With the ski season fast approaching I’m sure many of you will be seeking to update your core skiing clothing and equipment to allow you to have many successful and comfortable trips to the mountains. Because of this, we thought that it would be a good idea to remind you of the key essentials needed to conquer the slopes in whichever resort you may be.
We’ll start things off with arguably the most important part of your skiing outfit: a high quality jacket to protect you from the elements. A good ski jacket should be highly weatherproof, durable and most of all, be tailored to suit your skiing style giving a high amount of breathability for the intensive skier, and a nice amount of insulation for the more leisurely skier, alongside many other features that may be useful. In regards to weatherproofing, ensure that you choose a jacket with a millimeter rating of 2000mm or above as this will ensure that you stay dry even if a harsh snowstorm hits the slopes or just if you take a few falls in some deep powder. For breathability, jackets constructed with a membrane work wonders keeping you sweat free no matter how intensively you ski. Also be sure to look for extra ventilation zones built in to a jacket and placed in areas such as the chest and under the arms: these will allow air to circulate and again keep you perfectly cool and sweat free. In terms of insulation, as a general rule, you should have less when skiing intensively to allow you not to get too warm and when skiing more leisurely, taking in the scenery and enjoying the après ski, you should have more insulation to help keep you warm and happy. For example, a top notch ski jacket designed for the intensive day skier would be the Wed’ze Maxtrip jacket. This jacket is available in men’s and women’s models each coming packed full of features and technicalities. Containing a 15,000mm 3 layer membrane, the Max trip offers the premium in weather protection and durability. With underarm vents and its membrane structure, the Maxtrip also allows you to vent away heat, keeping you cool and comfortable throughout the day. Internally the jacket contains an insulated midlayer which is down in women’s and synthetic in men’s. The beauty of this midlayer is that you can wear it on its own or as a part of the jacket, giving the Max trip a high amount of versatility. This midlayer is also useful as you can remove it should you get too warm whilst skiing. For the intensive skier the Max trip provides a premium amount of features and technicalities to ensure you have the upmost comfort whilst on the mountain. Be sure to add it your list of essentials this season.
Next on our list of essentials we have a mid layer. The core purpose of a mid layer is to provide insulation and wicking properties to ensure that you are cosy, warm and sweat free during your skiing adventures. The beauty of a mid layer is that you can tailor it to the weather outside and also to your skiing style. Generally speaking the more intensely you ski, the thinner the mid layer you will need. This is due to the fact that the intense skier will be exerting more energy and therefore sweating a lot more, whereas the more leisurely skier will sweat less thus needing a denser mid layer to protect against the cold. Ensure that you check the weather reports in your resort of choice, to enable you to determine the right mid layer for you. For our skiing trips this season we’ll be styling the Wedze Mid Wool. This snug hoodie consists of 20% wool to give you a high amount of warmth and a nice amount of breathability. Wool also has the benefit of being very lightweight therefore meaning that it won’t feel bulky when layered underneath a jacket. Coming in men’s and women’s models and in a large variety of colours, be sure to try out a Mid Wool midlayer whilst hitting the slopes this winter.
So we’ve discussed Jackets and mid layers, but a skiing outfit just wouldn’t be complete without the addition of a top notch base layer. The underlying goal of a base layer is to provide breathability taking the cold moisture away from your skin and evaporating it from the outer layer of your garment thus keeping you warm and dry. If you have a base layer which is not breathable, a layer of sweat will build up against the skin which will shortly go very cold and cause a freezing effect. This will obviously cause you a great amount of discomfort which is not very ideal when a few thousand feet on top of a mountain. Like the mid layers, a base layer should be tailored to your skiing style and also to the outside temperature on the slopes, ensuring you the upmost comfort whatever your scenario. For intensive skiers, a super breathable base layer will do the job perfectly such as the Wed’ze Flowfit which is constructed from synthetic materials like polyester and elastane. These materials are highly hydrophobic meaning they hate water and therefore diffuse it through their structure very quickly, thus providing a high rate of breathability and suiting an active skier perfectly. For the leisurely skiers out there who need a little bit more warmth and a slower rate of breathability, Merino wool base layers provide a great solution. Merino is both warm and lightweight ensuring it is not bulky when layered, it also feels fine against the skin and will steadily soak up and wick away moisture keeping you dry and therefore very warm. If you are a leisurely skier seeking a good base layer, why not check out the Quechua Techwool 100 which will offer many great benefits at a decent price. A base layer is crucial to a day out skiing and should definitely be well thought out to ensure you a perfect amount of comfort no matter what your scenario.
