OU’VE chosen a trendy resort that guarantees days of pristine snow and nights of apres-ski fun, gathered your gang, found a stunning chalet and the flights are booked. The scene is set for an awesome first skiing trip – but now the prospect of packing appears and one question remains: what do you actually wear?
When it comes to outdoor activities in sub-zero temperatures, getting the kit right is more than just a matter of looking good (although, there’s that too, of course), so we’ve enlisted the help of a skiwear expert to explain the key components of a slope-ready wardrobe.
Whether you’re whooshing down red runs in Whistler, or going off-piste in Alpbach, these are the essentials to consider when shopping for skiwear...
THE innermost garment in your ski outfit (apart from underwear, obviously) should be a lightweight base layer top and leggings.
“Base layers are supposed to act like a second skin, so the most important factor to consider is that they are comfortable,” explains Avril Moran, head of buying at Mountain Warehouse.
“Choose a fabric which is going to give you an extra layer of insulation and keep you warm, but also ideally one which has sweatwicking properties. Even though you’re out in the snow all day you can still work up a sweat, so a fabric which keeps you dry by wicking the sweat away from your body is key.”
NEXT comes a mid layer, which should be looser than a base layer, to allow for movement, and thicker to provide extra insulation under your ski jacket. Zip-up fleeces and hoodies work well for this layer, and snug high collars help to keep the cold out.
SKI jackets come in many different styles, but for novice skiers, Avril recommends three key features to look out for when shopping for yours. “The first is, make sure your jacket is snowproof to keep you protected, the second is that it has a light padding for insulation, and the third that it comes with a snowskirt, to help prevent snow getting into your ski pants!” she explains. “I also recommend you make sure the jacket you choose isn’t restrictive, that it fits comfortably under the arms and allows you to bend. It’s surprising how much you actually move when skiing.”
“SIMILAR to the ski jackets, it’s important as a first-time skier or snowboarder that your ski pants are comfortable and not restrictive, to make sure you are able to bend with ease,” says Avril.
“Make sure they are also snowproof, are insulated to keep you warm, and have integrated snow gaiters to keep you comfortable and protected from getting snow inside your pant leg or in to your ski boot.”
“ACCESSORIES are just as important as the rest of your ski kit and should not be considered an afterthought,” Avril warns. “When it comes to hats, something made from an insulating fabric is important. Even though everyone wears a helmet on the slopes your head can still get cold, so a hat is just as important to wear underneath your helmet.
“When choosing a pair of gloves, it is also important to make sure they are made of an insulating fabric and that they have good grip, because you need to hold on to those poles pretty tight!
“Ski socks are a staple for any skier/snowboarder, as you’re on your feet most of the day,” Avril adds. “I recommend a soft, insulating fabric with flat toe seams, to avoid rubbing when you’re out on the slopes.
“When it comes to eye protection, I recommend you go for goggles over glasses. Eyes can become very tired and dry in the wind and cold – goggles will offer the warmth and protection that sunglasses won’t. It’s very important to make sure your goggles have certified UV protection as it can be very sunny at the top of the slopes, and the reflection from the snow can cause a glare.”