Ski season started early this month in Colorado, with health and safety precautions in place including required mask wearing and social distancing on the chairlifts. Skiing is a fairly COVID-friendly sport when you think about it, and it’s also great exercise. Too bad it’s not more convenient: Ski clothes, ski boots, skis, poles, helmets, goggles, and so on all need to be lugged to and from the base of the mountain. And for women, getting outfitted for a day on the slopes can be a bigger hassle, because the vast majority of ski pants and jackets available aren’t made for a woman’s body. They’re practical and high-tech, yes, but on a woman they are bulky, baggy, and difficult to maneuver in.
That’s why retail strategy consultant Ariana Ferwerda, Olympic skier Kiley McKinnon, and growth marketing expert Karelle Golda set out to change the game. Today, they’re officially launching Halfdays, a direct-to-consumer brand of cool women’s ski gear made with recycled fabrics. The hero items are the ski jacket and pants, which are available in five different hues including black, ivory, copper brown, deep hunter green, and mustard yellow. The fitted jacket, which features hidden pockets and attached hand warmers, is priced at $345, while the tailored pants, which are designed with an adjustable Velcro strap at the back, are $215. Halfdays also offers a belted version of the jacket, as well as a mock-neck long-sleeve top and leggings.
The Halfdays website features an editorial section that will highlight ski and travel guides, tips, personal essays, and more. The idea, according to the Halfdays founders, is to make the sport more women-friendly. “Having a playful brand that kind of made skiing more approachable was just so important for us,” Ferwerda tells Vogue. “There’s so much information out there that people don’t really have access to, so we wanted to connect with that outdoorsy woman who doesn’t really know where to start, where to go, what hills are easiest to ski, what to buy versus what to rent.”
Accessibility and approachability, along with comfort, are at the core of Halfdays. “The average consumer maybe goes skiing twice a year,” Ferwerda adds. “They’re a resort skier and they want to have fun with their friends. For them, it’s more about community and making memories. So we really wanted to create a brand that was a stark contrast between these kinds of performance-driven, hard-core athletic brands and also the luxury brands as well.” McKinnon, who has experienced the difficulties of the sport as a professional skier, says that they interviewed women at various levels of skill and realized that skiing “is kind of unapproachable” across the board. She adds, “Even if you’ve done it before, it’s a sport where you have to buy so much to get into it. All the gear is so technical, so we really wanted to break down that barrier and allow people to feel comfortable getting into the sport.” Skiing, as the Halfdays team says, is no longer just a boys club. As Ferwerda notes, “We wanted to make something that just really felt welcoming to every single person who wants us to enter the outdoor space.”