Savvy Ski Kit.
What a week, so now back in the UK, I’ve consumed my body weight in lots of delicious food, still waiting for Yorkshire puddings though, but hopefully that will be ticked off on Sunday!
This weeks blog will be taking a step back and I will be quickly returning to the mountains and reviewing all my kit and talking about the ski clothing jargon.
Where to start, before the season I really didn’t have the foggiest idea on what clothes or gear to buy! My brothers friends, all big into skiing and have done a few seasons were spouting all different terms at me like, down jackets, shell jacket, lifa, lifaloft, merino wool, the list was endless and it was enough to make my head explode, after much research and deciphering I figured out what it all means. Therefore to save you some time and brain cells I will share with you what I’ve learnt.
These are a bit like a rain coat, a thin waterproof material, but by far my most worn coat, you can wear it when its hot and sunny as a layer on top of a t-shirt. If you ski in a t-shirt and fall the snow the ice burn will be epic and the burn will be on the scale of a second-degree burn needing bandages, so best to stay covered up. Shell jackets are the perfect opportunity for an out there colourful and fun jacket!
I bought a retro Columbia shell jacket (my favourite jacket by far).
These are those puffy jackets that you see, now depending on the ski destination you are going to, this will effect the choice of fill you want in the jacket (warmth).
I used the AlpKit Filo women’s jacket, hydrophobic hooded down jacket, 650 fill. I wore this jacket nearly everyday, not for skiing purposes but as my actual coat for walking around, absolutely loved it and I didn’t get cold in it once.
Now, I used my ski jacket when it was really really cold, so it is worth getting a ski jacket specifically designed for skiing. They have all the mod cons you need on the mountain.
For my ski coat I used the Helly Hansen lightening mens ski jacket, (I bought mens because I preferred the colours) I liked the Primaloft isolation with breathable and waterproof Helly tech, and the H2 flow system allowing you to stay dry, warm or cool depending on the conditions. The coat also has a battery protected pocket, a screen wiper in that pocket and an avalanche tag.
Salopettes (as a dyslexic, what type of word is that)
Now I took 2 different types of salopettes out with me, as I could not decide what design I wanted and how many I would need, one condition of our contract was that we could only wear black salopettes with our uniform (i never skied in my uniform so I advise buying maybe one colourful pair after all the slopes should be a bright and colourful place).
W Powder Queen Bib Pant (Helly Hansen)
By far my favourite!
-They stayed up all the time
-I could put my phone in that front pocket and it wouldn’t go flat because of the cold.
-No matter if I lost weight or put it on they would stay up with no hassle.
-The long zip down the side meant I could go to the toilet without taking all my layers off (perfect when wearing fancy dress especially a nun outfit).
-Everybody loved them and complimented them.
-Lots and lots of pockets.
The second salopettes I took were: W sensation pant by Helly Hansen.
Not a fan really, the design was really good and so was the quality, its just they didn’t fit me fantastically and I found myself pulling them up all the time which isn’t ideal when you have a tone of layers on simultaneously bombing it down a mountain. I wish they had braces on them as I had them on the tightest setting and they were still to big, on a season you tend to loose weight so I would suggest this type of design for a season perhaps you can buy braces to attach.
Definitely try and get some cool coloured salopettes for the mountain, I think you would appreciate them.
I took three fleece/ mid layers with me and only used one because it was my favourite (again you are constantly doing washing due to the lack of uniform, so one jumper does plenty).
I loved the Helly Hansen W graphic fleece jacket, it’s white with a blue pattern on it, with a zip down the front. It was perfect as it was warm with a zip down the front which meant I could take it off without taking all my gear off making life a lot easier. I also loved it because it was white and went with all my jackets, it also had 2 pockets which my other fleeces didn’t have.
OK so base layers!
You have two maybe more different materials base layers are made out of, the main two are LIFA and Merino.
LIFA: Helly Hansen explain it like this “the fabric is based on a yarn technology that moves moisture away from the skin and transports it to the surface of the fabric, where it evaporates, leaving the wearer warm, dry and comfortable”. Basically I wore it on days when it wasn’t freezing, I just needed a base layer underneath my thermal jumper and shell jacket. The material is a little cooler than Merino.
Merino: Merino wool is a material that comes from Merino sheep, renowned for its exceptional properties, its softness shine and breathability. Merino thermals are perfect for the colder conditions they keep you nice and snug, but if you pop them on, on a warm day you will quickly regret it. You’ll be nice and smelly by the end of skiing.
I bought all my thermals from Helly Hansen, but lots of outdoor shops sell both normal thermals and Merino thermals, I suggest maybe getting 2 of each, maybe less but definitely not more.
Lots of different helmets out there, I went Salomon because I knew they were a good brand. All helmets have different mod cons now, some have head phone slots and what not, but mine was just basic. I bought the Salomon ICON2 C. AIR, it has an air fit system which meant it fit my head perfectly at all time no matter whether what my hair was doing. It also has Salomon’s premium shock absorption technology which gave both me and my parents a peace of mind when buying it.
There’s a bit more to googles than there seems, each lens effects visibility in different lights, so ideally you want a pair of googles that the lenses are inter changeable, in low light conditions you want to be able to see and well and also in bright conditions! You can get goggles that the lenses are magnetic so just stick on, or you’ve got some where they clip on, but I would suggest these are a must!
I bought a pair of the Salomon iVY photo black glasses, all weather and weather condition photochromic, essentially meaning all conditions really. But, I could see bugger all in low light, no definition of the snow, I skied without googles a few times to get back, as I could see better without them. I didn’t bother setting off to go skiing if it was low light as I knew I wouldn’t be able to see anything.
I will be buying myself some new googles with interchangeable lenses, probably magnetic ones.
Like I’ve said in previous blogs, take at least two pairs, as you are probably going to loose a pair and it’s so bright out there you will want to wear them all the time. I took a pair of Ray Bans with me, and wore them pretty much all the time all day everyday and loved them.
Whilst I was doing my research for said glasses for skiing, I came across a bit of misconception and buying polarized sunnies. I visited and talked to many sunglasses shops and specialists, (because I wanted to find the perfect pair as I’m a bit of a sunglasses fanatic) they said that with polarised you can’t see the definition of the snow, it takes away the detail of the conditions. Now thats quite important when skiing, to know whether something is icy, slushy, mogilly, etc, so I would suggest just a normal pair of sunnies.
Again take a least two pairs, because so many people lost theirs over the season and its so cold your going to want a back up (me being one of them, I was walking around with odd gloves because I lost one from each pair!). I originally had a pair of Helly Hansen Fleece tough glove liners, which I absolutely loved and would completely get again they were light, small and warm.
There’s a big divide between being a glove person or a mitten person my brother prefers mittens I prefer gloves its completely up to the person. It’s a marmite kind of situation, you either love them or hate them.
Not a single person had the same type of ski glove out there, the idea is that you want to spend a bit of money on these as there’s nothing worse than having cold hands on top of a mountain and having to hold your ski poles and no way of warming them up. If they aren’t fully waterproof and they get wet inside, again another pain in the arse that you really can do without!
I had a pair of Salomon Native W gloves, loved them and don’t have any quarrels other than I wish they had wrist straps to attach them to me for when you take them off, every time I took them off on a lift I would be so panicked in case I dropped them, I couldn’t think of anything much worse than skiing down without any gloves on.
Although I did see someone ski down the mountain with one ski because he popped it off on the lift by accident, that would be worse.