In mountain steeze culture, there’s a particular item that will have people picking you out from across the room in a sea of flannels at the latest crowded ski movie premier. That item is a total utility in winter and totally useless in summer, but hey, wear it any way you like — and I bet you will! Yes, I am talking about the elusive beanie. Why “elusive,” you ask? Because, my darlings, there are a ton of beanies out there in all colors, shapes, and sizes — but only one fit for your head! Need help navigating the sea of wool? Read on …

The Condom Tip

It says, “I’m from LA and my rap name definitely contains the world ‘lil.’” That said, this style has been around in the mountains for a while. The reservoir tip that pokes off your head can be due to the way the hat is stitched or the fact that it’s just too tight. Some like the look, and we’ve all seen this style in construction worker neon worn by a PBR-drinking skier somewhere. If it isn’t for you, don’t fret: Like the color or fabric but hate the tip? Throw it in the wash and stretch it over a mixing bowl to dry. Over time, this will lead to a more slouchy effect.

The Minimalist

This beanie is shallow from seam to edge, and usually has a folded over cuff. It can look great when worn on small heads, by people who are bald or have very short hair, and is usually worn incognito in an earthy color. The effect produced is a slightly hipster look. But on a big forehead, it’ll leave your friends wondering where the extra two inches of your hat went.

The Favorite Slouchy

Most mountain dwellers have a ton of these in a bunch of colors. All brands make ‘em, but think: Burton or Carhartt. They don’t have a cuff, so you can rock the fold-over or not, and they have a loose fit on your head. To find the right one, check the seam at the top. Some patterns create a more squared top, and others a more rounded top, changing the way it sits. The extra-steezey among you will situate the hat right at the back of where your bangs start so a little hair pokes out. Then, scrunch the back down toward your shoulders slightly for the baggy look. If it stretches out too much to wear over time (and it will, if you do the above), wash and dry it on high heat.

The Branded Minimalist

Like the minimalist above, the design of this beanie is simple, and the fit is “low rise.” But, add a branded logo to the front of the hat and you’ve gone from wearing this with jeans to the grocery store to wearing this with a collared shirt and blazer to a holiday party.

The Snow Bunny 

Entirely the stupidest and least functional of the beanies, this style is condom tip meets decorative pompom. The knit of these decorative beanies is typically very wide, leaving you with cold ears, and sporting a puffy ball that won’t fit inside a helmet, if you were planning to do anything productive today. But, if you’re just out to play in the snow, it looks really pretty. These beanies are made of all types of yarn, with all colors of pompoms (they’re actually dog toys) added. Pick whatever makes your personality shine!

Thanks to Tahoe Sports Hub for the hat loans. 

Photo by Nina Miller/Moonshine Ink

Other photos by Wade Snider/Moonshine Ink