When it comes to ski clothes, you are faced with a myriad of choices. Ski pants, jackets, socks and gloves come in a variety of strengths, and are made of a variety of materials. This is why it's important to know what your own needs really are before deciding on ski clothes. Basically, though, ski clothes can be broken down into four categories: pants, jackets, base layers and socks and gloves.
Two questions to ask yourself when it comes to good ski pants: are they breathable? Are they waterproof? Ski pants typically come in two layers--an outer shell and an inner liner. Often a portion of the inside is additionally lined with fleece. Don't forget to think practically; pants with zipper pockets, for example, are a lot more ski-friendly than pants with regular pockets. Look for built-in boot gaiters, a feature that can make keeping the snow out of your boots and your pants quite a bit easier.
Like your pants, your jacket should be water-resistant. It should also be warm, but not too warm; your body will take care of much of the heat all on its own. Look for a thin fleece lining on the inside, with a waterproof outer shell made of something tough--like nylon. Practically speaking, it's nice to be able to zip out or detach the inner lining if you're start getting too hot. Most good ski jackets include a draw-cord at the bottom, allowing you to effectively "seal" the jacket around your hips.
Base layers come in many shapes and sizes. From long thermal underwear to thermal underwear shorts to one-piece full-body thermals, the choices are many. The base layer may be silk (lightweight and strong), wool (moisture-fighting), cotton (warm but moisture-retaining), polyester (soft, moisture-fighting, and warm), or a blend of these. Pick the best base layer type for you; is softness the priority, or the garment's moisture-wicking abilities, or simply staying warm? These will affect the material type and length of garment that you select.
Socks and Gloves
The best gloves are typically composed of an outer layer and an inner layer, or lining. When it comes to gloves, the central questions involve how waterproof they are, how warm they are, and how much mobility they allow. Also look for how well they keep out snow--usually by means of a tight wrist section or even zippers to help tighten the wrist area. With socks, the issues are mainly warmth and waterproofness. Many ski socks are made of wool and stretch high up and over the calf.
Article Written By William Jackson
William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master's degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.