You’ll recognize Tess Johnson from mogul skiing courses and podiums the world over like World Cup Dual Moguls, U.S. National Championships Dual Moguls, oh, and the Olympics. You may also recognize her as a native to the Vail Valley and The Inn at Riverwalk’s Resident Athlete. As someone whose race times are measured in fractions of a second, Tess knows a quality piece of equipment when she sees (and tests) it.
For those who aspire to ski like this U.S. Ski Team member, or just to look stylish in their attempt to ski, Tess breaks down her favorite gear below.
Tess’ Favorite Brands & Why She Loves Them
Outerwear – Spyder: Spyder’s apparel strikes the perfect balance between light and cozy. Jackets are aesthetically really cool, warm, just baggy enough to hide any breaks that I might have during a competition run.
Goggles – Oakley: They have immense passion for the sport, and they work incredibly hard to make their products superior. Oakley undoubtedly has the best goggles you can find. They are genuinely committed to providing the very best for all of their athletes and customers
Helmet – Pret: makes the best freestyle helmet on the market since it’s light, stylish, and most importantly, safe.
Skis – IDOneUSA: These are the best mogul skis on the market since basically the entire World Cup Tour uses their product. The top sheet is unique, the shape is narrow, and they are profoundly durable. IDOneUSA has an authentic mission in The ID one foundation
Bindings and Poles- IDOneUSA: The poles are light as a feather and all white which is great for the judging aspect since it hides mistakes, and the bindings know exactly when to eject to avoid injury and when stay put when I need them to.
Gloves – Auclair: warmth, comfort, appearance, and fit
Boots – Fullt Tilt: They’re comfortable, and they perform. It’s really as simple as that.
Outerwear: Spyder GTX - Tess' outfit was official US Ski Team Issue - white camouflage paired with army green accents - and is not publically available but the Infinium GTX 650 Goose Down Jacket from Spyder's US Ski Team Collection is pretty close.
Goggles: Oakley Line Miner model with multiple lenses: low-light scenario (or at night) - Clear lens or the Prizm Snow Hi Pink, medium-light day Prizm Snow Hi Pink or Prizm Snow Jade Iridium, high-light sunny days Prizm Snow Black Iridium
Just like any professional athlete, the gear that I use on the hill plays a huge role in how I ski. I’ve been lucky enough to partner with companies whose brand I love and whose products perform amazingly. Not only is it important to me that the product is high quality, but that the gear represents a mission that I value and contributes to my story as a skier. As a competitive World Cup mogul skier at the top of my sport, nothing is more important than feeling confident in the start gate, and I can because my skis, boots, goggles, helmet and apparel will help get me the best result possible.
Since mogul skiing is a judged sport, the way we look is essential to our performance because one specific pair of pants and jacket could mean the difference between a podium and fourth place. It’s an honor to say that the US Ski Team’s sponsor is Spyder Outerwear. Spyder has recently rebranded their company to extend to skiers of all kinds, not just alpine racers. Their jackets are stylish, warm, and are just baggy enough to hide any breaks that I might have during a competition run. A lot of skiers this past season would say they wanted to look like us because our jackets and pants perform on the mogul course and are aesthetically really cool. Our uniforms were covered in white camouflage paired with army green accents and provided the perfect look both for freeskiing and competing. Plus, Spyder’s apparel strikes the perfect balance between light and cozy, because thanks to their base layers as well, there wasn’t a single day that I got cold. That’s saying something coming from someone who skis nearly 200 days a year!
The headgear that I use is especially close to my heart since I’ve skied in Oakley goggles and a Pret helmet since I was seven and eleven years old respectively. These two brands define what the ski industry should be about because they value the culture of skiing. They have immense passion for the sport, and they work incredibly hard to make their products superior. Pret makes the best freestyle helmet on the market since it’s light, stylish, and most importantly, safe. They understand the risk that us freestyle skiers take when we flip through the air and fly down a field of moguls at mach 10. I wouldn’t want to ski in any other helmet because during the scary crashes I’ve had, my Cynic X Pret helmet has protected me from serious injuries every time. Pret enables me to step out of my comfort zone and try new tricks, and I’m so grateful to them for making me feel safe.
Oakley undoubtedly has the best goggles you can find. I’m not the only one who will say they don’t even compare to other products, because it’s true. They’re unbelievably comfortable, they fit with any helmet, and I’ve never experienced any wind drafts coming through the lens which is critical for competitions. Every season there’s a trendy new frame or color scheme, and they are genuinely committed to providing the very best for all of their athletes and customers. My favorite model is the Line Miner and as a competitor, it’s crucial to have multiple lenses on hand for different lights. For a low-light scenario (or at night), my go-to is either the Clear lens or the Prizm Snow Hi Pink. For a medium-light day I’ll probably still wear the Prizm Snow Hi Pink since it’s my all-time favorite, or I’ll use the Prizm Snow Jade Iridium which is a neat green color. Finally for high-light sunny days, my favorite is the Prizm Snow Black Iridium because I love the mirror look that it creates on the outside. Thankfully, it’s super easy to change lenses which makes competition days with varying weather a lot less stressful.
When it comes to skis, bindings, and poles, I wouldn’t trade IDOneUSA for the world. These are the best mogul skis on the market since basically the entire World Cup Tour uses their product. The top sheet is unique, the shape is narrow, and they are profoundly durable since it takes four years to age the wood and make the skis. The poles are light as a feather and all white which is great for the judging aspect since it hides mistakes, and the bindings know exactly when to eject to avoid injury and when stay put when I need them to. While IDOneUSA performs incredibly, their brand is very meaningful to me as well. When I think of US mogul skiing, I think of IDOneUSA because they currently sponsor the entire U.S. Freestyle Mogul Team. Their company has bonded us as a team, and when I was a 14 year-old rookie, I knew I could count on the girls who skied on the IDOneUSA to be my friends. Today, their company dominates the mogul market because of their gear and their authentic mission. I’m so honored to be a part of the IDOneUSA team, and I certainly would not be where I am today without their MR-G skis, Pivot 14 bindings, 195 cm poles, and of course, their support.
Full Tilt ski boots are the most popular freestyle boot in the industry for two reasons: they’re comfortable, and they perform. It’s really as simple as that, and that’s why I ski with Full Tilts. I made the switch to Full Tilt during the Olympic season in 2018, and looking back that was one of the best gear decisions of my career. My ski boots are arguably the most important part of my gear since they’re typically customized to one specific skier. With the help of Russ Shay at Surefoot in Vail, before each season I get my liners heat molded, and they feel like warm slippers. The shells buckle down tight and have a range of tongue flexes (I use a flex 6 on the Drop Kick Pro model) which gives me the perfect, customized product that lasts through multiple seasons. In addition to all of that, their boots have a unique look that distinguishes freestylers from other skiers, and I love that our humble community has Full Tilt as a part of our story.
Finally, I use Auclair gloves both competing and freesking. The right gloves are so important as a competitive mogul skier because warmth, comfort, appearance, and fit are all major factors for me. I’ve skied with Auclair for six years now, and they keep my fingers warm while molding perfectly to my hands and poles. I love a solid, broken-in pair of gloves, and thankfully Auclair’s products break in quickly while staying in solid shape for an entire season. I compete in their white gloves (only available to National Team athletes) since white is preferable for competition, but I wear the Snow Ops model for freeskiing because they’re light and cozy. I prefer gloves over mittens because I like a smaller, lighter product, but if you are a mitten person, their mittens are the best. They’re softer and warmer than any other mitten and my hands have never gotten cold in them.
There you have it! You have everything you need to gear up like a pro. Now hit those slopes and have a blast! #checkout