Snowboard manufacturers may be embracing their heritage and harking back to the 1980s with some of their latest models, but thankfully outerwear brands aren’t doing the same. For the most part, fluorescent pink-and-yellow one-pieces have been consigned to the history books.
In their place has come an abundance of modern styles and tech that make it easier than ever to stay comfortable - not to mention look good - while you shred.
Will a little help from our friends at Treeline Chalets we headed to Morzine, rounded up some riders and kitted them out in this year’s best pieces from almost thirty different brands. From Alaskan peaks to Finnish streets, there’s kit in here for every condition – and a style for every taste.
Read our guide to Fit, Waterproofing, Breathability and Insulation, then feast your eyes on the best jackets and pants for 2015-2016...
Scroll through the list to your heart’s content, or skip to your favourite brand using the links below.
686 | adidas | Airblaster | Analog | Billabong | Burton | CLWR | Dakine | DC | Homeschool | Horsefeathers | Lib Tech | Neff | Nikita | O'Neill | Oakley | Patagonia | Quiksilver | Rip Curl | Roxy | Technine | Templeton | The North Face | ThirtyTwo | Vans | Volcom | Zimstern
Photography and Art Direction by Matt Georges
Models: Christian Boyd / Sarah Fish / Sam McMahon / Wendy Moore / Sarah Moussaknaoui / Jade Mullarkey-Tubb / Jamie Mullarkey-Tubb / Jason Rickwood / Hannah Ross / Jack Taylor
Production: Matt Georges / Sam McMahon / Sarah Moussaknaoui
Special thanks to Treeline Chalets, Morzine
686’s is supposedly taken from ‘personal dates and numbers’ in founder Mike Akira West's life that ‘all merged together at the perfect time.’ That was back in 1992, and nowadays the outerwear brand is still pushing a blend of fashion-conscious pieces that blend legendary skate and snow styles with modern fabric tech - they’re even relaunching the legendary Kidwell suit this season!
More currently, their line for 2015/16 also features signature styles from king of the jib kids Forest Bailey, all the way to Freeride World Tour star Sammy Luebke steezing out their top range GLCR range. The whole team is working a movie set for a late 2015 release, shot in 4K and then mashed into glorious VHS fidelity. Fuck-K, if you will.
After establishing their presence within snowboarding a few years ago now, adidas are continuing to push one of the strongest teams in snowboarding - including Kazu Kokubo, Eric Jackson, Keegan Valaika and Helen Schettini - on both their boots and apparel. They regularly send them around the globe to shoot inspiring mini-series-after-mini-series, bringing back some of the sweetest looking powder footage going.
As in previous years, they’ve focused on blending their skate, hip-hop and athletic heritage with crisp designs and tailored cuts that are as practical as they are stylish. Look out for the odd trackie one-piece design as well, especially as they’re introducing the classic ‘shell toe’ into their snowboard boot range this season.
Portland-based Airblaster came straight from the loins of one of snowboarding’s most beloved forefathers - Travis Parker - and through a mixture of understated colours and straight-up wacky prints they’ve spent the last ten-or-so years trying to inject as much fun as possible back into snowboarding.
They know as well as anyone that to have fun on the mountain, you have to be warm and dry, which is why they have a range of waterproof/breathability options from their cheap and cheerful Freedom Collection, all the way up to a 30k/20k recycled Gore Tex range (aptly named ‘Beast’). They’ve come a long way from their original Air Leash, but still remain one of the truest and best snowboard brands out there.
The younger brother to the big B, Analog have been able to do pretty much their own thing since they were founded in 1998 - originally as an underwear brand with just a young Gigi Rüf on the team! They’ve since expanded into outerwear and were one of the first companies to really nail street fashions in snowboarding, waterproofing plaid shirts to keep those urban jibbers safe and warm.
This winter they’re keeping their lines as fresh and as street-inspired as ever, with muted colour palettes and features like elbow patches and subtle camouflage carrying the brand forwards. With the like of Zak Hale and Niels Schack on board, it’s a good choice for the progressive yet understated rail riders out there.
Named for the Wiradjuri word "bilabaŋ" that means a "creek that runs only during the rainy season," over the years Billabong have expanded from a surf company into everything board sports - from skate to outerwear - showing that despite their name they’re a brand for all seasons.