So now you have a base layer, mid layer and a protective layer, next on your essentials list should be some gloves to protect your hands from the wind and snow you will encounter on the mountain. Cold hands usually means an unhappy skier and it could spell disaster for your days out on the piste. When choosing gloves, there are a few things you need to think about to enable you to choose the best solution for you. First and foremost decide what type of skier you are. Are you mainly piste or pure powder off piste? This will determine the structure and features that you will need in your gloves. Next, have a think about whether you have naturally warm hands or naturally cold hands, this will enable you to choose a glove suited to your insulation needs. On the topic of warm gloves, be sure to select a mitten if you are looking for the best warmth because as there are no gaps between your fingers, there is less room for cold air to circulate and thus give you cold hands. Once you have answered these two questions regarding your skiing style and insulation needs, you can begin to make informed choices on the best gloves for you. An example of a good all round ski glove is the Wed’ze Chill Heat. These gloves come in both mitten form and as a standard glove to suit each user type. Contained within the construction is a huge 150g/sqm of wadding with a soft micro fleece lining the inside to provide a fine feel against the skin, a tab on the cuff which prevents snow entering the glove and the fully waterproof Novadry insert which prevents any moisture penetrating the fabric, to ensure your hands are warm and dry all day long. If you’re looking for a warm all round glove for skiing this winter be sure to try out the Chill Heat.
Skiing without ski boots would be pretty hard, so next on our list of ski essentials we have, you guessed it – Ski boots. When choosing ski boots you need to be completely honest with yourself about your skill level, as at the end of the day, it is your safety and the safety of others that is at risk should you not be able to control your skis with your boots. You should also be sure to have your boots fitted by a knowledgeable boot technician just like we have in our very own ski departments in store. A good boot technician will take into account your skill level, experience, foot length, foot width and many other variables before selecting a few pairs from the range that perfectly suit you. There are thousands of boots available on the market, all with varying features and styles, so be sure to stop by one of our stores to speak to one of our specialists before your ski trips this season; we’ll be happy to help and will do our upmost to find the perfect boot for you.
No good fitting boot would be complete without a high quality pair of ski socks and that’s why a pair of socks is high on our essentials list this season. There are thousands of models available on the market, but by far, our in house all round favorite this season, is the Wed’ze Linebreaker. This technical pair of socks is designed for skiers or snowboarders who are looking for a high tech sock that offers comfort, warmth and precision. With a combination of 35% wool and 65% synthetic fibers, it is immediately obvious that this sock combines the warmth and fine feel of wool with the snugness and breathability of synthetics, to create a super comfortable sock that makes the perfect addition to a good pair of boots. Also built into the Linebreaker socks, is a multi zone knit with reinforcements and a large variety of padded zones to help keep your feet happy when out for a day on the slopes. Integrating a left and right foot construction, the Linebreaker also ensures that each foot is reinforced in the correct place, giving the user a specific and well fitting sock. If, for this season, you would like happy feet that are warm dry and comfortable, make sure you pick up a pair of Linebreakers. They’re so snug we’re sure you’ll even wear them to the office.
Like boots it would be very hard indeed to ski without skis. I guess we could arguably say that a pair of skis is the most essential of all essentials? Unless of course you are more into the après ski side of skiing? We don’t know, but if you will be exiting the ski bars and clubs at all during your trips, we sure think that it would be worth getting a good pair of skis. Like with boots, it is important that you are honest with yourself about your skill level and just as important that you talk to a trained ski technician when thinking of making a purchase, even if it is just as a second opinion. Ensure that before you come into store, you have decided exactly what skiing discipline you participate in and then one of our in-store experts will be able to advise you the rest of the way until we find the perfect ski for you.
Last of all on our essentials list we have a helmet. Unless you are stupid or just don’t really care about your personal safety, we would advise always wearing one as you never know what might happen on the slopes. A good helmet will provide a snug fit, adequate ventilation and a nice amount of adjustability to give you comfort and protection throughout the day. One of our favourites this season is the Wed’ze Maxcarve helmet. This helmet comes complete with an easy to use adjuster to ensure, that first and foremost, you get a good snug fit. Also integrated within the Maxcarve is an air cooling system which allows cool air to circulate and moisture to escape, keeping you nice and comfortable. This system also has the handy benefit of being able to be turned on or off so that on colder days the airflow won’t cause a freezing effect. Coming in a few colours and being one of the most comfy helmets we have tried, why not pick a Maxcarve up this season? Your head will definitely thank you should you happen to take a small fall.
So there it is; a complete list of all the essentials you will need for your ski trips this season. For more information and expert advice why not head over to http://www.decathlon.co.uk/ to discover our full winter skiing product ranges and to find many other products that will help you pursue your passions.
(Notes on the author – Joe Broadhead is an avid climber, hiker, skier and snowboarder from our Sheffield Decathlon branch. He currently serves as our UK mountain sports expert product trainer and ensures that each of our mountain sports teams are fully trained to advise our customers professionally with sound expert knowledge. Are you interested in a job that lets you pursue your passion? Why not scoot over to our careers site and discover the many positions available – http://www.decathlon-jobs.co.uk/ )