Whether you are an experienced or beginner skier, gearing up properly is essential to a good experience at the ski resort. You want to be sure your gear keeps you warm and functions properly so you can focus on enjoying the slopes. This is your guide to the ski gear you need this winter, including gear reviews to help you choose the right kit.
It is absolutely essential that you choose a jacket that is waterproof, warm, and comfortable. Sometimes we get too caught up in how it looks and not into how it functions.
There are many different types of jackets including insulated, shells, and 3-in-1 jackets.
It’s best to start off with an insulated jacket. This is a jacket with an outer shell and built-in insulation, usually of down or synthetic insulation. It’s best to opt for synthetic insulation as it still keeps you warm when it’s wet and is more durable than down.
Shell jackets come with different degrees of water resistance, you will have to look at their technical specifications to see a waterproof rating. When choosing a size, opt for a shell large enough to allow layers underneath as these jackets aren’t insulated.
3-in-1 jackets are great if you want versatility. These jackets have an outer shell and removable liners, typically made of fleece or an inner insulated jacket. The inner liner zips into the shell giving you the option to layer based on weather and snow conditions.
Like a ski jacket, you want to ensure you’re choosing ski pants that are waterproof, comfortable, and warm. Ski pants typically have waterproof ratings between 5,000 and 20,000mm (the higher the number, the more waterproof the fabric is).
You will choose from uninsulated and insulated ski pants. There is no better choice at it comes down to conditions and personal preference. Uninsulated pants give the skier the option to choose layering based on the weather. Insulated pants have synthetic insulation to guarantee extra warmth at all times.
Another choice is weather to go with bibbed ski pants. Bib pants are great for protecting your trunk from snow exposure and offers more warmth. They can be difficult when it comes to bathroom breaks though, likely not a good choice if you intend to spend your ski days in the backcountry.
Lastly, you could look at ski pants that connect to your jacket with a zipper. This creates a snow-proof barrier but gives you more flexibility than bib pants.
Nothing will wreck a day on the slopes than dealing with cold hands. Choosing the right gloves or mittens are another important part of your ski gear. Mittens tend to be warmer when it comes to cold fingers, but it takes away dexterity to work with ski poles.
You want to be sure the shell of your gloves are waterproof. You want your ski gloves to keep your hands warm and dry. This means the insulation should be breathable, keeping water from coming in but also keeping your hands free from sweat.
If you’re still worried about your gloves being warm enough, you can look at electric heated gloves. They have rechargeable batteries to operate a mini heating system within each glove.
Sun, wind, and snow make goggles another essential part of your ski kit. You first need to choose the shape of goggles you want; cylindrical or spherical. Cylindrical goggles are priced lower with slightly less peripheral vision due to the flat surface between your nose and forehead.
It may be better to choose goggles with spherical curve as they are larger lenses and offer better visibility, thought the cost is higher.
Goggles have so many different lenses including; polarized lenses, mirrored lenses, and interchangeable lenses. Choosing goggles with interchangeable lenses allows you to swap out your lenses based on lighting conditions.
A few things to note, make sure your goggles fit your face and are compatible with your ski helmet.
Ski helmets have become the norm on the slopes. They reduce your chance of a head injury and keep you warm. Some even have built-in speakers!
Make sure you have the correct helmet size. The padding should fit snuggly on your head and not shift when pushed on.
There are a few different types of helmets, half shell, full shell, and full face.
Half shell helmets have removable soft ear pads. They are the most popular style of helmet. Typically used for racing, full shell helmets have full coverage with hard sides over the ears. A full-face helmet is like a full shell but also includes a visor and a chin guard. For the average skier, a half shell offers enough protection.
Also, be sure that your ski helmet has the correct safety certifications. They will be marked ‘CE’ if they meet or exceed European standards and ‘ASTM’ if they meet or exceed U.S. standards. Some will have both meaning they meet international safety standards.
Ski Boot Bag
Less essential than the other gear we’ve discussed, a ski boot bag is great for storage, transport, and protection of your ski boots. You want to make sure you choose a bag that is waterproof, durable, and lightweight. Some are so fancy they have boot heaters attached to them.
Sometimes it takes trial and error to find the perfect gear. But starting off with a list of your essentials will help make your time on the slopes worthwhile. The right gear makes for the best ski days and allows you to have the most fun possible!