Great news for the likes Wolle Nyvelt, Bode Merrill and Tadashi Fuse then, all known for bringing elements of our brother sports into their riding. With a signature line from Merrill too that boasts both performance and style, these are clothes for all conditions shredding.
What with being easily the biggest snowboard company out there, you’d think the Big B would be able to take it easy and sit back on their laurels. Not so - over the last few years, on top of creating a massive range of outerwear, Jake’s team have been pushing the sustainable side of their business, even going so far as to recycle Mountain dew bottles into water-resistant fabrics, as well as working with the likes of Protect Our Winters to show support for ecology at every level.
This year’s outerwear also features a return of the women’s L.A.M.B. collection, designed by No Doubt-er Gwen Stefani, featuring pretty out-there designs that’ll certainly get a second look on the hill. As usual though, they’ve managed to produce pants and jackets for every level and style of rider, from spring shirts and shackets all the way up to their top level [ak] Gore-Tex range.
If there’s one nation that knows good design, it’s the Swedes. Exploding out of almost nowhere, it’s become one of the most visible brands on the hill in Europe due to their bold-but-subtle block colours. If you’re around Morzine this winter you’ll be seeing their stuff round the shoulders and hips of the great guys that made this whole photoshoot possible: Treeline Chalets.
More internationally, they include the likes of Mario Kaeppeli and photographer Scott Serfas amongst their ‘family’, as well as Jamie Trinder, Lewis Sonvico, Will Gilmore and motormouth Scott Penman on their UK team, keeping domes and slopes all over the world CLR-ful!
Meaning ‘The Kind’ in native Hawaii, where they were originally founded, DaKine produce a range of clothes and accessories for a multitude of action sports. Most famously known for their backpacks, their outerwear is definitely worth a look if you spend any time at all off piste - especially as they are one of the few brands that have a women's’ range that’s both technical and stylish.
It’s no surprise, then, that perennial WL favourite Annie Boulanger has a place in their international snow team, and even less so that it also comprises Louif Paradis, Victor De Le Rue and Elias Elhardt - some of the very best snowboarders on the planet right now.
As well as netting one of the world’s best skate teams shod, DC hold their own on snow with the likes of Torstein Horgmo, Devun Walsh, Iikka Backstrom and Ryan Tiene rocking full neck-to-deck gear from the Huntington Beach-based brand.
There might be something fishy going on with a few of the designs this season, but DC outerwear will always remain a perennial favourite with the UK & European markets, having hooked loyal fans here years ago. Their gear is perfect for riders that spend most of their time lapping the park, but still want to be warm and dry when they venture off piste to shape a powder booter. Krilling it.
“Designed in the North West… If it works here, it works anywhere." That’s what Homeschool - a small, independent outerwear brand from Portland - have to say about their products, built to take whatever Mt Hood and Mt Baker have to throw at them during the deep, stormy winter months.
They’re also focused on ecological design, using materials like 37.5 Tech, which uses fibres derived from coconut husks that give natural wicking properties as well as a smaller environmental footprint. Having handled the stuff, we can safely testify that this is kit designed for snowboarders, by snowboarders.
Born in Canada but now based in the Czech Republic, Horsefeathers launched in 1993 to provide everything from tees for skating to jackets for the hill. This season sees them pulling in a whole bunch of designs and fabrics to create one of the most distinct collections with a unique colour pallette.
Eiki Helgason is a recent addition to the team, as is UK legend Tyler Chorlton, so their gear should have you covered in the streets as well as the backcountry, plus everywhere in between, and with unique projects like #SickOfTrash they’re angling to save the planet as well.
The world’s weirdest board manufacturers also make damn good outerwear, built to handle the harsh Pacific North West - even the coaches’ jacket they sent us this year weighs in at a hefty 20k waterproofing. Pimped out with muted tones and stylish cuts, this is warm winter wear that you’re not going to want to take off come spring!
Their workwear-inspired designs also use recycled fabrics and tech that’s as eco-friendly as, well, their snowboards, so you can be sure that whilst you’re killing it in the woods you aren’t killing Mother Nature too. Fredi Kalbermatten, Jesse Burtner and Ted Borland all rock Lib from head-to-toe, and if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for you.
