Connecticut-native Abigail Stern grew up skiing with her family, but it wasn’t until she moved to Boulder, Colorado, for college that she fell in love with the sport. “It was just so fun and casual,” she recalls of the impromptu trips to Aspen and Beaver Creek she and her friends would take after class or on the weekends. Though skiing soon became second nature, the dearth of affordable yet stylish ski gear kept her from feeling completely comfortable on the slopes. “I was like, ‘There needs to be more options,’” she recalls—which is why, upon graduating, she enrolled at Parsons School of Design, followed by stints at Hood by Air, NikeLab, and Asics. This month, her long journey culminated in the launch of her cutting-edge ski intimates label, Matek.
The five-piece lineup, which was test-driven by skiers of all ages and levels (including the Squaw Valley National Ski Patrol), consists of high-waist leggings with thin mesh paneling from the knee down which seamlessly slip into boots; a snap-crotch bodysuit with an extra-long turtleneck and sleeves for blustery days; full-body long johns which come with an ingenious flap at the derriere; and two sports bras with adjustable Velcro straps (a welcome relief to any nursing mothers on the mountains). All of these pieces ring in at $150 or less.
One need only take a glimpse at the brand’s Instagram feed of vintage ski snaps to understand that the sport’s rich history is a key player in Stern’s designs. However, her ultimate driving inspiration “is how far the fabrics have come,” she explains, pointing out her four-way stretch jersey, which is equipped with sweat-wicking, odor-protecting, and quick-drying materials and made from recycled nylon. Other sustainable touches can be seen in the line’s palm tree nut buttons, the water-soluble hang tags, and the keepsake pouch provided with each order. “It’s kind of a no-brainer to me. If I can do everything thoughtfully, then why wouldn’t I?”
The pieces are currently available in black and Matek’s signature indigo—a bright hue inspired by what she and her friends call “blue sky days, when you know it’s gonna be the most gorgeous day on the mountain—the air is crisp, the snow isn’t getting icy, and there’s just the perfect blue in the sky . . .” Rest assured, more colors are in the works, as well as an expanded range of sizing that caters to little snow bunnies, too. “I’d love to get a photo of my entire family in the long johns,” she says with a smile. Start ’em young.