SNOW SPORTS

Best Ski Gear: Breeze Through the Freeze

Gears on ice
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Its beginning to look a lot like…snow and cold, everywhere you go. It’s a great time of the year to settle in for a long winter’s nap. That is, unless, you look outside at the white, snow-covered landscape and see adventure waiting on the hills. Strap on your skis and get ready to hit the slopes.

Its time to push Old Man Winter down the mountain and laugh as you relish the best downhill adrenaline rush of the year. It’s time to suit up and conquer every obstacle in your way. Don’t settle for taking the ski lift down the mountain because you’re hands are too cold to clear the fog off of your goggles to see why your boots won’t snap in.

Ski gears all set

Fly down the hills with confidence, because you have confidence in your gear. Take on the slopes with the best ski gear and make the best memories of your life this winter.

Knowledge is Power!

Skiing is not the same as walking in the snow; it is a high adrenaline, cardio-intensive activity and, as such, requires very specific equipment that is designed for skiing. A day of hitting the slopes can quickly become an invitation for illness if you’re unprepared, putting a real damper on your downhill ride.

Jackets and pants that aren’t made for the intense cold of skiing wont hold your body temperature stable against the harsh wind and snow, exposing you to illnesses such as pneumonia. Wearing bulky winter coats and snow pants might seem like the way to go.

However, sweating can be the most dangerous pitfall, exposing you to hypothermia. Here is what you need to look for in your ski gear if you want to be safe and have fun on the slopes this season.

Water-resistant/Waterproof

Waterproof gear is impervious to water, ensuring that your garments won’t become saturated by dangerously cold moisture and lowering your body temperature. This means that the fabric is infused with a waterproof membrane in the processing of the garment.

All set to ski

Water-resistant materials are treated with a Durable Water Repellent chemical that lets beads of water roll right off, however, after they are washed in a machine, the repellent coating often needs reapplication to continue to function adequately.

Moisture-wicking

  • Good Materials: Silk, Synthetic fabrics such as Capilene, Thermax and Prolite
  • Bad Materials: Cotton, Fleece, or brands like Polartec, Primaloft, Thermolite, and Thinsulate

Moisture-wicking fabric has tiny capillaries which work much like a candle wick. They are large enough to let body moisture out but also small enough to keep external moisture from seeping in.

Without moisture wicking fabrics in your ski gear, it becomes too easy for garments to soak up the bodies perspiration and natural precipitation. Skiing in a damp jacket or pants isn’t just cold and uncomfortable, its deadly dangerous.

Wind-resistant

  • Good Materials: PVC and neoprene coated fabrics
  • Bad Materials: Polyurethane coated fabrics

Wind resistant clothing is manufactured so that the warm air of the body cannot pass through the open areas of clothing or fabric, and the cold air cannot penetrate through to the skin. The human body becomes dehydrated when one’s skin makes contact with the dry, cold winds, so it is advantageous to shield the skin from the air as much as possible when engaged in physical activities such as skiing.

Breathable

A breathable feature is one that allows moisture to escape from beneath. A breathable outer layer jacket is essential for allowing the skier’s inner, moisture-wicking layers to effectively evaporate moisture away from the body. This prevents hypothermia in cold, winter winds.

Breathe snowy air in

Without a breathable outer-layer, skiers will find that their bodies’ natural expulsion of  moisture will become trapped in the insulating layers and act as an ice-cube. Zippers in the armpit of the breathable outer-layer is a great feature to look for to quickly allow moisture to evaporate from the body.

Insulation

  • Good Materials: Cotton, Fleece, Silk, Wool and Down
  • Bad Materials: Nylon

Insulating features in ski gear traps air which has been warmed by your body close to your skin to keep from heat loss. Many ski pants, jackets and gloves have insulation inherently incorporated into their design, however, often one needs multiple insulating layers. This is important during intense physical activity so that one may strip layers away when perspiring to avoid overheating or getting hypothermia.

Layering

When it comes to staying warm, it’s important that you know the function of each layer so you can put them all to effective use.

First- Base Layer

Base layers are designed to help regulate your body temperature by moving perspiration away from you skin. Skiers often only need a single garment to serve as the moisture wicking layer. Common materials that are used to wick moisture away from the skin are polyester, polypropylene and silk.

Lots of warm layers

Silk is often considered the most comfortable against the skin, but it is undoubtedly the most expensive. Polypropylene causes some skiers irritation as long-underwear, thus leaving polyester as the most common materiel used and the most cost-effective.

Middle- Insulated Layer

Worn over your base layer, insulating layers are designed to retain heat by keeping air close to your body. Many skiers wear multiple layers of insulation. When engaged in strenuous physical activity, it is beneficial to have the ability to shed a layer or two when the body gets too hot. Often, skiers can find perfectly suitable insulating layers already laying around in the closet.

Fleece sweaters are a common article of clothing just hanging around in the hamper. It might not be the most attractive thing in the boudoir, but it will serve as a wonderful insulating layer. And its underneath your jacket, so who cares if its ugly.

