For snow sports enthusiasts, buying gear is something few people take lightly. Not only is it frequently a sizeable investment, but it can also be a very important decision; you do not want to get stuck on a chairlift in a blizzard with a flimsy jacket that does nothing to stop the cold. A lot of research tends to go into these purchases as a result, as these are things we depend on. There is of course a difference between the gear you buy for a week-long beginner’s holiday on the nursery slopes, and a four-day tour in the backcountry, but one thing is becoming increasingly important for every type of mountain goer: sustainability.
By and large, if you are venturing into the mountains in any way, you are going to want to keep doing that for years to come, and you might then be conscious of how you can do your bit to ensure you can keep returning to these playgrounds year after year. Factoring in the sustainability of your skiwear is a simple step to make. And here at POW, we are endeavouring to make it even simpler with a few suggestions of how you can make you can make your gear go further.
Thankfully, the snow sports industry as a whole is far more committed to making these changes than lots of others (looking at you fast fashion), which is unsurprising given their market is immediately at threat if they do not. POW UK has already compiled a list of six eco-friendly outerwear brands you might not have been aware of here, including those who have made solid commitments from the outset such as Patagonia, Picture, and Planks, but this is aiming to make some suggestions for how you can be even more eco-conscious with your choice of outerwear.
It is worth being aware that the absolute best thing you can do (from an environmental perspective) is to buy second-hand, mend a tear, and keep your garments for longer, rather than worrying about the newest items. Alternatively, why not try borrowing or renting your kit? Especially if you are only making it to the mountains once a year, or if it is a speculative first trip, economically and environmentally it makes much more sense to try before you buy. Check out some of these great organisations that make it easier to be much more sustainable with your outerwear choices:
The One Tree Shop from the wonderful people at One Tree at a Time pride themselves on mending items to their original high standard, and they sell ex-warranty, sample or excess stock from their partners, as well as some second-hand clothing from their tight-knit mountain community.
POW UK partner Ecoski want to help skiers make better choices for the planet and keep these vast amounts of technical gear in circulation for longer. They offer four choices to accomplish this: you can get your kit repaired (or purchase repaired kit), rent, or buy preowned or from their selected ‘kit with a conscience’. Endorsed by POW UK ambassador Chemmy Alcott, they're hoping to bring circularity to outerwear and allow more people to enjoy the benefits of renting all of their ski gear, not just the equipment.
Some of the major brands are acknowledging this impetus to buy second-hand/ex warranty/repaired gear and are now including a sister website for exactly that purpose.
Patagonia’s site ‘WornWear’ is up and running and offers great discounts on used and exwarranty gear.
North Face’s ‘Renewed’ is currently up and running in Germany, with plans to roll out to lots of other countries very soon, in recognition of the demand for refurbished clothing.
It is worth including Skibay on this list purely for the amazing bargains you can stumble upon, not just for outerwear specifically but all gear! I can personally vouch for this route, as my skis and avy gear are pre-loved finds from this goldmine of a Facebook group.
Depop – if you are willing to spend a bit of time trawling past the vintage ski gear that will do little to protect you from the elements, and you know what you want, then Depop might be a good option for you. It is slightly riskier (as with eBay, as it is hard to perform quality control checks) but perfect if you are on a budget and looking for stand out pieces.
Voting with your wallet can have huge effects; the more demand there is for refurbished clothing, the more quickly we can encourage a circular economy and other brands will be forced to follow suit to keep up.
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