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An introduction to ski clothes

So you're looking to buy ski clothes online to have fun in the snow, but feel lost in the lingo of winter sports? Fear not, we're here to help you!

First of all, you should know that the basic "layout" of ski wear is the same as that of outdoor wear. You should have three layers: a wind and waterproof outer layer, a warm and insulating mid-layer of wool or fleece and an inner layer that draws perspiration away from your skin to keep you dry and warm (or cool, depending on the situation). Please note that cotton base-layers, however warm, aren't recommended as they don't dry as quickly as synthetic ones. A final layer can also be added in the form of a hat and gloves and, in very cold conditions, even a balaclava. The best ski gloves have Velcro cuffs to stop snow getting in, and the hat should be thin enough for you to wear a ski helmet comfortably.

Your main layers can either be in the form of a ski suit or a separate jacket and pants that join at the waist to create a single snow and weatherproof unit. Choose the one you feel most comfortable in!

A closer look at ski clothing

If you're going for the second option, separate jacket and pants, then there are some things you should watch out for before committing to buy.

As a general rule of thumb, ski jackets either come as an "all-in-one" garment with all layers included (this will be purpose-built and comfortable), or they come as two or three separable jackets, which allow for better temperature adjustment. No matter which one you opt for, it should combine insulation with wind and waterproofing. Insulation can come in two forms: goose down keeps you warm for longer and is lightweight; downside is that it is expensive and doesn't do well in wet conditions. Synthetic lining is the opposite: cheaper than goose down and more resistant to the rain, but heavier and less hardwearing.

A few essential features are a comfortable high collar and adjustable hood to keep your face protected; long sleeves and big cuffs to accommodate your gloves and offer you a full range of motion; taped pockets and zips to round off the waterproofing and, of course, a high level of breathability to ensure you don't cool down too much due to condensing perspiration.

As an additional extra, a ski pass pocket makes life that little bit more practical, while a RECCO reflector adds to your overall safety by making sure a RECCO detector can find you under snow in the case of a rescue mission.

Now for the pants: ski trousers tend to have more waterproofing than jackets because your legs spend more time in the snow than your upper body (if you're doing it right!). The usual waterproofing varies between 5,000mm and 20,000mm - the higher the better -, on the flipside, insulation isn't quite as thick on the legs as these warm up faster than the core of your body. Usually these pants have mesh-lined ventilation zips on the legs to cool you down, but the most important thing is that they have wide cuffs for your ski boots.

The difference between ski clothing and snowboard gear

You may be wondering why we've only mentioned ski clothes on a winter sports clothes page. That's because ski and snowboard clothing only differ slightly, namely that the former has a snugger fit, while the latter is looser to allow for more flexibility. The fit, however, is a matter of personal taste. If you want to ski in loose clothing or snowboard in snug gear, go ahead! Whichever you choose, don't forget that the Keller Sports team is always here to give you expert advice and solid recommendations on specific brands or models of winter sports clothing that might suit your needs.


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