Tips on Choosing Snow Ski Gear for First-Time Buyers
Are you looking for a way to escape from the daily stressors? Try skiing! It's a fun exercise that will make you feel really great. I've been skiing for a while now (five years to be exact) and I simply love to ski, and hopefully, you will too for reasons such as it is easy to start, it is a fun winter activity, it's a nice break and it's a fun way to hang with friends. Furthermore, skiing is such an adrenalin rush at all ability levels. As a beginner, just putting on the skins for the first time can be a fun challenge. As you improve your ski skills and try to make your first turn on a green slope, your heart will be pumping for sure.
Now, let's talk about ski gear. Before you hit the slopes, there is some ski equipment you will need to get first. When it comes to snow ski gear, I like to divide it into two categories: the essential gear that you must have and the non-essential gear that is smart to have. Before I get into the categories I want you to know that many shops offer great discounts on snow ski gear outside the peak ski season. So, if possible, plan to do your shopping over the summer or look out for the end of season discounts. Buying the last season's model is another good way to save a few bucks. Often, companies will leave the construction of a particular ski gear model totally unchanged from season to season, opting only to update the colours or graphics.
Essential Snow Ski Gear
This category includes the items you can't live home without.
- Ski Jacket and Pants - A warmer jumper and a tick pair of pants just won't work. Ski jackets and pants are designed to be warm, waterproof and able to take a bit of beating. Look for a jacket that is comfortable to wear and made from a waterproof fabric. Keep in mind that you will have a base and mid-layer on which will require a little extra room. Both insulated or shell jacket models work great, but do look for 'pit zips' to cool you off when you get overheated. I also recommend lots of pockets, especially inside, where your stuff (like your phone) won't freeze. For pants, look for a pair that isn't constricting and are waterproof. As a beginning skier, you will probably spend time on your butt in the snow. Some pants are insulated while others are just a shell. I suggest you going for insulated pants and wear a base layer underneath.
- Gloves - You glove choice can make the difference between a fun and miserable skiing experience. Gloves are also important from a safety perspective - frostbite is dangerous. Select gloves made for freezing temps and that is water-resistant. Mittens or fingered models are a matter of personal preference. While mittens keep fingers warmer, they offer less dexterity.
- Googles - Unless you plan to only ski on perfect, sunny days, you will want to have a pair of ski goggles. Choose a model that fits snuggly around your nose, and that comes with different lenses for different weather conditions. For average, slightly overcast days, yellow or orange lenses are a good option as they filter out the blue light bouncing off the snow and make it easier to see bumps and icy patches. For brighter conditions, dark or mirrored lenses are your best bet.
Non-Essential Snow Ski Gear
This category includes items that a smart person would buy.
- Helmet - Skiing is a dangerous sport. If you are planning to be gunning it down the mounting at breakneck speeds or attempting 360s, it is a good idea to protect your noggin with a helmet.
- Beanie or Headband - These are a must on freezing days - your ears will freeze without them.
- Thermals - These pieces of clothes are designed to be worn closest to your skin. As you sweat, they'll pull the moisture away from you, preventing you from getting too chilly.
- Ski Socks - These socks are much thicker than normal socks. Ski boots put a toll on your feet, meaning you'll want more protection than your regular socks can give you.
- Boots - Boots are an expensive investment, so you should consider renting them in the beginning. If you turn to become a regular at the ski fields, then get your own ski boots. There is nothing better than sinking your feet into a pair of boots that nobody else has worn.
Even if your friends ski or board and want to teach you, investing in a lesson is a smarter idea. This will allow you to get started off with a good basis of knowledge, and with continued lessons, you'll be a great skier or rider before you know it. So, sign up for lessons, either individual or group. Even experienced skiers and riders can improve their skill with a lesson now and then. Make sure to inform the instructor that you are a beginner skier or boarder with no experience on the slopes. When practising what you've learned, don't push yourself too hard on your first day - stick to terrain that you know you can handle.
It is also a good idea to work your way up to skiing by exercising year-round on a regular basis - you will have much more fun on the slopes if you're in good shape. If you get tired, take a break and rest for while in the lodge. Skiing and boarding burn a lot of energy. So, make sure you eat and drink enough. When it is the end of the day, there is no need to try and get in the last run if you are tired. It's better to quit while you're ahead and save your energy for next time. Make sure you obey posted trail closure and other warning signs (they are there for a reason). Know that skiers and boards who are in front of you and below you on the trail have the right-of-way. Have a nice and safe skiing!