Snow fashionable


It doesn't have to be an uphill battle to look good going downhill.

Although the high-energy, amped-attitude style that defines snowboarding fashion is apparent in the latest boarding gear, there's lots of room for personal expression in the sport.

"When I ride, I like to wear loose clothing that's comfortable and colours that are bold because that suits my personality," says Palmer Taylor, a Canadian Olympic snowboarding team member who rides at Blue Mountain, Ont. "It shows who you are and it makes you an individual - it's almost like a confidence booster."

Snowboarding is expected to be a crowd favourite at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

"Everyone wants to be at the half-pipe event this year," says Shawna Olsten, a Vancouver-based spokesperson for Roxy Canada. "These athletes aren't only pushing the idea of what is physically possible but looking good while doing it."

Bright shades of violet, turquoise, mustard yellow, orange, coral, and lime are a large part of what's currently looking good in solid and patterned outerwear for both women and men. Although jackets often show case the brightest colours, coordinating pants and overalls also make a bright mark.

Plaids and checks form stylish equations with colour blocking another popularly used formula. Other edgy patterns include logo prints, scrawls and graffiti motifs, as seen on some of the clothing designed by one of Team U.S.A.' s key contenders for snow boarding gold, Gretchen Bleiler.

"My Signature Series collection for Oakley was inspired by three things: The environment, back-country boarding and street art," says Bleiler.

Bleiler, a three-time X Games Gold Medalist and Olympic Silver Medalist, co-created and put her stamp of approval on the Gretchen Bleiler Signature Series collection by Oakley, which features outerwear jackets, pants and organic tees that can be worn both on and off the slopes.

Brightly coloured and patterned jackets also pair well with neutral coloured board pants in white, grey, black and earth-inspired shades of olive green and brown.

Eco-friendly is a recent and growing trend in the industry with a number of well-known snowboarding apparel companies making garments from recycled and recyclable materials.

"Also, be conscious of your responsibility to the environment and shell out the extra cash for outerwear made from recycled fabrics," says Roxy's Olsten.

Trim on outerwear and accessories such as hats also reflect organic tendencies with novelty wooden and brass-coloured buttons. A trend to organic texture carries through in slouchy, gathered toques made of materials such as lambs wool and angora and is also seen on grey and dark blue board pants with a ribbed, denim-like surface.

Women can also choose to go for the gold in fancy goggles with metallic, rhinestone and floral embellishments.