Kitted Out For Skiing?

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The darker evenings are closing in and autumn’s just around the corner. Before you know it the dead of winter will be setting in and whilst many of us here in the UK will be taking the opportunity to escape to warmer climates for a week or two, there is many of us who will spend our winter vacations right here in Europe on the piste.

For a country that is far from mountainous, the UK is fanatical about snow-sports! If you’re thinking about heading off on a ski or snowboard holiday for the first time it’s a good idea to go prepared as I’m sure you’ll soon find out ski-towns and ski-resorts can be rather expensive places to buy just about anything! This article will serve as a quick overview of what sorts of things you should take with you on your upcoming adventure.

Gloves

No matter whether you’re spending winter here in the UK or abroad skiing, gloves are essential winter wear. Ski-gloves are a distinct type of glove in their own right, padded, gripped and waterproof. Gloves such as these aim to keep your hands bone dry allowing you to feel the full benefits of a ski-glove’s fleece or insulating lining. As hands and feet are often the first body parts to get cold, having the right gloves will allow you to stay comfortable which in turn lets you feel like you want to ski for longer.

Hats

Although you may not wish to wear a hat for the whole duration of your piste-time, having one with you ‘just in case’ is a great idea. The altitude at which people ski is quite often above cloud cover, and as such on occasions it can be incredibly sunny. Sometimes this isn’t the case and a warm hat will be needed. Choosing a ‘beanie’ or ‘Nordic beanie’ will keep your head warm whilst you look ‘cool’. When choosing a hat you should look for one with great insulation properties as a lot of body heat is lost through the head. Choosing a material such as wool, perhaps a thick King Cole DK for example, will leave you with a hat which dries quickly and even insulates heat when wet.

Thermals

Thermals are an important and often understated aspect of ski-wear. The benefits of thermal layers to an individual’s comfort level are unquestionable, keeping you happy whilst you ski. Having these innovative under-layers beneath your jumper and salopettes will make all the difference as what you will notice about ski-jackets and salopettes is that their primary purpose is to protect against conditions on the mountain as opposed to insulate against them. Find a long sleeve thermal top and long bottoms for maximum comfort.

Outer-Wear

By outer wear I’m talking about ski-jackets and salopettes. As mentioned the function of this layer is to protect you from the elements you may experience up on the mountain whereas the under-layers are there for insulation. When looking for a ski/snow jacket and salopettes you should concentrate your search on three factors, wind-proofing, water-proofing, and breathability.

Waterproofing on a ski-jacket is measured in Millimetres (mm). To work this out a tube is placed against the fabric of a ski-jacket under lab conditions and filled with water. When the water begins to permeate the fabric the test is stopped. To be classed as waterproof the fabric must be able to withstand 1200-1500mm of water; however in reality you find that most ski/snow jackets from experienced brands far surpass this. It is recognised that if a jacket can withstand water in this way that wind is also deflected making the jacket also windproof.

Finally breathability is a quality that you may not think is an important factor in a ski-jacket as I’m sure you think you’ll be concentrating on keeping warm up there! Breathability is crucial however and this is because after all you will be participating in a physical activity. Skiing and snowboarding are both hard work and strenuous activities, as a result when you’re feeling a little flustered it can be good to dump some of the hot air that’s built up inside your jacket preventing you from cooling down. Many ski/snow jackets from experienced brands will be incredibly breathable and some jackets may even feature dump valves. These mesh-lined zippers can usually be found beneath the arm-pits and act as a direct way for you to release hot air from inside your jacket when they’re unzipped, in turn letting cool mountain air in to regulate your body temperature.

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