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Save the Planet, Save Money, Go Skiing

Credit: Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra

Caption: Supporting some thrift stores, like the, helps others less fortunate to get out on the slopes, too.

Ski season is heating up across the country, but the freedom of sliding with gravity comes at a high cost. Most expenses are fixed and non-negotiable – lift tickets, rental gear, après cocktails. With so much money flying, don’t be tempted to scrimp on your apparel. Set yourself up for more fun with quality gear that keeps you warm and safe from the elements.

Consider hitting up consignment and thrift stores for your ski and snowboard apparel. With whatever clothing you choose, Nikwax has your back in the performance department.

If the fiscal savings doesn’t sway you, remember that you’ll also be helping to save the planet by reducing and reusing the unloved ski wear out there. Buy less, invest in longevity, and get out there to have some fun without blowing your budget. It’s a win-win-win.

Best Finds at Used Clothing Stores

 – Ski Pants – 

Go figure, but nearly every thrift store in a cold climate will have a solid selection of ski pants – often in really good condition. Look for fabrics without sun fading or large tears. Small rips in non-critical places are typically easy to mend and won’t greatly impact your comfort.

When you bring your “new-to-you” outerwear home, run them through a Nikwax Tech Wash cycle to remove oil, dirt and grime that impedes performance. Leave them in the washing machine for a second cycle of the Nikwax TX.Direct to revive the waterproofing to its original state.

– Outer Layers and Parkas 

Just as with ski pants, avoid sun-faded or ripped jackets. Ensure the main zipper and pocket zippers are all in working order. If you’re not a whiz tailor/seamstress, avoid bad zippers. They are expensive to fix.

Look for consistent fill in insulated jackets and good seaming in shells. Seek out brand names that you associate with quality. Nikwax is effective at reviving a piece back to its original performance level (or darn near), but the quality of the original fabric dictates what that will be.

– Stylish, Hipster Sweaters –

Style is big part of skiing and snowboarding culture, and individuality is rewarded in these expressive sports. Thrift stores are phenomenal places to find vintage styles, warm wool sweaters and even ironic finds that will bring a laugh to your buddies and be a killer insulating layer for you. If a cleaning is in order, try Wool Wash for a gentle cleanse before you hit the slopes.

Thrift Store Deals to Avoid

– Socks –

Don’t buy used. Invest in a new, good quality, ski/snowboard sock, which will run you about $20 per pair (plus or minus). Pack some Basewash Travel Gel to rinse the socks each night and you only need one pair for a multi-day trip. It’s easy, less costly and less stinky than the alternative.

– Long Underwear/Base Layers –

It’s not so much the intimate nature of long underwear that pushes it toward the “buy new” column. Rather, it’s that people tend to keep their long underwear until it’s good and worn out. They don’t need to be fancy, but buy them new.  And when your sweat-soaking layers get a stench, use our new BaseFresh to resore a fresh and clean smell.

Hints for Shopping at Thrift and Consignment Stores

Hint #1: Consignment stores will typically be more discerning than thrift stores with the age and quality of garments they accept.

Hint #2: Bring a spray bottle of water with you. Ask permission from the store clerk to give a light spray on the jacket. The water droplets don’t need to bead perfectly (that’s what Nikwax is for!), but the quality of beading (versus instant absorption) will give you an idea to the current state of the performance of the garment.

Hint #3: If you’re willing to roll the dice with availability, thrift and consignment stores in resort communities will have the best selection. In upscale resorts, like Aspen, Colorado, you can find top quality brand names at fractions of the cost of buying new. Even better, you can often find these garments with little to no wear.

Happy sliding!


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Style and Substance: Gloves Are the New Ironic T-Shirt or Heavy-Rimmed Glasses

There’s a reason some gloves are designed for work and some are designed for skiing. But why do the former cash in around $20 and the latter around $120?

A few years back, some smarty pants in the ski world picked up a pair of $20 work gloves, slapped some Nikwax (we’re assuming) on them, and forever changed the face of the glove industry. This one audacious act created the perfect glove: comfortable, affordable, durable and now…waterproof.

It didn’t take long for ski glove makers to catch on to the style statement. Check out these beauties from Hestra, a work-inspired design of fine leather, or these Swany mitts that are marketed directly to skiers who are tough on gear.

Without a doubt, the quality of a Hestra or Swany is worth every penny. With an annual application of Waterproofing Wax for Leather, a pair of these gloves will keep your paws warm and dry for years.

Even the finest gloves can’t withstand forever, especially if you’re doing more than just sliding downhill. If your daily winter activity is particularly grueling, you may need a glove whose first name is “work.” This is where we step in.

A work glove may be built for tough conditions, but not necessarily designed to keep you warm in cold, wet conditions. Seeing as that’s the type of weather we live for, Nikwax makes a fabric/leather waterproofer (Nikwax Glove Proof) and two full leather waterproofers (Waterproofing Wax for Leather, Cream and Liquid). As anyone who has spent time in the big, snowy world knows, drier equals warmer. And warmer equals safer.

