Want to go skiing this winter? We just got a preview of this new ski apparel that is bound to make you fall in love with the ski hill.
On October 25, 2023, the North Shore Mountains near Vancouver, BC, received their first snowfall of the season. It was just some dusting (and a bit more), but enough to send scores of skiers and boarders to their local shops, eager to replace leaky jackets, threadbare gloves and busted goggles. Snow season is coming right across Canada. In fact, our country’s perennial early bird, Lake Louise Ski Resort, posted November 10, 2023, as their opening day.
Are you ready? We are. In the spring of this year, our friends at Helly Hansen allowed us a sneak peek of some key pieces from their Fall/Winter 2023 line. Two items rose to the top. Let’s take an in-depth look at their Elevation Infinity 3.0 Ski Jacket and Elevation Infinity Shell Bib Pants.Helly Hansen
Elevation Infinity 3.0 Ski Jacket ($900)
A refresh of their popular Elevation Infinity Jacket 2.0, this outer layer is designed for the needs of professionals—guides, patrol, SAR and athletes. If you’re not earning a paycheck along with your ski turns, you can still shred with the confidence of knowing your kit is overbuilt and destined to overperform. How much so? Well, Helly Hansen published a list of no fewer than 30 specific elements of note on this jacket. That’s right—30. Let’s boil it down to a few killers:
- HellyTech Professional & Lifa Infinity Pro: No shocker here, this premium jacket is built with HH’s top-end waterproof and breathable fabrics and uber-durable three-layer construction with full seam-seal. This works in tandem with the Lifa Infinity Pro—a revolutionary hydrophobic and durable water-repellent fabric that keeps you dry without the use of chemical treatments. (Plus, it negates the need to ever re-treat with products such as Nikwax.)
- RECCO: While it’s no replacement for an avalanche transceiver, the built-in RECCO reflector has been proven to dramatically cut down the time it takes search-and-rescue to locate you on those snowy hills or in dense overgrowth—should you need it.
- Life Pocket: Yes, this jacket can keep you posting Instagram stories all day long! Gel insulation, sourced from NASA, helps keep your phone at an optimal temperature for battery life.
- YKK Zippers: Featuring YKK Aquaguard zips throughout, manufactured by the world’s foremost zipper-maker.
Elevation Infinity Shell Bib Pants ($750)
The perfect match to the jacket, HH’s all-new Elevation Infinity Shell Bib Pants are built with the same ultra-protective three-layer Helly Tech Professional and innovative chemical-free Lifa Infinity Pro hydrophobic outer as the jacket. Last year, the Elevation Infinity Pant came in only a standard-rise version. This edition of the full bib opens it up to freeride powder skiers and others looking for maximum protection and comfort.
Constructed similarly to the jacket, these pants also bring articulated knees, a front fly, cargo pockets, snow gaiters, side zips and reinforced lower fabrics to protect against ski edges. Similarly, RECCO and the same YKK zips are standard.Helly Hansen
On The Hill
Let’s start from the bottom up—the Elevation Infinity Shell Bib Pants. While I could ski-wax poetic on the weather protection of HellyTech Professional and Lifa Infinity Pro construction, it’s the fit and function of these pants that really carve ahead of the competition. Two massive side zippers open them up from armpits to knees, meaning parking lot changes and bathroom breaks are a breeze. These clamshell zips also allow for a very snug top opening. When combined with the jacket it would be difficult to imagine the magnitude of the yard-sale wipeout you’d have to endure before seeing any snow ingress.
Since the jacket features a chest Life Pocket, backcountry skiers and riders need to be able to stash their transceiver on their lower body. A beacon-specific pocket with a D-ring fits the bill nicely here. I loved that the pants' suspenders adjust from the front—getting the right fit doesn’t require contortionist-level flexibility.Helly Hansen
Pulling the roomy and stylish Elevation Infinity 3.0 Ski Jacket overtop created, for me, the first ski outfit in years that’s rivalled my treasured powder suit. So much thought clearly went into this shell: wrist gaiters keep snow and wind out. A massive mesh stash pocket offers a place to drop toques, gloves and goggles. The Life Pocket preserves battery life better than you think it will. A helmet-compatible, adjustable and neon-coloured hood combines vital visibility with storm protection. The incomparable durability and weather protection of HellyTech Professional is like a Star Trek deflector shield against the elements (nerd alert).Helly Hansen
The Lifa Infinity Pro on both is stiff, but comfortable and can deflect not only H2O but errant branches and other snags with ease. And is truly worth another shout-out to Helly Hansen’s development of this eco-friendly hydrophobic outer. Goodbye, toxins!
As a kickback on your purchase, Helly Hansen is offering a Ski Free promo with these (and other) items. Your purchase means a free day pass at many resorts around North America. (Two days if you buy the pants and jacket.)Helly Hansen
Gripes are few with this premium pair. But they exist. The previous iteration of the Elevation Infinity Ski Jacket featured a powder skirt—something they dropped on this new edition. While the hemline is easily snugged via internal cordage, I miss a skirt—even a removable one would have been nice. As such, this boxy jacket necessitates the use of bib pants to keep snow out.
The hand pockets have horizontal openings—great for access while sitting on the chairlift, but they’re awkward to rest your hands in while après-ing. And the chest Life Pocket is still a bit slim—it would be great to be able to stash a phone and a GoPro, but there’s no room.Helly Hansen
The Elevation Infinity Shell Pants are practically perfect. My only issue is with the chest pocket liner—it snagged on nearly every zip. This is eventually going to result in a tear, which would be a bummer to anyone who shelled out $750 on these pants.Helly Hansen
For both—and this is less a gripe than an observation—while I truly applaud the innovation behind HH’s Lifa Infinity Pro, forgoing the usage of harmful “forever chemicals” and developing a hydrophobic, treatment-free weave… Well, gone are the days of that intense “water beading” effect. The DWR of yore, toxic though it was, was so incredibly hydrophobic that water actually did seem scared of it. Today’s chemical-free offering doesn’t shed water as cleanly—however, you’ll still stay as dry as Utah powder on the inside. And Mother Earth thanks you for your sacrifice.
Gear of this calibre requires an investment. Sure, the Ski Free eases that (depending on the hill, it could be a $300 to $400 bonus), but is Helly Hansen’s Elevation Infinity combo worth $1,650? I can’t decide that for you. All I can tell you is that it performed near-flawlessly and looked incredible. I can also tell you that I’ve had personal experience with Helly Hansen gear that saw a decade-plus of heavy use without diminished performance.Helly Hansen
Ultimately, I can tell you this: gear that looks good and keeps you warm and dry means you have more fun on the hill. More fun on the hill means you ski or snowboard more frequently. More frequent trips mean you advance in your skills and share your passions with others.
See you on the slopes (in whatever you wear).
There’s More: Hestra Army Leather Heli (5-Finger)
Don’t let your fingers freeze this winter—pair your Norwegian ski outfit with Swedish gloves: the $160 Hestra Army Leather Heli, new in their Alpine Pro collection. Constructed of a windproof/waterproof backing with an impregnated goat leather palm and fingers, we love the weather protection, grip and extreme durability of this top-grade leather.Hestra
Full coverage with drawstrings and Velcro adjustments is excellent—keep that powder out—plus, they even feature carabiner eyelets, which is a nice touch for added attachment points. An unexpected bonus is the removable fleece/G-loft liner, for cleaning and multi-weather use (think warm spring days).Hestra
Bonus: 87 per cent of Hestra’s factories are audited by Amfori, an organization that supports sustainability practices across many industries.