For those destined to huddle around an Alpine hearth this Yule, we’ve rounded up the accessories for the pistes, peaks and beyond. From the multi-tool for fixing your ski bindings to the right camera for capturing your snowy sojourns, here are our top picks for spending a cosy Christmas at altitude.
1. Take cover
Established in Pennsylvania in 1830, Woolrich is known for its down-filled parkas but it also carries a fine collection of woollen blankets. A personalised Suffolk Buffalo Check cover is just what you need on a chilly evening in front of a crackling fireplace.
2. Mountain face
Winter weather is harsh on the skin so we always pack Hudsalve lip balm (designed for the Swedish military) and Swiss brand Daylong’s factor 50 sunscreen. While we’re on the go, a travel-sized Juniper Ridge body wash and matching coastal pine solid perfume, made with wild-harvested essential oils, also come in handy.
apoteket.se; daylong.ch; juniperridge.com
3. Keep your socks on
The right socks are a vital part of a mountain kit. These fine jersey knee-high athletic socks by Japanese firm Tabio are a collaboration with Swiss fashion brand Bally. Tabio founder Naomasa Ochi began making socks as a teenager and his son, Katsuhiro Ochi, followed in his footsteps. Thanks to the ventilating mesh, arch support and heel and toe cushioning, you’ll stay on a firm footing.
4. National parka
Munich-based A Kind of Guise is located not far from the Bavarian Alps so it’s little wonder that co-founders Yasar Ceviker and Susie Streich’s designs are made to withstand cold snaps. This navy Bug Parka 2.0 with an adjustable hood is made from a water-repellent wool-cotton-blend and lined with a removable inner jacket made of Steiff wool – the firm of teddy-bear fame.
5. Snow way
Named after the Gaelic for snow, the Sneachda ski is made to order by Jamie Kunka with his dog Hemp for moral support at Lonely Mountain Skis in the Scottish county of Perthshire. Made of beech and poplar combined with flax and carbon fibres to reduce weight and increase performance on and off piste, these skis will turn heads as you glide down the slopes.
6. Sharp thinking
Victorinox started making knives for the Swiss army in 1891. Its Deluxe Tinker Damast Limited Edition 2018 has a plum-wood handle and 15 tools, including a steel blade that can cut through everything from cheese to trees.
7. Make it snappy
Thanks to its fast Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, the Leica Q is perfect for landscape photography and low-light shots. It has a retro aesthetic and is available in models from Silver to Snow; it is also the German brand’s first compact model with a full-frame sensor and fixed focal length.
8. On the boil
Located in the west of Ireland, Kelly Kettle has been equipping Irish fishermen with gear for decades. Fourth-generation brothers Patrick and Seamus Kelly are particularly proud of the original Kelly Kettle, which comes in lightweight aluminium and boils water within five minutes in all weather conditions. It can be fuelled with pinecones and sticks.
9. Total mug
Snow Peak is a family-run Japanese outdoor brand founded by mountaineer Yukio Yamai in 1958. Its name refers to Mount Tanigawa near Sanjo City, which is historically known for its fine metalwork. These double-walled, compact titanium mugs are stackable for easy transport and keep your tea and lunch steaming hot.
10. Watch your back
A sturdy backpack can be as good an Alpine travel companion as a Swiss mountain dog. The Klettersack, made in Colorado by Topo Designs, comes in a waterproof and durable Cordura fabric with Horween leather details. There’s even a loop for an ice axe in case you find yourself on a particularly slippery slope.
11. Head for heights
Venturing into the Alps requires the right attire (and needn’t rule out a well-brimmed fashion statement). A hat will shield you from sun and snow. This beaver-felt Duke fedora is handmade at Mühlbauer, a Vienna-based milliner that dates back to 1903.
12. Bet your boots
Paraboot’s velvet Norwegian-welted Bergeracs, with their cleated sole, won’t let you down as you trek uphill. Handmade in Saint Jean de Moirans in the French Alps, these waterproof high-tops are the result of a 105-step manufacturing process, something that hasn’t changed since Paraboot first set out in 1908.