Last- Protection Layer

Make sure its wind-resistant and waterproof/resistant. A waterproof/windproof ski jacket is one of the most important parts to staying warm and comfortable while skiing. We recommend you look for a shell jacket that has a 15,000mm waterproof rating or higher.

If you go too much below 15,000mm, it will not adequately protect you against the high pressures associated with skiing at high speeds. Play it safe and look for the highest rating you can.

Ready for ski action

This is important to staying warm while skiing. For reference, a rubber raincoat is 100% water and windproof, while a cotton shirt is somewhere between 2-5% water and windproof.

Choose Your Weapon

Now your ready to begin exploring the almost infinite number of products, developers and websites on the internet to find your gear. But in case you don’t want to spend the next three years browsing ski gear, we’ve put together a complete essentials list for the slopes this winter that will let you conquer the mountain like the pros do.

Seirus Inferno Heated Gloves

Seirus Inferno Heated GlovesPrice: $264.95 – $374.99

Style: Gauntlet

Palm Patch: 60% Polyurethane / 40% Polyester

Shell: 100% Leather Insets

Lining/ Insulation: 100% Polyester

Features: “HeatTouch”, Full-grain Leather, one-handed wrist and cuff cinch.

Description: “HeatTouch” is the feature that makes these gloves stand out from the crowd. These are rechargeable heated gloves. Just press a button and your hands warm up and stay that way for over 6 hours, on the lowest setting, 4 hours on Medium and 2 hours on the High setting.

Don’t worry, there are no wires sticking out anywhere. The Lithium ion batteries are thin and fit into a special cuff pocket. On top of the high-tech, rechargeable, heated interior of the leather, the Inferno Gloves are made to be windproof, waterproof and come with a breathable insert.

Seirus has certainly designed the Inferno Heated Gloves to be a high end, niche piece of gear, both in capabilities and price. Seirus might be going way past essentials with the electrics but anything worth doing is worth doing right. No chapped hands this winter!

Abom Anti-fog Goggles

Abom Anti-fog GogglesPrice: $239.00 – $269.95

Frame Size/Materiel: Medium and Large/ Elastopolymer frame

Lens: Carl Zeiss Lens, Polycarbonate with anti-scratch coating.

Lens Type: Mirrored

Lens Shape: Spherical

Battery: 6 Hour Charge

Charge Time: 3 Hours to Full Charge

Mirror/Strap Colors: Deep Ocean Blue, Flash Green, Lumen Yellow, Sunrise Red, Eclipse Black, Gold Rush, Resolution Red and Stealth X-ray Gray.

Features: Micro USB cable included, Matte interior, memory knit strap, Helmet compatible

Description: Do you have a problems with your goggles fogging up all the time? Abom has created a pair of Ski Goggles that clear fog automatically, with science! Just press a button and the rechargeable battery activates a transparent film that sits in between a two-part Polycarbonate lens, which regulates the temperature of your goggles and eliminates fog.

Abom Anti-Fog Goggles have 2 modes: Active Mode runs constantly to prevent fog for up to 6 hours and Boost Mode allows you to switch the Anti-fog technology on once your lenses start to fog. In Boost Mode, you get up to seven days of battery life. Perfect for the skier who plans on needing a slow moving search party.

GoPro HERO4 Silver

GoPro HERO4 SilverPrice: $321.00

Dimensions: 41mm X 59mm X 30mm

Weight: 83 grams

Lens Aperture: F2.8

Video Mode/ Max FPS: 4K/ 15FPS

Still Photo: 12 MP

Burst Mode: 30 photos per second

Battery: 1160 mAh

High bitrate: 45 Mb/s

Description: The GoPro HERO4 Silver will capture your run in beautiful 4K, so you can prove to all your friends that you really got clotheslined by that polar bear. The HERO4 Silver comes equipped with Night Mode for both video and photo.

It also has touchscreen, Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities, for those fancy, Generation-Z kids. The only possible downside is that you will need to purchase a separate housing case, seeing as the HERO4 Silver is not designed to be waterproof. But, that’s not going to stop an adventurer like you.

Giro Range Snow Helmet

Giro Range Snow HelmetPrice: $119.95 – $250.00

Construction: Semi-flexible plastic

Weight: 3 Pounds

Features: MIPS Technology, Adjustable Venting, integrated GoPro camera mount, and Fidlock Magnetic buckle closure.

Description: Built with a two part shell, Giro has designed a snow helmet that is elegantly low-profile and produced for peak performance. The adjustable ventalation gives its user the bonus of breathability to the cranium, keeping perspiration from causing fog in your goggles.

Your GoPro HERO4 Silver mounts seemlessly to the prefashioned fitting on the shell of the Giro Range Snow Helmet. One size fits all design, with Conform Fit Technology that forms to any adults head shape by turning an adjustable dial. An elegant, stylish and subtle choice that will help you to keep a good head on your shoulders.

