It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that I couldn’t be more pleased to partner with a brand that represents both stylish and functional skiwear. As a Peak Performance ambassador in Canada, I will get to do so much of what I love most: shop, ski and review.
And while I’m technically supposed to be a Peak ambassador for its FW18 (that’s fall/winter 2018 for any of you non-fashionistas) ski line, the brand was kind enough to send me some goodies from its FW17 collection, which is what you’ll currently find in-store or online.
It’s a great time to buy skiwear because as we near the mid-season-point, some things are starting to go on sale. The nice thing about Peak Performance’s aesthetic is that it’s streamlined enough that any 2017 pieces you buy will probably end up working beautifully with the new 2018 pieces.
I’m excited to tell you about all of the things I’ve been testing out for several weeks in all kinds of winter weather between Ontario and Quebec. Because of the ever-changing nature of online shopping, however, I’m going to provide the names and style numbers for each item rather than hyperlink them — this will ensure Google doesn’t hate me when the links become broken as items sell out and are removed from Peak’s website. Just use Peak’s excellent search tool; it won’t steer you wrong if the piece is still in stock.
Note: if you search a style number on Peak Canada’s site and can’t find it, it could still be available at Peak Oakville’s online store, which has really fast shipping and free returns. So double-check there to be sure it’s not totally gone.
Oh! And be sure to scroll down when you’re checking out an item’s description and technical specs because several products have a windproof/waterproof/breathability/warmth rating, too. This was especially helpful for me when I was looking for my perfect Peak Performance ski jacket.
Peak Performance size guide
But before I dive into the goodies, let me first mention Peak’s online size calculator. It’s more interactive than what you’re probably used to and I found it helpful making the right sizing choices for the most part. When you click to look at just about any item on the site, beside all of the size options, there’s also a “Find Your Size” button. Click it. Enter your age, height, weight, bra size (ladies only, obviously) and even your general body shape (e.g. hourglass, pear, apple).
From here, every time you review a new item, you can assess what size will work best by clicking this. And it saves your measurements so even if you leave the site and return weeks later, it’s still there so you can keep shopping.
I love this feature because every brand fits differently, and even pieces within the same brand can have slimmer or more relaxed fits. Since Peak is a Swedish brand, I knew the European sizing would throw me if I relied on selecting small, medium, large or extra-large sizes on my own. For reference, I wear an 8 or medium in brands like GAP and lululemon, but when you put me in a Euro-brand, I’m a 42 (which usually equates to a large or even an XL in some cases). It turns out that I’m most consistently a size large in Peak’s stuff.
BUT, I want you to learn from my mistake because a few items I ordered ended up being too big. And that’s because as someone who is in the process of getting fit but who isn’t in the habit of frequent weigh-ins, I used my most recent weight for the size guide. Obviously I’d lost five pounds or so since then and that five pounds meant the difference (for me, anyway) between two different sizes.
If you can get to a store to try something on, that’s always my first recommendation. But the next best thing is Peak’s size guide — as long as you really know your current weight and you don’t fudge on any of the measurements.
Peak Performance FW17 skiwear
I’m one of those people who’s always cold. Even in my own home, where I’m in charge of the temperature, I wear slippers most of the time and need to curl up under duvets to stay warm.
So when I’m outside, it’s imperative that I stay warm right from the get-go, or that chill gets into my bones and I just can’t shake it until I sit in front of a roaring fire for a couple of hours. I’m the wimp that has Gore-Tex mitts yet still puts hand-warmers inside of them. The wuss who needs toe warmers just to shovel my driveway. And yet I also can’t get sweaty in my skiwear, because if the sweat gets cold, it makes me even colder. I’m a difficult conundrum. Get the picture?
That’s why, when I bought my last two sets of skiwear, I relied on personal references rather than marketing materials to inform my purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, everyone’s idea of “cold” is different, so this can be a tough nut to crack. Until today — because if you’re just a super-duper cold kind of person and feel like no one understands your reaction to freezing temps and yet you also need clothes to breathe, I AM HERE TO BE YOUR BAROMETRE.
I think it’s important to note that Peak’s prices are smack in between what I’ve purchased in the past. It’s not like I haven’t had very good-quality skiwear or haven’t invested heavily — my ski jackets in the past have been between $600 and $950, while the one I have from Peak goes for $750 — but I’ll say that overall, nothing I’ve owned has performed like my Peak gear.
Here’s everything I’ve been using on the slopes these days, literally from head to toe:
Women’s Multi Baselayer Tights (search online using style code “G63083001”), $100
A merino wool,-Thermocool®-elastane fabric blend, these are the thinnest base layer bottoms I’ve owned and yet they offer the same warmth as thicker merino wool leggings. I like the colour blocking because I’m in the habit of keeping my base layers on for après-ski. Although the product description says they’re a narrow fit, I actually find they’re a really nice fit; the waistband would be the only part I would say is on the narrower side. Big bonus: they have a hanger loop at the back! This may not seem like a big deal to most but as someone who has been known to wear up to three layers under her ski pants on the coldest days, when you have to air out all those suckers at the end of the day, it’s so nice if you can hang them all up on hooks.
