Complicated, daunting, and sometimes, expensive – choosing the right ski jacket and ski pants can be all of these things, so it’s important to know what you’re doing. Or, at the very least, consult the experts. Hi, that’s us!
Whether you’re a fan of the small slopes or an all-mountain aficionado, make sure you read our top tips for choosing your ski jacket and pants before reaching for the plastic.
What kind of skiing will you be doing?
On-piste or off-piste/free-style are your main options. If you’re new at this or prefer the gentler slopes rather than tricks and turns, you’re an on-piste/all-mountain skier and should head straight for our more fitted Slide collection. If you’re looking for a more durable ski jacket and pants with room for the movements freeriding requires, our Free collection is ideal.
Waterproof v water repellent
Different ski jackets and pants will offer different levels of waterproofing – some might not even be waterproof but water repellent, which means you’ll stay dry in showers but lots of water or snow will likely soak through to your base layers. Waterproof ski jackets are designed with a membrane that stops large volumes of water or snow getting in, so are a better option for bad weather and beginners who are likely to fall in the snow a lot. How the zips on your ski jacket are ‘protected’ is important too in terms of waterproofing. Storm flaps are at the lower end of the keeping-liquids-out scale and sealed zips reign supreme. Inner sleeves, elasticated wrists and taped seams will help keep water and snow out too. Waterproof ski pants are pretty similar, but in addition, you should look out for elasticated skirting at the ankles, which slides over your boots to keep warmth in and snow/rain out, and removable bibs – another bit of fabric that sits above your waist and stops powder getting in. Zips at the hems are also helpful when it comes to getting your boots on and off, and it’s especially important for freestyle skiers who are more likely to catch, tear or weaken their gear to buy ski trousers with a reinforced or more durable lower leg, so even if it does get caught in your skis/snowboard or on an obstacle, it will stay intact.
How warm do you want to be?
Entry level ski jacket and ski pants tend to be made up of a single outer shell with a padded material inside, while pricier styles have two layers, making them suitable for a variety of conditions and allowing you to control your temperature better. If breathability is on your mind, keep your eyes peeled for jackets with zippers and vents under the arms, at the back and on your chest. Zips that run from hip to toe on ski trousers will help you cool down quickly.
Pockets are important too! In particular, pocket placement. Some ski jacket designs have a pocket on the sleeve, which is ideal for your ski pass (extra points if the pocket is transparent and you don’t even need to get in there) and some have larger pouches at the sides for goggles or your hat. Skiers with kids in tow will appreciate having extra compartments for their things.
Last but not least, pick ski gear with a RECCO system, especially if you’re going off-piste. It’ll make sure you’re found if there’s an avalanche or accident and even if you never need to utilise it, it’s nice to know you can.