Ever since we called out Rossignol's yard sale of a sophomore season of their Après Ski Booties, we've been on the hunt for something similar: sneakerized, stylish, lightweight, slip-on boots that pair with Makers and Riders' M1Z jeans, and that can be worn for everything from après ski to winter bike commuting.
Is that too much to ask?
Five months later we're thrilled to report that a superior replacement has been found: The North Face Nuptse Booties.
They're a little lighter, warmer, cheaper, more waterproof, and more stylish than the Rossignol version. (The only downside: they're just a little harder to get on.)
Our most gushing post of 2021 was about Rossignol's Après Ski Booties, in our view a near-perfect sneakerized boot to stylishly get around during Minneapolis's 5 months of winter.
Rossignol and its retailers ran out of these fast but promised us "...we will have them again next season with some new colorways," and when they didn't immediately drop last month with the rest of their winter gear, a customer service rep asked us for patience and added they are "super stoked on them."
But the biggest problem is the boots being renamed Podium Shoes, from Après Ski Booties.
The former implies training, competing, standing, and listening to three awful national anthems, while the latter suggests sitting in front of a fire with a drink in hand and a firmly-established head buzz, sharing stories and laughs. (Note: the latter is better.)
We're hoping for a reboot in 2023. Meanwhile, this collection is best visually summed up by a gif of an iconic clip from our childhoods.
At the risk of turning this site into a ski blog, here's another strong recommendation: OSBE helmets.
We were going to write this post a couple of years ago after scoring a couple NOS leather-clad units on eBay, and while ridiculously luxe, were disappointed in the fit and the visor functionality. Stuck with Bollé.
Something changed. The style of the Rigel model with the "classic visor" (shown above) is so irresistible we recently tried again, and love 'em so much it's already on the MB HOF ballot.
Other brands do offer the integrated visor (a real no-brainer), but nothing compares to the Rigel for a style/value combination. A KASK (also Italian) will set you back nearly $600. A similar style from CP (Swiss) is $365. At current exchange rates the Rigel is $136, and to our eyes, look better than both of them.
(Side note: SKI Magazine's top helmet/goggle pick for 2022 is a Bollé Ryft Evo ($220) combined with Bollé Torus goggles ($170). That's nearly $400 for an unnecessarily complicated combo with a reflector lens.)
Some of the Rigel styles are a little funky, so we recommend sticking with black or white in matte. Added bonus: the white matte can probably do double-duty as part of a low-fi Skywalker costume to go trick-or-treating with the kids.
OSBE fits small. If you're a size 7 or larger, definitely go for the Large (58-61cm).
Hey thanks for the tip on the Rossignol boots. Pretty dope. And you nailed the size. Any jacket & bib/pant recommendations? —Adam
A: You're welcome on the boots. Glad you got them before they sold out (in black). We're looking forward to loading up on lifetimes' supplies next fall when Rossignol says they'll be reloaded. (Yep, they're that good.)
As for a jacket/pants recommendation, why not more Rossignol? Last week at our annual ski summit — this year at Sun Valley — we discovered the Rossignol concept store and learned there are three others at Aspen, Park City, and NYC.
That works for us.
While browsing, for pants we really liked the Palmeres, a "style that mimics five-pocket jeans." $350. No, they're not our beloved Naked & Famous Snow Pant Denim, but those are all long gone, even on eBay.
For the jacket, the standout was the Hiver. $550. It's packed full of "traceably-sourced" down, has a detachable hood, pass pocket, and subtle tricolor branding. Magnifique!
As you would expect, Rossignol fits slightly small. Go up one size.
We've been looking for something like this since we grew out of Moon Boots 30 years ago, and Rossignol has nailed it with these lightweight, sporty, sneakerized après ski booties.
For those of us in Climate/Cocktail Zone 6, they fill the stylish foul-weather footwear chasm that exists between 6" of snow — when we pull out the Sorel Pacs — and a mere dusting. In fact, we like these so much they're an instant MBHOF candidate, paired here with current MBHOF member, the Makers and Riders M1Z jeans.
This is our outdoor uniform for the next 6 months (including après ski).
NB: These run really small. Order at least 1 size up, and if you're borderline, 1.5.