Ski Sock Warm (G32655020), $30 + Merino neck gaitor (G62038010), $50
I have a rather large collection of ski socks, in an ongoing quest to find a pair that are thin enough for a proper ski boot fit, cushioned enough to provide all-day comfort but warm enough to ski for hours without a break. On -20 days and colder, I still need toe warmers with these Peak ski socks, but they are now my go-to sock of choice because they provide the best overall functionality and warmth combined.
I’m a huge fan of merino anything because it’s temperature-regulating and antimicrobial and never smells no matter how much you decide to wear it between washings. And this is the first neck gaitor I’ve had that’s thin enough to allow my ski jacket to do all the way up! I ordered the small size because my hands, wrists, fingers and neck tend to be child-like in size, and it fits but is definitely small so keep that in mind when ordering.
Balaclava ski mask (G57013023), $50
This is my fourth balaclava and I finally have a winner. My others have either been too thick for my helmet to fit over properly, didn’t cover enough of my face to make it practical or didn’t allow me to pull the face part down comfortably if I got too warm. The Peak balaclava is a happy medium that meets all my weird needs. It’s thin but backed with fleece, has a hinge-like design that makes pulling it up and down off my face easy and even goes down my neck far enough that on days that aren’t stupid cold, I can forego the neck gaitor if I want to.
Women’s Yorba Hooded Mid-layer (G63134020),
$120 $84 on sale!
Although this is featured as a mid-layer, I have actually been wearing the Yorba Hoodie as a base layer and it’s probably my favourite piece out of the entire collection. It’s not only warm and moisture-wicking, but it has a hood that’s designed perfectly to add extra warmth under my helmet on days that aren’t cold enough for a full balaclava. The fit is KILLER. I ordered a M/L in this and it fits soooooooo well. The seamless construction probably helps!
Women’s Heli Hybrid Jacket (G63081011), $250
Hands-down my favourite mid-layer because it has down-filled areas to keep your core and outer arms extra-warm without adding extra heat in other areas of the jacket on days when you don’t need it. It’s also sporty but stylishly so.
This water-repellent, wind-resistant layer was what I used recently in Tremblant for most of my 2.5 km alpine touring hike up the mountain; it got too warm for my jacket as I worked up a sweat, but it was still -25 degrees in Canada and I needed protection from the elements! My only regret here is that the dusty pink colour was no longer in stock.
Women’s Helo Liner Vest (G54431028), $175
Since I had to exchange this for a different size, I haven’t spent as much time in it as I would have liked before writing this, but what I like most about it is that it dips down a bit at the back to give your bum some extra warmth. It’s also good-looking enough to layer overtop of a sweater or sweatshirt for après or just running errands around home. Looks AH-mazing over the tech hoodie down below.
Women’s Helium Hybrid Liner Anorak (G63081003), $250
After seeing the burgundy colour in-store and trying on a large, I was kind of sad that I chose the black in an XL. The burgundy is soooooo nice in person and the large is a better fit for me. BUT… I decided to keep the XL for the most bitter-cold days that are not so uncommon here in eastern North America and use it to layer over a base layer AND a mid-layer jacket or vest. They’re all thin enough that even three layers still fits nicely under my ski jacket and I can move my body well on the slopes, but together they work together to make me feel like I’m skiing in a warm cocoon. It has a duck down fill power of 700 so it’s incredibly warm even on its own, but is SUPER lightweight all things considered. The neck zips up really high, too, which I love. And like all of Peak’s other insulated mid-layers, it packs down into nothing.
Women’s Whitewater Ski Jacket (G62932001), $750
It’s my first Gore-Tex jacket (despite the fact that it is somehow less expensive than one of my other ski jackets?!) and I don’t know if I could ever go back. I have never been warmer or dryer — and we have had the misfortune of skiing in freezing rain recently! The “crunchy” part of me loves that the Whitewater jacket uses an eco-friendly dye process without water.
What else do I love about my jacket? Let me count the ways… there are enough pockets to house all of your personal items (including pockets big enough for even a large smartphone); a goggle wipe attached to one pocket; zippered armpit vents; a hood big enough to go over your helmet; a sleek silhouette that also has an internal drawstring to cinch the waist; and it’s 100 per cent windproof, waterproof and breathable. The elastic wrist gaitors are nice and thin so they don’t feel bulky if I’m wearing mitt liners and mitts.
There’s also a powderskirt, which is a must when the prospect of falling into deep powder is a distinct possibility. Saving the best for last, though, I have to tell you about a very important safety feature on all Peak Performance jackets, and that’s the built-in RECCO reflector. Ski resorts and rescue teams carry RECCO detectors; these send out a search signal looking for RECCO reflectors, which bounce back a directional signal allowing a mountain rescuer to find you!
Women’s Taos Ski Pants (G46879009), $500
I was nervous about choosing “fancy” ski pants over something more typical of what I’ve chosen in the past but I absolutely loved the stylish look of these ski pants when I first saw them online and just had to go for it. And they’ve performed even better than I could have imagined! Aside from being the most gorgeous ski pants I’ve ever worn, they’re also the most comfortable because they’re like a second skin.