Although Neff are primarily a boardsports lifestyle brand, they reserve a special team for those that they regards as ‘icons’ - therefore putting the likes of Kazu Kokubo, Tim Humphreys and Scotty Lago in amongst a variety of stars such as Wiz Kahlifa, Damian Marley, Deadmau5 and Snoop Dogg.
Whilst they’re best known for their hats and gloves, they also make a range of fun snowboard outerwear - you might best remember their striking burger jacket from last season. This year it’s slightly more muted, with Hawaiian and baseball style themes throughout.
No, not the 1985 song by Elton John... Nikita is an Icelandic women’s activewear brand founded in 1994 by Heida Brigisdottir, and whilst their headquarters has since shifted to Portland, Oregon (naturally), all their design still takes place in Reykjavik.
That blend of NW style meeting the freezing winters of the North Atlantic is what gives Nikita clothing such a great mix of fashion and functionality, keeping women active on the hill without layering them up in garish mountaineering colours. For 2015/16, their designs have evolved from their signature block prints to micro details and asymmetrical closure systems to stay on point, whilst their fabric tech has also taken a huge leap forward.
Back in 1952, Jack O’Neill changed the surfing game by creating the first ever neoprene wetsuit, then decades later his son Pat came up with and developed the leash. With riders like Sebastian Toutant, Jeremy Jones and Maxence Parrot onboard the snow team these days, that sense of boundary pushing and innovation still runs deep.
For 2015/16 their range includes just about everything: from ‘entry level’ lines that boast friendly block colours at low price points, to bang-on-rend stylings complemented with 20K/20K fabrics. You’ll be sure to see a lot of their mid/park ranges this year too, as Toots and Parrot are guaranteed to be battling it out over the course of the many tours taking place this winter.
Pop fact: the element that features in James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar - Unobtanium - was actually invented by Oakley founder James Jannard in 1975, using it to create and sell unique motorcycle grips. By 1983 he was also selling ski goggles, and these days they count snowboarding outerwear amongst their vast list of products.
Worn by the likes of global superstar Stale Sandbech, their pieces always feature great cuts and stylish patterns. You might not see it on the rest of their eyewear team, but only because that team is snowboarding - a collection of the most sought after riders on the planet that was compounded by last year’s Snowboarding For Me movie.
Set up by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is much more than just another apparel brand - it’s a movement. Along with the aim of making some of the most technical and high-performance outerwear out there, all of their products are built with an environmental consciousness and are designed to last years. It’s not uncommon to meet Pataguch converts who’ve been riding the same gear for over a decade!
Basically, if you’re after no-nonsense outerwear that’s also ethical, look no further. And don’t let the price tag put you off either: an expensive jacket that lasts five seasons is cheaper than five that only last for one! Plus, a large percentage of all sales profits go towards environmental campaigns - since 1985 Patagonia has donated $46 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups.
One of the most iconic logos in board sports, the Quiksilver mountain-and-wave inspired by The Great Wave off Kanawaga remains completely unchanged since it was introduced in 1969. Over the last 40 or so years the Australian-founded, American-based brand has done more than most to amalgamate the surfing and snowboarding worlds, bridging the gap between the two sister sports.
Boasting a team with the likes of Bryan Fox and the little-known Travis Rice, their 2015/16 range aims to keep you warm and dry as well as comfortably stylish. With a good range of decent styles that won’t break the bank, Quiksilver is always a good shout for snowboarders of any ability.
Originally a surfboard brand founded back in 1969, Rip Curl soon switched to producing wetsuits that used scuba-diving tech in a way that made it suitable for surfing. That cross-heritage design process is still alive in the company today; just check out the top-loading dive suit style one-piece they’ve produced for this season’s collection.
As well as Freeride World Tour champ Emilien Badoux, the winter team boasts huge names like Nate Johnstone and Victor de le Rue, a thirst for powder uniting them all. They’re obviously well catered for, as their top-of-the-range ‘Ultimate Gum’ collection all comes with 20K waterproofing as standard, as well as easy-pull zips and innovative venting systems.
One of the original female-only snowboard brands, Roxy has had an annual snow range since 1997 - as well as its hardwear products which are now coming into their thirteenth winter. As well as Olympic gold medalist and Whitelines favourite Torah Bright, the Roxy snow team also boasts double-dipping-and-flipping Brits Katie Ormerod and Aimee Fuller and is overall one of the strongest girls teams.