UPDATE 12/23/2021: Days after this post Rossignol went out of stock on most sizes (and there weren't a lot of options at other retailers). We emailed customer service and over a month later got a response: "We will not be receiving more of the Après Ski boot for this season, but will have them again next season with some new colorways." We'll post about these again when they become available, right after we purchase lifetime supplies.
After unboxing these tonight, we're ashamed to even admit we've previously used aluminum poles.
Handmade by a small shop in Steamboat Springs, they almost entirely fulfill on the MB "organic materials" principle, not just with the 'boo of course, but also the rubber grips. And they're covered with a marine-grade coating that looks rugged enough to withstand a yard sale at the annual Big Sky Pond Skim.
There's only one incongruous detail keeping these out of our HOF: the recycled polyester straps. But to MB-mod these all you need is a Phillips screwdriver, boxcutter, hole punch, and your favorite 5oz. leather. We used some brown Horween Chromexcel scraps leftover from our wallet production that turned out great.
Due to Covid-related supply delays they are 2 weeks out. So plan ahead and be ready for the first big dump.
Q: What do you think about Vuarnet sunglasses? Back in the day I skied with a pair of 002 Cateyes and no helmet. I've noticed they're on the scene again, but the rest of the Vuarnet collection is kicking off a Thermonuclear Toolbag Oakley vibe. Think pairing a tortoise shell Vuarnet 02 with Alps and Meters Alpine Winter Trousers and Anorak. Do you sanction the re-released 02? —Dan
These genuine vintage frames satisfy the MB principle of archaism, and will also save you 110 bucks. You'll need it if you decide to get into that Alps and Meters gear.
Thanks a lot for the tip on A&M, BTW. While the anorak ($695) is not up our alley for skiing — a hood/helmet combo has never worked for us — those alpine winter trousers ($725) look fantastic. Wool-blend herringbone with leather leg paneling are a great way to stand apart from the nylon and polyester-clad hoi polloi.
1. Naked & Famous Snow Pant Denim. "Trump Skis in Jeans" is a popular bumper sticker out here. He only wishes he could be so stylish! We've raved about Naked & Famous's Snow Pant Denim for a decade, or about as long as they've stopped making them. Please join our quixotic effort to get Naked & Famous to resume production, and send them a note.
2. Valentino Ski Jacket. This purchase resulted in a confirmation call from American Express, and we said, "Yes, sir. Thanks for asking. Signature pieces are worth this expense." Valentino is currently owned by the Qatari royal family — where they're probably 1500 miles from the nearest ski resort — but got some excellent consulting, packing it with down, a high collar, knit cuffs, and left-breast lift-pass pocket.
3. Wigens Bear Claw Gloves. Part of our Biking to Work in Arctic Conditions collection, these are also great for skiing. Every ride up the chair people ask, "Where did you get those?!" Wigens has stopped making them, and instead inexplicably focused their business on newsboy caps, so they're available only on eBay.
4. K2 Mambas Yes, Hart's F17 Fusion are the bump ski standard, but we were unable to resist the '70s colorblock styling on the K2 Mamba "bump killers." (Also they are half the price.) Compared to either the Hart or the K2, today's all-mountain, wide-waisted skis feel like you've strapped on a pair of 2x4s.
5. Bollé 711s Unless it's snowing, we're part of the 1% who still prefer sunglasses over goggles. Our favorites are these Bolle 711s with sideshields, designed for glacier mountaineering. They're just $75 and available at the official MB eyewear outfitter, Allyn Scura.
Q: Hi, MB! What do you think of novelty cufflinks?
A: We're not unconditionally opposed to novelty cufflinks. But we are somewhat baffled by the current state of the market. The last time we posted about this — in 2007 — we advised a reader to steer clear of skulls. Seven years later, that prohibition still stands. And from what we can see, you are going to have to do an awful lot of steering — the cufflinks sections on the websites of most major retailers look like the Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp remixed by Hot Topic. (Seriously, when did skulls start accessorizing so heavily?)
Has the Day of the Dead introduced a more formal dress code? While we understand that cufflinks offer a man a chance to signal his sense of style in a understated over-the-top way, and even encourage that, we're a little alarmed by this massive proliferation of skulls. A cufflink is not as permanent as a tattoo, but that shouldn't give you license to turn your sleeve into a black metal album cover from 1993.