Maybe I love them so hard because they go so high up the back that I feel really supported all the way around my torso. Plus, they bend and move like you’re wearing leggings! And the bottoms are reinforced to help add longevity, with snow gaitors that are thicker than any I’ve seen on any other pair of ski pants from any brand. (I will have to let you know with the FW18 ski pants if this is typical of all Peak pants).
Because Peak rates these as having 70 per cent waterproofness, I was really worried the day it started freezing rain on us, but I’m happy to report it just beaded right off. The only times I’ve had to change out of my Taos pants were on those days with the brutal wind chills that bring temperatures down into that -30 and below range.
If you’re tall, you’re in luck; although I’m only 5’7″, I have very long legs (32″ length in jeans) — but a very short upper body. And there’s still room for another inch or so of leg and at least half a FOOT of room in the suspenders. I have no doubt even a woman measuring 6’2″ could wear these.
Peak Performance FW17 après and urban wear
Women’s Fav Tank (G63228003),
$70 $49 on sale + Women’s Awa Jeans (G61607003), $160 $112 on sale!
The Fav Tank is the perfect basic. It’s 100 per cent Lyocell — which is a kind of rayon that’s made from wood pulp — and has a sleek fit. It feels great on its own, as a layer or even as a PJ top on all of your best chalet adventures.
I just went through a big jean-buying splurge, and (unfortunately for my bank account) I have a real penchant for the way expensive jeans fit. By comparison, these jeans — even at full price — would be half of what I spend on most jeans, so I wasn’t sure that getting a pair of jeans online that I hadn’t been able to touch or try on would work but they did!
I wear a 29 or 30 in most jeans, but chose one size up from usual with these (a size 31 in a 32″ length) because of that whole European thing, and they’re a perfect fit. They have excellent stretch and they’re the right kind of high-waisted: they don’t look or feel like mom jeans but they prevent the mom pouch from escaping into the wild and scaring the natives. They taper beautifully and look equally as good with mukluks as they do with heels.
Women’s Merino Roll Neck Sweater (G64488005),
$150 $105 on sale!
So gorgeous I wear it to work. I have the XL so mine is a looser fit, but it’s nice to have pieces that aren’t super fitted and let you just feel totally relaxed. This is one of only three hand-wash pieces I have from Peak, which is pretty awesome (see my final notes at the end for thoughts on washing).
Women’s Original Printed Crew Neck (G61138016),
$120 $84 on sale!
I didn’t realize when I ordered it online that this was going to be sweatshirt material, but I kind of love it for après-ski dinners at places that require you put in a bit of effort when you just want to stay in loungewear. The print adds some pizzazz but it’s still the ultimate in comfort.
Cashmere scarf (G63395005),
$130 $91 on sale!
This is, understandably, another one of the hand-wash items to which I referred earlier. And it’s actually 80 per cent wool and 20 per cent cashmere, but don’t let that fool you — it’s very soft and feels much more like cashmere than wool. It’s a great size, too — not too big, not too small. Loops around your neck just like a pashmina.
Women’s Splendid Shirt (G62509008), $160
The slits at the sides, which are better seen in the photo below, are everything. This shirt goes with jeans, it goes with pleather leggings and it even works tied at the front. It’s great done up. It’s great undone. Keep the sleeves down or roll ’em up. It’s just a great shirt no matter how you style it.
It’s great open with the Fav Tank underneath or wrapped up in the Cashmere Scarf, too. The relaxed “boyfriend” fit juxtaposes so nicely with the crisp, all-business cotton. Have I mentioned I love this shirt?
Women’s Tech Zipped Hooded Sweater (G60122056),
$200 $140 on sale!
A hoodie with serious style and versatility. If you need to go straight from slope to party, it can easily double as both your mid-layer and your après-wear. The elastic cords at the top give it a unique twist on the traditional hoodie.
Women’s Alum Vest (G54431020),
$240 $168 on sale!
Paired with the Yorba Hooded Mid-Layer, this is my most cherished look. I love the clean, sporty lines that were clearly designed with fashionable sensibilities (even if functionality comes in a strong second). It’s an awesome lightweight vest that you can use on days where you just need a hint more warmth around your core but not on your arms, but its so incredibly stylish that I frequently choose to wear it for an après night out.
Arrowheat hat (G55733008), $50
Yeah, yeah — more merino wool. But if it ain’t broke… Seriously, merino is da bomb when you don’t know what weather your day or night is going to bring because it stands up to so many different types of conditions. I’ve received so many compliments on this cute hat! (Also a hand-washer.)
One last note on Peak’s quality…
If all of the above isn’t apparent enough that I’m a big fan… let’s talk laundering. All but three of the pieces I own can GO IN THE WASHING MACHINE. Even the ski jacket and pants! Even the down-filled stuff! Not everything can go in the dryer, as you might expect, but you’d probably be surprised as I was about how many can.
Even if you’re not a skier or boarder, I urge you to check out Peak Performance. I’m one smitten kitten.