Roxy outerwear is always easily recognisable thanks to the palettes and shapes that it brings in from both the surf and highstreet worlds - if you’re after some togs that’ll make you look good and feel confident on the hill then their full range is well worth a look.
It all started with baseless bindings - twenty years on, Technine is still going strong and staying true to their roots, creating gear for that timeless rider following in the footsteps of legends like MFM and Scott E Wittlake. Never changing, they still aim to always make gear for “riders who spend every day of the winter on the snow."
Unless you’re a fan of the likes of Lucas Magoon, their outerwear might be too steezy for your liking. However, for riders who like to get down and dirty in rail parks and the streets, this stuff is practically heritage. If you don’t know, you’ll never know.
Smash a bunch of Illuminata insignias, hash leaves, bleach and denim together and you have yourselves a snowboard brand: Templeton. Fresh street-inspired designs made practical for snow - though cotton and polyester probably won’t suit the deep stuff, spring park laps and urban missions just got that little bit more stylish.
The North Face
When you talk about proper freeriding - adventure, the tour, big mountains, Xavier de le Rue - The North Face is more often than not one of the brands that will spring to mind. As well as making funny-looking duffel bags and down jackets for film directors, they also make some damn fine technical outerwear for people that are serious about staying protected from the mountain elements.
Basically, if Chamonix is on your agenda for this season, don’t bother showing up without at least a puffy jacket. Featuring bright mountaineering colourways, lightweight tech and heavy duty waterproofing, this season’s collection from TNF has been designed to have your back in almost any condition.
Founded in 1995 by the same brand that owns Etnies skate shoes, ThirtyTwo have now survived twenty years in the snowboarding industry - despite being mislabeled as “23" in the first ever issue of Whitelines! As well as working on the normal line of boots and a full movie this year, they’ve still managed to come up with their usual stylish selection of outerwear ready for 2015/16.
The movie in question, 2032, features one of the broadest and deepest snowboarding teams out there, with backcountry legends like Jeremy Jones sitting right alongside the likes of the creativity fountain that is Scott Stevens. It’s rumoured that it will also feature urban legend JP Walker’s last ever full part!
In 1966 Steve Van Doren created what’s now known as the ‘Authentic’ - a canvas shoe with a rubber sole. The legend goes that on the first day of business he forgot to stock his till with change for his customers, instead giving away the first twelve pairs for free, trusting that the shoppers would return the next day to pay: all twelve came back and settled up.
To this day Vans customers are amongst the most loyal, so much so that in March they will be celebrating 50 years, plus a welcome return to the world of snowboard boots after taking a season off to maintain quality. They’ve also produced yet another year of great on-trend jackets and softshells that are perfect for spring laps and après beers, all retaining the company’s impressive roots and heritage.
Volcom was founded by two surf/snow bums Wooly and T-Dawg back in 1991, and despite multi-billion dollar success it still remains ‘True To This’. The recent tri-boardsports movie of the same name is one of our team’s favourite shred films of the last few years. Stacked full of some of our favorite riders too - Terje Haakonsen, Jamie Lynn, Dan Brisse, Arthur Longo, Christy Prior, Bryan Iguchi… - their snow team is one of the very few that really deserve the modern phrase ‘all time’.
One of the few brands that have somehow tamed tech materials into something that not only performs great but also looks sick, their range this year is tailored to all styles and wallets. From backcountry Gore-Tex to urban shirts and hoods, it’s no wonder that all-terrain destroyer Pat Moore not only heads up the Stone Crew, but also has a signature line this winter.
“Friends deserve only the best" is Zimtstern’s motto, a standard they have stuck to since sewing together their first t-shirts in a Zurich garage back in 1995. They’re hoping to keep you warm throughout the winter without ruining the planet in the process - they hold themselves up to the BlueSign standard which promotes responsible supply chains, as well as using organic and recycled fabrics in their garments wherever possible.
With the likes of Simon Gruger and Deniz Cinek amongst their winter friends, their stuff packs in as much weatherproofing tech as possible alongside handy features and classic Swiss snowboarding style. Plus if your love of the mountains extends into the summer, they’re also able to kit you out in the latest in mountain bike wear as well.