Prepare for Winter!
Posted by Nicki | July 05, 2012
Guide to Buying Ski Gear in Preparation for the Winter Season
Buying the correct ski gear and clothing is so incredibly important to ensure you have the best possible time and stay safe on the slopes.
Whilst it can be tempting to just borrow friends’ gear or accept ‘hand-me-downs’, not having the correct equipment and clothing has the potential to ruin your whole skiing experience.
Why having the correct clothing and equipment is so important:
- The correct clothing should ensure warmth and protection against the harsh weather conditions, preventing discomfort and frost-bite in sub-zero temperatures
- Your equipment should be the correct size and be in full working order to maintain your safety on the slopes
- Incorrect sized equipment and clothing can cause your performance to deteriorate
One of the most problematic pieces of equipment, whether buying or renting, has got to be ski boots.
If you get the wrong size, expect discomfort and pain, which doesn’t make for a very pleasant skiing experience. Ski boots are also specifically designed to protect your ankles when falling and hold your legs tightly in place to enhance turns and minimise the risks of breaks.
No matter how talented you are on the old planks, falls can happen (even if they weren’t your fault) so it’s absolutely vital you have the correct boots to protect your ankles and lower legs. Always take time to try on boots and walk around in them before buying or renting to get an idea of how they feel. If you’re buying boots you’ll want a pair that you can wear year after year with maximum comfort and protection.
When I was skiing I found that no matter which pair of boots I tried on, I was experiencing cramps in my calves whilst on the slopes. I even took lessons thinking it was bad technique, but a little research online revealed that flat feet (which I have) were the problem. I found that buying Orthotic insoles with an arch alleviated the pain until it was almost non-existent and my skiing ability dramatically increased as a result! I highly recommend sufferers of flat feet invest in a cheap pair of Orthotic insoles which can be cut to fit your ski boots – they’re lifesavers!
Whilst you’re highly unlikely to forget your salopettes and ski jacket when going away, it’s easy to overlook vital items of clothing to keep you warm and dry. Thermal socks aren’t only another layer of insulation;they can also help to make your ski boots more comfortable by padding them out a little more.
Base layers can be vital too; if you’re lucky enough to have mild weather and sunshine you may be tempted to ski without your coat. As you ascend to the top of the mountain however, you’ll feel the temperature drop and the winds pick up so it’s definitely worth wearing a warm base layer to keep those chills out. They can also add extra insulation on days which are painfully cold, snowy and windy – taking chairlifts when you’re freezing cold doesn’t feel nice at all!
Although helmets aren’t compulsory in all resorts, it’s highly advisable to wear one particularly if you’re a fan of skiing off-piste. No matter how fantastic your skiing ability is, it only takes someone to collide into you to encounter a head injury. Even if you decide against wearing a helmet, make sure your children wear them.
Goggles are another absolute necessity, when scrimping on ski gear I thought I would be able to handle skiing without the protective eyewear. As I began to gather speed snow and wind pelted against my eyes to the point where I had to ski with my eyes shut (not recommended)! They’re also handy for those sunny days when the sunlight bounces off the snow causing some serious glare and a very unpleasant experience!
Backpacks are great for budget skiers who don’t enjoy paying a fortune for food on the mountain. Wherever you go, the bars and restaurants on the mountain will be around twice the price of that in the town (and that’s if you’re lucky!). Packing your own food and beer to take up can save you a lot of money, plus the cold air will keep your cans of beer chilled- result! Backpacks are also handy for popping excessive clothing in when you’re too hot on the slopes, it can often get chillier later in the afternoon so it’s advisable to pack extra clothing even if it feels hot in the morning.
Carrying your Gear
Seeing as you’re going to have a lot more baggage and equipment if you take your own skis, you’ll have to think a little more carefully about getting to the airport. You may want to consider airport parking as an alternative to a taxi, that way you can bundle all your gear in as tightly as you like. If you’re lucky enough to have a van to utilise, your job will be a whole lot easier. Airport parking firms such as Sky Park Secure have some parking facilities right near the terminal entrance, or take advantage of “meet and greet” services so you don’t have to venture far or take a shuttle bus.
Article by Steph Staszko, Marketing, MF Airport Parking
Picture source: Compfight