This article reviews the key items you should have in your checklist when deciding what apparel to purchase for your ski or snowboard endeavors.
The mountain can be a beautiful princess but it can also be a fierce monster. Weather conditions can change significantly in a matter of minutes and you may fall into pretty unpleasant situations in case you are unprepared. Therefore it is of great importance to be well-equipped. Below we review the most important items that you need to consider purchasing (or renting) before hitting the mountain.
Apparel – Jacket and Pants
There are numerous mountain clothing brands on the market from which to choose from. Some are extremely expensive offering really top quality products. However in the end most of what you will pay is the brand as this is the world in which we are living in. Hence you do not need to rush for the most expensive product you will see but rather just consider a few key points to look for in your ski or snowboard jacket and pants.
- Water and wind proofing
This is probably the most important thing to look for. You may have the warmest jacket on Earth but once it starts snowing or worse – raining – it can get soaked in a matter of minutes in case it is not suitable for such conditions. And you can imagine what would be the feeling in the next moment when you add some freezing wind that tries to cross your body.
The majority of ski and snowboard pants have a waterproof and windproof rating which will vary between 5,000 and 20,000mm (5-20K). Obviously the higher the rating, better waterproofing properties of the apparel. We recommend to look for jackets and pants with at least 15,000m waterproof rating.
Additionally the latest technologies and trends require that good jackets and pants are completely seam-sealed. This means that all seams are sealed with a special waterproof tape which ensures maximum waterproofing and wind proofing not only of the apparel itself but also of its seams. You will notice that some lower value apparel has partially sealed seams while the medium to high end apparel has all seams fully taped.
Important: A special remark for the snowboarding apparel – contrary to the ski apparel which is nowadays more and slimmer fit and following the body contours, the snowboarding apparel should be more loose fit. This is not only fashion but allows for the much more diverse movements and flexibility that are required during snowboarding. Otherwise if you proceed with slim fit apparel, you will soon discover that it restricts your movements and you can even tear it apart in certain areas from the pressure that you are exercising while snowboarding.
While we discussed that your skiing/snowboarding apparel needs to be both waterproof and windproof, it still needs to be breathable. This is important In order to avoid excessive warming of your body which is generated while in action across the slopes and to prevent sweating too much. The advantages of this are obvious and should not be underestimated. Most modern jackets have ventilation zips which allow to open a small breathable pocket in key areas of your body such as under arm and along your hips. Therefore make sure to look for such pockets when you are checking the apparel.
And of course warmth. After all, this is the main application of our jackets and pants. There are many new performance linings used within skiing and snowboarding apparel. Generally we can distinguish between insulated, partially insulated and uninsulated apparel. The level of insulation varies significantly but here our main advice would be to look for fully-insulated apparel in case you are not much of a cold lover. If you don’t mind staying with a T-shirt when it is 10 outside, then you might consider partially-insulated or uninsulated apparel that has a shell with some type of lining for a little extra warmth.
- Additional Features
Besides the core specifications of the jacket and pants for skiing and snowboarding there are many additional features and perks that may come with the apparel. While most of them are really just teasers and done more for marketing purposes, you may find them useful in one situation or another.
— The hood – this actually may prove very useful especially when there is heavy wind. Even with the best hat you can find, freezing wind may prove a strong adversary to your warmth and comfort. Hence having a nicely fitting hood on your jacket may save your day (and head)
— Warm pockets – well, you hopefully did not forget your gloves and will not have to rely on the pockets to warm your hands but.. why not
— Keyring – we would normally just use one of the many pockets you normally find on the jacket or pants but most brands still prefer to keep it. Probably because ‘the others have it’…
— Mobile phone pocket – this is a good one and can isolate you phone at least to a certain extent from the outside conditions
— Lift pass pocket – you may not realize how useful this is but it may save you many of the hustle when you have to pass the control. Just imagine having to look for and dig out a lift pass from somewhere, removing your poles, gloves and so on – it may be a real challenge. Therefore the lift pass pocket is your trusted ally in getting back to the slopes as fast as possible
— Goggle cleaning cloth – this is a good perk that allows you to easily clean your goggles without having to worry where you put your goggle cloth. You know it is in the right place waiting for you to summon it..
Nowadays the online trade is very popular and convenient for more and more people. You have a vast choice of websites where to look for specialized apparel for skiing and snowboarding. Of course, nothing can substitute the purchase in your local ski/snowboard shop. You can try the apparel, receive some advices and recommendations from the staff and much more. Obviously these superior service in comparison to the online shops has some cost implications that you need to expect. Our strong belief and request is — don’t go in the shop and collect information to then just buy the same online. Especially in case the additional margin is normal.
Stay true to the mountain and to the people who are struggling to stay close to you by offering and allowing you to try the products, provide you advices and consultations. Without them we may ski or snowboard only digital in the future.