How do you navigate the endless possibilities for skiing essentials? And, when is it wise to invest in ski gear as opposed to choosing the cheapest options? 

Here’s our guide.

Ski Gloves

Buy. As a ski instructor, Thierry is out on the mountain every day in all conditions. For him, it makes sense to invest in ski gloves. If, on the other hand, you are skiing for a week, then that investment seems less worthwhile. Most people can get away with basic ski gloves (unless they struggle with certain conditions such as Raynaud’s). So our advice is to buy a mid-range pair and top up with liner gloves. The best way to keep your hands warm is actually to make sure that cold air can’t get in. Do up toggles, put your jacket over the top, and tuck your hands under your armpits on cold lift rides!

Ski Helmets

Rent, and then buy. Ski helmets are easily rented in resort. The ski shop will make sure that they fit, and for growing heads, it makes more sense to do this. As a committed skier with a fully grown head, investing in your own ski helmet is better. Be sure to try on a few different brands first though, as the fit will be different.

Ski socks

Buy. No one needs convincing for this one I’m sure! As an adult, investing in a pair of Merino wool ski socks is well worth it. They last a long time and, as you progress towards buying ski boots, this longevity helps you in another way: consistency. If your socks stay the same but the boots change and are uncomfortable, you know it’s the boots and not the socks that are the problem.

Ski / Snowboard Boots

Rent a lot, and then invest in ski / snowboard boots. As your skiing develops you will want different things from a ski boot, so renting gives you the advantage of trying many brands and handing back the ones you don’t like. What feels comfortable at the beginning might not feel comfortable by your fourth or fifth ski trip. When you’re ready, head to a boot fitter rather than an outlet, unless you know exactly what you are buying. Any price difference will be more than earned by them moulding the boots to your feet and helping you if you have problems.

Goggles

Buy. As a beginner it’s fine to combine a goggle for when it’s snowing with sunglasses for when it’s sunny. Buy a goggle with a light lens, so you don’t end up with ‘ski-sickness’ from your brain not being able to work out what is up and what is down (an actual thing, google it!). You need a lens that is going to protect your eyes from the snow and wind, but let you see as much as possible. If you prefer a goggle to sunglasses for when it’s bright, this is where your dark lens comes in.

Skis / Board

Rent, buy if you come on multiple trips. By renting you get a feel for what you like, don’t have to maintain anything, and can swap if there’s a problem. If you consider the annual cost of servicing skis and carrying them with the airline then you can see that the economics stack in favour of renting. The secret is to always book in advance.

That’s the main gear covered, and you could also check our guide to how waterproof your ski gear is.

What else do you use or would you like advice on? Let us know and we will feature it in a future blog.