If you’re digging ditches, loading chairlifts or just appreciate the unexpected in hand fashion, check out something like the Insulated Leather Duck Gloves or Insulated Leather Gloves, from Carhartt. These gloves aren’t your go-to for a day of powder skiing, but they sure are for a day of hard on-snow work or carefree spring skiing. At $20-28, they are affordable and tough. With the proper Nikwax formula, they’ll also stay good and dry.

Far be it from us to drop the “H” word, but as an added bonus for those inclined to style, waterproofed work gloves may just be the gateway drug to on-snow hipster-dom. At minimum, sporting a pair of these bad boys on the hill gives off just enough insouciance to keep your cool vibe. Ski safe and dry, my friends.

**We’re happy to give a shout out to all of the esteemed glove brands mentioned in this post. We’re not directly affiliated with any of them; we’re just outdoors people who know what fits us. The best glove is one that fits you well (and one that’s treated with Nikwax, naturally!).

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The Nikwax Faction Welcomes Adam Foss

Adam Foss, photo courtesy of Francesca Pirolo/Seacat Creative

Adam Foss, photo courtesy of Francesca Pirolo/Seacat Creative

Adam Foss, photo courtesy of Cam Foss/Seacat Creative

Adam Foss, photo courtesy of Cam Foss/Seacat Creative

The Nikwax Faction is a compilation of extraordinary outdoor enthusiasts. These athletes are passionate participants in all types of outdoor sports and disciplines. They represent Nikwax as evangelists by taking their Nikwax treated gear out into some of the harshest elements and coming back with photos, feedback, and songs of praise. Today, we would like to introduce you to our newest Faction member, Adam Foss.

Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Adam began bow hunting at the age of 12. By the age of 14, he was following his father, Tom, on weekend expeditions into the Rockies in pursuit of Bighorn Sheep. In addition to hunting, his passions include hiking and photographing the natural world, but it isn’t often he’ll turn down an opportunity to spend time outdoors to do just about anything from snowboarding to fly fishing. In 2012, he became the youngest person to take all four species of North American Wild Sheep with a bow. As the Conservation Director for Seacat Creative, a creative agency and media firm, he is encouraged to spend nearly 100 days in the field a year – an opportunity he takes full advantage of. Throughout the year, Adam welcomes a backpack tent as his second home, whether that’s in the backcountry mountains of Montana, the wilds of British Columbia, the Mackenzie Mountains of Canada’s Northwest Territories, or anywhere else he finds himself.

When asked what Nikwax products he uses, Adam replied, “I religiously apply Waterproofing Wax for Leather to all my Schnee’s leather boots throughout the season. I wash all my GORE-TEX® products in Tech Wash. Hunting is hard on gear, whether it’s the smoke from a campfire or blood from field dressing an animal. Wool Wash is awesome for all my merino baselayers, socks and underwear. On a ten day backpack hunt where I’m working hard and sweating a bunch, merino is a necessity. Having the proper formula to wash these pieces in keeps them fresh and lasting much longer than regular detergents.”

Not only is Adam representing Nikwax, he also represents Schnee’s Boots, is a Sitka Gear Athlete, a Leica Hunting Pro, a Mystery Ranch Backpacks Hunting Ambassador, and a Friend of Hilleberg the Tentmaker.

Right on, Adam! Right. ON.

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Early season skiing, or adventures in wet butt.

wet-buttThis past weekend, jonesing for some powder, I followed the snow to Mount Baker ski area. It was a wise choice. Mount Baker, known widely for its world record snowfall of 1140 inches in one season, was covered. It was dumping when I arrived, but it was a soggy snow down low, as the temps were hanging around 32 degrees at the base. I have no problem with Cascade concrete (as it can be half-affectionately called). Having been raised in New England, I enjoy anything that isn’t ice.

I began my runs on the hill and immediately noticed the lift operators doing an admirable job of frantically trying to clear the chairs of the ever prevalent slosh. Their efforts, however, were futile. Wet butt was running rampant all over the mountain. The amount of soggy tushes was almost comedic. I wanted to take some pictures so I could show the world, but thought it might be a tad creepy. Instead, I will outline how to prevent the wet butt epidemic in your household.

manky-to-swanky_blogNote: Before doing anything, always check your garment’s care label!

Step 1.

Wash your ski pants! Dirt, oil, and other crud can all attribute to a sopping behind. They mask the DWR (durable water repellency), so by washing you remove that offending filth. Use a technical cleaner like Tech Wash, as household detergents can leave behind water-attracting residue, and that means, you guessed it, wet butt!

(Even if you’re a seasoned pro who never falls, your pants can get dirty. Getting those skis off your roof rack? Rubbing against a dirt and slush-covered car is a good way to get grubby.)

Step 2.

Throw your pants in the dryer- if your care labels allows! The factory applied DWR can sometimes be rejuvenated by heat.

Step 3.

If the following two steps did not resurrect the waterproofing on your pants, add more! Use a product like TX.Direct. After cleaning, run a separate load in your washer with TX.Direct. Then, simply hang to dry or put them in the dryer. Nikwax waterproofing does NOT need heat to activate, so no need to dry if you don’t want.

Step 4.

Go shred! Laugh at all those poor souls, doomed to saturated seats. Or, you could pass along your superior technical product care knowledge.