A Guide to Ski Clothing
A blog from Conor...
If you’re packing for a ski holiday this year and are wondering what to bring with you on your ski trip, then this is the guide for you. We’re going to cover the essential items for any ski holiday and help you decide which ski gear is right for you.
Using my experience from doing ski seasons all over the world, I’ve compiled this blog to make sure you know exactly what to buy in preparation for your ski holiday.
One of the most important items of clothing, a good jacket that is breathable and waterproof will maximise your time on the slopes by keeping you warm and dry when the weather comes in and letting out any heat when you ski. Most jackets will come with underarm vents which you can open if you get too hot to help you regulate your temperature.
Jackets are rated based on their resistance to snow/water and are treated with a water repellent finish to help water roll of the surface, be careful when washing you jacket as you may damage the finish making the jacket less water resistant. A jacket that has a ratting of 1500-5000mm is considered reasonably water proof, any jacket with a resistance over 5000mm is highly waterproof and recommended for moderate to heavy rain/snowfall.
The type of jacket you will need largely depends on what activity you are doing:
- Shell jackets offer no additional insulation and just act as a water-resistant protection layer, these are popular among back country skiers and hikers who will be exerting a lot of energy ascending a mountain. These jackets are also a great choice for spring skiing when the temperatures may be hotter but you still wish to keep your underlayers dry.
- Insulated ski jackets are great for a typical ski day, providing an extra layer of insulation for when it gets cold as well as keeping out any weather. Having a breathable insulated jacket means you will stay warm on the chairlifts up but not get to hot when you start moving again on your ski down.
- Down Jackets are heavily insulated and tend not to be very water proof, these are ideal in condition where you are likely to be stood around in cold conditions, for example, camping overnight in a back-country cabin or enjoying some après ski on the slopes.
Equally important are salopettes, these are waterproof trousers to be worm on the slopes, many will have thigh vents to let heat out as well as an elasticated fabric that can be pulled over your boots to stop snow getting in.
If you are a snow boarder I would recommend getting salopettes that are reinforced on the backside and are also as waterproof as possible because a lot of your time as a beginner will be spent sat on the slopes and you don’t want to get wet.
Good layering is key to maintaining a comfortable temperature on the slopes, there are many different choices, but it is important to consider what will best suit you depending on how active your ski day is.
Base layers are the first layer and will be in direct contact with your skin, ideally you want something that is lightweight, breathable and well fitting. Whether you choose between a synthetic material or the more expensive merino wool, avoid cotton at all costs!
A good mid layer will be easily removable and provide extra insulation when needed, some popular choices are woollen/synthetic fleeces, insulated puffer jackets, and woven soft-shell jackets. The key to choosing your mid layer is to consider the temperature outside, how well insulated your outer jacket is, and how active you are going to be.
Goggles vs Sunglasses
Always bring goggles with you on your ski holiday as they are suited for all weather conditions. Sunglasses are well suited when conditions are good but will not provide adequate protection when it is windy, or you are in low light conditions.
When buying goggles, consider the UV protection as this will protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation that can be amplified when reflected of the snow. A UV category of 3 is the minimum you should go for when conditions are good.
Another thing to consider are lenses, most goggles will come with two pair of lenses and one will be better suited for poor weather and will use colour like pink, yellow or green to help with definition in cloudy conditions.
Top tip, if your goggles are fogging up, make sure there is no hair entering your goggles and your facemask is positioned so that your breath doesn’t escape into the goggles.
The main choice here is between gloves and mittens, if you are prone to getting cold hands then choose mittens as they provide much more warmth and you can even wear liners for some extra heat. Gloves are more versatile and a popular choice amongst skiers and snowboarders alike.
Hat or helmet
15 years ago, it would be a rare sight to see a skier wearing a helmet on the slopes unless they were a professional, that has all changed now with over 70% of people wearing helmets and it even being mandatory for children under 14 in Italy.
An obvious choice if you are concerned about your safety, make sure you choose a certified helmet for a reliable supplier for the extra peace of mind. You can always bring a hat with you to wear at the bars after to avoid the helmet hair!
An essential for wet and windy days, a face-mask or a neck-warmer will stop you getting frostbite in severe weather conditions.
The UV in the mountains is amplified by the elevation and reflection from the snow, make sure you apply sun cream when the weather is nice.
The wind and the sun can dry your lips out quickly so keep some lip balm on hand to stop any damage, choose one with an SPF to protect your lifts from UV too!
Socks are made from either wool, synthetic wool or nylon and can be thick or thin. These are all personal preferences so buy a couple of different pairs and find out what works for you.
You can use disposable hand warmers that release heat when activated to warm your hands (or feet) up when you’re feeling chilly on the slopes. If you feel like splashing out, you can even purchase electric glove and boot warmers.
For more information...If you want more expert advice or to book your perfect winter holiday, call our ski specialists on 02921 880022 or enquire online.
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