Our advice: Stick with novelty cufflinks that allude to an interest in MB-approved pastimes like golf, tennis, sailing, skiing, or eating lobster. And even with those we have some caveats:
Q: This winter will be my first time hitting the ski slopes since pursuing the MB lifestyle. What do you recommend I wear to look good and stay warm without looking like a Spyder Toolbag?
Q: Great to have you back! I checked out your ski channel, and while I liked the suggestions, (especially the pants), I'm unable to locate a pair in my size. That was back in 2011, any chance on getting an updated recommendation for a full ski outfit?
A: We keep things really simple when we hit the slopes, using, for the most part, what we normally wear in winter. (See earlier post on the matter.) There's no reason to get into a special synthetic sports uniform — see "Spyder Toolbag" look — unless there's a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract involved.
Here are some suggestions from bottom to top:
Naked and Famous throws a lot of denim against the wall and some of it — like our highly-recommended Snowpant Denim — unfortunately doesn't stick. (These were nearly 60% off at Neiman Marcus and still took over a year to sell out.)
We contacted N&F and there are no plans to make more. However, Tate and Yoko have 29 and 30 in stock, and there are always a few pairs floating around on eBay and about half the price. Set up an alert.
UNDERLAYER Smartwool Merino next-to-skin. This works for winter biking, snowshoeing, football game watching, or just sitting by the fire.
SWEATER Cashmere turtleneck from 8. No, this is not Brunello Cucinelli cashmere. But we believe 8 to be the best cashmere value in the world.
They cost nearly as much as a Vail lift ticket, but if Moncler is good enough for Italians scaling K2 (pictured), it's good enough for us to scale the St. Regis bar at the top of Deer Valley. But any down puffy jacket will do, and if you want to keep it stylishly Italian and starting with the letter M, YOOX always has great deals on Montecore, Moschino, Martin Margiela, and Museum.
Cashmere hat with a pom. (Similar to pictured.)
SUNGLASSES Vintage Carrera 5425s in tortoise, from Allyn Scura, the official eyewear provider to Magnificent Bastard, and the film American Hustle (opening nationwide on Friday).
Q: We're coming up on ski season quickly. What would an MB full ski outfit look like? And yes I mean ski since an MB would not snowboard. —Alex
A: Alex, you are correct. We do not snowboard. In fact we actually limit our ski vacations to Mad River Glen in Vermont and Deer Valley and Alta in Utah. These are the three remaining resorts in the United States that have rightfully banned this boarding horde of mogul-flattening teens. Do not mess with the bumps.
As for the ski outfit, we keep it very simple with stuff we already have in our regular winter rotation, like a puffy coat that hits at the waist, a cashmere hat with a pom, and leather stars-n-stripes "Captain Freedom" gloves. Where we venture outward is on the pants. Naked and Famous has created the coolest ski pants ever, the Slim Guy Snow Pant Jeans. They fit and look like denim but are lined, waterproof, windproof, and have have vented cuffs to fit over your ski boots.
Q: MB. Emergency. I've been watching the price on an Michael Bastian Winter 2008 NWT Orange w/corduroy detail ski jacket/vest. Cool or uncool? $400 including shipping? Pull the trigger? Product is modeled on the Bastian website, FYI. --Paul
A: We love just about every stitch of clothing Michael Bastian has created since launching his line two years ago. The only problem is his ridiculous pricing. Dude, you're not Tom Ford!
The ski jacket's original price was $1685 -- for that, we think a pair of Rossignols and a season pass at Vail should be included. But at $400, we bless this purchase decision. You get a cool jacket and a cool vest, so it's like getting 2 for 1 (OK, maybe 1.4 for 1, 1.5 tops).
2 oz gin
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 sugar cube (or half teaspoon simple sugar)
soda water (if desired)
Place the sugar cube at the bottom of a lowball glass, add the fresh lemon juice, and mash with the back of a spoon. Fill two-thirds with ice and the gin and stir for at least 30 seconds. Add soda water, if desired, and give a quick stir. Garnish with a lemon wedge.