wore the same pair of ski pants for years as I trekked across the globe working for Ski Racing Media. They were well worth the investment and they came in cute colors, too. I also owned a black hooded puffy jacket, a staple for cold days standing at the bottom of a race course.
Plus Snow. Plus Snow offers an amazing size range for all genders.The Australia-based company carries ski pants, jackets, thermals and more in sizes 18-30. While I haven’t personally been able to test their gear, any company that makes winter gear this accessible, deserves a shout out.
LL Bean. LL Bean is a classic outdoor brand that now offers up to a 3X. When I went to their women’s clothing section recently, a quick filter for 3X items revealed 200+ items including on trend sherpa hoodie jackets and ultra cozy puffy jackets. While it’s true their size chart only goes to a 3X, I am pleased with their selection of outdoor friendly gear.
While I don’t consider myself an athlete anymore, I do still enjoy being out in the sparkling beauty of the mountains. It’s core to who I am. These days, I spend less time on skis and more time enjoying the glam aprés experience. That means, in addition to outdoor gear that can withstand a blizzard, I also need cute aprés ski outfits to hang out in. Dia & Co has an adorable selection of winter items that I’d toss in my bag for my next winter getaway.
Get the right gear and your girl gang, and enjoy winter wonderlands around the globe in style.