Parents, you’ve probably been there. Months of planning and logistics, thousands of dollars down, an exhausting travel day or two, and then, just as you’ve accomplished the impossible—assembling your entire family on a beach or a ski area—a minor equipment failure or a wardrobe malfunction ruins the moment. Whether it’s too-thick ski socks, a rash guard that rides up, a ski jacket that absorbs water, or a poor-fitting bike helmet, sub-par equipment and apparel can make or break a trip, especially with kids.
Luckily, New Yorker Kathy Thomas, a mother of four and former Sony exec, and Aspenite Sara Zilkha, a mother of five formerly with Goldman Sachs, have scoured the internet for the most functional, fashionable, and sustainable outdoor apparel and compiled it in one easy-to-use, convenient online marketplace: Salt + Snow.
The friends came up with the idea while on a surf trip together. Thomas had a knack for finding niche surf brands, and Zilkha wondered why there wasn’t a one-stop shop for the outdoor apparel she and her family wanted for their beach and mountain adventures.
When Zilkha and her family moved to Aspen from New York in 2019, the need became more obvious. “I threw out the idea to local friends, and they couldn’t have been more supportive. They said, ‘we want this!’”
They also noted that “there was nothing out there aimed at moms or women in general when it came to outdoor apparel,” says Zilkha. “There are the big box retailers like REI and there are sites for women focused on high fashion, not on functionality. Kathy and I both saw a need in the market.”
Brands available include Alps & Meters, Cynthia Rowley, Dinoski, Eugenia Kim, and L’Etoile Sport, with new names joining the fold each season, like Aspen based performance-sportswear brand Aztech Mountain. Salt + Snow takes commitment to social responsibility seriously, and that extends to the brands they carry. “You can trust we’ve done our research,” says Zilkha.
The site’s blog, The Wanderist, serves as a hub for inspiring stories, and the must-dos, must-sees, and must-haves from Thomas and Zilkha. “We’re a small team, and we love when people reach out with questions,” says Zilkha. “We can suggest where to take your family surfing and what wetsuits you need, or what hikes in Aspen are kid friendly and how to layer in the mountains. We want The Wanderist to become a helpful planning tool for macro and micro family adventures.”
While the future might include pop-ups, collaborations, and, eventually, a private label, above all, says Zilkha: “We want to provide great outdoor apparel for the whole family on a platform that simplifies the process so families can enjoy quality time outdoors.”