Apex Ski boots MC-S All Mountain Sport

Apex MC-S All MountainPrice: $476.00

Dimensions: 12 X 6 X 14 Inches

Weight: 12 Pounds

Sizes: 23, 25, 26

Features: Boa closure system, adjustable flex and forward lean and cuff alignment, EVA heat moldable insoles and walkable Inner boo

Description: The Apex MC-S All Mountain Sport combines flexibility with security. The inner boot is a walkable insert while the outer chassis is durably impact-resistant and rigid. This feature gives skiers the best of both worlds on the hill.

The Boa closure system provides excellent heel support making for seamless transition into your skis. Not to mention the EVA heat moldable insoles, these ski boots seem to be the finest on the field. Apex delivers expert engineering and craftsmanship for the serious skier.

Helly Hansen Men’s Valhall Ski Jacket

Helly Hansen Mens Valhall JacketPrice: $129.01 – $230.00

Material/Fabric: 100% polyester, Waterproof / Breathable

Insulation: Non-insulated shell

Waterproofing: Durable Water Repellent Treatment (DWR)

Features: Durable Water Repellent (DRP) treatment for added water repellent ability, Fully sealed seams, Quick Dry polyester lining, Fixed helmet-compatible, Zippered underarm vents, Zippered hand, chest, and front storage pockets

Description: The Men’s Valhall Ski Jacket is an exemplary choice of an outer layer for your state-of-the-art skiing get-up.  It is extremely versatile and can be zipped together with select Fleece Insulator Jackets and CIS Liner Jackets from the Helly Hansen collection. You won’t find any batteries of robots on this jacket. Its quality comes from its craftsmanship.

The Valhall is designed with 2-way stretch fabric and is fully seam sealed, from the water resistant front zipper and chest pocket zippers, to the hand warmer pockets and armpit ventilation zippers. It seems to be a perfect breathable outer layer that will effectively retain your insular body heat while allowing moisture to evaporate. Sometimes, its good to have quality design over bells and whistles.

Helly Hansen Cross Pants for Women

Cross Pants for WomenPrice: $400.00

Material/Fabric: Polyester lining, Elastic, polyurethane

Shell: Polyurethane

Shell Lining: Polyester

Insulation: 60g “PrimaLoft” insulation

Waterproofing: Non-breathable, waterproof and windproof

Features: Elastic drawcord adjustable waist, Microweld seam, odor and mildew resistant, Waterproof polyurethane face fabric.

Description: Since these Cross Pants for Women are non-breathable, the only possible downside is becoming too hot. Now, since heat rises, its more important to have breathability on one’s upper half because that’s where most of our perspiration is released from the body.

So, on the lower half, it most likely will not be a problem to have hot pants. Quite the contrary, having a shell bottom layer that is strictly conserving heat will be quite beneficial the colder and more windy the environment is. Put on a fleece insulating layer over some long underwear and you’ll be snug as a bug in a rug…on the top of a mountain.

MyCharge All-Terrain 6000 mAh Portable Charger

MyCharge All-Terrain 6000 mAhPrice: $39.99

Battery: Lithium Ion

Capacity: 3350mAh

Output: 4 Amps

Weight: 8 Ounces

Description: Think you need to go back to the ski lodge to charge up your smartphone, tablet, gloves, goggles or Satellite GPS Phone? Think again. The All-Terrain is waterproof, temperature proof, dirt proof and shock proof. It comes built with two output USB ports and is supported with 2.4A.

The user can clearly see the MyCharge All-Terrain‘s charge state with the four indicator lights located on the battery face, below the rubber grip. It has the capacity to charge an iPad 1.5 times over. Do not miss the Snapchat of your friend getting eaten my the avalanche just because your smartphone died.

Go to the Hills!

Now that you have a list of all the essentials, you can live your dream of becoming a human bullet while traveling in an impenetrable bubble. These are some of the best pieces of gear you can get on the market to mount the slopes in style and confidence.

Slidin down the slope

From craftsmanship to comfort, the ski gear you choose will determine how much all your downhill runs eventually pay off in rewards reaped. But, maybe the mountain can never be conquered. Perhaps it is the unclimbable height to which we can only strive. Nope. Winter is coming, so kick its butt and hit the slopes with the best.

And please don’t forget to leave a comment below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Kenneth Wong

    Layering is key, for sure. Do you have suggestions for insulating layers and what materials you think make the best insulating options out there? I have fleece, which you mentioned was the most commonly found option, but are there other better options that I can invest in?

  • Daniel Carraway

    You can also invest in down or wool – those are superb insulating materials that can keep you warm and comfy even in freezing weather conditions. These may be pricey but when you don’t want your body parts to freeze, these are you best bet. You may want to take a look at this piece about the best insulated jacket by my friend Mark Foster: http://myoutdoorslife.com/gear/men-cloth/best-insulated-jacket.html

  • Liz Edwards

    Thank you for this article, it’s really helpful. I have been thinking of buying a GoPro Hero Silver and after reading this, I think I will finally order one. Based on the reviews I have read, it is really a must-have for everyone who loves great quality videos and pictures. Is it easy to use even for newbies like me?

    • Daniel Carraway

      Yes! The GoPro Hero Silver is easy to use, although you will want to read the instructions and give it some practice before you get too adventurous. Even newbies can use it and make wonderful videos!

0
0
Total
0
Shares